Forrester Report

There have been a few interesting posts on the Forrester Wave recently, I’ve been reading them but have not provided any comment thus far. Over at ecmarchitect.com there was a response to question the gradings and how they were applied for Alfresco, http://ecmarchitect.com/archives/2007/11/13/782. The general theme in the post is that the ratings are stacked in the favour of the larger ECM vendors and may not represent what a customer really requires. On this I could not agree more, many a time I have pitched up at a customer who are involved in a product selection process and have been presented with a ‘short list’ which has been drawn from either a Gartner of Forrester report:

Customer : IBM are the leading ECM vendor, we need to buy and use that to solve our problems.
AN Other : And what exactly are you looking to solve…what are the problems you are experiencing?
Customer : We have content distrubuted everywhere and don’t know what it is or where it is and need to use it for managing the information we publish via our external sites.

Already we’re seeing a focus emerging to the selection and it is extremely important that this focus is attained. Each vendor has their own specific strengths and weaknesses and customers should look at the weightings carefully when selecting their product. This is nothing groundbreaking, Laurence mentioned it when he gave a more detailed view of the Forrester ratings.

Back to the post on ecmarchitect, the main argument with the Forrester report appeared to be the lack of respect given to the smaller pure players in the evaluation and the weighting towards the big players. I sympathise with some of the points made in the need for agility and speed of implementation but it does come across as a little one sided that all of the big players have large apps which require tremendous amounts of care and attention to get them up and running. This is not the case, a number of the larger vendors have suites of products which enable the customer to cherry pick the elements which best meet their needs. One would expect that these components are then easier to integrate than a variety of products, of course this is not usually the case as it is common for the larger vendors to acquire products and then only to integrate at a relative snail’s pace; consider the disparate nature of the OpenText product set or the lack of integration between eRoom and core Documentum from EMC.

Big does not always mean unwieldy, but the customer should always do more than pay lip service to these types of reports, understand the scoring and its applicability to their requirements!

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