Yesterday’s acquisition of Day Software by Adobe should not come as a surprise. For those watching closely over the last seven years, Adobe has been trying to build their own Enterprise Content Management system. Some would argue with little success. What does come as a surprise is when. In a time where the validity of ECM may be questioned by enterprise customers, another major company invests into the technology. For the first time since IBM acquired FileNet back in 2006, a major technology vendor has said ECM matters.
Adobe users are probably the most familiar with library services concepts like file locking and version control. With applications for content creation, like InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamwever and Flash, users often work in collaboration with others, either in parallel or serial, and make complex changes to content that needs to be revered based on editorial review. Quark has seen this in integrating their content management solution and Adobe has tried for years. With this acquisition Adobe can now offer library services to their end users. But Adobe does ignore the needs of the InDesign authors. Yes they consume rich-media content but much of their content is store in snippets of XML content. Something that Day’s platform is not easily prepared to support. And this acquisition does leave an interesting candidate in the waiting, MarkLogic.
But what the acquisition does for the industry is highlight the major flaw in Microsoft’s SharePoint strategy, the myopic view that all content is created in Microsoft Office. Everyone knows that the advertising and design worlds revolve around Adobe and rich-media is by far the largest consumer of disk space. Yet after 10 years, SharePoint still does not support any other authoring environments. How can a company say it offers ECM and yet ignore a major user base?
As with any acquisition only time will tell. Do not expect any “real” integration for at least two years. This will be just in time for Microsoft to announce SharePoint 20-Next (rumors are 2014). The question I have is will we be at a fork in the road where enterprises or workgroups will need to which CM platform works with their main source of content or will this be another off-ramp from real enterprise content management.
Adobe announced it would acquire Day Software. According to my experience with Adobe, I believe Adobe will definitely commoditize it as a shrink-wrapped and high volume product. Since Adobe is the defecto portable web documents, this may rival Microsoft’s Sharepoint and will ultimately threaten Sharepoint’s success. Also, if Adobe plays its cards well, Adobe’s new move will eventually dampen Alfresco’s potential prospects as well. If I were running a small business, I would prefer the familiar, affordable and well-running Adobe than a clumsy and bloated Sharepoint or Alfresco’s customization overhead for my document management needs. Will it become the next Microsoft Office?
Day’s platform not prepared to work with snippets of XML content, really? You might want to have a closer look at what Apache Jackrabbit and Sling (on which our products are based) offer in this area.
We might not push XML functionality today as we’re not big fans of that, but we’re IMHO very well prepared to handle that if the need arises.
Brian, it would be a rather abrupt turn for Day to transition from being a WCMS to being a Sharepoint competitor. Yes the underlying repository technology is probably up to the challenge but the editorial UI/UX for a WCMS is vastly different to that for a document management / team collaboration system, and Day have demonstrated next to no interest in the latter use case to date.
I have to confess I don’t know Day that well. Doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions though.:)
I have always been impressed with Day’s dedication and contributions to JSR and find it interesting that those efforts never seemed to translate into overwhelming market success.
In terms of impact I think this does more potential long term damage to Alfresco than anybody else directly. It would not make sense to leave the other Adobe offerings with embedded ECM capability on Alfresco. Using tech you own makes the most sense unless there is a compelling technical reason not to do so. I am also curious to see the longer term impacts to Fatwire and other WCMS given Adobe’s relative strength in web experience and the Omniture acquisition.