Will VACS be the End for ECM Platforms?

If we look back, ECM is a young space.  It started back in 1998 at Documentum when they were the first vendor to look at both documents and web content together formally.  Until then companies had either been documents (Documentum, FileNet, and OpenText) or web (Interwoven, Vignette, etc.).  This transition was huge and really affected the players heavily.  Having been in the starting line up during the second quarter of ECM it was an interesting time.  And I see a lot of similarities today with a move to Value Added Content Solutions (VACS).

Successful conversations today are no longer about great library services or even content formats but how content adds value to existing business problems.  It a shift in the conversation to how the content is being used rather than how it’s being created.  It’s not about saving one person one hour of time once a week but rather how you save a thousand people one minute of time (quick math 52 hour in the former and 867 in the latter.)  A great place to see this change is with VACS in the CRM (customer resource management) space.

Continue reading “Will VACS be the End for ECM Platforms?”

Save, Sync, Share or Serve – Which Do You Really Need

The number of content management offerings in the cloud continues to expand and even for a “seasoned” ECM professional the ambiguous marketing and feature overlap can be confusing. I have been experimenting lately with several of them and have come to realize that while all of these applications at the most abstract level do exactly the same thing, make your content accessible from somewhere other than the device in front of you, they are not created equal,for the same people, or most importantly the same problem. Continue reading “Save, Sync, Share or Serve – Which Do You Really Need”

2012 Predictions and Presuppositions

I have decided to take a slightly different approach to my predictions post this year. Rather than write a well thought out and reasoned positions I’ll spew out the list of ideas I have been collecting. My goal for this post is less about proving myself right next year than to do a list that gives everybody something to think about. Hopefully we will expand on the themes as the year progresses.

The list in no particular order:

  • We will all change careers – if you are doing the same thing today you were three years ago you are doing it wrong. If technology hasn’t changed what you thought your career was by now the economy has. Get ready because next year will be just as unsettling.
  • Election year technology brings more annoying augmented reality – I thought Wolf Blitzer standing in front of virtual graphics was cool for about ten minutes but now it just gets on my nerves and the presidential election cycle will take this annoyance to a new level.
  • App markets collapse under their own weight – we passed the million app mark and it will now become the focus of the market to get noticed. Sadly two guys in a garage will fade as marketing budgets begin to overwhelm the clever.
  • Cloud content data loss litigation – This has probably already happened but now that everyone has at least heard the term cloud in a technology context we are due a high profile data loss story in the media that involves multimillion dollar consequences.
  • Angry Birds Mayan Apocalypse 2012 – do I really need to explain this?
  • Open Text market cap will surpass Research In Motion making it Waterloo’s biggest tech resident – who would have ever dreamed that as I write this RIM is worth several billion less than what Autonomy sold for. If RIM doesn’t make a dramatic turn around soon I will have reverse the names in my RIM Should Buy Open Text post from earlier this year.
  • The Jive IPO initiates acquisition frenzy in social platforms – Up until now enterprise software players have been dabbling at creating their own social platforms but the Jive IPO will convince some they need to go faster and kick off acquisitions. Look for products like Broadvision‘s Clearvale to be early targets.
  • Dropbox goes shopping – We have already seen Dropbox reacting to Box with their team product. Clearly they see the smaller contender encroaching on their value proposition and will want to expand their feature set, possibly through acquisition. If they don’t then it Box may well beat them to the IPO party.
  • Someone who prefers Bing meets someone that prefers Google+ and time ends.

I will add more thoughts as they come to mind and I promise before January to evaluate my 2011 Predictions.

EMC Embraces Employee Managed Content with Box

The world of collaboration is changing and EMC is making dramatic moves to address the portfolio’s relevance in the market. All of the legacy ECM vendors are struggling to maintain or redefine themselves in this space. There is no debating the fact that SharePoint was a tremendously disruptive product in the collaboration market and redefinition is essential to survival.

SharePoint however should no longer be thought of as the contender or disruptor. It has become the standard. The victory though may be short-lived.  SharePoint is now the technology that must be disrupted to move the market forward and EMC with partners Cisco and Box is challenging the status quo. Continue reading “EMC Embraces Employee Managed Content with Box”

SpringCM extends ECM in the Cloud to Include Case

There’s been a lot of attention to content management cloud strategies these days but most of what is there today is really just file sharing.  Some, like Box.net, have taken this a further by adding tasks and versioning.  But really that’s a little piece of library services.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that at least one vendor, SpringCM, has gone beyond basic library services and has been bringing full enterprise content management to the cloud environment.  And last week SpringCM announced that in addition to standard content management they are bringing case management to the cloud too.

Continue reading “SpringCM extends ECM in the Cloud to Include Case”

Is Box.net Collaborative Enough?

Box.net has announced a new round of funding that brought in close to $50mil USD. Watching some of the comments on twitter it was clear that some don’t think they have a feature set that rises to the level of true collaboration. It reminds me of another argument not so long ago when industry experts argued that SharePoint wasn’t really ECM. The accepted position today seems to be that SharePoint is “enough ECM” for most. I believe what the team over at Box.net have tapped into is the same thing in collaboration. At the end of the day – it matters much more what paying customers think about the completeness of a feature set than the arbitrary boundaries of analysts and competitors.

As we learned from SharePoint the first rule in overtaking a market is solve the most pervasive problem first – rudimentary file sharing – and they have done a fine job with that. With this investment they plan to drive hard into the mobile space without the baggage of legacy licensing models, backward compatibility, upgrades or analysts expectations. Sure taking on SharePoint in the enterprise is audacious – but even with the VC’s to answer to they are in a much better position to take risks than the larger, older and far less nimble old world players.

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