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.