State of the ECM Market

Feels like an age since I posted a blog post, well it has been an age, and there is nothing like a good prompt than reading Analyst reports on the ECM market. In the past 2 months we have seen a number published with each of the vendors all trying to claim that the result is they are the leaders. These are my musings based on reading 3 of the reports, the ones from Gartner, Forrester and the IDC report. What is interesting about these is IDC was a report on the revenue share and growth of the different vendors in 2012 whereas the Gartner and Forrester reports were focussed on the market position and potential (well thought leadership or vision) of the vendors.


Gartner had IBM as the leading vendor with Microsoft not far behind. EMC and OpenText were not far behind and then came Perceptive and Hyland. It was interesting to note that Oracle were slipping, Alfresco were positioned as having a strong vision and Box were not included at all.

If you read a Gartner MQ you do need to read the comments that go with the charts though and here is a summary of the different vendors:

IBM – moved to a single UI and simplified deployment has strengthened the product. The strategy includes Defensible Disposal and Analytics which is broader than most. There is a lack of a cloud strategy and some confusion persists on some of the different products.

EMC – have focussed on reducing the costs in the product, both deployment as well as product, and are increasingly looking at how they supply customer value with a solutions approach.

Microsoft – continue to push SharePoint strong and it continues to be deployed by customers but more and more are now starting to struggle with the value they get from the deployment. Plus there is a lack of embedded tools to help with the deployment but plenty of 3rd party products.

OpenText – very broad range of products and strong alignment with SAP help position them but there is confusion over their strategy on some of their acquisitions, e.g. BPM.

Oracle – strong integration and portal offering to complement the product but they are hindered by a lack of vision and an outdated UI.


This report was interesting as it raised a number of points about the market as a whole which I strongly agree with and which will shape the next few years:

  • Companies are moving away from a single platform to do all their Content Management, something which I touched upon over 3 years ago;
  • Companies are struggling with the ability to really quantify the benefits of ECM;
  • Systems of engagement are becoming increasingly disruptive, as are the new kids on the block who provide simple capabilities but which consumers are turning to (e.g. Box and DropBox);
  • Mobile is becoming increasingly important;
  • The UI and how users interact with content is becoming increasingly important;
  • More and more vendors are placing their bets on vertical solutions;
  • Cloud is on the rise.

In terms of the vendors they had IBM, EMC and OpenText as the leaders. Interestingly they had Oracle as having a strong vision but then Oracle did not participate in the report. The lack of imaging and content focussed apps meant SharePoint was slightly lagging.


The report highlighted 5.7% growth in 2012 with the main areas of deployment being compliance, putting content to work, case management and an increased focus on business solutions. Note WCM was a strong area of growth, I think the presence of WCM in this market is becoming increasingly dubious but thats another post on the way!

The IDC report big winners were IBM with both a large market share but also an increasing share. The two who looked to be on their heels a little were OpenText and EMC who both showed up as having a reduced share. With WCM being a growth area I can understand the EMC statement but with OpenText this seemed to stick out a little. There was big growth for Adobe, no doubt spurred on by their Digital Marketing platform and other notable increases for Box and Acquia.

What does it mean?

So I’m not going to just summarise and paraphrase the reports but here are my opinions on what all this means for the market, potentially an early candidate for trends in 2014:

  1. There are new kids on the block and they are going to disrupt the market. The rise of consumerisation aligned with maturing offers from the likes of Box will continue to see them grow. Some vendors have recognised this already and made moves to react;
  2. Business Value is the absolute key phrase, gone are the days of large ECM implementations for the sake of managing documents better. Customers expect things to be done quicker and better, and usually for it to be better aligned with a business imperative;
  3. No pun intended but content is no longer in a box called the Enterprise, either that or the Enterprise as we knew it no longer exists. The content, or information, has a value chain which cross multiple boundaries. There are risks to that but for now the risks are being put to one side in an attempt to improve visibility and productivity;
  4. This one needs a bigger post but I do think the old traditional definition of WCM as part of ECM is fading away. WCM, or CXM or WEM, is now very firmly rooted in Digital Channels. Its no longer a case of someone writing a piece of content which is approved and then published to be consumed, its a much more fast paced world which needs to react to real time analytics and also be available to multiple channels.
  5. Final word for Oracle. I’m picking them out as they are the ones who do not have the strongest message according to the reports and if you look at one of their most recent campaigns, to displace Documentum, it was very negative in style. I do think there is an opportunity for Oracle. Their Applications business is strong, they have a strategy on Cloud and they have solutions for Big Data. They also have a leading product for WEM in the old Fatwire product. There could be a compelling story in there, they have the components, not all in the best condition, they just need a real shake and a vision for how these components together can be of value.

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