The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space is really starting to consolidate. With three significant acquisitions in the last 20 odd months (Open Text’s acquisition of Vignette, Autonomy’s acquisition of Interwoven and the recently announced Adobe acquisition of Day Software) the space is seeing considerable movement.
For enterprise customers, these acquisitions may mean some pain and trepidation in the short-term. Customers will have to understand the immediate impact on the acquired products and the larger product integration strategy. Ultimately, the hope is that these acquisitions result in better a more complete, comprehensive and cohesive suite of technologies that also provide a centralized platform for information management.
Here are four forward-looking ECM vendor predictions for the next 12-18 months:
- Autonomy (LON: AU) is going to get it right: Over the last few years, Autonomy has slowly and steadily built (or acquired) a wide spectrum of offerings that meet the content collection, storage, and retrieval needs of the enterprise. Operationally, they still have work to do to fully integrate the various pieces of the puzzle. In addition, they need to get their marketing strategy and product offerings tightened up. Provided they get these critical aspects in place, they should continue to be a very strong player in the ECM marketplace in the years to come.
- Adobe's (NASDAQ: ADBE) strategy for content delivery will change: Adobe is another strong and nimble company, that is making a lot of advances in terms of meeting the content managment needs of the Enterprise. Unfortunately, as ubiquotous as PDF has been as a downloadable format, it has not always been the best format for collecting and publishing enterprise content (e.g. Form content). Also, with Apple promoting HTML 5, Flash may face increasing competition as content publishing format. Adobe will have to rethink PDF and Flash as formats for delivering content.
- Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is going to have trouble positioning Sharepoint 2010 as a viable ECM platform: Sharepoint has traditionally been utilized inside the confines of the enterprise (e.g. intranets, collaboration workspaces etc.). Especially with this latest release, Microsoft is positioning Sharepoint 2010 as a full-solution product that meets both internal and external content management needs of the enterprise. While significant improvements have been made, Sharepoint 2010 is still more powerful for intranet type applications rather than external web sites/applications. There is also a perception and wariness in the market about using Sharepoint to host highly-scalable, high-traffic, and content-rich sites. As a result, we expect that enterprises will choose Sharepoint for internal needs and other vendors for External Content Management.
- Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is going to enter the ECM space: Big G has been relatively quiet thus far and content (no pun intended) to let the content management space take shape. With their dominant position in the Search space, it is not far-fetched to expect that Google will look to enter the enterprise content management market in a big way. The market is primed for a SaaS (Software as a Service) based approach to ECM, so this might be a potent platform differentiator for Big G.
The coming months should be very interesting to watch.