Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Keynote Themes from Gilbane

The first day of the Gilbane Conference had a very interesting Keynote panel of industry analysts who focus on Content Management technologies. The panelists were:

  • Steven Ashley, Senior VP, Research from Baird & Co.

  • Joshua Duhl, Research Director of Content Management from IDC

  • Hadley Reynolds, Vice President & Research Director from Delphi

  • Kyle McNabb, Senior analyst from Forrester Research

  • Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Vice President, North America from Ovum

The panelists were asked to speak for 5 minutes on something that they think the audience should know about trends and direction of ECM. Here were the highlights....

Joshua Duhl kicked it off with the bold statement that ECM is a myth. There has been a big consolidation of companies (and their capabilities) and there is more the come. Vendors will say that they have it all working together but they don't. This idea was echoed by Alan Pelz-Sharpe who said that companies have so many forms of content and processes that it is unrealistic and impractical to manage it all within one system. On the other side, Kyle McNabb said that it is very real and focused on the idea of "one throat to choke." In the Q&A there was a similar topic about best of breed vs. ECM. Kyle McNabb's recommended big ECM vendors who have complete solutions with best of breed components. It think the general consensus was that ECM is a vision (not a product) worth pursuing for some companies if the cost/benefit is right.

Steven Ashley, who focuses on financial analysis of CM companies, made the point that all the money has been, and continues to be, in Document Management. He pointed to three huge deals that FileNet made ($10MM, $9MM, and $8MM). He said that Documentum is doing equally well. Oracle and Micorsoft are preparing to compete heavily in this area. The interesting thing is that an informal audience poll said that most of the audience was focused on Web Content Management.

Most companies under budget their CM initiatives. They should expect to spend 2 to 3 times the license cost on services. The established ECM players will have an advantage in integration costs over the platform players (Oracle and Microsoft)

Other interesting points

  • Pretty much everyone agreed on Alan Pelz-Sharpe's point that no one wants to do compliance. Customers just see it as a cost with no upside.

  • The analysts on the panel had no interest in Open Source CMS. The topic did not come up until one of the audience (not me) asked the question. Alan Pelz-Sharpe said that he did a little research into the market and found that some of the Web Content Management products were pretty good and may present a good deal for small to mid size companies. Generally the analysts didn't follow them and avoided recommending them.

  • I am not sure if I heard him right but I think that Joshua Duhl made the point that Microsoft did not offer a content management system. I was surprised because it was such a huge topic last year (remember, Microsoft bought NCompass and started selling it as Microsoft Content Management Server). I talked to a couple friends in the vendor community and learned that MS has basically done nothing with the product since purchasing it and all the buzz is around SharePoint and their document management solutions. Is Microsoft stepping away from their Content Management Server product?