Every now and then an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendor will open its mouth and shout from the rooftops that its competitors are “dinosaurs,” though they are unlikely to use exactly that word. Instead they’ll slip in terms like “first generation” or “legacy,” which in IT-speak means retired or ready to be retired.
When you hear that kind of talk, it’s probably worth asking if you’re being spun by someone who’s fighting to gain market share. Entertaining as it can be to watch the taunting, we have to remember to ask ourselves if poking at your competitors is the best way to demonstrate your value.
We say, probably not.
A Perfect View
We at CMSWire have an awesome vantage point from which to view the marketplace. As a news organization, we’re in a position to observe what vendors are doing, what analysts are saying and sometimes, during our daily work, to interact with ECM decision makers.
As 2013 comes to a close, we can assure you that almost every vendor in the industry has one thing in common; namely, no ECM solution provider, regardless of its age or market dominance, is resting on its laurels. Each vendor understands that disruption is here. Every vendor we’ve spoken to is laser-focused on the future (while supporting clients, of course) and racing to bring trusted solutions to market that will produce wins for their customers and, at the same time, keep them safe.
With that in mind, we wanted to know from the vendors themselves about what changes and challenges they saw in 2013. Here’s a selection of what the six leading industry leaders (EMC, Hyland, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText and Oracle) had to say:
EMC Vantage Point
Comments by Rick Devenuti, EMC IIG president, and Gautam Desai, chief marketing officer
- It’s clear now there is never just one information source. There needs to be movement towards a single, more accurate view of information — traditional ECM solutions were built and operated independently from other information management (IM) initiatives, which resulted in proliferation of siloed repositories.
Note: Companies who want to leverage data driven marketing are also having this problem. Will solving the IM problem solve that problem too?
- Leveraging the Cloud and Establishing the Value Office: It’s the core and lifeblood of every business — the set of work and employees chartered solely with creating value for the organization, creating real solutions to help solve their customers’ toughest business problems. By leveraging cloud technologies, businesses can extend and enrich their existing Value Office capabilities. And that has far-reaching implications, especially when you consider the transformative effect cloud can have on industries like healthcare, life sciences, energy and engineering. The cloud is more than another deployment model. Once the information starts to be aggregated in the cloud, it opens up a host of new capabilities based on big data analytics that simply aren't possible in today's world or siloed and sparsely connected systems.
- Transformation: Growing sophistication of business user content and access is powering organizations to transform, identifying the right technologies and business solutions to leverage. There’s a need to integrate content within business processes, maintain governance and control.
Hyland Software Vantage Point
Comments by Ken Burns, analyst relations manager at Hyland
- In 2013, SharePoint was no longer a disruptive force in the market for production-grade ECM solutions. This is due, in large measure, to the meteoric rise of cloud-based collaborative document sharing applications such as Box and Dropbox. Microsoft fell into a trap similar to the one providers of production-class ECM platforms fell into in early 2000s. Conventional ECM vendors tried to force complex ECM platforms upon users who had very simple requirements. Conversely, SharePoint tried to force very basic content management capabilities to solve complex problems. The success of cloud-based file sharing vendors like Box have forced Microsoft to regroup around SharePoint’s earlier value proposition of providing simple ECM tools for the masses. You might say that the main lesson production ECM vendors learned in the past, and Microsoft learned more recently, is that when it comes to ECM there is no one size fits all approach.
- Previously, the majority of cloud-based content management applications were for Web content management or lightweight collaborative file sharing. 2013 saw more mainstream acceptance of cloud hosting ECM solutions for more complex and high value ECM solutions such as accounts payable invoice processing and university student admissions processing.
- Similarly, mobile applications were typically designed for use by consumers. In 2013, more and more enterprises understood that mobilizing consumer facing applications wouldn’t yield their full potential if the enterprise didn’t mobilize the applications supporting their core operational and administrative processes. More organizations are seeing the benefits of enabling their employees to participate in document-intensive processes via smartphones — and even offline — directly from the point of service in the field.
IBM Vantage Point
Comments by John Murphy, vice president of ECM products and strategy at IBM
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