The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market is changing again. According to the recently published Forrester Wave for ECM for 2013, vendors are being pushed to provide new functionality that addresses productivity goals in the enterprise, with flexibility and ease-of-use now key requirements. Meanwhile, smaller, functionality specific vendors are starting to eat away at the leadership position of the traditional heavyweights. 

ECM Market Dynamic

It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone watching the Enterprise CMS market that Forrester has found signs of these changes everywhere, but the comprehensive nature of the changes are slightly surprising. Previously, the traditional large vendors could, and did, change at their own pace, which meant slow progress across the entire market.

However, with agility, mobility and cloud offerings now commonplace, and with deployments a lot easier to install with a lot less initial capital expenditure in the case of cloud offerings, the entire market is undergoing fundamental change.

In the first part of our look at Forrester’s Wave for Enterprise Content Management 2013 we will examine the forces that are currently driving the market. Later we will review at specific trends in more detail as well as note the Leaders and Strong Performers.

Better Content Management

Behind all the changes is the fact that users are now looking for ways to better manage content, which, given the diversity of the content that they now work with, is forcing vendors to change, or streamline, the kind of functionality they provide.

For the purposes of this research, Forrester assessed the offerings of 13 of the main providers in the market at the moment. The list below outlines who they are and what product was assessed:

Forrester Wave  ECM 2013 Vendors and Products.jpg

From this, Forrester has defined the enterprise content management market according to the way the content is used, and whether that content is being used to support customer-facing activities, or internal company activities.

Over the past couple of years, the technologies to manage customer-facing content has become a category of the customer experience landscape (CXM) and explains the constant overstepping of the boundaries between Enterprise CMS and CXM.

Technologies for internal use falls into three categories:

  • Foundational ECM: Provides the traditional functionality associated with enterprise CMS. It offers services like check-in/check-out, permissions, archiving, business workflow functions as well as support for records management and search.
  • Business content: These are technologies that drive the day-to-day workplace experience and include the management of things like office documents, spreadsheets and multimedia. This kind of content drives a wide range of business activities.
  • Transactional content: This drives the back office processes. This kind of content generally comes from outside the enterprise and relies on complex workflows, or business process management (BPM).

All vendors assess in the Wave were assessed under these three criteria.

Forrester Wave  ECM 2013 Confent Centric Technologies.jpg

Vendors’ Take-On Productivity

After assessing the vendors, Forrester concludes that there is a fundamental shift happening in the market at the moment, which has forced vendors over the past 6 years to change their focus from providing products to meet compliance, to providing products that improve functionality. Organizations, Forrester says, are looking for ways derive business value form their content. This shift has resulted in 4 different fundamental changes:

1. Solving Business Problems

Organizations appear to have realized that an ECM suite will not meet all their needs. They are also looking for concrete ROI benefits from investments. Forrester says that a May 2013 survey showed that most are getting best value from transactional solutions that focused on automating processes.

2. New Technologies, Market Disruption

The report also found that new technologies are creating significant market disruption. End users are adopting collaboration technologies to share and access information, and expanding the file share interface to share information between colleagues and partners, often outside the firewall. These products are currently outside enterprise control and pose significant compliance problems.