Gartner announced the five content management vendors that it rates as ‘Cool’ this year for a variety of different reasons. They include in alphabetical order: Colligo, Flow, Gecod, Reveille and Xait.

Gartner’s Cool Vendors

Every year Gartner publishes a list of what it describes as ‘Cool Vendors’ in a number of different IT spaces. The definition of Cool is subjective and changes subtly over the years depending on how the market is evolving.

In the case of the content management space, like all other areas related to information management, there are two principal considerations that Gartner looks for in deciding whether companies get included in the list.

Before having a look keep in mind the same caveat that Gartner publishes with all its vendor guidance reports, be they research papers, Magic Quadrants, or ‘Cool’ Vendor lists.These lists should not preclude those enterprises considering investment in content management software from researching the market outside of the vendors listed in the research.

So who are ‘Cool’ Vendors this year? In the content management space they are vendors that provide innovative solutions to users to offer them better and more efficient access to information.

The emergence of mobile devices and applications, combined with the need to create and socialize content while mobile, has forced vendors to consider new tools and infrastructure.

Content Management Market Trends

Cool Vendors in content management provide IT and business buyers with solutions to help them create, manage and access information better. There were a number of market trends this year that have either become established, or are emerging. They include:

  • Access to content from mobile devices is key and having an infrastructure that guarantees the security of that access is essential.
  • Better user experiences can be provided by ensuring real-time information sharing and streaming. We saw earlier this month that many content management vendors are moving towards customer experience management.
  • Vendors should be looking at more effective collaborative environments when considering the creation of complex documents and other content.
  • Deploying a middleware layer solution to enhance the customer's Web and mobile experience rather than reworking or replacing an existing website or portal. This approach can provide a quicker and less costly implementation.
  • Vendors also need to ensure that what they have implemented is built with the right infrastructure tools for security reasons.

All this said, keep in mind that the 5 vendors listed here are focused on providing solutions to support content on-the-go, improved collaboration capabilities and more effective management of content delivery applications.

The move to mobile is forcing many organizations to look for new products and technology while existing platforms require add-ons or upgrades to support emerging needs. On top of that, the need to provide advanced collaboration inside and outside the enterprise firewalls requires ‘cool’ ways to deliver these capabilities. In alphabetical order here are the Cool Content Management Vendors for 2013:

1. Colligo Networks

Cool Because: Colligo was one of the very first vendors to offer access to SharePoint documents through mobile devices, enabling users to store them offline for easy viewing, editing and synchronization.

It has strong access-on-the-go functionality and has partnered with most of the major mobile device management vendors to ensure data is secure and erasable from a distance. It also provides central server configuration and deployment of content by establishing “personas” that can be pushed out to mobile devices.

Challenges: While it addresses some of the most pertinent challenges faced by enterprises in securing mobile content access, it also has to deal with the problem of expanding that beyond a particular solution, in this case SharePoint.

Who Cares: Any enterprise in any vertical that has a lot of workers on the road who need to work in locations where there is no internet connection.

2. Flow Corporation

Cool Because: The Flow Stream Portal was built with the idea that information is best consumed in real-time streams as opposed to static websites and search. Unlike social streams, Flow information is organized by subject and topic rather than by following enterprise “friends”. Channels (called "flows") can contain both unstructured and structured information and can, therefore, include any data or media type.

The platform also includes the ability to integrate real-time information from any internal or external data source and route information to those that need it.

Challenges: Many users will not be comfortable with the idea of a continuous flow of information, already complaining about overload from existing content and collaboration tools. It is also considerably different than traditional portals and may put off non-technical users off.

Who Cares: Business process owners that want to provide a curated stream of information within existing applications on-premises, or in mobile devices.

3. Gecod

Cool Because: Gecod's YouserCMS enables the delivery and management of content across multiple channels, including mobile, without impacting back-end Web applications. It manages the content and provides a front end for websites and mobile capabilities from the same back end. This allows for more freedom in the design of the front end with minimum IT involvement.

It comes with a number of standard plug-ins that offer features like multi template newsletters, blogs, forums, audio-visual content, etc. It also provides for social interaction and authentication.

Challenges: The idea of a middleware layer is not the solution most enterprises think of when upgrading their underlying platform. It also faces challenges in developing a global sales and service channel.

Who Cares: Enterprises that want to improve the digital and mobile experiences without impacting on their existing back-end can do so easily enough by deploying Gecods.YouserCMS

4. Reveille Software

Cool Because: Reville Software provides real-time application monitoring for individual enterprise CMS systems like Documentum, IBM’s FileNet or SharePoint. It also provides information about the user experience (response times, transaction volumes, etc..) and so supports resource management and compliance with Service-Level Agreements (SLA).

Challenges: It has carved out a niche for itself in the market as an enterprise CMS monitoring solution. The result is that one of its challenges will be educating IT leaders and business managers about its value. It will also be challenged when it tries to move beyond enterprise CMS monitoring as there will be competition from many others in the field.

Who Cares: IT managers tasked with administering and managing mission-critical ECM applications can use Reville to maintain service levels and reduce support costs associated with their ECM.

5. Xait

Why Cool: Develops and markets XaitPorter, a cloud-based collaborative Web authoring tool for those that are tasked with developing very large documents. With it, large teams that have to work together can do so easily and simultaneously through a Web browser while administrators maintain control over the entire process. Contributors have access to common editing tools from the browser interface.

XaitPorter is cool because it focuses on team productivity and manageability rather than individual creativity, which is where most document authoring tools concentrate their efforts.

Challenges: Because Microsoft Word is present in many organizations, the introduction of a new text editing tool will be difficult. The lack of support for offline editing and mobile devices (especially tablets) will also prove important drawbacks for many users.

Who Cares: Any organization that works with large documents created by teams who want to structure the document creation process more efficiently.

That’s a summary of this year’s ‘Cool Vendors in the content management space.