ECM deconstructs to TCM, IG and WCM?

We wouldn’t want to be left out of the new year preview craze and we do publish fairly lengthy end-of-year reviews and year-ahead previews, along with an M&A Outlook, for 451 clients — the full text of the information management reports are here and here and the M&A Outlook for Software starts here (451 Group client log in required for these).

One of my thoughts in our 2009 preview on information management is the title of this post.

I don’t think ECM (enterprise content management) has ever been a particularly well defined market.  It started out earlier in this decade as an idea, a way to talk about the need to rationalize repositories and content apps.  Then it became a market category, a way to talk about content management vendors (mostly those focused on document management really) whether there was really an “enterprise” component to deployments or not.

I think the “ECM” moniker may be nearing the end of its usefulness now (if it was ever apt or useful in the first place).  WCM (web content management) has already splintered off as it became clear that web content is really not just another type of content to be managed by a central repository.  Today WCM is more about online marketing and often ties at least as much to marketing automation and CRM products as it does to other document management apps in an enterprise.

Other “ECM” vendors are focused on TCM (transactional content management), the business process apps (claims processing, loan origination and so forth) that have been the bread and butter for ECM vendors like EMC Documentum and IBM FileNet for years.  We’re seeing more sophistication here, more ties to enterprise business apps (e.g., HR, financial) and more attempts at end-to-end offerings that include capture and document output/presentment.

The other, perhaps bigger, trend for the year ahead is the focus on ‘information governance’ (the IG in the title above) the term many vendors are applying to efforts and product lines aimed at proactive information  management for compliance and eDiscovery purposes.  Information governance from a product perspective generally includes archiving (mostly email), records/retention management and eDiscovery tools.  Here we find ECM vendors like EMC, IBM and Open Text, as well as CA, Symantec, Autonomy and others that have no stake in “ECM” of the TCM variety at all.

What do we mean when we say “ECM” these days?  Vendors like Autonomy and Symantec don’t generally claim to be in the ECM business, but yet they will be increasingly competing with the likes of IBM FileNet, EMC and Open Text for ‘information governance’ business.  It will be interesting to watch how the competitive dynamics (and nomenclature) shakes out in the year ahead.

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#1 Tom on 01.07.09 at 11:15 am

ECM was always a slightly awkward term. It generally described a set of architectural capabilities with little regard for the actual business problems they solved. The shift to looking more closely at the business problem has, as you noted, broadened the pool of potential vendors in the “space formerly known as ECM”. I think this is a good development for the industry and a great development for customers.

#2 Open Text banks on “ECM” — Too much information on 01.08.09 at 2:09 pm

[…] ← ECM deconstructs to TCM, IG and WCM? […]

#3 AIIMing for Philly — Too much information on 03.24.09 at 12:30 pm

[…] for compliance and eDiscovery purposes.  We’re in the early stages of a report on the emergence of “information governance” as a sector within […]

#4 Matthew A. Johnson on 04.27.09 at 7:14 pm

ECM was the buzz of projects from the 2000-2008. Its now all about content governance, especially when it comes to content distribution across social media, blogs, twitter. No longer is a it a large traditional CMS/ECM from Interwoven, Documentum, MSFT. Its now all about smaller relevant content that can be easily distributed using various social channels.

#5 A report on information governance - is that what we call it? — Too much information on 05.13.09 at 9:40 am

[…] we’ve noted before, some are calling this “information governance.”  So is this a report on the […]