Opinions and discussion on content management and document management by two of the biggest guys in the business. *Measured by combined weight

Symantec and Content Management

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I just read and interview of John Thompson , CEO of Symantec and after a little research it strikes me how they have been steadily creeping into the content and storage management market. Naturally when I think of this company the first thing that comes to mind virus scanning software but three years ago the company merged with longtime backup and data center management player Veritas. This drove the comapny into some very different markets and in direct competition with EMC.

As I scan over the list of product announcements, acquisitions and commentary ever more overlap with the ITSM, storage and software components of EMC becomes apparent. There is a strong partnership with RSA but from a virtualization perspective they are much more aligned with Xen. Backup and recovery and data loss prevention are other areas where the two are face to face in the market.

Prior to the merger with Symantec, Veritas had acquired KVS. The KVS flagship then had been Enterprise Vault, a very well known email archive solution. While Enterprise Vault certainly drove a lot of storage sales for EMC, the product at its core is a content management solution. The business problems associated with email archiving (compliance, eDiscovery,etc) are clearly in EMC Documentum’s space.

The recent acquisition of Tower Software by HP takes them into the records content management. Symantec is clearly expanding the storage management component of there business and it seems that another natural extension would be to broaden their CM foot print like HP, at least in where archival content and RM is concerned.

Symantec’s ever expanding presence in the storage sector could naturally evolve to serve other content management needs just as it did for EMC. Is not likely that this would occur without acquisition. So who might they acquire? There is always Open Text but this may be too broad of a suite to take on given the challenges Symantec experienced integrating with Veritas.

Smaller players like Hyland would have more appeal but may not augment their offerings to the degree that another ECM player would. To compliment their recent SaaS backup offering, going after one of the SaaS CMS vendors (e.g. SpringCM) is always a possibility.

One last point. Thompsons’s dig at McAfee, referring to them as a “nice little company” is not the kind of remark a CEO makes without intentions. If Symantec does have designs on more of EMC’s content management territory, he might should avoid sniping at McAfee in the process. McAfee’s CEO knows a thing or two about content management and may just decide to beat him to it.

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6 Responses »

  1. To make a comment on McAfee vs Symantec in content management, the CEO’s comments are an indication of something but it may not end up being what he wants it to be. Remember Dewalt, knows about ECM twice, Documentum and Eventus. Eventus was DeWalt’s first focus with content management. So he know what content management is and what it is not. He also know the vendors landscape very well.

    Symantec’s content management solutions are target at the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) or small business markets. Areas that EMC, IBM, and Oracle are not playing in today. On the other hand that’s exactly where Microsoft is focusing. So it will be interesting to see which space Microsoft puts it energy on as Symantec tries to gain customers from the smaller end of the market and the major vendors try to keep their lock on the top of the market.

    Lacking a content management solution put’s McAfee out of the crosshairs of competition with Microsoft. At the same time it also puts a different angle on the kind of relationships that Microsoft and EMC may be looking for with McAfee in the future.

  2. I beg to differ – actually I’m not begging – I enjoy it enough to do without asking.

    EMC is VERY much interested in in the SOHO market. Need I remind you of the iomega banners at EMC World. EMC would love to get in to the pockets of the consumer. Of the 3 you mentioned, only Oracle seems uninterested in the lower tier market.

    I don’t see Symantec sandwiched in the middle tier at all. You’re still thinking Norton – Think Veritas. Enterprise Vault is the most widely installed email archiving solution I am aware of. I would argue that this is all about big business since SOHO has less pressure to create formal email archive. It’s a growth area but still doesn’t represent the lionshare of the market.

    I haven’t seen all of the numbers, but Symantec remains one of the AV softwares of choice in the large commercial space. They need to stretch to continue growth and CM (in small and large enterprise) remains a fragmented market they can leverage their email and AV customer lists to pursue.

    Crosshairs or not, Microsoft competes with McAfee and Symantec both in the AV market. Since they have cash burning a hole in there pocket they can’t spend on Yahoo! – maybe they’ll drop $6 bln on Dave and McAfee.

    (and yes – I misspelled McAfee earlier – thanks for letting me know)

  3. So are we talking content management, email archiving, antivirus, storage, or hamburgers? Yes I will agree that Symantec has the leading email archiving solution, as indicated by Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. But McAfee is in the lead position for Antivirus in that Magic Quadrant. And yes EMC bought IOMega but their market for hard drives inside new computers far outnumbers their freestanding sales.

    So let’s go back and try to clarify the point I thought you were trying to make, you’re saying that the next logical step is that Symantec is to move into ECM. This is because there’s pressure in the antivirus market and the fact that content management is highly fragmented with limited barriers to entry both make CM the easy choice. Right?

  4. As much as I love a good burger – you are essentially correct. What I see here is a large company, that can leverage acquired knowledge and market share in the archiving content management segment to expand their business.

    EMC has been competing with EV with eMailXtender for years. Symantec may be on the AV Magic Quadrant but they are not on the one for ECM – yet. Next year HP’s name will replace Tower’s and their resources potentially shift the balance. Symantec could and may do the same.

    Beyond CMA though, this is a challenge in general to EMC as Symantec is drilling into their storage and ITSM space. What’s more, they are in a better position to capture the consumer storage market based on their existing product lines.

    These are big companies with alot more than burgers on the menu.

  5. What you’re missing is that email archiving has its own Magic Quadrant which clearly puts Symantec in the leadership position with Zantaz (now Autonomy), EMC, and IBM as the next three.

    Tower on the other hand was a true content management product. Symantec and Zantaz were not left off because of some petty reason at Gartner but because they are in a different category.

    I have always felt that managing documents in production is something completely different than just the finished end product. Just because you understand how to optimize the storage of end data does not mean you understand how to manage data in a state of change.

    You do nail one issue clearly in that Symantec is better positioned than EMC for the consumer market. Selling software to Mary is very different then selling to the Mary Kay Cosmetics Corp (something I learned firsthand at Trados). But when we look at “consumer-side content management, Microsoft is the clear leader in that battle.

    So back to my original point. If Symantec tries to move into ECM from the bottom, it will encroach upon Microsoft. With it clear strengths in the consumer space, it will be easy for Microsoft to crush the competition that Symantec brings to the table in consumer ECM.

  6. I’m not missing it – the Magic Quadrant wasn’t the point. Gartner’s dissection of the market doesn’t necessarily determine how a company positions itself. The Venn Diagram of CM technologies includes ECM and Archiving but rather than focusing there, look at the whole catalog. (side note EMC, HP, IBM, OpenText are on both eMail and ECM reports)

    Perhaps its Microsoft’s pressure on Symantec by encroaching in AV and other areas that is pushing it to go after markets where players (like EMC) have weaker positions or are of little interest to Redmond.(SaaS CM, Backup, et.al)

    All speculation – but still fun to think.

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