Enterprise Content Management Circa 2014: 6 Vendors Weigh In
Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the ride, the ECM industry is going to be disrupted big time in 2014; in fact, the smartest vendors may even disrupt themselves.

The convergence of social, mobile, big data and cloud are giving birth to a third platform and every enterprise content management (ECM) / enterprise information management (EIM) / information management (IM) (pick your label) vendor, whether it’s two years old or 20, is going to have to build solutions specifically for this era.

What 2014 Looks Like for ECM

Taking on-premises solutions and lobbing them up to the Cloud, adding “like” and “follow” buttons and providing mobile functionality won’t cut it.

Sure, existing vendors will retain their presence in the enterprise for a while, a few more years or even longer, but their market share won’t grow much and eventually they will fade away.

A few other things worth noting:

  1. Application owners, rather than IT, may become the decision makers; consider that CMO’s will outspend CIOs on technology by the end of 2015. (Did you know that at Marriott the CIO reports to the CMO?) This may mean that vendors will have to shift their focus and pitches from “keeping the CEO out of jail,” to growing the top line.
  2. Big data thought leaders are beginning to mention ECM at big data conferences. At this point, they’re talking about storing ECM data in data hubs, data lakes and the like and analyzing it along with all the other data they can capture. To be clear, they’re not looking to get into the ECM business. What’s worth asking is if this will have any impact.
  3. Open source, in and of itself, doesn’t seem to be a game changer in this market. Buyers simply want solutions that work NOW. He who builds the best solutions wins. Period.
  4. Security will become an even bigger issue (courtesy of the NSA) in 2014 and the “Big” will be dropped from big data. By mid-2014 we’ll be talking about social, mobile, data, cloud and security.
  5. Expect acquisitions. Large enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) vendors will buy ECM/IM/EIM companies and, for some, it may prove a better exit strategy than going public.

6 Vendors Speak

But enough about what we have to say, here are the predictions of six major ECM vendors:

Rick Devenuti, President and Gautam Desai, Chief Marketing Officer, EMC IIG

The world of IT as we know it is quickly shifting from the client/server-based “Second Platform” days to the “Third Platform” era, driven by the onslaught of Big Data, Mobile, Social and Cloud technologies. We’re talking billions of users, millions of applications, on millions of mobile devices.

While this shift represents opportunity in terms of growth and innovation, it also brings new challenges and risk. Companies now not only have to manage huge amounts of data, but they also have to protect and optimize it, and make sure the right information is accessible to the right users at the right time. If they fail at this, the entire business is at risk. On the other hand, if it’s done right, it’s a game-changer.

So, how do you do it? And if you’re thinking about moving to the cloud, how do you make your journey successful? Transformation starts where work happens -- at the intersection of Content, Process and Collaboration. But the real enabler lies in connecting information to work through the power of solutions.

For every new technology disrupting the workforce, there are just as many -- if not more -- 'next-generation' content management vendors adding to the confusion and noise. These vendors are focused on providing point products to help companies manage their front and back office processes. But they’re missing the bigger, more important piece of the puzzle: the need for third platform-enabled, enterprise-grade cloud solutions aimed at the Value Office."

Ken Burns, analyst relations manager, Hyland Software

Increased Demand for ECM Solutions That Support Process Agility: Both the Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM, 2013 and the Forrester WAVE: Enterprise Content Management, Q3 2013 acknowledged that large enterprises are increasingly seeking ECM platforms that can be deployed quickly to solve specific problem areas on an incremental basis. Users are looking to gain a greater return on investment by modifying and expanding their existing solutions quickly and easily to keep up with changes happening in their industries. That’s why the market is observing vendors with a smaller footprint competing in deals and beating larger vendors in the market.

ECM, BPM and CRM vendors will square-off Over Case-Centric Applications: Vendors from the ECM, BPM and CRM markets will all claim to be the best fit for case-centric applications. Who wins? When it comes to case scenarios that are document intensive, the ECM vendor wins hands down. BPM pundits have always viewed documents as work items, but not drivers of process activity. Case management scenarios that are content intensive will expose the limitations of CRM and BPM platforms for managing correlated sets of documents which shape tasks and interactions associated with a case record.

Cloud based File Sync-and-Share Apps Get Attention, ECM Platforms that Rid Processes of Paper and Spreadsheets Get Results: The Forrester WAVE for ECM Q3 2013 stated that most enterprises achieve a positive ROI from ECM investments do so with transactional ECM capabilities like intelligent capture, document imaging and process automation. That won’t change in 2014.

John Murphy, Vice President of ECM, IBM Products and Strategy at IBM

We see three key shifts driving the need for a more “strategic” view of content management in 2014 and beyond.

  1. Big Data -- We’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day from social media, emails, online videos, mobile GPS signals and more. Organizations today are increasingly tasked with managing this wealth of structured and unstructured data, while at the same time keeping a keen eye on value and exposure.

  2. New Technologies -- The wealth of big data is also an opportunity to unlock the insight that lives in that data to increase business agility and answer previously unanswerable questions. New technological innovations will enable organizations to improve business outcomes by applying analytics to gain actionable insight and proactively dispose of unwanted, unnecessary content effectively.

  3. Lack of Trusted Information -- An IBM study found that one in three business leaders frequently make decisions based on information they don’t have, or don’t trust. This is forcing line-of-business organizations in companies of all sizes, in virtually every industry, to change the way they view content, and see it as a strategic asset in the context of high-value business solutions that can deliver positive outcomes and real business transformation. 

In 2014, more organizations will turn passive content repositories into active sources of business insight in order to gain better control of information."

Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText

App Development and EIM: The concept of Enterprise Applications is an emerging trend that draws from the compelling and simple user experiences that most workers have come to expect from consumer app stores and mobile providers. The ability for organizations to quickly and cost-effectively build enterprise applications will be the status quo in the years to come. To prepare for the increase in workplace apps, we recently released AppWorks, a new developer platform to help organizations develop apps that not only function on multiple devices and platforms, but can also tap into a vast amount of data and information capabilities.

Increase in Cloud-Based Services: Today’s workers access information from a variety of sources -- desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Accessing information and data is just as important from any of these devices, and the future of EIM will be even more responsive to an organization’s mobile needs. There is an enormous growth opportunity in the cloud for EIM when considering the mobile trend. Organizations want meaningful and effective business applications, and EIM is ready to offer the right mix of flexibility for each organization’s unique requirements.

The Evolution of the Transformational CIO: As was true in 2013, the role of the CIO will continue to transform into one that is tactical, strategic and transformational all at once. EIM and the Strategic CIO are inextricably linked to enable organizations to unleash their company’s intelligence, lead a social revolution, simplify IT and much more.”

Bill Baer, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft SharePoint

In 2014 we expect the ECM market to evolve in parallel with current market trends. With the rise of enterprise social, the sharing of business-related content through social networks continues to increase, whether it be activity on SharePoint or Yammer. On the mobile front, IT must also be prepared to deliver business-related content across a growing variety of screens because workers today expect access to their files anytime, anywhere. Lastly, the need to store, sync and share content behind and outside of the firewall is more important than ever. As workers move on and offline, simple and streamlined access to content will be key."

Lance Shaw, Director of Product Marketing, Oracle WebCenter Content

  1. Cloud deployments of enterprise content management will gain broader acceptance and become more common.

  2. Enterprise file sharing and sync tools will become more tightly integrated with on-premises ECM solutions.

  3. Mobile note-taking and document sharing tools common in the consumer space will start to appear in enterprise solutions

  4. Local and in-transit encryption of files shared via enterprise mobile applications will become mandatory, as will two-factor authentication, partially due to NSA created sensitivities."

Your Thoughts?

We don’t expect anyone to agree with all of these predictions. In fact, we already received some great tweets and comments on what we wrote in our year end round-up: Enterprise Content Management Changes, Challenges in 2013 -- Leading Vendor's Views -- keep them coming.

If our readers want to hear from additional vendors in 2014, let us know.

Title image by dencg (Shutterstock)