Back in 2015, we posted the question of whether the magic quadrant was really magic anymore. In the following years, Gartner has evolved the rating with a complete change of the evaluation in 2016 as well as the big news in 2017 when IBM/FileNet being dropped from the leader quadrant after being the default leader for 10+ years. In the recent 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant (download from Alfresco here), Gartner has made more changes along with IBM being back in the leader quadrant. This post will present our thoughts on the Quadrant as well as it’s companion piece – Critical Capabilities for Content Services Platforms.
Gartner Content Services Platform – Magic Quadrant 2018 – Overall thoughts
Clients typically struggle with leveraging the quadrant as a magic bullet to pick a vendor. Being closest to the upper right corner would seem to be the easy way to pick the strongest vendor but for most customers it isn’t that simple.
Gartner’s evaluation on ability to execute has always been skewed toward the bigger names with IBM seeing the most movement this year despite little advances besides a new brand (Automation Platform for Digital Business) that encapsulates the FileNet CPS solution that Gartner admits is still under construction.
Regarding completeness of vision, Gartner has various evaluation points on Market Understanding as well as strategies as it relates to Marketing, Sales, Product, Industry and other interpreted points. It is hard to understand OpenText, M-Files or Nuxeo as leaders in this category given their current focus that we would argue is hardly innovative. Specifically:
- Hybrid cloud – OpenText’s and MFiles major push in regards to vision was a push into the hybrid cloud where their products would be running on premise, in a private cloud or public cloud with software to connect all of the above. The complexity and cost of running software to connect on-premise with cloud solutions is rarely worth it. Hybrid cloud with additional software to push and pull content between repositories is something that many vendors have stepped away from to focus on more strategic private cloud partners like AWS and Azure. For a better understanding, see our thoughts on Cloud versus On-Premise versus Hybrid approaches.
- Federated Search – Nuxeo focuses most of their marketing effort on connecting to other ECM systems to avoid migrations. While it is a good marketing push, as we pointed out earlier this month, federated search is an interesting approach but hardly innovative, often times a publishing approach is considerably better.
One other noticeable absence from the whole evaluation was Veeva, the cloud vendor that has been very successful in regulated life sciences particularly in replacing Documentum.
TSG Thoughts on the Major CPS Vendors
TSG is recommending that clients ignore the graphic and drill down into the specific narrative about the vendors as the narrative can provide some interesting insights. We would also recommend Gartner’s companion piece, Critical Capabilities for Content Services Platforms as detailed later in this post. Typically the narratives will have one strength/capability gleaned from discussion with vendor that might not yet be truly embraced by users. See our thoughts on IBM’s Watson push from 2016 that we correctly predicted was more hype and has since faded and is no longer mentioned.
From the narrative on the given vendors some interesting tidbits included:
- OpenText – While Gartner lists strengths regarding OpenText’s hybrid cloud approach called cloud delivery, concerns include a complex and overlapping product portfolio, requirements to have all content in OpenText repositories for the hybrid cloud to work and concerns about cost and complexity. The hybrid cloud and cloud delivery is clearly the new item that OpenText is pushing as discussed at Enterprise World. TSG, and our Documentum customers, have significant concerns about a “one solution” OpenText approach. Most of our Documentum clients are still in a “wait and see” mode with Documentum and aren’t looking for hybrid cloud capabilities or more products from OpenText. See our thoughts on Cloud versus OnPremise versus Hybrid approaches.
- Microsoft – Gartner list strengths for Microsoft that include improved support for larger documents and metadata and search options while concerns include add-ons for records management, workflow and extended collaboration, no pre-built vertical solutions as well as concern for Microsoft’s Consulting services. The vendor push seems to be for the support for larger documents, metadata and search. Gartner recommends SharePoint for those with “deep Microsoft investments” which is consistent with TSG thoughts.
- IBM – Gartner lists IBM strengths as the new Automated Platform for Digital Business (that includes FileNet) as a platform for enhancing business processes while listing concerns in regards to the Automated Platform for Digital Business not being known about by customers, being difficult to communicate the value proposition and that parts are still under construction. Like the Watson push of 2016, it is going to take some time and TSG would view it as highly unlikely that IBM is really doing something new with FileNet given our discussions with existing FileNet customers.
- Hyland – We don’t see Hyland much in TSG’s space but did notice the mention for the purchase of Brainware along with integration to Epic (Hospitals) and Guidewire (Insurance). Gartner mentions that Hyland is modernizing it’s architecture with REST-based APIs, something that the rest of the industry has had for quite some time.
- Alfresco – Gartner lists strengths as a good fit for customers looking for cloud first, and particularly AWS, along with the strongest overall growth in 2017, far above the CSP market growth average indicative of a robust channel and partner ecosystem. Concerns included the discontinuation of the Cloud SaaS offering and concerns with customizations that Alfresco has released the Application Development Framework (ADF) to address. As an Alfresco partner, we only had only one customer using the Cloud SaaS offering and we moved them to an AWS private cloud 2 years ago. ADF is the new offering from Alfresco for addressing development concerns and something they seem to be promoting with Gartner. See some of our thoughts on ADF in other posts on this site.
- Box – Gartner continues to give Box kudos particularly in the collaboration space. We would agree with concerns about being branded as a file syncing and sharing tool doesn’t always lead to opportunities with Governance and GxP.
Gartner – Critical Capabilities for Content Services
Gartner’s better analysis is in the companion piece, Critical Capabilities for Content Services Platforms. This is and “old school” piece that shows off all the scoring and weighting and adds significant detail. As opposed to the Magic Quadrant, the piece shares the evaluation as well as the weightings to better understand why a given vendor weighed above another based on evaluation criteria. For example, for a Document Management application, Gartner rated content management being 35% of the evaluation criteria, with search and metadata each being weighed at 12% of the evaluation criteria with capture being 7% of the evaluation criteria.
To evaluate Documentum versus Alfresco, from looking at the scoring where Alfresco ranked better than Documentum on content management (4.5 to 4.3) and search (4.5 to .40), Documentum ranked higher on meta-data (4.5 to 4.2) but substantially higher on capture (4.6 to 3.0). While scoring and weighting will vary by client need, there are several good comparisons that can be drawn from looking at the data regarding the Gartner survey results.
Consistent with the Magic Quadrant, the analysis does lean to the big, legacy vendors with either IBM or OpenText scoring above everything except the Productivity (Collaboration) use case where Microsoft leads with close followers including Box. We are not sure the old school approach of features and functions is as relevant anymore as the scoring still leads to higher scores for the suite vendors rather than best of breed as in the example above where capture is driving the difference between Documentum and Alfresco. See our related post in regards to the ECM/CPS Suite not being so Sweet.
Gartner CPS 2018 – What’s Missing – Cloud and specifically Infrastructure as a Service
Our biggest take on what is missing from the overall evaluation and what we mentioned in 2016 is the cloud and specifically Infrastructure as a Service providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure. From Gartner’s own magic quadrant report on Cloud IaaS:
With Amazon and Microsoft being the clear leaders, any vision or ability to execute should be tied to the ability to run well within one of those two vendors. Another major point should which vendors have visions of their own cloud infrastructure that would prevent a vendor from gaining traction or experience with the other vendors. Vendors that we see struggling to embrace the major cloud vendors include:
- IBM – with their own cloud infrastructure, IBM (or FileNet) is competing with rather than partnering with AWS or Microsoft. Add in confusion around the new “Automated Platform for Digital Business” and SaaS version of FileNet, and customers will continue to be wary of buying more IBM.
- OpenText – while mentioning Microsoft and AWS and partnering more than IBM, OpenText was pretty straightforward in their keynote this summer that they are very focused on their own managed service cloud (which Gartner is not evaluating) and 2,000 current customers. See a clip to the keynote indexed to the timestamp as they compare their managed service cloud to other options. While release 16 is pledged to “run anywhere”, we would predict that it will be difficult to see it as good as vendors that have tuned their application for AWS or Microsoft Azure. On the Documentum side, before the sale to Dell and later to OpenText, Documentum was recommending VMWare’s cloud given their joint ownership by EMC. Given that VMWare cloud has faultered, Documentum customers should rightly be wary of another promise of a cloud offering outside of Amazon or Azure.
- Oracle – like IBM, Oracle has their own cloud offering and a very legacy product. With a lagging product and cloud model, we were surprised to see them not drop to the Niche Player in the CPS quadrant based on our recent review and were surprised by some of the scores for basic things like content management.
Vision and Ability to Execute – TSG’s Thought on CPS on Amazon Web Services
With a fresh perspective in mind focused on Amazon, we would propose our own view when it comes to CPS Vendors.
- Leaders – Alfresco – as called out by Gartner 2017, Alfresco has it’s own marketplace instance (as well as one from TSG). With multiple clients, a billion object benchmark, native support for S3, Aurora and adding Glacier, Alfresco is way ahead of the other vendors in this space.
- Challengers – Box – Box seems to be partnering with everyone (IBM, AWS, Microsoft) and has a large enough market to challenge, particularly on the collaboration use case. We don’t predict they will really challenge on the Document Management use case as their innovation mostly focuses on user engagement with branding around file syncing and sharing.
- Visionaries – Amazon – As we pointed out earlier this year, we do view a smarter Object Store from the infrastructure vendors themselves as a potential disruptor of CPS from the software vendors. TSG is investing in DynamoDB as a potential disruptor of CPS/ECM as well.
- Niche Players – OpenText, IBM, Oracle – look for some capabilities with S3 connectors or Docker support to run products in Amazon “if you want” with still a heavy push to running in their proprietary clouds.
Overall, Gartner does do a detailed analysis of each of the vendors but the methodology is pretty old school in that evaluating features and functions and market share will end up valuing the older, legacy suite vendors ahead of the up and comers. The failure to evaluate vendors specifically against their vision and ability to run in the major infrastructure as a service vendors (AWS and Microsoft Azure) as well as their commitment to their own cloud infrastructures as an alternative is a major miss over the last 5 years.
Let us know your thoughts below.