Gartner has recently released the “ECM Magic Quadrant”. You can download a copy of it from Alfresco here. Back in the 1990’s when ECM was emerging, many clients (and the software vendors) relied on the analysis as we were selecting initial ECM solutions. Last year, we questioned the relevancy of the review – “Gartner ECM Magic Quadrant 2015 – Is it really magic anymore?” and it continues to be one of our more popular posts. This year, it seems as if the results are dramatically altered in favor of a couple of large legacy players. Read our thoughts below:
If the ECM Marketplace hasn’t changed – how about we change how we evaluate it?
With a different authoring staff, Gartner included several new assumptions into how they are ranking ECM vendors. Strategic Planning Assumptions include:
- By 2018, 50% of enterprises will manage their content using a hybrid content architecture.
- By 2018, more than 20% of the enterprise content management solution sales will address multiorganization “ecosystem” content.
- By 2018, enterprise file synchronization and sharing will be a standard capability of enterprise content management and collaboration offerings.
- By 2018, at least 50% of the leading enterprise content management vendors will re-architect their offerings into cloud-based platforms.
- By 2018, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines.
- By 2019, 70% of all business content will be non textual, which will require organizations to invest more widely in analytics as part of their content management efforts.
Some of our thoughts on the above assumptions:
- While we agree with hybrid content architectures, we have seen clients focused on a publishing/integration approach rather than relying on the ECM “one repository to rule them all”. See our whitepaper on a publishing/consumer approach with Documentum. With the cost of storage almost nothing, we see content published and synchronized as the best hybrid architecture. We have also seen clients leveraging third parties for cloud connectivity including DocuSign, Citrix Share and others rather than a solution from the ECM vendor themselves.
- Not sure how Gartner sees sales as multi-organization “ecosystem” content. Our clients have been much more tactical with their ECM approaches.
- Strongly disagree with enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) being part of the enterprise content management solution. At best, we would say that content will continue to be ingested from EFSS. EFSS sits in collaboration and, as integrations with Box and Syncplicity have shown from the Documentum side, ECM customers haven’t really embraced the ECM solution itself synching to devices due to a concern about control. Look for an article in the next few weeks here on reasons why EFSS will never be an ECM.
- Regarding vendors in the next two years re-architecting “their offerings into cloud-based platforms” we would also disagree. Documentum has started down this route before the acquisition by OpenText with tools that extend the repository without having to update the back-end repository. We would counter that clients will look for capabilities to extend their repository with cloud-based connectivity but won’t be re-architecting.
- Similar to file synchronization and sharing, we have an issue with the last point regarding the prediction that organizations (and 70%) will be required to invest in analytics. We are not seeing this push from clients or an uptick from the technology side from early adopters. BI/Analytics seem to be the next technology hype cycle and are disappointed that Gartner would rate ECM vendors based only on hype. We would surmise that this is Gartner being pushed by one (or maybe two) different players to better evaluate where they would like the market to go based on their investments and products.
Rigging the System – Why such a push for Business Intelligence/Analytics?
In reviewing the ratings, we struggled with how Gartner changed the evaluation rules between 2015 and 2016. Specifically:
This Magic Quadrant reflects that evolution by identifying eight essential functional components that characterize an ECM product. The 2015 Magic Quadrant on this topic identified seven such components, including the now-removed web content management component (now an extended capability). This year, we have added two new components: analytics/BI, and packaged apps and integration.
With web content management (formerly only 5%), the eight points included:
- Document management (20%, unchanged from 2015)
- Records management (10%, unchanged from 2015)
- Image-processing applications (10%, down from 15% in 2015)
- Social content/collaboration (15%, unchanged from 2015)
- Content workflow (15%, down from 20% in 2015)
- Packaged apps and integration (5%, new for 2016)
- Analytics/BI (5%, new for 2016)
- Extended components (20%, up from 15% in 2015)
Both IBM (via Watson) and OpenText have been pushing their Business Analytics approaches. With that in mind, it is easy to understand how the quadrant has evolved.
As readers know, we have been doing a ton of FileNet migrations recently (see our case study on migrating from FileNet in six weeks). In talking with our customers, they seem very confused when talking to IBM regarding their FileNet support. From our understanding, IBM is very much pushing Watson as the panacea for everything.
We would surmise that Watson and other analytics is falling into the classic Hype Cycle with inflated expectations (here is it in a description of the Hype Cycle from Gartner themselves).
We are disappointed that Gartner has featured it so prominently in the review of ECM.
One more IBM push – how about Box relationship?
While Gartner has evaluated Box as enterprise file synch and share (EFSS) due to the inability to address most of the document management criteria, it doesn’t mean they aren’t helping IBM to promote it. Analysis of a “strength” of IBM included:
IBM’s technical and business partnership with Box enables IBM to offer innovation and new user experiences to its traditional enterprise customers by leveraging integration with Box’s cloud-based EFSS capabilities.
Also, as a note to the paper itself in the notable vendors, Gartner included a write-up on Box
Clients looking for basic content management needs with a focus on mobility and external collaboration should consider Box. The company is traditionally viewed as an EFSS vendor, but it has made several functional changes to expand its document management and content handling tools in classic ECM directions. Features such as tagging and metadata, life cycle management with retention and legal hold, content protection across devices, applications and storing at-rest content in multiple regions have been added. These enhancements make Box a viable option for organizations looking for basic content management tools.
While we like Box, we have found our customers like it for collaboration features; but they also like lots of other collaboration tools. It is difficult to see a tool successful in collaboration keeping that success and expanding it to true ECM.
The combination of BI/Analytics, Watson and the specific notes on Box seem to be rigging the quadrant for IBM. Again, we are disappointed that Gartner would let IBM influence so much of the evaluation criteria.
Getting away from Hype – what are driving client decisions? (Cloud Infrastructure as a Service)
Rather than just be critical of the ECM Magic Quadrant, we thought we would include our thoughts on what Gartner has missed. While we might adjust the individual functional components up or down (and remove analytics) we would add cloud infrastructure as a service as a key driving point. In looking at ECM’s, we are advising clients to consider which products best fit in with their ability to extend into the cloud with the leaders in cloud infrastructure. From Gartner’s own analysis, Microsoft and Amazon are the clear market leaders with only Google as a Visionary.
Why is important to understand the cloud infrastructure analysis? Legacy ECM vendors have tried to provide this to their clients rather than adopt a standard/partnership with the leading vendors. While it might make sense for collaborative solutions like EFSS, ECM requires integration, governance and other tools that might make a standard for cloud infrastructure across the enterprise more desirable. Limitation for legacy vendors include:
- IBM – has their own (SoftLayer) – from Gartner “SoftLayer has limited differentiation beyond the hybrid blending of virtualized and bare-metal capabilities, and a broader geographic presence. Other than an early 2015 introduction of new storage options, SoftLayer’s feature set has not improved significantly since the IBM acquisition in mid-2013.”
- OpenText – has their own – no evaluation criteria available.
- Documentum – was pushing the VMware solution when part of EMC – was described by Gartner “vCloud Air has limited appeal to the business managers and application development leaders who are typically the key decision makers for cloud IaaS sourcing. VMware administrators in IT operations are the most likely champions of vCloud Air within a business, but they often prefer to build internal solutions, and they are also often the people that the business is trying to bypass by going to cloud IaaS.” Now part of OpenText, what will be the solution?
With all of the above, the desire to extend their cloud to the customer hampers the vendors ability to work with (or support) the market leaders (either Amazon or Microsoft). When vendors tune their products for specific environments (as Documentum has with VMWare), doesn’t that limit the ability and focus on the industry leaders. We did post an article for clients on how to run Documentum in the Amazon Cloud, here. We would, based on their ability to work with the leaders in the space as:
- Amazon – Alfresco is the leader here – even mentioned in the Gartner analysis – “Alfresco is sharply focused on platform expansion, optimization, scalability and extensibility, and has strategic technical partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Salesforce”
- Microsoft/Azure – Would expect Microsoft to the be leader here – from Gartner – “Microsoft is a global cloud data center provider that can provision Office 365, which encompasses SharePoint Online and its collective services worldwide.” We would think M-Files might also play well in Azure if clients are looking for separate vendor solutions.
We continue to be perplexed by the Gartner approach to evaluating ECM tools but appreciate a healthy debate. We would say that this year Gartner got caught in the hype cycle, particularly from IBM, leading to predictable results. We would advise clients to consider more tactical approach with ECM and look at clients ability to work with Amazon and Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure as a Service rather than vendors proprietary solutions.
Let us know your thoughts below: