About this time last year many of my articles focused on the weak competitive position of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendors. The rapidly shifting marketplace was predicted to force some to evolve and some to die through the introduction of strong products of cloud based offerings of Jive, Drupal, Salesforce, Google+ and eventually Facebook. When the cards fell, this introduction would eventually raise the stakes of the employee-experience/intranet space to spur a reinvention of the intranet from the ground up.
Since the Prediction...
Drupal has developed more momentum around predictable cost models without proprietary license fees. A mix of professional services and PaaS offerings from the newly formed Wunderkraut and Drupal Gardens/Acquia combined with a strong pipeline of development staff make a good pair and an Ace kicker.
Salesforce has significantly increased its mobile capabilities this year. Combined with a strong marketing foothold into sales and IT and a high level of brand awareness, Salesforce looks very well positioned with an above average three of kind and is showing signs of going all-in as it tries to be the prime driver for the most relevant player in defining the future of cloud services for businesses.
Microsoft recently released SharePoint 2013 and is in the process of integrating its not-too surprising acquisition of Yammer. Microsoft is busy preparing its long term strategic offering roadmap that integrates the social, search, messaging and collaboration offerings from Yammer, Bing, Outlook.com and its crown jewels SharePoint and Office. Microsoft's oft cited atomistic approach through agglomeration will help them go forward with a flush. One of the most interesting messages out of Microsoft is its recent positioning from the SharePoint team. The articulation that SharePoint 2013 has been designed to not need customizations to its interface is a ridiculously clever product strategy message. From a product differentiation perspective what this means is:
- Microsoft has decided that the PaaS/SaaS model is not only acceptable, it is desirable.
- The argument that SharePoint is highly difficult to customize visually and behaviorally is moot.
- Microsoft believes there is limited to no value in marketing its product as "fully configurable".
It remains to be seen if Microsoft has created an experience that can transcend individual corporate nuances. What is clear, is that Microsoft believes that there are other competitors who have potentially bigger hands than they are holding.