To some the news of Open Source vendors Acquia and Alfresco deepening their relationship was a bit of a snoozer. We certainly found it worth covering, but few others did. How can it be that a partnership between a Gartner “ECM visionary” (Alfresco) and a Forrester “WCM contender” ( Acquia) be worthy of so little attention?

Maybe it’s a story worth exploring, maybe it’s a story worth repeating. Maybe it’s even worth asking why Alfresco didn’t put the press release about the buddying-up on their site. After all, we know that it exists (at least the one that Acquia shared with us and posted on their website does) and that Alfresco CEO Doug Dennerline provided a quote for it. And, yes. we know that Alfresco posted an excerpt of and a link to our article about the partnership on their site, thank you very much. But why did the deepening of the relationship go otherwise almost unmentionable by them?

It’s not a question that we need answered, but here’s the deal. These are disruptive times in IT. Sure, the buzz around Big Data & Cloud is so loud that a grandmother who calls her smartphone a car phone” has heard of Hadoop.


Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Web Content Management (WCM) are radically evolving too: in fact by this time next year they may wear entirely different labels and be known for doing far bigger things. In fact, that’s already happening, but it won’t matter if no one knows about it.

The Basics: Defining ECM and WCM, For Now Let’s Stick To Gartner’s Labels

For the purposes of this article we’ll stick to Gartner’s labels and use ECM (Enterprise Content Management) and WCM (Web Content Management.) Historically a good number of top-tier ECM vendors have had trouble being successful with both ECM and WCM and have either tried to do both or failed, OR they have purchased or partnered with a WCM vendor to round out their offerings (the latter seems to be what Alfresco and Acquia are doing.)

Since ECM and WCM might sound like they’d be birds of a feather, we thought we’d better define them. We asked Gautam Desai, VP of Marketing at EMC’s Information Intelligence Group to give us very basic definitions of each term.

Here’s what he said:

ECM refers to a well-integrated suite of software designed to address the entire enterprise content lifecycle. This starts with capturing content regardless of where and how it is generated, managing that information, which may include robust governance and compliance requirements, and distributing that content over a number of delivery channels, including print, web, and mobile. Finally good ECM suites also have robust workflow and process capabilities to help drive content through their lifecycle in real business processes; a good example is claims processing in the insurance industry or clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry.”

WCM on the other hand deals with software that helps organizations manage websites; oftentimes very large and complex websites. WCM includes tools for authoring, publishing, and sometimes for digital asset management. “

The leaders in ECM, according to Gartner are (in alphabetical order ) EMC (with Documentum , Captiva and others), Hyland Software, IBM (and all its ECM products), Microsoft ( SharePoint), OpenText, and Oracle. It’s worth noting that WCM falls within Gartner’s evaluation criteria for ECM. You’ve got to have it or really score high on the other criteria if you want to qualify for the Leader quadrant.

And Gartner criteria aside. ECM vendors who don’t have their own WCM offerings (or can’t sell the ones that they own) need to work closely with WCM vendors if they want to land on the shortlist when Enterprise CMS purchases are considered.

Is this not something worth talking about?

We plan to continue doing so in Part 2.

Image courtesy of alphaspirit (Shutterstock)