Gartner’s review of the Enterprise Content Management space came out in the October. This post will give our TSG thoughts on the review.
Structure of the Review
The ECM magic quadrant has been around since the 1990’s and has evolved over time. While the review used to be solely focused on the Document Management space, it has added in the four “worlds of ECM”. These worlds include:
- Transactional content management – this is the heavy lifting component of ECM. Includes imaging, workflow, e-forms and our other common implementations.
- Social content management – this is essentially collaboration. (TSG note – social is such a buzzword these days)
- Online channel optimization – this is the WCM (web content management) component
- Content Management as infrastructure – this is the ability to deliver as infrastructure. Leans heavily to Oracle, IBM and Microsoft as ECM solution is part of the overall IT stack.
Based on these overall four components, Gartner rates the vendors based on the following individual components
- Workflow/BPM: 25%
- Document management, 15%
- Image-processing applications: 15%
- WCM: 10%
- Records management: 10%
- Social content: 10%
- Extended components: 10%
TSG Thoughts on the overall model:
- We have always thought that the Workflow/BPM percentage is high given the proliferation of other tools outside of ECM and the simple workflow approach most clients take.
- We would rather see separate evaluations with Social and WCM by themselves as the users of Document/Image/Workflow are pretty focused away from the Social and WCM areas.
Completeness of Vision versus Ability to Execute
The “magic” quadrant is the combination of Gartner’s thoughts on completeness of vision and ability to execute.
- Vendors with high scores on both are leaders
- Vendors with high vision, lower ability are visionaries
- Vendors with low vision and high ability are challengers
- Vendors with low scores on both are niche players.
From the “completeness of vision”, the vendors line up as:
We actually think Alfresco has a better vision in regards to understanding the market as it relates to open source as they are the only open source vendor included in the evaluation this year. All of the other vendors on this list are still stuck in the proprietary, consolidation model rather than an innovative open source model. In our experience, specifically IBM, Oracle, Adobe and EMC have had difficulty and spend resources integrating in purchased companies (FileNet, Stellent, eRoom, Day…) while Alfresco’s vision has remained pure, quick and innovative by providing integration and partnerships to new offerings without consolidation (Jive, LifeRay, Quickr, Dropbox, Google Docs…). The ability for the Alfresco open source community to extend provided integrations and create new ones with other vertical platforms should not be discounted.
We tend to discount the “ability to execute” as it tends to lean toward an evaluation of market share rather than a true evaluation of ability to execute a plan. As Alfresco’s approach with open source and an integration approach does not fit the “ECM Suite” of Alfresco’s larger competitors. As such, the ability to execute vendors are:
Particularly disconcerting about this section is Gartner’s particular approach on the evaluation criteria. While Product/Service/Overall viability are “high”, Sales Execution/Pricing is standard. As ECM moves to more of a commodity, we would expect that pricing is a much more significant factor, something that Alfresco and open source is leading by a wide margin.
Interesting points in regards to Alfresco specifically included:
- Large network of system integrators and large open source community – by not having a large professional services division (EMC, IBM…) we agree that Alfresco is very partner-friendly.
- Strong Story in regards to integration – leader with CMIS, REST and integration with others (Liferay, Jive, Quickr, Google Docs, Drupal, …)
- Deployed on a Single Server – Alfresco’s relatively small footprint has made deployments easier compared to traditional vendors.
- Latency and Scalability – some discussions about large scale implementations. We (TSG) haven’t encountered these as we currently have a client targeting 2 Pedabytes.
- Higher degree of technical competency to manage implementation – Gartner is suggesting that the lower cost of purchasing Alfresco will be offset by higher implementation costs. For our EMC/Documentum clients looking at Alfresco, we have not found this to be true. If you leverage Alfresco as a platform, clients would most likely build custom interfaces and integrations with external systems regardless.
- No packaged, certified integrations – this seems to be a nod to the big guys again. For Oracle to have integration to Siebel and Peoplesoft is not a surprise (see related post). Support for CMIS and other standards based approaches are an easy way to enable Alfresco with other applications, based on specific customer requirements. Alfresco’s Records Management component is DoD 5015.2 certified.
All in all, we are not sure if the “Magic Quadrant” is still as magical anymore. In creating this article, I looked at the Magic Quadrant from 2010 and, with small exceptions (IBM ahead of Microsoft this year on Ability to Execute), nothing substantial has changed. With the commoditization of ECM, we would expect vendors like Alfresco to be substantially better positioned than the “old-school” enterprise ECM tools that a stuck on enterprise pricing and sales models. We are not sure if, given the criteria, that concept can ever be related to the Gartner model.
Oracle publishes an abstract of the article – (here) – please provide any of your comments below.