Enterprise content management (ECM) vendors who tried to win high marks from analysts at Gartner this year based on last year's scoring criteria might be a bit disappointed.

Why? Because Gartner changed the rules this year.

In fact, analysts Karen A. Hobert, Gavin Tay and Joe Mariano, who penned this years Magic Quadrant for ECM, actually changed the definition of ECM from "a strategic framework and a technical architecture that supports all types of content (and format) throughout the content life cycle" to "a set of services and microservices, embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types, and serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization."

Some of the basic ECM components they used to rank vendors remained the same and were given the same weight as last year, including Document Management (20 percent), Records Management (10 percent) and Social Content/Collaboration (15 percent). But they gave less weight this year to both Image Processing and Content Workflow and increased the weight they gave to "Extended Services," a category that covers the likes of digital asset management, web content management, enterprise search and EFSS.

Apps, Integration, Analytics & BI

In addition, two new criteria were added:

  1. Packaged Apps and Integration: Analysts gave "extra credit" for published APIs, open-source code and modular components that can be combined or used with external applications, content and data.
  2. Analytics/Business Intelligence: By 2019, "70 percent of all business content will be nontextual, which will require organizations to invest more widely in analytics as part of their content management efforts," the analysts noted.

These changes may be indicative of why vendors like Alfresco, Newgen Software and Xerox, which were heralded for their "Completeness of Vision" last year, no longer score as highly on that axis. M-Files, on the other hand, moved horizontally out of the Niche Players quadrant. It is now rated as the sole Visionary. Worth noting too is that Alfresco rose on the "Ability to Execute" axis and is now a Challenger.

From 7 ECM Leaders to 4

Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM
Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECMGartner

Gartner rated seven vendors as leaders last year. But this year it ranked only four: IBM, Hyland, OpenText and Dell EMC (soon to be part of OpenText). Lexmark, Microsoft and Oracle fell from the leaders quadrant. This year, they rank with Alfresco as challengers. (It is worth noting that Sharepoint 2016 capabilities were not included in this evaluation.)

Learning Opportunities

All of that being said, what are the Leaders doing so well?

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM was championed by Gartner for the capabilities provided by Watson analytics, as well as the vendor's broad portfolio of capabilities and the modern experiences it can provide to customers via its close integration with Box.

West Lake, Ohio-based Hyland Software earned high marks for its unified OnBase platform, its ease of implementation, vertical solutions, business process automation and strong content protection. The analysts advised that companies who consider acquiring this product engage business and IT before buying though, and also to seek clarity

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Dell EMC was recognized for modernizing user experiences through mobile support and line-of-business application integrations, for Leap(microcontent services) and InfoArchive. What will happen once OpenText officially takes ownership of Dell EMC's Enterprise Content Division (ECD) remains a question, but OpenText vice president of engineering Muhi Majzoub did his best to assure the Documentum faithful in Barcelona last week that company will continue to invest in and support these products.

Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText was cited for its modern user interface, ECM BPM integration, analytics, mobile focus and more. That being said, they noted that OpenText's customer support services leave something to be desired. This may be a problem that the team coming from Dell EMC ECD can help address because they scored well in that category.

Alhough Box did not qualify for inclusion in this report, the analysts noted that companies looking for basic content management capabilities and collaboration may want to consider the Enterprise File Sync and Share provider.

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