It’s not unusual for an analyst to describe Enterprise Content Management as a mature technology. Or even to go so far as to call it “boring,” as analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe did a few years ago when he was employed by the Real Story Group.

And he meant it in a good way. For many years ECM systems were huge headaches that seldom delivered as promised and now, for the most part, they do. The basic requirements, as you’ll see as you read on, are practically a given.

But as new technologies emerge and the way people work changes, so must the solutions that ECM vendors deliver. While Social was brought into the mix a few years ago, the direction now is toward “content in context” which means that user experiences will be personalized according to individual needs. Gartner said that by 2017 as much half of all business content will be nontextual, which will necessitate that analytics be part of content management.

In addition Gartner sees the requirements of an ECM solution evolving from “the right information, to the right person, in the right format, at the right time, on the right devices" to include the context of a particular business process.

It’s worth noting too that the ECM market grew 8.6 percent in 2013 meaning that it is continuing to bring new value and win interest from new customers.

Gaining – and Losing - Weight

In developing this year’s report, Gartner looked at many of the usual ECM features such as document management, weighted at 20 percent (last year it was 15 percent); web content management weighted at 5 percent (last year 7 percent), records management at 10 percent (last year it was 13 percent), image processing applications at 15 percent (last year it was 18 percent), social content at 15 percent, content workflow at 20 percent (last year it was 22 percent)and extended components 15 percent (last year 10 percent) which may include mobile apps, DAM, search, packaged Integration capabilities for portals such as CRM and ERP for enterprise.

It’s interesting to note how the weighting has changed.

With 22 vendors qualifying for placement in the Gartner MQ, if you’re shopping for a solution, it’s recommended that you look at what you need and then judge solutions vs. looking only at Leaders.

That being said, Gartner looked at the market in terms of “Completeness of Vision” and “Ability to Execute” and put seven vendors who scored high on each in the “Leaders” quadrant. Last year there were six.

In alphabetical order, here are this year’s leaders: EMC Documentum, Hyland Software, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText, Oracle and Perceptive Software.

EMC Documentum

Gartner hits the nail on the head with its description of EMC Documentum’s strategy; namely to maximize ROI by providing “easier-to-deploy and more-scalable products”, industry solutions for life sciences, energy and engineering and tightened its integration with Syncplicity. The analysts also say that Documentum D2, its persona-based UI, should provide an improved user experience and enhanced collaboration capabilities.

EMC’s strengths center on its near-complete ECM stack, which includes capture, document management, process management and records management and, the recently added EMC Info Archive ,as well as its industry solutions that help clients get more value sooner. Gartner also points to private cloud deployment of Documentum, Documentum xCP, Captiva and Document Science as a strength.

Gartner does, however, make a few cautionary comments: EMC OnDemand is still new and features and pricing strategies still need work. The same can be said for its mid-market strategy which is still new. EMC’s social content strategy seems to be complex as well. We think that EMC IIG needs its own social solution.

EMC Documentum’s position in the quadrant puts in a very high visionary position, exceeded only by IBM. Its “ability to execute” is still of Leader caliber but leaves room for improvement. Chances are good that as more and more Documentum deployments move toward managed services , private and public clouds, change will come quickly. Not only that, but EMC IIG boss Rick Devenuti is hell-bent on making sure that customers succeed.

Hyland Software

Hyland Software typically caters to the mid and enterprise markets via its OnBase platform for Content and vertical market applications. The majority of its customers come from the healthcare, higher education, government and insurance sectors.

As an ECM vendor that came to the Cloud a decade ago with OnBase Cloud, Hyland has the kinks worked out while its competitors are still testing their wings. Gartner said that Hyland’s solution operates from six global data centers and supports customers in 25 countries. Its content-enables applications for invoice automation, transcript processing, and patient records and admissions. According to Gartner they are easy to modify and upgrade. Its notable too, that Hyland offers industry and process specific mobile solutions for iPads and tablets.

Gartner notes that Hyland’s customers seem to be extremely satisfied with Hyland solutions.

On the downside, the analysts say that Hyland’s global reach is minimal (85 percent of revenue is from the US), that it no longer supports records management and that Its capabilities around DAM and video content management are minimal.


If there is a clear winner among the vendors in Gartner’s Leaders quadrant, IBM gets the prize this year. Not only is its ECM portfolio robust, but it also leverages the social, predictive analytics, BPM capabilities and such from throughout IBM’s portfolio.

It’s worth noting too that few ECM providers have as big a footprint and as many multinational corporations as clients.

IBM also offers something that the competition is only beginning to do, namely offer industry specific business intelligence and deep analytics tools for things like fraud detection and patient care and insight. This is where we are beginning to see “content in context” capabilities emerge.

Finally there are those things that IBM gives away that others charge for such as its Content Navigator core sever license and a limited-use database and application server.

On the iffy side (which Gartner calls “cautions”), the analyst said that IBM has to play catch-up on the cloud and help its customers understand and make choices between all that it offers.


Can you say SharePoint? It’s used by two-thirds of Gartner’s clients and is strategic to content management and collaboration across the Enterprise. Microsoft’s broad and deep global reach and its partner ecosystem serve customers well when it comes to implementations and extensions.

SharePoint’s transition to SharePoint Online and Office365 may present somewhat of a risk because the latter solutions are less proven. Gartner suggests that users who are thinking about making transitions consider how much workflow, forms, integration and application functionality they require.

Other areas of possible concern are SharePoint migrations and the fact that, at present, the number of extensions is more limited than with SharePoint on prem


Gartner said that OpenText is the second largest ECM vendor by market share. Its acquisition growth strategy has been key in making this happen because when you buy a company you most often buy relationships with its customers as well.

OpenText’s integration with SAP is a key strength. Its Tempo EFSS solutions draw customers to it as well.

Because of its large number of acquisitions, Gartner said that OpenText’s architecture has become “complicated” with some redundant components. Other criticisms revolve around prices, which are difficult to calculate and post-sales support.

It’s worth noting here, and wherever shortcomings are discussed, that every vendor in this article was rated as a “leader” by Gartner.


Ok, we’re surprised every time we rediscover that the house that Larry Ellison built has ECM/CMS solutions. Gartner said they range from WebCenter Content for production-class ECM, to WCM capabilities with WebCenterSites, and ECM solutions with Oracle BPM and WebCenter Portal. These solutions integrate with some of Oracle’s business solutions.

Oracle recently announced Oracle Documents Cloud Service offering, "Oracle Documents," enterprise file sync and share solution, which is apparently winning some attention. We find this interesting since last week Oracle announced the integration of its Marketing Cloud with Box.

Gartner said that Oracle has revamped WebCenter to be more intuitive, that its cloud deployment capabilities are a huge plus and that its ability to integrate with existing Oracle solutions are a big win.

And on a cautionary note? Support can be an added expense, and “some customers have identified vagueness and a lack of predictability to the cost structure.”

Perceptive Software

Perceptive Software, which was acquired by Lexmark four years ago, is used primarily by companies in industries like healthcare, higher education and government, and on horizontal content-centric applications such as accounts payable.

Gartner cites its growth as a strength noting that it has evolved from a company that provided departmental imaging solutions to an ECM platform (Perceptive Content). Because of recent acquisitions it is primed to build richer solutions for healthcare and higher education sectors.

As with OpenText, an acquisitions strategy often results in concerns around overlaps in components. Perceptive’s clients, according to Gartner, also worry about growing fragmentation in product architecture. Other cautions mentioned by Gartner include a Cloud transition that might be years in the making and lack of interoperability standards like WebDav, CMIS and ODMA.

Choices, Choices, Choices

All in all, ECM users seem to be in a great position when it comes to solutions to choose from. This will remain true as we report on the vendors that Gartner selected as Challengers, Visionaries and Niche Players.

The most important thing to note is that companies should evaluate solutions according to what they need and want and who can deliver vs. who has the most bells and whistles and makes the best pitch.