Microsoft is placed in the Leaders Quadrant of Gartner Research (October 13, 2011), which looks at the enterprise content management market and how Gartner rates vendors and their packaged ECM products. According to Gartner “Changing delivery models, new value propositions, solution configurations and partner ecosystems make ECM relevant to every business.”.
ECM Today and Tomorrow
ECM has a rich history going back almost 30 years to the introduction of computer networks and document scanners to build the first document image processing applications. Functional elements such as the repository, scanning and capture tools, and workflow engines were often sourced from several vendors since full suites were rare. That changed during the late 1990s as IBM and others built out suites of technology to bring an integrated offering to bear. In the early 2000s, the impact of the Web hit ECM, and the concept of managing Web content and websites as user-friendly assets came under the ECM umbrella. By the mid 2000s, the market started experimenting with Microsoft's SharePoint 2003 as a low-end collaborative content management environment and those experiments got more serious by the time SharePoint 2007 was deployed. At the same time, other vendors were going through waves of acquisition — large vendors like EMC bought Documentum, IBM bought FileNet and then Oracle bought Stellent. Now, with four major vendors scrambling for ECM sales, the market really became a battleground post 2008. These top vendors control close to half the revenue of the ECM market today.
However, the future of ECM will not lie completely in the hands of these major players. Like in many IT markets, change is driven from the edges, by smaller vendors with innovative technology ideas not bound by the relative inflexibility of large corporations. These smaller vendors are often those in the Visionaries and Niche Players segments of the Magic Quadrant. Some of the forces of change on the future ECM market will come from these four key areas:
· The Cloud. Public cloud deployments of ECM allow enterprises the flexibility of launching new content initiatives quickly with no upfront costs for servers, system integrators and (usually) software licenses. The enterprise pays a per-user fee, and perhaps a fee for the volume of documents stored, and can reduce the size of a deployment, when needed. Today, this is often best suited to ECM needs that are more basic, such as advanced file server use cases, where customization and integration are not needed.
· Mobility. Given the clear demand for anywhere access and the rise of smartphones and tablets, ECM systems are deploying very functional clients for these devices in a post-PC era. In addition to simple use cases like repository access to documents, many vendors are developing interfaces for participation in process approvals and exception handling, camera-image (both still and video) and bar code inputs, case management system interfaces and, of course, the ability to maintain presence awareness of mobile users in an ECM system.
· Analytics. Content analytics defines a family of technologies that processes content and the behavior of users in consuming content to derive answers to specific questions. Content types include text of all kinds, such as documents, blogs, news sites, customer conversations (both audio and text), and social network discussions. Analytic approaches include text analytics, rich media and speech analytics, and behavioral analytics. As enterprises bring more of their content under the control of an ECM tool, they want to gain more valuable insights from the usage patterns, the latent knowledge in the content as well as the social interactions that occur during the collaborative creation and dissemination of the content.
· Big Content. Commonly accepted consumer file formats like audio and video have made their way into the enterprise and ECM systems are being leveraged to manage them in conjunction with many other file types. Enterprises seek to create a simpler view into a client or an issue which is agnostic of file type, and ECM tools are rising to the occasion. Big content refers both to the growth in size of repositories that organizations are able to achieve as file formats get larger, and also to the growth in diversity of content types. The world is getting bigger in terms of absolute quantities of content that enterprises must manage as well as diversity.
These new forces of change are having an effect on the solutions that vendors are building and they will spawn further new solutions. Gartner sees the market shifting toward four collections of technologies to suit them.
The Four Worlds of ECM
Changing delivery models, new value propositions, solution configurations and partner ecosystems make ECM relevant to every business. Understanding the four usage scenarios of ECM can help put enterprises on the path to success. Very few vendors have market-leading emphasis and ability in all four. Though many implementations span several scenarios, almost all will have to relate to content management as infrastructure.
The four major usage scenarios or "worlds" of ECM are as follows:
1. Transactional content management solutions focus on imaging, workflow/business process management (BPM), compliance/archives, records management and e-forms. Content contained within applications in this category tends to be static, rather than dynamic, though this may change as XML representations become more common. Processes tend to be stable, long-running and have a high volume of forms or documents that demand scalability, life cycle control and human approval, primarily for exceptions. An application interface is almost guaranteed. CCAs like those for invoice automation, case management frameworks, and other horizontal and vertical market templates and solutions are key considerations in vendor selection. Examples of solutions include offerings for customer communications management, processing of loan applications and electronic patient files.
Sample vendors: EMC, Hyland Software, IBM, OpenText, Perceptive Software, Saperion.
2. Social content management solutions focus on compound content object control and library services; document collaboration; workflow automation with alerts and calendaring; social content like wikis, blogs and videos; task tracking; browser or portal viewing; markup, annotation and version control. The focus is on systems of engagement — orchestrating high-value people involved in the project-based or long-running development and delivery of high-value documents, content or knowledge management, and optimizing the processes, interfaces and objectives that relate them through collaboration. Examples of these solutions include offerings for new drug discovery, new hire recruiting, onboarding and training, and construction project management.
Sample vendors: Alfresco, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText.
3. Online channel optimization solutions focus on Web channel sets of technology, including WCM, DAM, portals, electronic forms, Web and content analytics, social software, XML authoring, rich-media management, social content and collaboration, mobile device support and so on. The aim is to "idealize" them to serve as Web-delivered, context-aware engagement platforms for a variety of industry-focused solutions. Most important in delivering value will be a focus on relevancy and consequent measurable increases in the impact of the delivered experience. Examples of templates or solutions to engage customers more fully include online retail optimization, Web channel distributed claims processing, and constituency self-service in government.
Sample vendors: Adobe, OpenText, Oracle.
4. Content management as infrastructure solutions are increasingly being delivered by infrastructure vendors such as IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, which are embedding content management capabilities into their stacks. They are also increasingly becoming infrastructure platforms for supporting multiple CCAs. For example, when Microsoft SharePoint takes hold in an organization, users naturally begin exploring its suitability for a wider range of content management applications and its potential as a replacement for existing solutions. Essential considerations for this category include abilities to manage rich metadata, enable full life cycle control, allow easier migrations from other repositories, network drives or file servers, and to bring some analytic or business intelligence-like capability to unstructured data overall. Understanding how content relates to larger enterprise information management disciplines will also become critical.
Sample vendors: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle.
ECM, defined as a strategy, can help enterprises take control of their content and, in so doing, boost effectiveness, encourage collaboration and make information easier to share.
ECM, defined as software, consists of a set of capabilities and/or applications for content life cycle management that interoperate, but that can also be sold and used separately.
The core components of an ECM suite and the updated weights for the Magic Quadrant scoring are described below.
Document management for check-in/check-out, version control, security and library services for business documents. Advanced capabilities such as compound document support and content replication score more highly than do basic library services.
Web content management (WCM) for controlling the content of a website through the use of specific management tools based on a core repository. This includes content creation functions, such as templating, workflow and change management, and content deployment functions that deliver prepackaged or on-demand content to Web servers. The minimum requirement is a formal partnership with a WCM provider. Native capabilities score more highly than partnerships. The relative complexities of provisioning content to users across intranet, extranet and Internet applications are also considered, as are the implications of analytics, social content and delivery models.
Several ECM vendors qualify for independent analysis of their WCM functionality (see "Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management").
Records management for long-term retention of content through automation and policies, ensuring legal, regulatory and industry compliance. The minimum requirement is an ability to enforce retention of critical business documents, based on a records retention schedule. Higher ratings are given for certified compliance with standards such as the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5015.2-STD, The National Archives (TNA), the Victorian Electronic Records Strategy (VERS) and Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq2).
Several ECM vendors qualify for independent analysis of their records management functionality (see "MarketScope for Records Management").
Image-processing applications for capturing, transforming and managing images of paper documents. For this component we require a vendor to offer two things: (1) document capture (scanning hardware and software, optical and intelligent character recognition technologies, and form-processing technology) performed either using native capabilities or through a formal partnership with a third-party solution provider such as KnowledgeLake, Kofax, EMC (Captiva) and IBM (Datacap); (2) the ability to store images of scanned documents in the repository as "just another" content type in a folder, and to route them through an electronic process. Extra credit is granted for vertical or horizontal solutions delivered directly or through partners.
Several ECM vendors qualify for independent analysis of their image-processing functionality (see "Critical Capabilities for Composite Content Applications: Case Management").
Social content for document sharing, collaboration and knowledge management, and for supporting project teams. Blogs, wikis and support for other online interactions have been added. Social content — including video — is the fastest-growing category of new content in the enterprise. The name of this component has been changed from "document collaboration" to "social content" to reflect broader audience and content types.
Workflow/business process management (BPM) for supporting business processes, routing content, assigning work tasks and states, and creating audit trails. The minimum requirement is simple document review and approval workflow. Higher scores are given to vendors with graphical process builders, and both serial and parallel routing. Many vendors are drawing on stronger process capabilities to deliver frameworks or templates as CCAs.
Several ECM vendors qualify for independent analysis of their workflow/BPM functionality (see "Magic Quadrant for Business Process Management Suites").
Extended components can include one or more of the following: DAM, document composition, e-forms, search, content and Web analytics, email and information archiving, email management and packaged application integration.
Weighting changes from 2010 to 2011:
· Document management: 15% = no change
· WCM: 10% = no change
· Records management: 15% in 2010, 10% in 2011 = -5% change
· Image-processing applications: 15% = no change
· Social content: 10% in 2010, 15% in 2015 = +5% change
· Workflow/BPM: 25% = no change
· Extended components: 10% = no change
See "Evaluating ECM Using the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management 2010."
Software Innovation is a Scandinavian company specializing in ECM from a composite content application perspective.
We have removed Autonomy because it is not actively promoting any products as ECM; rather, it focuses on meaning-based computing.
We have removed Xythos Software, a Blackboard company, because we have seen no client interest in its content management technology, nor have we seen any promotional efforts, since 2010.
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