AIIM perspectives

Is there anything new under the ECM sun? I heard lots of folks commenting this week at the annual AIIMExpo that there doesn’t appear to be.  I found some interesting nuggets though; here’s a sampling:

Open source – maybe I seek these ones out but I think the presence of open source at these content management shows is obviously growing – I’ve commented on this before.  I met with Alfresco, KnowledgeTree and Nuxeo (briefly).

I expected to hear a good deal of talk about information governance. I didn’t really, though there were certainly lots of sessions on the agenda in this vein that I missed. Instead I seemed to hear more about “nuts-and-bolts” ECM – customers, this year in particular, seem to be looking to solve specific process problems with specific apps and are less interested in talking about the “E” in content management. Not sure what that means as far as information governance goes, other than there’s an obvious need to tie governance strategies directly to content apps.

SaaS – I met with SpringCM, which has added more partners building apps on its SaaS ECM platform. Hyland Software also notes decent growth for its OnBase OnLine product.

The ECM heavyweights continue to duke it out. No major changes on this front, though Oracle appears to be more of a disruptive force than it was a year ago, as it ties UCM more aggressively (both technically and from a licensing perspective) to its various apps. I met with some Oracle folks that claim a “triple-digit” growth rate for Oracle’s UCM group in Oracle’s FY08 over the revenue previously generated separately by Stellent and Oracle’s ContentDB product.

SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint – this pervasiveness is not news really. I didn’t go to any sessions specifically intended to be about SharePoint but still I heard about technologies to ensure disposition policies on SharePoint content, manage enterprise meta data structures tied to SharePoint, extend SharePoint’s ECM functions and so on. I also met with several vendors that basically compete with SharePoint from various angles and such discussions aren’t complete without analysis those competitive strategies.

In general, AIIM seemed quiet to me this year and those manning booths also commented that foot traffic seemed light. Some of that is no doubt simply because travel is being restricted all around, but like others, I wonder a bit about the relevancy of AIIMExpo going forward.  I don’t necessarily think that folks are going to stop going to tradeshows, but perhaps they want events that are more tailored to a particular vertical and/or technology.  AIIMExpo is a bit hard to pin down, covering content technologies at such a high level as it does. There’s a strong focus on apps that include capture and imaging to be sure, but other than that, it’s a bit of a mish-mash. FatWire Software was the only major independent WCM vendor I saw, despite a full WCM track.  And I didn’t see any social software vendors, even though Tony Byrne gave what I heard was a lively session on the topic.

As for my session on WCM + social software, it was somewhat lightly attended, though it was pitted against 9 other sessions (!), so that’s not exactly surprising. But the audience was engaged and we had some good discussion about adding social components to an existing site versus building a community site that sits as something of a separate arm off the main site.

There were lots of heads nodding when I talked about a move to consolidate social tools – for those orgs that have put up a WordPress blog over here and a wiki over there or maybe a discussion forum for customer support, and now wondering how to pull these together for better profile management, content re-use and overall consistency.  This could bode well for WCM vendors already running the main .com site for such a customer, but most WCM vendors still have a ways to go on the social software front.  Something for discussion at the next content management show, I’m sure…

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#1 Bryan House on 04.03.09 at 10:57 am

Nice summary, Kathleen. I’m glad to see open source at the top of the list. Can you post or share your slides?

#2 Kathleen Reidy on 04.06.09 at 3:12 pm

Bryan, thanks, I’ll send you the slides.

Conference attendees can get the slides here:

#3 Jay Batson on 04.09.09 at 4:20 pm

Kathleen —

My session, too, was lightly attended, and I agree with you that overall conference numbers were off. I think this conference isn’t going to be a focus for WCM; the markets are just too different (ECM vs. WCM), and I think the WCM market needs a home / conference of its own.

The thing that makes WCM different is that it is (often) less about the technology, and more about what you’re accomplishing with it – something more like SXSW than AIIM. We liked SXSW, but I don’t think it’s what enterprise customers would view as a “WCM conference.” I think there’s a gap in the market, but not sure who is best to fill it. What do you think?

#4 Kathleen Reidy on 04.13.09 at 8:35 am

Hi Jay,

Yes, I agree that WCM (and social software) stick out at AIIM, as they often do when talking about “ECM.” The Gilbane conferences are the most vendor-neutral WCM-focused events, I think.

#5 Stephane Croisier on 05.13.09 at 9:22 am

>but most WCM vendors still have a ways to go on the social software front

Should WCM actors really compete directly against Social Software players? I am not so sure. I think this would be better to have social software which could better integrate with existing Portal or WCM front-end aggregation servers.

For the moment most Social Software are proprietary (and often packaged only as a SaaS offering), do not support any standard such as OpenSocial, CMIS, AtomPub, JCR,… So customers have to try to redo similar solutions if they want something hosted internally. And they try to do it with their Portal or WCM.

Quite a lost of time and money. Why are we not seeing a more expanded market for “social portlets/mashups providers”? How easy it would be for the customers to choose among several social portlets which could exchange data thanks to better support for standards such as OpenSocial or CMIS. And WCM could focus on doing their jobs of aggregating or repurposing information rather than spreading out resources in redoing another blog, another discussion forum and another event calendaring system.

So a msg for Social Software in 2009: please try think now in term of content interoperability.


#6 Kathleen Reidy on 05.13.09 at 9:57 am

Hi Stephane,

That’s a great and very interesting comment. I think “social software” means lots of different things and in some cases, a fully outsourced, SaaS-based community service best meets the need. But sites in general are becoming more social and I don’t see how WCM vendors can leave all types of social features to third parties – clearly they’re not doing this.

More interoperability and standards-based tools makes sense, you definitely see more of this on the open source side and hopefully that will help drive the larger market.