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Trends in the Magic Quadrant June 25, 2013

Posted by Marko Sillanpää in Content Management, Documentum, ECM, EMC, Hyland, IBM, OnBase, Open Text, Oracle, SharePoint.
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3 comments

If you are looking for a guide to the “who’s who” of Enterprise Content Management, the Gartner Magic Quadrant is it. The vendors are measured on Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. Each vendor is plotted within a quadrant and categorized as either a; Niche Players, Visionaries, Challenger, or the coveted Leaders position. Recently I wanted to look at something a little different, the trend over years. What I found “may” be interesting.

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Syncplicity – Sync Now,Integrate Later August 8, 2012

Posted by Lee Dallas in Content Management, Documentum, ECM, EMC.
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2 comments

[A friendly remember. I work for EMC but this is my own opinion and not reviewed or approved by the company.]

I have been spending a lot of time with Syncplicity getting used to the tool and understanding where it fits in my personal technology ecosystem. As I play with it I am finding that it really is the simplest of things that have the biggest impact on my productivity.

A few years ago I wrote a series on the evolution of ECM where I examined the nature of disruption introduced by SharePoint. The crux of the argument was that SharePoint’s success was due in large part to the fact that it addressed the most pervasive problem first – not the most complex.

In SharePoint’s case the pervasive problem targeted was the need in for work group file management. All other “ECMish” features were secondary and even though professional ECM practitioners argued that SharePoint was not a full fledged ECM, they failed to see it was enough of one to satisfy the broadest swath of the market. (Read ‘How SharePoint Captured ECM’ here)

The question for us now is – what is that next feature that is sufficiently pervasive, under-served, and tragically overcomplicated by current offerings? I have come to believe that sync not share is it.

All About Access

While the term Sync & Share has the marketing types giddy with alliterative glee I would argue that the share half of the equation is secondary to getting the value. You must realize that sharing necessarily drags a list of more complex features along. Everyone that does business using more than one device (smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop) over the course of the day has a need for sync. I want my data to be available wherever I am without having to think about it.(read: What The Cloud Means to Real People)

Sharing on the other hand is more complex and more idiosyncratic. It is most always deliberate and dependent on the capabilities of the audience.  The feature is important and supported in some way across the solutions in the space but following the principle of “solving the most pervasive problem first” sync not share is the linchpin.

Dropbox understood this well and did a good job getting everyone used to the idea of sync and even coming to depend on it. What they failed to anticipate is the needs of the collective buyer (i.e. IT) over the individual in the enterprise. More to the point I am not certain they expected a need to sell to businesses when they started. Corporate security requirements are very difficult to address architecturally after the fact. Concerns linger that it is not secure enough for business despite recently added stop gaps.

So what are we waiting for?

Laurence Hart has written an excellent post on the integration possibilities with Syncplicty and the rest of the EMC IIG portfolio. I do not have any issues with the ideas but personally I think we run the risk of waiting too long for an integration of the product into something that looks more like what we think content management is and missing the opportunity staring us in the face.

Syncplicity delivers something that companies can use right now by itself and add tremendous value. IT shops that have been forced through security or other concerns to block Dropbox or Box now have an alternative backed by EMC that is secure, simple and more important – is what the users are asking for instead of what we “professionals” have been trying to convince them they need for more than a decade.

In much the same way that ECM practitioners and vendors tried to make the argument that SharePoint wasn’t an ECM we may look at what Syncplicity does without any integration and be tempted to make the claim that it needs complex features to be “interesting” to us. This is completely wrongheaded thinking.

Sync is not about management. It is about access. It is not about metadata. It is about flexibility. Other tools may offer sync but where they do offer IT controls knowingly or not they require that you buy into their interpretation of ECM.(taxonomy, system of record, location on your filesystem, etc.) Time and experience has taught us most rational people don’t really want ECM.

ECM is essential in certain cases but real people just want ubiquitous access to their data. The vast majority of that data is outside formal management and there is often no business case to justify changing it. Syncplicity offers a straightforward implementation of secure sync (with share too) across the mobile ecosystem without encumbering it with more ECM than is needed to solve the most pervasive use cases.

The potential for integration is enormous. There is already a rich RESTfull API that we have done some interesting things with but my recommendation is that you do not need that to justify the product in any organization. Sync is the pervasive problem on the table. Go solve it with Syncplicty and the other features will follow when and if they are worth it on their own.

EMC Embraces Employee Managed Content with Box May 16, 2011

Posted by Lee Dallas in box.net, cloud, Collaboration, Content Management, Documentum, Social Media, Technology.
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3 comments

The world of collaboration is changing and EMC is making dramatic moves to address the portfolio’s relevance in the market. All of the legacy ECM vendors are struggling to maintain or redefine themselves in this space. There is no debating the fact that SharePoint was a tremendously disruptive product in the collaboration market and redefinition is essential to survival.

SharePoint however should no longer be thought of as the contender or disruptor. It has become the standard. The victory though may be short-lived.  SharePoint is now the technology that must be disrupted to move the market forward and EMC with partners Cisco and Box is challenging the status quo. (more…)

Is Box.net Collaborative Enough? February 25, 2011

Posted by Lee Dallas in Content Management.
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13 comments

Box.net has announced a new round of funding that brought in close to $50mil USD. Watching some of the comments on twitter it was clear that some don’t think they have a feature set that rises to the level of true collaboration. It reminds me of another argument not so long ago when industry experts argued that SharePoint wasn’t really ECM. The accepted position today seems to be that SharePoint is “enough ECM” for most. I believe what the team over at Box.net have tapped into is the same thing in collaboration. At the end of the day – it matters much more what paying customers think about the completeness of a feature set than the arbitrary boundaries of analysts and competitors.

As we learned from SharePoint the first rule in overtaking a market is solve the most pervasive problem first – rudimentary file sharing – and they have done a fine job with that. With this investment they plan to drive hard into the mobile space without the baggage of legacy licensing models, backward compatibility, upgrades or analysts expectations. Sure taking on SharePoint in the enterprise is audacious – but even with the VC’s to answer to they are in a much better position to take risks than the larger, older and far less nimble old world players.

2011 ECM Prophesies and Trends by Lee Dallas December 21, 2010

Posted by Lee Dallas in Content Management.
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4 comments

Seems everybody is writing predictive posts this year. I thought I would take it up a notch and elevate my musings to prophetic status. They won’t be any more accurate but the search engines might bring me a new set of conspiratorial readers and make for more entertaining comments. Besides – 2012 is just around the corner and I might as well get ahead of the crowd by making Mayan calendar record retention references early. (more…)

Evaluating My 2010 ECM Predictions December 13, 2010

Posted by Lee Dallas in Content Management.
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4 comments

Last year I made six predictions for the 2010 content management market. Unlike Jean Dixon though I am actually going to review my work.  The thing about making predictions like this is there is no real accountability – That is what makes punditry so appealing. Nevertheless I am going to attempt an objective review anyway. 

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