2010 Content Management Assumptions from Marko Sillanpaa

As the year comes to an end it’s time to look at the future.  While many are looking to major predictions for next year, I thought I’d focus on the most obvious ones.  These are the top five ECM assumptions that loom ahead in are day-to-day work lives 2010

#1 SharePoint and Traditional ECM Won’t Get Along

If there’s one thing that I love is the lack of debate around SharePoint.  Any attempt at constructive conversation immediately positions you as anti-Microsoft.  In fact, just by having this item here, I have marked myself as anti-Microsoft and both my Widows Mobile phone and xBox will disown me.  Who hasn’t been to a SharePoint presentation where a statement was made that’s were completely false.  I was at Trends two weeks ago where a Microsoft Evangelist stated that ECM vendors don’t handle metadata.  Let’s get past building fud and recognize that SharePoint has a UI that is very intuitive but has content services that are not as robust as the traditional enterprise market. 

Imagine what would happen if you used the strength of enterprise content management services, like Documentum, inside an intuitive user interface, like SharePoint.

#2 Last Mile Content Applications Remain Ignored

Content Enable Vertical Application or Composite Content Applications are still widely ignored.  Just as the terminology starts getting attention the name is subtilly changed.  CEVA and CCAs are considered by many to be “custom applications”.  I don’t understand why an organization can recognize CRM or ERP as applications on top of RDBS but can’t see case management or compliance document management as applications on top of ECM.  I always felt it was better to buy than to build.  The problem with that is that we often don’t look at how much to build.  Weekly I discover new CEVAs or CCAs that have been available for years.  Some vendors are just now looking to embrace these efforts by their partners.

Imagine what it would be like if you could solve your users ECM problem with a solution in weeks rather than months or years.

#3 Public Clouds become Storm Clouds

Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat them.  It’s a term not just for life but for the enterprise.  I seriously question any organizations efforts to move to a public cloud, like Amazon, SalesForce, or Google, for enterprise information.  I’m not talking about the technical factors here.  I’m talking about the human nature ones.  No one ever talks about the people factors.  Are the employees bonded?  Or what about the Wal-Mart factor.  Once you’ve invested into a particular private cloud can you get out when they’re pricing changes?  If you want to use a cloud build your own.

I imagine that within a few years will here about data being stolen by an employee of a private cloud.  Then again odds are that a non-disclosure agreement will block us from ever hearing a thing.

#4 ECM Vendors Continue To Preach Library Services

Several months ago I was quoted as saying, “content management is boring but .”  The problem comes from both sides of the coin, vendors and customers (prospects).  To many ECM is a “new” topic.  We end up talking about things like version control, permissions, metadata, and search.  I’m still baffled by organizations that are looking to manage terabytes of information from inside a relational database.  I often wonder if these folks are looking at writing their own relational database too.  I keep waiting for those meetings where I can talk about automated language translation or content analytics. 

Imagine being able to have a repository tell you what you didn’t know.  It’s locked inside the repository today.  That’s the flying car of ECM, but strangely the technology is there to do it but the enterprise is locked into library services.

#5 Mac Remains Underappreciated In the Enterprise

Each month brings a new business meeting where I’m shocked to see the Macs present.  Technologists are no longer the only ones using them.  If you need any proof that the Mac is a successful UI, go to buy one.  You can get a laptop running Windows these days for $250 but a Mac will run you $1,000.  People will only spend four times the money for products that work.  More employees are using Mac’s to do their days work without IT blessing.  And instead of looking for ways to support them directly, IT is looking to virtualized desktops. 

Imagine what would happen if the Mac’s prices dropped.  Enterprise adoption would reduce desktop support costs and user productivity would increase.

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