The Shifting Sands of ECM Platforms
If you have a large load to carry, you probably will use a truck. For a light load, you may favor a snazzy sports convertible. What if you really love the way your sports car looks and feels, but you want to haul a large load? Well, apart from put on a tow hitch and cross your fingers that it will not destroy your engine, nothing. But what if you could simply swap out the engine and wheels for something that would be up to the job? Now we are walking in the world of possibilities that are becoming available in ECM today.
I am probably not alone in noticing the huge upswing in companies switching their platforms to get better performance, scalability, compliance or lower cost. Five years ago, if a company had invested a small fortune in an ECM platform, they would squeeze every last use case out of it, however unsuitable.
Now, it is becoming easier and cheaper to switch, and to run multiple platforms side by side (and to continue the car analogy, to add the tow-hitches to connect the systems via layers such as CMIS).
In the last month alone we have had customers contact us about the following:
• Migrating from Documentum to Alfresco
• Migrating from SharePoint to Documentum
• Migrating from OpenText to SharePoint
• Spinning off from a parent company’s Documentum system to Nuxeo
• And none of these were the result of mergers where you expect some system switches
Laurence Hart, early this year, wrote in his Word of Pie blog about the emerging separation of interface from platform. The side-effect of this separation becoming possible is that companies are realizing that the business applications and interfaces they work with do not have to be tied to or driven by the platform; and this in turn seems to be leading to an acceleration of companies switching platforms. This, and the falling price (increasing commoditization) of content management.
This makes the entire ECM world completely different from what it was even three years ago. No longer is it enough for third party vendors or consultants to specialize on a single "leading" platform - agility across the spectrum, and focus on business applications and front end, is now key. In the (too many) years I have been involved in ECM, this is definitely the most exciting time.
Finally – ECM is giving the focus to the users and what they need to achieve, rather than buying a one-size-fits-all vehicle never mind how much luggage you have to transport.