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ECM Industry Perspectives - Consolidation? Convergence? or Evolution? Find out the Truth
Interview von John Symon, DocumentBoss, mit Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer, Geschäftsführer der PROJECT CONSULT Unternehmensberatung GmbH, Dezember 2009
(JS: John Symon; Kff: Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer)

The ECM market is undergoing further consolidation, convergence and evolution with the impact of Microsoft Sharepoint, Web 2.0, cloud computing, enterprise social networking, virtualisation and other innovations and discontinuities in the market.

JS:
Which of these and other influences do you consider is having the greatest impact on the ECM and related technology and applications markets, and why?
Kff:
The market place for ECM Enterprise Content Management has been changing all the time, but the speed of developments has grown and the market is in the process of consolidating. The major trends are no longer coming from the ECM industry but from other ICT areas. Sharepoint 2010 is one of the major drivers, although Microsoft does not position Sharepoint as a “real” ECM compared, for example, with the AIIM definition. Sharepoint 2010 is a market opener but it also reduces the list of ECM unique selling benefits with enhanced features in relation to collaboration, records management and document management. Sharepoint will be the big integration and collaboration platform for in house installations which will squeeze ECM as services to the backbone of information management solutions.

"The Cloud and SaaS Software as a Service are the big competitors for ECM in house installations and the offerings grow."

The other major trend is 2.0, especially as Enterprise 2.0, bringing Web 2.0 technologies to the internal IT solutions within the boundaries of the enterprise. But there are problems with 2.0 in regard to overloading end user functionality with less central control, volatile formats, which are not prepared to be preserved as records and new ways of interaction and communication which have to overcome the existing structures and workflows in the enterprise. Cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) are the big competitors for ECM in house installations - and the offerings grow. It is no longer simple outsourcing of separate tasks but a general trend towards moving everything into the cloud. We already see CRM and project management solutions, e-mail-archiving and collaboration as service offerings. However, there is still the question of security, trustworthiness and accessibility with regard to acceptance of the cloud. Time and cost saving arguments will change the scene. I believe the most impact on ECM (Enterprise Content Management) in 2010 will be E 2.0, SaaS and the Cloud, with Google Wave as a prominent application along with Sharepoint 2010. On a lower level of impact, but with evolving importance, are Quickr, Social Software as business platforms, Governance Risk Management and Compliance, and business process automation with classification, neural networks, RFID, Business Intelligence and other related technologies.
JS:
What do you expect the key drivers will be for buyers of ECM related technologies in the coming year?
Kff:
End users do not believe in ECM acronyms any more. They are looking for designated business applications including ECM functionality. If we think about traditional ECM technologies and applications - virtual folder solutions, capture and entry process applications such as virtual mailrooms, electronic archiving and digital long term preservation, records management and workflow – these are still the most important drivers and application areas. Not the fancy stuff, but reliable basic software. When it comes to collaboration, digital asset management and content management, web 2.0 functionality is required. These functions are an overlay only to the ECM backbone. ECM is no longer visible in these solutions. Probably only a small applet or one window remains in the user interface for ECM. The key drivers for implementing ECM technologies will be cost savings, fulfilling compliance and regulatory needs, consolidation of infrastructure, creation of federated repositories for use with every type of application and search engines, and integration of dedicated ECM components with ERP, Sharepoint, Office, CRM, PLM and other application software.
JS:
Will ECM exist as a separate, definable, sector in 5 years time?
Kff:
Yes, probably it will, but only as a niche market. The mainstream vendors of ECM are today companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Open Text, EMC and Oracle. Open Text is the only ECM software specialist in this group delivering standard software and services for “everything”. For them the battleground is not ECM – it is the war for the leading operating system, for the domination of the internet, the lead in SaaS, the mastery oft he desktop, the control of content. ECM is on its way to become infrastructure and a set of services. There is some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: ECM wants to integrate unstructured content with structured data and processes. When we succeed with this integration, when we no longer have specialised content management but general information management, where there is no difference by data types like content, documents, data, assets, etc ECM will become part of Information Management. Probably it will become better defined as EIM (Enterprise Information Management), probably as part of Enterprise 2.0, probably as part of the knowledge management renaissance. However, there will be a part of the ECM industry surviving: specialists for long term archiving and digital preservation, for records management, business process management, for business applications with integrated ECM features, or specialists for information capture, classification and conversion.

"ECM wants to integrate unstructured content with structured data and processes. ECM will become part of Information Management and probably will be better defined as EIM. (Enterprise Information Management)"

A lot of the mid sized companies with their own ECM products will have to integrate with standard software, focus on specialized solutions for certain typical document oriented business cases, or for special solutions for defined industries. And there are two features, which will keep these companies a live for a long time – delivering solutions for Compliance and long term archiving. So my prediction for 2015 – yes, there is still an ECM industry, but there is a trend to SaaS, EIM Enterprise Information Management and E 2.0 incorporating ECM components and services as infrastructure.
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Seitentitel: Interview_DocumentBoss_2009, Zitierung: http://www.PROJECT-CONSULT.com/home.asp?SR=983
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