Some say that Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems are at their best when they are boring.

I respectfully disagree.

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In my mind, they thrive when they awe the imagination and are leveraged to solve problems in ways they couldn't be solved before. And while some may see moving traditional ECM to the cloud and delivering content to mobile devices as big advances, they aren't revolutionary. Neither is transactional content management. The newest of the “new users” will find it difficult to believe that those capabilities weren't always there.

The vendor(s) who will win the future will introduce innovations that will cause prosumers’ jaws to drop. Those who don’t will be pushed to the sidelines where they live until they fade away. That’s my prediction for 2013.

And while that may seem to be too big an expectation, we’re living in a time, and world, of ample opportunity -- the “Internet of Things,” Big Data and Analytics all provide fertile soil. If you don’t grow something from all of that, you’ll have to go.

That’s my two cents.

The Predictions 

That being said, I asked the leaders of Enterprise Content Management software providers to tell us where they expect the industry will go in 2013. Here’s what the best of them said:

Ken Bisconti, Vice President, Enterprise Content Management Products and Strategy, IBM Software Group

  1. “Big data” will evolve from an IT buzzword to practical implementations as organizations seek to glean insight from their information using combinations of advanced analytics technologies.
  2. “Information economics” will enter the corporate lexicon as organizations seek to maximize the value of their information while mitigating its risks and aligning its cost to value over time as data ages.
  3. “Consumerization of IT” trends will continue to influence ECM implementations giving rise to “mobile first” and “cloud first” approaches for new application design.
  4. State-of-the-art ECM applications will combine capture and content capabilities with social business, analytics, personalization, process and business rules technologies to reinvent traditional ways of working and customer experiences.
  5. Customers will accelerate their demand for pre-created horizontal and vertical solutions. ECM will be a key component to many of these solutions but will be integrated with other forms of data and broader software capabilities. ECM practitioners will need to become broadened information professionals to stay relevant in this fast paced market.

Rick Devanuti, President, Information Intelligence Group, EMC Corporation

Prediction: the Delivery of Now

For many years, content management software providers would sell massive platforms for customers and partners to build a solution that satisfied key business requirements. IT had the money and power to make platform decisions under the “build it and they will come” model, and all business solutions, as they were prioritized, were to be implemented on these platforms. It’s just the way it was. But not today.

When I talk with CIO’s, the common theme is “Now,” as in, “I need a solution for (fill in the blank) Now.” Rapid time to value is the leading driver. And if IT doesn’t respond fast enough, the business will look to buy a cloud-based solution, cutting IT out until there is a problem.