Forrester Wave ECM: Market Segments As EMC,HP, IBM, OpenText Lead

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David Roe avatar

In the first part of our look at Forrester Wave for ECM 2013, we saw that the market is changing rapidly as vendors are forced to provide functionality that corresponds to enterprise productivity rather than compliance needs. We also saw that agile, small vendors are starting to eat away at the dominance of the large, established players. Even still, the Wave is led by EMC, IBM and OpenText, while HP pushed its way into the Leaders' segment on the back of the Autonomy acquisition. 

Like all such reports, potential buyers should look across the entire range of vendors which were assessed in the study -- and many more besides -- before arriving at a purchase decision. This is particularly true now as many smaller vendors are providing specific functionality sets that may fulfill enterprise needs.

The vendors assessed this year include: Alfresco, EMC, HP Autonomy, Hyland, IBM, M-Files, Microsoft, Newgen, OpenText, Oracle, Perceptive, Unisys, Xerox.

Vendors' Wave Profile Criteria

To develop their ‘Wave ‘profile vendors were assessed using 48 criteria, which were grouped in three categories:

  1. Current offering: ECM offerings were assessed on the basis of extended capabilities for managing content and processes. Forrester examined the products under three key areas of content management: business, transactional, and foundational.
  2. Strategy: Vendors were asked to outline their strategies for helping organizations align technologies with business and information management needs.
  3. Market presence: Vendors' current customer base was assessed and the portion of their ECM product revenue as a part of  vendors’ overall revenue was also taken into account.

Technologies for internal use were also divided three categories:

  1. Foundational ECM: Provides the traditional functionality associated with enterprise CMS. 
  2. Business content: These are technologies that drive the day-to-day workplace experience and include the management of things like office documents, spreadsheets and multimedia.
  3. Transactional content: This drives the back office processes. This kind of content generally comes from outside the enterprise and relies on complex workflows, or business process management (BPM).

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The choice of vendors for inclusion in the Wave in the first place was made based on the following characteristics:

1. Functionality: Vendors needed to display functionality for at least one of the three content types (business, transactional, and foundational) and must offer most, or all, of the following: document management, document imaging, records management, digital asset management, and line-of-business applications.

2. Information Management: Must be able to demonstrate leadership in information management. They have also had to provide Forrester with roadmaps for future ECM functionality.

3. Market penetration: Must be able to demonstrate a proven track record with customers that have revenues of US$ 1 billion and more. Vendors should also be able to demonstrate scalability.

Vendors' Activity in 2013

After taking all this into account, Forrester says that, generally speaking, the tendency for vendors to focus on specific kinds of content is apparent across all those surveyed for the Wave. It also points out that, as a result,  the market is more segmented now than it has been in the past. A number of points can be made about this year's vendors:

EMC, IBM, and OpenText

None of the established Leaders have moved very far over the course of the year with all of them still providing comprehensive ECM functionality that addresses all the different content areas in a single system.


There was a notable addition to the Leaders’ segment this year in the shape of HP, or more precisely -- HP-Autonomy (HPA). Despite all the negative publicity around the acquisition, it still continues to add to the HP technology portfolio. In the ECM space, HPA offers all the core ECM functionality on top of e-Discovery, auto-classification and text analytics. However, it still lacks imaging and enterprise report management, which is impacting on its overall rating.


Oracle still hasn’t made it all the way into the Leaders’ segment and is still sitting on the wall between Leaders and Strong Performers. While it provides solid content technologies in the business content space, for transactional content it is still in the Strong Performers segment.

Learning Opportunities


Despite the growth of SharePoint as an ECM and its business content functionality, it still only makes the Strong Performers segment on the basis of poor performance in the imaging  space.

Hyland, Newgen, Perceptive, and Xerox

All four offer broad technologies across a wide number of ECM areas that meet many, and most, business requirements. However, their lack of global enterprise deployments holds them back form making the Leaders’ segment.

M-Files and Unisys

Both provide rich functionality with a narrow focus. M-Files focuses on managing quality related business content and has strong compliance functionality, while Unisys’ focus is primarily on transactional content.


With its open source focus on foundational and business content, Alfresco is making progress as an alternative to the established, traditional vendors in the space. Its support for cloud and file syncing have fueled its growth in the collaboration market, while its records management capabilities have expanded its footprint in the public sector.


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Leaders Segment

Keeping in mind these general observations about the Wave, Forrester takes a deeper look at the vendors in each of the segments. In the Leaders segment, then, in alphabetical order you see

  1. EMC: EMC is a leader across the overall business and transactional ECM segments and continues to build its presence by an ongoing acquisition strategy coupled with in-house research and developments. It has underlined its commitment to vertical markets offering a broad range of business and transactional content applications. Its iOS focused support for Documentum Mobile is a drawback. However, there are connectors for other platform users.
  2. IBM: Positioned as a Leader in all content segments, IBM's access to extensive in-house research and development ensures continual enhancements to its already comprehensive ECM suite. The suite covers everything from document management to business process management, content analytics and records management. Its principal weakness is in the complexity of its implementations.
  3. OpenText: A leader across all content segments, OpenText remains the biggest pure-play ECM platform vendor. Its ongoing acquisition strategy continues to extend its capabilities. Its strategy is focused on unifying all the content aspects of Enterprise Information Management rather than the EIM ideal of harmonizing all content and data in the organization.
  4. HP: Following the Autonomy acquisition, HP now has extensive abilities in records management, information governance and e-Discovery, drawing technology from both HP TRIM and Autonomy’s well-established portfolio. Uncertainty around the business is still putting potential customers off.
  5. Oracle: Rated as a Leader for business content management, and Strong Performer for transactional content, Oracle’s WebCenter Content is available for all core Oracle products. It continues to build its ECM functionality to provide users with better access to content in their core business applications.

Strong Performers

There are 6 Strong Performers this year. They include: 

  1. Microsoft: SharePoint continues to lead the market in terms of overall market penetration with SharePoint 2013 focused on enhancing e-Discovery abilities. Microsoft is also focused on extending the functionality and reach of SharePoint's cloud offerings.
  2. Xerox: Providing purpose built applications in the cloud and on-premises, Xerox focuses on business processes around content capture. It has built its ECM functionality around acquisitions in the space over the past few years. It is highly scalable and offers tight integration with other office devices like printers and scanners.
  3. Perceptive Software: Strong in the transactional space, Perceptive uses recent acquisitions to support transactional applications and deliver vertical solutions. It has a strong focus on non-programmatic integration capabilities. After being bought by Lexmark, it is benefiting  from the Lexmark software unit.
  4. Hyland Software: A strong performer in the transactional and business segment with well-rounded functionality, Hyland’s OnBase is scalable both up and down. Hyland also builds its core ECM functionality on OnBase and sells it in particular verticals with integrated document and process management requirements.
  5. Newgen: A strong performer in all segments, Newgen is supported by robust mobile and image processing on mobile devices. It delivers comprehensive ECM and business process management in a single suite.
  6. Alfresco Software: A strong performer in overall and business segment,  Alfresco offers an open source community edition and a fully supported enterprise edition. It is suitable for enterprise or departmental deployments and remains committed to open standards.

That is this year's Forrester ECM Wave. We'll continue to follow all of these vendors as the market evolves and each tries to stay relevant and at the top of their game.