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.