For Most Enterprises: “An ECM Solution From a Single Vendor is a Myth!”

Lego Blocks I made this declaration while speaking at the AIIM’s Document Management Service Providers Executive Forum last month in Austin, TX. None of the 150 executives in the audience disagreed with me.

Why do I make this claim?

Well, in some instances small to midsize organizations will be able to deploy an ECM solution on one vendors’ technology. But in reality, most larger organizations have many different document management, web content management, records management, etc. technologies deployed.

Typically this happens because of mergers and acquisitions where each organization deployed different technologies over time. Or it happens because technologies were chosen at different time periods over the last 10-15 years. A good example of this phenomenon happens when an organization implemented web content management many years ago and then chose an ECM solution several years later. The ECM solution may not be from the same web content management chosen. Now most ECM vendors provide a complete set of functionality. Most have done this through acquisition of the different capabilities, but 10 years ago the most ECM leaders (EMC Documentum, IBM (FileNet), Oracle, Microsoft, and Open Text) did not have web content management.

My organization uses both Documentum and SharePoint. We also have a some Open Text, Interwoven, and Vingette deployed.

So what can you do? Pick one vendors’ technology and throw out the others over time? In some cases this strategy is not realistic.

In the next series of posts I will talk about moving to what I call a “Common Information Infrastructure”.

Say Goodbye to Open Text?

I saw this announcement earlier this week and started to think about the Open Text acquisition rumors I’d heard about and wrote about last year.

I did not really feel the need to opine further until I caught the following post from C3 Associates today entitled “SAP Agreement to Resell Livelink the First Step in the Acquisition Tango?” and it made me think about the notion of Open Text being acquired by SAP more deeply.

Well, the more I think about it the more it makes complete sense. After IBM snapped up FileNet and Oracle bought Stellent who else could SAP turn to. SAP has established sound footing powering mission critical business processes in many Global 5000 customers but has never fielded a credible ECM solution to marry to the transactional ERP solutions built on top of SAP.

By buying Open Text, SAP can own and control the unstructured content management side of the enterprise information management equation with a credible solution that can be even more tightly integrated with SAP. It just makes sense. Especially since SAP is competing with Oracle and IBM for the remaining ERP business out there.

So, what do YOU think? Will Open Text be the next redwood to be taken down in the ECM forest?

Oh, by the way, I really like the Blog over at C3 Associates and recommend that you add it to your list of feeds.

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Time For The Big Guys To Go On A Diet!

bigbelly After reading Open source makes development faster, I started thinking about some of John Newton’s comments about how fast Alfresco has been able to develop their ECM solution compared to normal proprietary software development.

Now that IBM is buying FileNET, they are going to have a monumental job ahead of them to begin integrating/absorbing/digesting the FileNET pieces into something that looks like an improved ECM suite. What will make this even more challenging is that FileNET has not really been known for their agility. It took them years to migrate from all the acquisitions to the P8 platform. Also IBM tends be be a bit rotund also…Don’t they call it Big Blue?

And how about Microsoft! When they finally release Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 later this year it will be a full three years since the last version of SharePoint. The folks in Redmond better look around at the Open Source guys and figure out how to deliver incremental new features and improvements in a period less than a year.

Another bloated example is EMC Software. I was talking with my former CTO the other day who had a chance to get a close up look at the new and improved version of Documentum which now manages records in the same repository. They finally consolidated these multiple repositories after over 3 1/2 years since Documentum acquired TrueArc back in November 2002. Wow, that’s a long time!

If the big guys, and for that matter, other traditional ECM software vendors, don’t become more agile we might see the open source alternatives continue to accelerate their growth and acceptance by enterprise customers. The market will not continue to have the patience to wait around 3 or more years for major improvements in functionality and new capabilities when there are more agile alternatives.

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Hmmm…Maybe Jim Cramer From CNBC’s Mad Money Reads My Blog

Well, I came across this information first at George Dearing’s FileNet Blog. Thanks George for keeping an eye on FileNET and breaking the news for me.

His post, FileNet Makes Jim Cramer’s Takeover List highlights that FileNET made Jim Cramer’s (CNBC’s Mad Money) Tech Stocks Takeover list.

I have been saying that FileNET was ripe for a takeover for the last year based on the continued consolidation of the ECM market and the lack of a strategy for dealing with Oracle and Microsoft pushing ECM into the infrastructure. FileNet claims that they are partnering with Microsoft and announced “FileNet is introducing broad support for Microsoft SharePoint Technologies” back in May during the AIIM conference.

Well, the have very little skin in the game since the software company, Vorsite to provides the integration between P8 and SharePoint.

I will have to start watching Jim’s Mad Money show to see what he thinks of some of the other ECM players in the market. 🙂