Choosing an Enterprise Content Management platform is no easy task for today’s CIO, according to Mike Davis, senior analyst at Ovum and author of the company’s report “Decision Matrix: Selecting a Content Management Platform Vendor."

Davis believes one of the principal difficulties is caused by commoditization in the Enterprise content management marketplace. More simply stated, the primary vendors in the space now provide all (or nearly all) of the basic capabilities that enterprises with 1000-plus employees list as “must-haves” in their RFPs. These typically include: a platform approach, document management and records management (DRM/EDRM), web content management (WCM), digital asset management (DAM), transactional content management (TCM), archiving, capture and scanning, and output management.

That being said, Ovum says that it is still possible to differentiate between the top vendors.

The Criteria

In the report, Ovum looks at seven ECM platforms which it believes offer the widest range of content management functionalities on a global scale -- EMC, IBM, OpenText, Oracle, Autonomy, Microsoft Sharepoint and Alfresco -- and evaluates each according to specific offerings. The report also profiles each vendor in terms of market share, profitability, ability to support a deployment throughout its lifetime and the satisfaction of existing customers with the products and with vendor support.

It’s worth noting, according to Ovum, that though the ECM market is considered to be “mature,” some vendors still have work to do when it comes to integrating their acquisitions into existing product lines.

This is the first of two articles (OR THREE- it might be interesting to compare Ovum’s findings with Gartner’s and Forrester’s because they are not the same) discussing Ovum’s findings. It should not be substituted for the actual report which is lengthy and offers detailed information which could be key in making a vendor selection.

EMC, IBM & OpenText Named Leaders

EMC Documentum

Though analyst reports typically steer clear of naming a single vendor the “leader” in a category, Ovum says that EMC Documentum continues to dominate the marketplace, calling it the “800lb gorilla of the ECM market.” Not only is Documentum mature (Documentum was started in June of 1990) and widely deployed, but complimentary funtionalities have also been built or bought including Records Management, capture and scanning (Captiva) and customer communications (Document Sciences).

Ovum notes that many CIO’s or decision makers will see EMC Documentum as a “safe bet” because of its longevity in the space, the fact that it is owned by a large, financially stable company (EMC) and its progression toward becoming an “out-of-the box” product that may not require as many costly professional services as some of the other products in the space.

All of that being said, Ovum does add a few cautionary notes: Documentum comes with a high price tag, especially where the costs of deployment are considered. In addition, some organizations could be buying more than they need when they buy Documentum, which means that they’ll be paying for things they don’t use. Ovum adds that EMC may solve this problem when they bring their cloud-based product to market.

IBM

Ovum calls IBM an established category leader. IBM entered the ECM marketplace with its IBM Content Management platform years ago. Big Blue has since purchased FileNet, DataCap (for Document Capture) and PSS Atlas for what it calls “defensible disposal.” In addition, the company has custom built content-centric, processed based apps that enhance its BPM and transactional content management offerings.

Like EMC, IBM offers a strong end-to-end solution made up of hardware (servers and storage), Business Intelligence and analytics.

What’s IBM’s downside? It doesn’t have its own output management capabilities.

OpenText

Aside from it being the biggest independent ECM vendor, Ovum says that OpenText provides a solid platform that leverages the best functionalities of its many acquisitions, which include Hummingbird and Vignette.

It’s also worth noting that OpenText scores among the top two ECM vendors when it comes to Market Impact, due in part to its large and loyal customer base.

Davis says that one reason why enterprises might choose a platform other than OpenText is the ever-present belief that OpenText will be acquired, possibly by an ERP vendor such as SAP or Oracle.

While the aforementioned vendors are clear market leaders, according to Ovum, there are four potential competitors biting at their heals. They will be the subject of the next installment of this article.