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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Buzzing About The EMC Announcement About An Emmbedable ECM Platform

EMC announced the launch of an embeddable enterprise content management (ECM) platform – EMC Documentum® OEM Edition today and my long (over 250) list of feeds I watch is popping with hits about this announcement.

Here is a short list of the posts: EMC Launches “Embeddable” Documentum Platform for OEMs from Gilbane News (Just repeating the EMC press release – no analysis); Documentum|EMC to offer embedded ECM from my friend Alan Pelz-Sharpe over at CMS Watch (at least some speculation about the motivation); and EMC to offer embedded version of Documentum from InfoWorld (a little more in-depth and some quotes from Lubor Ptacek who was on my panel, the Future of ECM at AIIM).

So, the big question: Is this a big deal?

I am not so sure. The cynic in me says that EMC is trying a “Me too” approach to say they provide similar capabilities to Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM for infrastructure repository services. I don’t buy it. EMC (Documentum) is not part of the infrastructure. Documentum relies on infrastructure for their functionality and capabilities and does not replace it.

I would have been much more impressed if they had replaced their repository with Oracle Content DB or with the SharePoint repository and added a set of shared repository services on top (adding additional value) of the underlying repository.

I will reserve final judgement on the significance of this announcement until I actually get to see how an implementation built on top of the OEM platform. But for now, I am still skeptical.

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Oracle Buys Stellent: I Was Wrong – They Didn’t Buy Open Text

Hat tip to John Mancini over at ECM Industry Watch. Oracle announced after the market close that they are acquiring Stellent for a cash tender offer for $13.50 a share. Add that up and you get $440 million.

Oracle said the acquisition will complement and extend its existing content management solution portfolio, and is expected to close by the end of the year or early 2007.

Well, what will this mean for Stellent customers? Not sure. Oracle is hosting a media conference call on Monday, November 13, 2006, to outline its enterprise content management strategy. I will try and listen in.

What does this mean for Oracle? Well, they don’t have worry about taking Records Database to the JITC for DoD 5015.2 certification since Stellent has been certified against this standard. Oracle conspicuously fell off the testing schedule this past year and rumors were that there was some missing DoD core functionality. They can now leverage the sound Stellent records management product for compliance with DoD 5015.2.

What is really unclear is what the repository model will look like. Will Oracle replace the Stellent repository with Content Database and Records Database?

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Alfresco Launches Enterprise Class Open Source Web Content Management

Alfresco announce the availability of the Alfresco Web Content Management Preview release. Hat tip to MarketWire. Here is the PRESS RELEASE Alfresco Launches Enterprise Class Open Source Web Content Management.

Some highlights:

The Alfresco Web Content Management Preview release is an advanced WCM platform that includes features such as:

  • Virtualization Server
  • Multi-Site Transactional Publishing
  • Web Content Compliance Server
  • 100% Standards Based
  • High-Availability
  • Highly Scalable Platform   

End user features include:

  • Standards-Based Forms to Create Pages – Chiba XForms
  • Simple Multi-Channel XML Publishing
  • Email-Based Production Workflow
  • In-Context Review
  • Integrated Support for Content Managers, Contributors, Reviewers, Web Designers and Application Developers in one repository
  • Parallel Branching and Merging
  • Dependency Management
  • Pre-Built Templates and Website Components

The Alfresco folks have been really busy over the last few months. The fact that they are releasing this many products, this fast, is very impressive. I will try to carve out some time over the next two weeks to take a look at both the WCM and 1.4 preview releases.

I think Alfresco will become viewed as a credible alternative to the traditional ECM solutions like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and the few remaining players.


Oracle Finally Unveils Content & Records DB

Oracle finally announced general availability of Content Database and Records Database earlier this week. I wrote about the Oracle launch event for Content & Records DB back in June and my conclusion was that these two offerings were really just the Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g repackaged.

Back in June pricing was not released so the other noteworthy news in this press release was the pricing. Pricing for both Content and Record Database products is $50,000 per CPU or $1,000 per named user. This is on top of Oracle Database Enterprise Edition which is priced at $40,000 per CPU or $800 per named user. This does not include annual software update and support which is pegged at 22%.

I tried to understand the Oracle licensing model so I could estimate cost for 1,000 and 5,000 users but it was somewhat confusing. You can review the price list for yourself.

Anyway, the pricing model does not seem to fit the “ECM for the Masses” model. Last year Oracle had a price point of $65 per user for Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g which included much of the functionality in Content Database.

I guess I am confused by Oracle’s pricing strategy…seems pretty steep to me. If I just use Named User Plus for the database and Oracle Content and Records Database then my per user price is at $2,800. For 1,000 user this would be $2.8M plus another $616,000 for Update and Support.

Wow – That is over $3M for 1,000 users!

It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this model. And hey, if I am missing something or calculating wrong then let me know.


IBM to Acquire FileNET: I was Right!!! Well, Mostly Right

bigfisheatlittlefish IBM announces they have signed a definitive agreement to acquire FileNET.

Hat tip to Jesse Wilkins on the Records Management Listserv. I had not even had a chance to look at the RSS feed I watch and his email hit my inbox.

Anyway, I knew FileNET was ripe for being acquired and have said as much for the last year or so. So I was right! Where I missed the mark was that I thought Oracle or Sun Microsystems would be the one acquiring FileNET.

So, what does this mean to the ECM marketplace and will this move by IBM make ECM better?

Well, on the first question, here is the tier one-tier two ECM leader board as I currently see it:

  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • EMC (Documentum) Oops – left them off earlier today. Thanks for the heads up Mark 🙂
  • Oracle
  • FileNET
  • Open Text
  • Hummingbird
  • Stellent
  • Interwoven (may or may not belong on this list)
  • Vingette (may or may not belong on this list)

The marketplace continues to shrink and I think either Stellent or Interwoven are next to get swallowed up although I really cannot think of a good reason why.

As far as the second question, here is an excerpt from the press release:

“Following completion of the acquisition, IBM intends to:

  • Combine FileNet’s operations with IBM’s Content Management business in the Information Management unit led by General Manager Ambuj Goyal.
  • Preserve and enhance customer investments in both FileNet and IBM Content Management platforms, leveraging IBM’s market-leading Information Integration technology to develop broader ECM solutions.
  • Integrate IBM’s BPM and Service Oriented Architecture technologies with the FileNet platform.
  • Train IBM and FileNet partner and services teams on both IBM and FileNet technology.

Through this acquisition, the thousands of customers using IBM and FileNet solutions will now have a more powerful base of industry-leading content management products to build upon as they explore next-generation information management solutions.”

Right now the IBM ECM offering is still many moving pieces that have been picked up by acquisition and still have not been completely absorbed or integrated into a cohesive single architecture. Adding FileNET to this mix will only prolong this effort and make thing more complex thereby adding to the implementation costs for customers.

Bottom line: I do not think this will make ECM better for FileNET customers and the value to IBM customers is questionable.

Someone From Oracle Must Have Attended The Microsoft WW Partner Conference Last Week

From Peter O’Kelly’s Reality Check Blog:

Oracle singles out five growth areas | InfoWorld | News | 2006-07-18 | By China Martens, IDG News Service

writingLooks like someone  from Oracle was taking copious notes at the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference Last week in Boston.

The five growth areas line up pretty much with the strategic push by Microsoft as presented by Steve Balmer at his Keynote a week ago:

  1. security (same focus as Microsoft)
  2. content management (same focus as Microsoft)
  3. business intelligence (same focus as Microsoft)
  4. grid computing (sort of a similar focus if you look at the HPC initiative by Microsoft)
  5. enterprise search (same focus as Microsoft)

Hmmm…I guess I should pay more attention to some of the attendees that are franticly jotting down notes next year when I attend WWPC 2007.

Under The Covers: Oracle Content DB & Oracle Records DB

I took the time last night to view the Oracle Executive Briefing on Oracle Content Management Strategy. This 88 minute marketing event was at times painful to slog through, but did provide some clues on Oracle’s new positioning for enterprise content management.

Positioning? Yes, positioning. I did not really see any solid new functionality from what was demonstrated to me at AIIM 2005 over a year ago. I think the positioning of Oracle Content DB and Oracle Records DB is a concerted effort by Oracle to distance themselves from the “collaboration” word. They are positioning these products as core infrastructure that leverages a clients current investment in the Oracle database.

The slides, demo, Analyst videos, and talk track throughout the webcast focused on these two add-on services layers on top of the Oracle 10g database. The way Rich Buchheim (By the way, Rich was a panelist on my AIIM Future of ECM session) described it:

“Content management out of the box (OOTB) for everybody in the organization along with a robust infrastructure that can support much deeper applications built by partners”

The OOTB capability is really focused on the most common business requirement (>70%) collaborative document creation and management…features according to Oracle, customers said they most need. But, they still are distancing themselves from the old moniker of “Collaboration Suite”.

Oracle included short vignettes from analysts Connie Moore from Forrester and Jeetu Patel from Doculabs. Connie stated that there are several reasons to put content in the database:

  • Manageability
  • Scalability
  • Reliability
  • Security

During the demonstrations the Oracle end user paradigm is based on using Windows Explorer and the “Oracle Drive” which must be deployed to the desktop rather than using the web browser as a primary interface. One feature that was nice was that advanced properties are accessible from Windows Explorer. This provides rich functionality including sharing set up and email notification which automatically grabs the URL and email addressed of the participants.

Records DB is used to establish the File Plan and the lifecycle management policies associated with the File Plan node. These properties/policies including lifecycle instructions can then be applied to a folder in Content DB. Oracle is making a point of saying all workflows interacting with Content DB and Records DB are BPEL workflows. The workflow is used to move through the milestones on the lifecycle.

The timing of this announcement is interesting. It looks like many of the same features available in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the next version of Office 2007 are being announced and highlighted in these two products. I think Oracle is trying to trump Microsoft with a 2-3 month jump on releasing these two products. Although the strategy was announced and presented last week the following was on the website regarding pricing and availability:

“Oracle Content Database and Oracle Records Database are options for Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition. Both products are expected to be available within 60 days and pricing will be announced at or prior to availability. Additional information on Oracle Content Database can be found at Additional information on Oracle Records Database can be found at”

The other interesting aspect of the webcast was that Tom Jenkins CEO from Open Text presented at the end of the program and talked about how Open Text intended to deepen the partnership with Oracle by leveraging Content DB as a repository for LiveLink. This is the very advice I have given to the other ECM vendors over the last year if they want to remain relevant 3-5 years from now. Don’t care which horse you pick (IBM, Microsoft, or Oracle) just pick one.

The following are links to resources related to these products”

Content DB

White paper:Content Management for the Entire Enterprise (PDF, 166 KB)

Internet seminar: Managing Your Content in the Enterprise Database (18 min.)

Customer snapshots: Fiorde, M. Dias Branco, and Power Engineers

Video: Power Engineers Centralizes with Oracle Database (1 min.)

Launch webcast replay: Executive Briefing on Oracle Content Management Strategy (88 min.)

Press release: Oracle Announces Next-Generation Content Management Strategy (June 2006)

Press release: Industry Demonstrates Strong Support for Oracle Content Management Strategy (June 2006) 

Press release: Oracle to Provide Infrastructure for OpenText Content Management Technology (June 2006) 

InternetNews: Oracle Opens Content Management to The Masses (June 2006)

InfoWorld: Oracle unveils ‘content management for the masses’ (June 2006)

Records DB

Internet seminar: Managing Electronic Records Securely in Oracle Database (15 min.)

Cohasset white paper: Managing Records Across the Enterprise (PDF, 836 KB)

Customer case study: Power Engineers

Oracle Announces Next-Generation Content Management Strategy

It has been a busy week in the ECM world!

First CA acquires MDY Software, then the LOBi announcement by Microsoft which will help bring structured and unstructured data together (easier ;-)), then the Open Text and Oracle announcement, and now this big announcement by Oracle about their "Next-Generation Content Management Strategy".

So what will this mean? Is Oracle really serious about getting their ECM train back on the track?

I plan to pour over all the material they released this week over this weekend and will post my conclusions. Maybe Oracle is ready to wake up from the hibernation and get their act together. While at the Oracle booth at AIIM the nice sales and marketing fellow I was chatting with mentioned to me that Oracle was going to make an announcement in about three weeks about their content and records management strategy. I thought he was blowing smoke since the three weeks past and nothing was announced. I guess they needed an extra week to get the PowerPoint slides downloaded from the SharePoint site they were preparing the announcement with. 😉


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