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Where Have All the CEVA’s Gone?

This week I find myself in a unique scenario. And for those of you that know me well, it’s not the fact that I’m visiting New Orleans for business (I visit NoLa for Drago’s chargrilled oysters at least four times each year). It’s that I’m attending a user conference for a solution that was built on top of an ECM platform, specifically CSC (formerly FCG) FirstDoc which is built on EMC’s Documentum platform. As I sit in the room it dawns on me, what happened to all the talk of CEVAs (Content Enabled Vertical Applications)?

For those that keep up with the ECM messaging, the message from Gartner in 2006 was that the future of ECM was in CEVAs. But here recently there has been no noise about it. Even as new strategies like CMIS, that are designed to support CEVA development, is being showcased by AIIM, the marketing and messaging is missing. To often great technology looses momentum due to lack marketing or marketing is ahead of delivery. Maybe that was the case here, but I’m not ready to give up.

CEVAs are Still the Future
As ECM solutions went from independent platforms to components of a larger architecture a major changed happened, they became part of the infrastructure. In a way they became plumbing. For those of us inside ECM it meant a change from a tight business process focus to a broader focus around how to ECM can ties into several process across organizations. This change has made ECM platforms a box of Legos, ready to solve solutions that anyone can imagine.

With this new focus, CEVAs are bound to prosper. While analysts pronounced this to be a new space it really wasn’t. Further still this “new” attitude missed the real message. The fact that successful CEVAs had been growing all along.

FirstDoc Was Not the First
Sitting at the FirstDoc user conference, my eyes were opened. In hearing the keynote from Jeff Klein, I was reminded of keynotes from Jeffery Miller. Ten years ago Jeffery Miller talked about how Documentum had as it’s customers 40 of the worlds 40 largest pharmaceutical companies, yesterday Jeff Klein talked about how FirstDoc was in 26 of the 40 largest pharmaceutical companies. Did this mean that Documentum lost them as customers? No, not at all. On it’s own FirstDoc had amassed 45 pharmaceutical customers with over 125,000 seats deployed, each of those tied to a seat of Documentum. And with last year’s acquisition by CSC, FirstDoc is being tailored to support new industries such as aerospace and oil & gas.

It really makes me wonder what sort of ecosystems has developed around McLaren’s Enterprise Engineer. And CEVAs are not only on top of Documentum, Hyland is the platform of several small solutions like FiServe’s Imagesoft. But why these were never proclaimed as CEVAs, one can only guess. But one thing is obvious, CEVAs are a model of success. You just need to open your eyes and look around to see them.

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