Gartner’s 2011 Magic Quadrant for the Enterprise Content Management industry confirms what many suspect: The content management landscape is changing quickly, and changing dramatically. Today we look at the market changes identified in the Gartner report, while tomorrow we will look at which vendors it has identified in the Leader's Quadrant.

Market Growth

While the vendors that made it into the Leaders Quadrant remain the same as last year -- in alphabetical order EMC, Hyland, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText and Oracle -- the dynamics that are driving the market are not the same.

There are many things to take from this year’s report, not least of which is the fact that although budgets in many IT areas are under pressure, in the enterprise CMS space, growth continues.

In 2009, it grew by 5.1%, in 2010 it grew another 7.6% and was worth US$ 3.9 billion, and Gartner estimates that this growth will continue at a compound rate by 11.4% through 2015.

While Gartner describes this as “a funny thing," it is unlikely that many vendors are laughing, given how tight the competition is, and how changes in the landscape will facilitate considerable improvement in the fortunes of smaller companies.

As an overview, the report by Mark R. Gilbert, Karen M. Shegda, Kenneth Chin and Gavin Tay says that enterprise CMS vendors are pursuing a vision of the content management of assets throughout their lifecycle using process-centric solutions, social content management and integration as key elements.

For those productivity focused enterprises, this specifically means achieving the following goals:

1. Improved Effectiveness

Better data for better and timelier decision making, with project team support environments built around enterprise CMS, and knowledge repositories providing better customer followup

2. Reduce Operational Cost

Electronic management and delivery of client information requires Web channel optimization using Web content management (Web CMS) tools

3. Optimized Business Processes

Transactional enterprise CMS environments are critical to driving efficiencies in departments for mission-critical processes

4. Compliance

Increasingly, companies are looking to enterprise CMSs to negotiate increasingly stringent regulatory environments

5. Customer retention

A Web technology approach based on Web CMS allows enterprises to use the Web for a range of dynamic information-based interactions

Gartner also notes that, in terms of geographies, while growth in use and deployment is global, the Asia/Pacific region is outstripping all others for document and records management, collaboration and knowledge management deployments.

In particular, this applies to verticals such as financial, insurance and legal in Singapore, Australia and China, all of which are building out customizations as composite content applications (CCAs) incorporating comprehensive workflows.

This Year is Different

Gartner also notes that the ongoing changes in the market are such that it advises enterprises against comparing this year’s report with previous years.

Leaving aside changing focuses, acquisitions, new solutions and the appearance of alternative delivery models, along with broader suite functionality, better process control, improved ease of use and a stronger focus on records should encourage enterprises to rethink their deployments.

In fact, Gartner advices enterprises with enterprise CMS technologies that are more than five years old to re-evaluate their content architecture with a view toward consolidating functionality and vendors.

Market Overview

But it is the smaller vendors that are driving change, Gartner says. Like many IT markets, the smaller vendors are forcing change from the edge of the market with new technologies and strategies, free from the inflexibility that is the hallmark of the large vendors.

Among the current forces for change, which are present to a lesser or greater extent in the Visionary and Niche quarters of the quadrant, are:

The Cloud

Public clouds are enabling enterprises to launch new content strategies quickly and with relatively low upfront costs, particularly for companies that only have basic enterprise CMS needs without customization.

Mobility

In addition to simple use cases such as repository access to documents, many vendors are developing interfaces for participation in process approvals and exception handling, camera-image, case management system interfaces

Analytics

Analytic approaches include text analytics, rich media and speech analytics, and behavioral analytics.

Big Content

Commonly accepted consumer file formats such as audio and video have made their way into the enterprise, and enterprise CMSs are being leveraged to manage them with many other file types.

Technology Groups for Enterprise CMS

The result is considerable change in the way vendors are building systems, and it is likely, Gartner says, that this will result in further new solutions. The result is a market shift toward four families of technologies for enterprise CMS:

1. Transactional content management

These focused on imaging, workflow and BPM, compliance and records management. The content in these kinds of applications tends to be static. Composite content applications (CCAs) like those for invoice automation, case management frameworks and other horizontal and vertical market templates and solutions are key considerations in this vendor selection.

2. Social content management

The focus here is on systems of engagement -- orchestrating high-value people involved in the project-based or long-running development and delivery of high-value documents, content or knowledge management.

3. Online channel optimization

The aim is to “idealize” them to serve as Web-delivered, context-aware engagement platforms for a variety of industry-focused solutions.

4. Content management as infrastructure

These are solutions where major infrastructure vendors embed content management capabilities into their stacks. They are also increasingly becoming infrastructure platforms for supporting multiple CCAs.

What is an Enterprise CMS?

For the purpose of the Magic Quadrant report, there are two definitions of enterprise CMS that Gartner has used:

  • Strategy: A strategy that enables enterprises to take control of their content
  • Software: A set of capabilities and applications for content lifecycle management that interoperate

In both cases, vendors are currently attempting to fit in the following components into their solutions to implement those strategies:

  • Document management: For check-in/check-out, version control, security and library services
  • Web content management: For controlling the content of a website through the use of specific management tools based on a core repository
  • Records management: Long-term retention of content through automation and policies, ensuring legal, regulatory and industry compliance
  • Image-processing applications: For capturing, transforming and managing images of paper documents
  • Social content management: For collaboration and knowledge management, and for supporting project teams
  • BPM: For supporting business processes, routing content, assigning work tasks and states, and creating audit trails

Tomorrow we’ll look at those that made it into the Leaders Quadrant, what their strengths were and what weaknesses are weighing them down.