This recent post to CMS Watch gave me a small chuckle. I’d recently been involved in a session where Autonomy were doing a presentation to a prospective customer. The presentation was very much that Autonomy was going to solve all their problems including providing BPM, Portal functionality and Content Management.
Being vendor independent I explained to members of the audience how in a previous piece of work Autonomy was used very well to provide the ability to search across multiple repositories, with the user interface being provided by a separate product as the Portal and with content being managed in a number of different products, due to the differing needs across the environment. This was, in my opinion, an excellent use of the Autonomy product set and provided the starting point for functional enhancements around personalisation and inference.
Its fair to say that the comments didn’t go down too well from the Autonomy salesperson…he did say the search word but it was definitely in a dismissive context.
Earlier this week an announcement was made of a partnership between Capgemini and Google,
A colleague of mine was certainly excited about this news and it started some debate within our group. I had briefly looked at Google Docs some time ago in an effort to ensure me and the wife can share information whilst I am away doing the usual consultant travelling, she wasn’t keen so it didn’t go very far.
Where does this fit in with ECM I hear you ask? Well on a number of levels, the most significant is the impact on Sharepoint.
There is no doubt that MOSS 2007 is having a significant impact on the ECM marketplace. However one of the biggest advantages of this is its ease of use through the traditional MS desktop. If more and more companies look to the Google Apps model then this advantage is removed. I’m not for one minute suggesting that this means the end of MOSS 2007 but it does suggest that there is a stronger future for the other suppliers than they perhaps expected and it will only take a partnership between one of the vendors and Google to really see this.
Secondly, but closely related, is the old chestnut of standards. Google are clearly delivering a wide reaching capability here and at the moment they are looking to simple file management. As this matures they may, I suspect will, see demand for more function rich ECM features such as check-in, check-out, better version management, lifecycles and workflows etc… Could the advent of this see an opportunity for us in the ECM space to define these standards and look to Google to provide an open interface which different ECM vendors could look to expose which the Google Apps would hook into. Imagine an organisation with an existing FileNET or EMC deployment who want to move to the Google Apps model, the standards based inteface would mean this is an infinitely easier exercise than having to code Google Apps to fit in with their ECM repository or vice versa. Of course this also means that the Google Apps model may also need to change slightly with the repository actually being held within the organisation, eventually we may even see this disappear and organisations simply ‘renting’ Google Apps space with the level of ECM functionality they wish influencing the price they pay. I wonder if any ECM vendors have approached Google with this idea and offering their repository, if they haven’t and do start to look into it then remember where the idea came from ;-)