May 13th, 2009 — Archiving, Content management
As something of a follow-up to the special report we did last fall on the market for eDiscovery tools and technologies, we’ve begun work on a similar report meant to look more deeply at that first process phase in the EDRM — Information Management.
Information management sounds like a nice manageable topic, doesn’t it?
We’re looking specifically at the market for technologies meant to help organizations manage unstructured info (often ad-hoc, like email and unmanaged docs) more effectively so that eDiscovery won’t be such a firedrill if and when it occurs.
eDiscovery isn’t the only reason to get a better handle on this ad-hoc, unstructured info — there are compliance-related reasons in some cases and the costs and risks associated with storing lots of stuff for long periods of time when it should have been culled or deleted. Conversely, not retaining information or at least having a documented retention and disposition plan is also risky.
As we’ve noted before, some are calling this “information governance.” So is this a report on the information governance market? Is there such a thing?
Here are some of the things we’re learning so far with our research:
- There’s no question that governance is a hot issue with many organizations. Getting a better handle on email is the biggest pain point. Check out this recent AIIM survey for some interesting data on this.
- Better preparedness for eDiscovery is the biggest driver, followed by the complexity of compliance, the need to reduce costs, and security concerns (security-related governance is really a separate market and not one we’re looking at here).
- One of the fundamental questions seems to come down to whether organizations want to take an archive-based approach to governance or one that is tied to an ECM platform.
- Since email is the big problem, email archives are a big part of the solution for many companies.
- Email archives are expanding to handle more diverse content types with more sophisticated retention, classification, legal holds and eDisco tools.
- The disconnect with this approach seems to be when emails or other content actually are records and need to be managed as such. How data moves from one system (e.g., archive to records management system) or is managed in-place in an archive by an RM system seems to be mostly an unexplored issue for most organizatins at this point.
- Because of this, ECM vendors paint archive-only vendors as “point tools.” ECM vendors see governance as an ECM problem and come at with platforms that generally include both archiving and records management. But the archives from ECM vendors are generally newer or not traditionally as competitive in pure archiving scenarios.
All of the above makes for quite an interesting, if difficult to label, market. We’re not really writing a report on the ECM market, since the archives are so critical to handling email especially, the major problem area, and most of the leading email archiving vendors are not full ECM vendors. But there is definitely an ECM and records management component to this so we’re not just profiling the email archiving market. In fact, we’re trying to only profile those vendors that can manage multiple content types and, ideally, do so across repositories.
Which I think leaves us talking about the information governance market. This concerns me a little bit, as I worry that “information governance” is a vague tag and not really an identifiable sector. But I see no other easy way to describe the intersection of vendors and technologies we see coming at this problem from different areas of strength.
I’d love any comments on what others think about this – is information governance a market?
March 24th, 2009 — Content management
Katey Wood and I will be in Philadelphia next week for the annual AIIM Expo.
I’m presenting on Tuesday in a session billed: The Next Wave of WCM: Social Web Content Management. Here I’ll be looking at something I’ve blogged about before, that is the potential overlap between the nascent social software efforts from WCM vendors and pure social software products for customer-facing sites.
The preso will provide a snapshot of what is happening in both WCM and social software, as far as customer sites go, and try to outline some pros and cons of taking different approaches in terms of vendor selection. I also have a few quick case studies of customers that have a) gone with an independent provider of community/social software b) utilized the social features of an existing WCM provider or c) worked with open source that kind of straddles the line between the two.
Katey and I will also be using AIIM as an opportunity to talk with vendors, IT folks and business users more about content management and archiving for compliance and eDiscovery purposes. We’re in the early stages of a report on the emergence of “information governance” as a sector within ECM.
The schedule is getting tight but don’t hesitate to contact me if you’ll be there.
January 8th, 2009 — Content management
After my post earlier this week on whether or not “ECM” will continue as a useful and valid market category, it was interesting to attend an analyst day held yesterday by Open Text here in Boston. Open Text is a poster child for ECM with nearly all of its business coming from content-related products — document management, records management, archiving, WCM, capture/delivery & collab.
As the largest independent in ECM, it’s certainly in Open Text’s best interest to pursue and preserve ECM as a market category and it is doing so. “ECM” is featured prominently in the company’s basic About text, it tags itself “The Content Experts” and last year renamed its long-standing user conference from LiveLinkUp (a reference to its flagship Livelink product) to ContentWorld. Execs also claimed at the event that they see more customers coming around to the idea of enterprise content management — not in a way that is driven by a single repository or even suite, but as a set of practices and processes that must be in place for compliance and to mitigate risk and cost.
I think what remains to be seen is whether these compliance and risk-related content management practices eventually fall under an ECM bucket from a market perspective. Certainly not all vendors that sell pieces of technology in support of these practices (like archiving or records management) sell themselves as ECM, since ECM carries with it the connotation of transactional document management apps.
As a clear-cut ECM vendor, Open Text wants to compete in a clear-cut ECM market, even if competition is becoming broader and more varied. Is it big enough to define the category if other, larger vendors meld archiving, records management, eDiscovery and so forth into ‘information governance’ or some other, governance-related, non-transactional sector? Other independents like Interwoven and Hyland Software are a good deal smaller than Open Text and don’t talk as much about ECM as they used to. They’re choosing instead in most case to focus on their areas of strength (e.g., WCM or document management) and staying out of the line of fire of larger ECM competitors like IBM, EMC, Oracle and Microsoft. And I think these larger vendors are somewhat conflicted as to whether or not they want to hang an ECM banner on a broader collection of products.
One other note about Open Text’s analyst day. In contrast to events like this one held by other vendors, where, as we’ve noted before, it’s often difficult to miss the executive turnover from the prior year’s event, Open Text is refreshingly consistent. It’s the same folks year after year, the titles shift around sometimes but the exec team appears to see little change. One exception to that this year was the appearance of Lubor Ptacek, long of EMC Documentum, who turned up as a VP of product marketing.
January 6th, 2009 — Archiving, Content management
We wouldn’t want to be left out of the new year preview craze and we do publish fairly lengthy end-of-year reviews and year-ahead previews, along with an M&A Outlook, for 451 clients — the full text of the information management reports are here and here and the M&A Outlook for Software starts here (451 Group client log in required for these).
One of my thoughts in our 2009 preview on information management is the title of this post.
I don’t think ECM (enterprise content management) has ever been a particularly well defined market. It started out earlier in this decade as an idea, a way to talk about the need to rationalize repositories and content apps. Then it became a market category, a way to talk about content management vendors (mostly those focused on document management really) whether there was really an “enterprise” component to deployments or not.
I think the “ECM” moniker may be nearing the end of its usefulness now (if it was ever apt or useful in the first place). WCM (web content management) has already splintered off as it became clear that web content is really not just another type of content to be managed by a central repository. Today WCM is more about online marketing and often ties at least as much to marketing automation and CRM products as it does to other document management apps in an enterprise.
Other “ECM” vendors are focused on TCM (transactional content management), the business process apps (claims processing, loan origination and so forth) that have been the bread and butter for ECM vendors like EMC Documentum and IBM FileNet for years. We’re seeing more sophistication here, more ties to enterprise business apps (e.g., HR, financial) and more attempts at end-to-end offerings that include capture and document output/presentment.
The other, perhaps bigger, trend for the year ahead is the focus on ‘information governance’ (the IG in the title above) the term many vendors are applying to efforts and product lines aimed at proactive information management for compliance and eDiscovery purposes. Information governance from a product perspective generally includes archiving (mostly email), records/retention management and eDiscovery tools. Here we find ECM vendors like EMC, IBM and Open Text, as well as CA, Symantec, Autonomy and others that have no stake in “ECM” of the TCM variety at all.
What do we mean when we say “ECM” these days? Vendors like Autonomy and Symantec don’t generally claim to be in the ECM business, but yet they will be increasingly competing with the likes of IBM FileNet, EMC and Open Text for ‘information governance’ business. It will be interesting to watch how the competitive dynamics (and nomenclature) shakes out in the year ahead.