Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ECM: Where is Enterprise Content Managemet Moving Towards?


"In the next post we'll see a review of current market characteristics and trends in ECM  for the coming years"




We can say that we are already in a mature market. While maturity has its degrees, it is directly proportional to the maturity of national economies, we can speak generally of a consolidated marketplace with well-defined characteristics.
Let's take a look.

Market Features

The ECM market is ...

Big: It is expected to hit $ 5.7 billion by 2014. 

With big fish: The ECM sea is also a sea of big fish. In more formal terms, we can say that the ECM market is an oligarchy market, in which the 3 most important brands have more than 50% of the pie. 

Difficult sales: The ECM market is not a shoe market. The companies do not consider changing a repository or buying it once a month, because in most cases, changing a content management system to another involves high costs and not only of money. Changin a document manager, or starting work with one first involves a change in how employees work every day.

Very similar solutions and tending to fragmentation: The solutions offered in the ECM field are often very similar. This, plus the small number of suppliers that dominate the market, has led the rest of the companies to have a focus on smaller portions and better defined ECM processes. For example, in  capture, this trend is evident. There are many solutions that focus only on this aspect of the ECM.

The result of these characteristics

Under these conditions, we have market companies in a race to the bottom trying to achieve:
  1. Differentiation with other providers.
  2. Facilitating customers the adoption of a content management system.
  3. Making their ECM systems integrate with other tools to offer more complete solutions.
  4. New outlets parallel or transverse to the well-established branches of ECM, document management, web content management, etc..

What these goals are leading to: Trends in ECM

Now we come to the trends. In seeking to achieve these goals mentioned that ensure survival in the market, we can see some trends are being consolidated in the market. We describe below the most important:

Adding more content to the word "Content": This is a clear departure from the market new ECM, which can be considered within the target number 5. Market companies are looking to manage emerging content types that have become relevant as information on the daily tasks of businesses, for example, content published on social networking sites, or emails. In the latter case, although we can not consider the use of e-mails in companies something new, we can speak of a growing interest in management control and in many cases to handle business critical information.

SaaS, reducing the requirements for implementing ECM platforms: We can frame this trend within the group of goals number 2. ECM providers now give its customers the opportunity to throw out of the cloud all maintenance weight. Software as a Service gives customers the opportunity to have a content management system without having to make a large investment in technology. SaaS is paid for the use of the ECM platform by the platform itself. The provider will maintain the ECM platform on its servers and the customer will only pay the bill for its use, as it does with electric or water bills. In 2010, according to AIIM, the rate of use of this mode increased from 2 to 6% and is expected to continue growing.

CMIS, making compatible the use of different repositories: Many companies, for various reasons, use multiple repositories. Until just over a year, this meant having to access information across multiple access points, and also that to the "not-centralization"problem, the problem of duplicate information was added in many casesIt was also common for companies to find problems when connecting the information from other systems with the content platform. These reasons made ​​it difficult to make the decision to buy a new ECM system even if you find one that offers better performance than the current one. CMIS is breaking the monogamous relationship between repositories and businesses and forcing suppliers to deliver improvements in their systems. We can say that CMIS is a response to goals 2 and 3, but at the same time is causing companies to develop ECM tools that strive much more to differentiate through product innovation, because the easier it is to migrate to other repositories, the harder it is to retain customers without offering anything new (ECM innovation). 

Partnerships between providers covering different processes within the ECM: It is clear that the ECM market conditions are forcing suppliers to offer more choices and convenience to customers. One of the drawbacks to save (fruit of the same dynamics of the market) is precisely the need to integrate different solutions to solve ECM problems and it's the clients themselves who have to carry the work of such integration. Providers have realized that it's much more efficient to do what they do best and partner with others than to address those aspects in which they are less strong. At this point, we can cite the example of the integration between traditional repositories and other capture solutions (Nuxeo + Ephesoft), workflow design (Alfresco + Activity, etc.). 

Innovation for survival: The ECM software suppliers know that their solutions must keep pace to the frantic globalized world in which their clients operate. It's not just solving the problem of excess paper or "Content Chaos" we need that customers perceive a higher value and products that fit their needs. An example of the constant innovation that is happening in the sector are the advances in the recognition and document analysis to ensure huge savings on manual tasks to customers. On the other hand, the growing demand for mobility has forced ECM providers the development of mobile clients that allow access from remote locations and availability of information without temporal or spatial barriers. 

So far this brief analysis of the ECM market. But certainly in the not too distant future we will have to revise this document and see how these trends have been completely consolidated and force us to look toward emerging branches (eg eDiscovery) to come to change a little more this so interesting market. 

As Athento, (could not finish the post without talking about our platform!) we try to always keep pace with the market, and even, as we've been doing so far, anticipating what is already being done.

  • Athento allows its use in SaaS or OnPremise
  • Athento implements CMIS and supplements it with other technologies that make it more interoperable.
  • Athento has a mobile client that allows access to different repositories from your Smartphone (iPhone or Android).
  • Athento can manage e-mails through its PopMail module, making the content of emails  manageable and able to classify automatically.
  • Athento is the first document management technology platform that added semantics in the process of capture and retrieval of content.


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