DOCUMENT Magazine - December 2008 - (Page 18)

q CONTENT & FORM By AlAN PElz-ShARPE Charting a new Course To make the most cost-effective and intelligent purchase, ECM technology buyers must truly understand the changing landscape times change, the marketplace finds new reasons for applying enterprise content management (ECM) technologies. Compliance is a relatively new rationale, and now we are also seeing increased use of ECM platforms as a basis for application development of content-aware business applications. Nevertheless, most of the time, enterprises turn to ECM to reduce costs and bring information overload under control. Indeed, with digital information mushrooming faster than most enterprises can manage it, ECM projects have become a cost of doing business. AS Technology soluTions to business problems that are associated with the production, storage and distribution of information have historically gelled around different types of management software. But today, the lines between these product segments have seemingly become quite blurry, and there is consequently broad confusion around what is increasingly being called ECM. Compounding this confusion has been the rapid expansion of feature sets among ECM vendors to capture larger market shares or simply lay claim to an ECM mantle. While some companies have taken a partnership approach, particularly among the more nicheoriented vendors, the marketplace as a whole has seen substantial convergence, consolidation and overlap. This, coupled with vague yet expansive marketing information, can make it difficult to discern the core capabilities of the solution a vendor may be offering. To navigate through this growing ECM market, we have translated some of the biggest terms buyers might see: 3 “Enterprise-level” function-point solutions: This could be a very big document management, digital assets management or web content management implementation that crosses departmental silos, and it essentially promises a highly scalable approach to a common, practical need. This is a nice strategy in theory, and some large, cohesive enterprises (especially in the tech sector) have executed successfully on it. However, we see some backlash against this approach today in some areas for financial reasons and because the implementation times across multiple silos can be highly impractical. For imaging projects, enterprise consolidation can make a lot of sense, but for web content management, the business case remains less obvious. At the same time, many enterprises are beginning to provide content management as a central service to different business units. In any case, this definition means that any large vendor within the management software sector could call itself an ECM player (and many of them do). 3 Combined functional solutions: The idea here is to combine various functions under one management umbrella. This is what Gartner tried to promote as “Smart Enterprise Suites.” As a strategy, it speaks to vendors such as Oracle, IBM/FileNet, Open Text and EMC, who have assembled nominally integrated functional solutions under one brand. In reality, the individual products are often marketed and sold separately, and in many cases, the offerings are often far from integrated. Moreover, it is not at all clear that the marketplace actually wants combined suites even when the vendors have them. An indicator of this is the fact that despite years of pushing the logic of unified web and document management, very few buyers have ever implemented such systems because they (rightly) see them as separate entities. Today, most ECM projects are sold and implemented at the departmental level. 3 Ubiquitous content: This school of thought says that ECM is not an application but framework for making content as accessible as possible to the right people, from wherever it lives, and that the prime function of disparate repositories is to 18 DOCUMENT dec.08

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DOCUMENT Magazine - December 2008

DOCUMENT Magazine - December 2008
Ad Index
Editor’s View
BPM: Improving the Way You Process
Research Desk
The Compliance Shadow
Catching Web Fever
Charting a New Course
Reading the New Signal of Data
The Customer Finish
The Converging Money Trail
Fight Disaster
Putting on a Global Face
New Products

DOCUMENT Magazine - December 2008