Entries Tagged '2.0' ↓

E2.0 wrap-up

Another event, another post-event wind down.  I had limited time at the Enterprise 2.0 conference this year so only got a limited view of what was happening.  Some general takeaways anyway:

The SharePoint Factor.  This was the title of a session I attended – a good one – put on by Amy Vickers, VP, Global Enterprise Solutions at Razorfish.  The session abstract asks the big question, “How does the SharePoint competition stand a chance?”  She asked at the beginning of the session how many in the audience were either using or planning to use SharePoint.  I think I was one of about 5 people who didn’t raise a hand.  Obviously a it was a session on SharePoint, but still.

In another session, there was a question about integration standards and whether audience members would like to see social software vendors support the JSR portal standards or OpenSocial or what.  Silence.  Then one attendee raised his hand to say he didn’t care about the standards but as he walked around the show floor looking at all the independent players, all he wants to see is – how does it integrate with SharePoint?  The SharePoint factor indeed.

Are portals back? A related and surprisingly lively and interesting topic, especially for me as I spent years covering the portal market and working as a product manager on an enterprise portal product.  I’ve heard repeatedly that portals were “dead.”  Not so apparently.  It’s been obvious for awhile that social software products are starting to look like portals, with UIs turning into somewhat configurable, personalized dashboards with data coming from different underlying tools (e.g., tag cloud, forum posts, wiki activity etc.).  But it seems things are going one step further with products from MindTouch, Telligent and Atlassian all heading more towards portal-like features even if they’re not calling them that (most stick with “platform”).  Others, like Bluenog, are pushing the portal idea more explicitly.  In any case, this mostly includes the ability to aggregate and/or integrate data or functions from tools / apps outside of the purview of the social software vendor.

There was even a portal session with panelists Larry Bowden from IBM and Vince Casarez of Oracle.  Here the point being made was that the raison d’etre of portals hasn’t changed — customers are still looking to aggregate services and info for different audience groups in a way that is secure and roles-based (if not actually personalized).  And that this can be a perfect delivery vehicle for newer social features via an environment users are already familiar with.  Not sure portals in many cases have had the adoption to make that last statement as true as the portal vendors might like it to be.  But there is something to their argument that these newer products don’t necessarily need to reinvent the aggregation, security and delivery mechanisms already found in portals.   In any event, interesting to see a breath of new life in the portal market.  And let’s not forget there’s a portal component in SharePoint…

Use cases not tools.  This was another recurring theme I heard across meetings and sessions.  We’re thankfully moving beyond the discussion of blogs, wikis and so on, to discuss customer support, sales team effectiveness, innovation management, brand development and the like.  This shows some much needed maturity in the market, but also makes it perhaps even  more difficult for vendors to differentiate; anyone can sell (or at least try to sell) a use case.  There were still a lot of vendors on the show floor this year, though I’d bet fewer than last year (but I don’t have that data), and lots more discussion of profitability, viability and risk.

What will it look like next year?  It seems to me part of the growing maturity is the realization that a lot of this social functionality needs to seep into other apps and business processes (that’s part of the portal discussion certainly).  I think that makes it harder for dicussions or events specifically on “E2.0” as it is really so many different things depending on what exactly you’re trying to do and why.  There will undoubtedly be a show next year, but I wonder for how many years after that?  We should remember that this used to be called the Collaborative Technologies Conference and still so many of the ideas discussed remind me of knowledge management conferences ten years ago.  We’ll keep talking about these things, but I’m not sure how much longer under the “2.0” umbrella.

Open source social web content management questions

I want to revisit a few of the relevant questions that came via the webinar I did last week with Bryan House from Acquia on open source social publishing.  We got to some of these on the call, but not all, and some of the more market-level questions seem worthy of sharing.

The webinar focused on both the coming together of social software and WCM, and on open source content management; these questions do too.

Q: Why is open source a disruptive force in the social web CMS space?

I started out my part of the preso talking a little bit about The 451 Group and our focus on disruption and innovation in IT.  I mentioned this includes disruptive technologies, business models or larger market changes.  Open source certainly fits into the disruptive business model category (though, I know, open source is not a business model).   Open source can impact how technology in a particular sector is developed, distributed, procured, priced and supported.  This isn’t new in content management; open source projects like Drupal have been around for quite some time.

But as more vendors are making a go of businesses tied to open source code in content management, the dynamic is changing.  Open source is becoming more of a viable option in content management for even the largest of organizations and that is something that is only going to get more pronounced.   And some of the open source projects (like Drupal and WordPress) seem to do a particularly noteworthy job of tying CMS and social software capabilities (of varying types) together.  An interesting fact, I think, as it shows that when a community drives software development in this area, it combines these two areas together, an indication of what the larger market may want.

Q: Tools like Interwoven or Vignette are often described as more “enterprise-ready” than open source alternatives?  How big is the delta?  How should I evaluate whether particular differences are important?

In general, Interwoven, Vignette et al. have had more of a focus on online marketing capabilities the last couple of years and so have more in the way of content targeting, analytics, multivariate testing and so forth to offer.  But I don’t think this is what people usually mean when they say a CMS is “enterprise ready” — I think that’s more to do with things like LDAP/AD support, migration and upgrade tools, platform/commercial database support and so on.  The reality is that a lot of commercial open source content management vendors do offer these capabilities but often only in an “enterprise” edition of the code that may only be available under a commercial license. The key is just to ensure that a particular distribution meets your requirements under a license that works for your project.

Q: What questions should I ask a vendor to understand how tightly integrated their social software and web content management capabilities are?

There are several models here.  Some vendors have built some social capabilities directly into their WCM products, basically with the idea that most of this as it relates to content sites isn’t too much more than defining a content type (e.g., blog, comment, profile) and its attributes.  Some mostly support plugging in third-party blogs, forums etc.  Others have separate social software modules.  In some cases these have come via acquisitions and others have been built from scratch and so integration levels vary.  Some share a content repository and some don’t.  So there’s quite a bit of variety and, as usual, it’s mostly just important to make sure however a vendor has done it works for your project.  If you just want to add support for comments to an existing content-heavy site, using the integrated features from a WCM vendor probably works fine. If it’s a full-blown, forum-heavy customer support site, more of a stand-alone product (whether from a WCM or social software vendor) might work best.

Q: How will the recent transactions (Vignette & Interwoven) impact this market?

The consolidation at the high end of the market has a number of vendors scrambling to get some advantage.  Competitor FatWire Software has a formal “rescue” program and others are certainly having similar discussions with customers.  Customers looking to migrate or to evaluate a wider field of WCM options may well look at open source, as the broader availability of products from commercial vendors makes this a more viable option.

Upcoming social software & open source events

In the midst of a busy month, working through some really intriguing stuff as part of our upcoming  Special Report on Information Governance, but I’ll also be part of some interesting upcoming events.

On June 17th, I’ll be in NYC taking part in an event being put on by open source CMS provider Squiz, as part of its US launch.   I’ll be presenting on trends in the WCM market with a specific focus on the growth of commercial open source content management.  This ties in somewhat with a report I did earlier in the year (for 451 Group clients), “Open source content management: It’s coming to America.”  This looked mostly at the trend of European open source CMS providers moving to the US market.  Squiz started out in lovely Sydney, Australia but is part of the same trend nonetheless.

Also in the open source realm, on June 18th, I’ll be taking part in a webinar hosted by Acquia, the commercial entity looking to put a commercial support and services for Drupal on the map.  Here we’ll be discussing open source surely but also the increasing overlap between WCM and social software.   This will reprise to some degree the talk I gave on this topic at the AIIM event in Philly earlier this year.

Then of course there is the Enterprise 2.0 show here in Boston, June 23-25.  I have limited time at the conference this year unfortunately (my information governance work beckons), but if you’ll be there drop me a line.

Industry veterans heading into social software

We don’t generally comment on executive changes specifically, unless there is something particulalry newsworthy about them.  We save such info for our overall company and business updates that go out as part of our Market Insight Service.

But two such announcements in the social software realm in one day seems noteworthy, particularly as they come from direct competitors.

Telligent Systems has a new CEO, Patrick Brandt, who replaces co-founder Rob Howard in the role.  Howard will continue as CTO.  Brandt was previously CEO of document output vendor Skywire Software, which was acquired by Oracle a year ago.

Jive Software has a new CMO, Ben Kiker, who has been CMO at Interwoven for the last several years and prior to that held roles at Siebel and Onyx.  The colorful Sam Lawrence, Jive’s previous CMO, left the company in March as part of what CEO Dave Hersh described as the company’s transition from a ‘big small company’ to a ‘small big company.’

Besides being announced on the same day, what else do these appointments have in common?

  • Both execs were recently part of M&A events, since Autonomy acquired Interwoven in January.
  • Both companies took sizable amounts of VC money — Telligent got a $20m investment from Intel Capital in September 2008 and Jive took $15m from Sequoia Capital in August 2007.  How much did that have to do with bringing in these more seasoned execs?  Often, it does quite a lot.  Much of Jive’s exec team has been replaced in the past year, many with ex-Mercury Interactive folks, after Tony Zingale, former President and CEO of Mercury Interactive, joined Jive’s board in February 2007.
  • Telligent and Jive are among the most promising of the independents at work in enterprise social software.  Bringing in more experienced enterprise software execs is hardly surprising and makes sense.

Different fortunes in social software

This economy is tough stuff for lots of small software vendors, but perhaps particularly those that are selling “improved productivity” or “enhanced collaboration” in the face of frozen IT budgets.  All is not doom and gloom however.  For example, Jive Software announced today that Q1 was its best quarter ever with 100% year-over-year revenue growth and its second quarter of being cash-flow positive.

Jive seems to be more the exception than the rule though as far as social software goes.  We know Mzinga has had two rounds of layoffs and a CEO change in recent months as it works towards profitability.  Similarly, Socialtext also had a small layoff and took additional funding — taking Socialtext’s total funding to about $18m.

What’s the difference between these vendors?  Some of it is technology certainly, but also a clarity of message.  I think Jive was early to market with what it is now calling “social business software” — in other words, a product that combines functions from multiple point tools (e.g., forums, wikis, social networking).   And Jive is playing in the big leagues versus large vendors selling enterprise deals for collaboration.  Selling deals for external, customer community sites also helps, as some of the external initiatives funded from marketing budgets are holding up better than large internal collab deals.

And from my perspective as an analyst in the content management realm, I also see a lot of WCM vendors coming out with more legit social software products – Day Software and EPiServer are two recent ones that come to mind.  How will these products fare as part of broader WCM suites?  Will they be the de facto choice for customers that use WCM products from these vendors?  Or has the market gone a different direction?  This is something I’ve blogged about before, but the social products from WCM vendors are getting stronger so the issue is becoming more real.

The noise in the enterprise social software market has certainly begun to die down and that is a good thing.  Looking forward to Enterprise 2.0 this year and the chance to hear more about what’s working and what’s not.

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…

What will NOT be in the next version of SharePoint

I might catch a lot of readers with that title, but of course I don’t really know for sure what will and won’t be in the next version of SharePoint.  Microsoft is still mum on the topic and I suspect will remain so until the SharePoint Conference slated for October.  This event was held in March last year; it seems logical it has been delayed this year to time the event with Office 14 announcements specific to SharePoint.

I read Guy Creese’s post last week on what he thinks will be in the next version of SharePoint and like Guy, I get a lot of questions in this vein.  I agree with Guy that SharePoint.next will have search improvements (we already know that one) and more sophisticated administration (we all hope). I’ll be surprised to see dramatic improvements in the transition between hosted and on-premise SharePoint in this version, I think the marketing is likely to lead the reality in this area for sometime to come, but perhaps I’ll be surprised.

I often get questions more specifically (from vendors) around what Microsoft isn’t going to do and reading Guy’s post, I thought it would be interesting to comment on what’s left out.

On the social software front…

There’s been some debate of late about whether or not SharePoint is an “Enterprise 2.0” tool at all (or what, in fact, that even means, if anything). But anyone who saw Lawrence Liu pitch SharePoint versus IBM Lotus Connections to a packed room at Enterprise 2.0 last year, would certainly assume Microsoft has ambitions in this area.  It’s worth noting however that Liu left Microsoft not long after that for Telligent Systems, which sells community software as an adjunct to SharePoint.  Liu presumably knows more about the SharePoint roadmap than we do, so looking at Telligent’s roadmap (limited version here) is probably a good indication of where Microsoft won’t go in social software in this next release (think community analytics, bridging internal and external communities, and feed aggregation).

It’s not about WCM.

Making SharePoint ubiquitous for content-based collaboration is Microsoft’s number one goal and this means improved admin, search and social software, to my mind.   So what will get left out?   I don’t think we’ll see any major changes on the WCM front.  Microsoft marketed the WCM capabilities in MOSS 2007 when it first came out, as it stopped development on its stand-alone WCM product, Microsoft CMS (which came from its 2001 acquisition of nCompass) in favor of Sharepoint.  But this seems to have died down and vendors like Sitecore are doing well selling more sophisticated WCM with SharePoint integrations, apparently with cooperation from Microsoft.  WCM for large, customer-facing sites, is really not where SharePoint strengths lie and Microsoft will likely let this one stand much as it is as it invests in other areas (Sitecore even sells a bundle for intranets, showing some market opportunity for WCM even in SharePoint’s sweet spot).

What about records management and archiving?

There’s some records management today in SharePoint, but it’s limited to SharePoint environments.  Improved admin across server farms could help here but it doesn’t seem likely Microsoft is going to go far beyond this and this doesn’t address the archiving issue at all.  Vendors like Open Text, Symantec and EMC are banking on their products’ abilities to manage and archive content (including email) from multiple repositories including SharePoint.  And this seems like a market that will be relatively immune to changes in SharePoint.next — indeed, changes that make SharePoint more popular are likely only good news to these vendors, at least in the short term.

I’m sure there are other gaps vendors are filling where they may be some continued opportunity after SharePoint.next, but those are the big ones that jump to my  mind.

From the Lotusphere…

In a surprisingly chilly Orlando, a surprisingly lively Lotusphere is going on this week.  IBM claims attendance is up 2% over a well attended event last year and in an environment when travel to events like this one is down.  That’s a good thing for IBM and the Lotus group, though Lotus loyalists are a fervent bunch and Lotusphere is an annual ritual for many (buttons like the one below, many with numbers much higher than this one, are worn proudly).

A perennial question for IBM is how to grow the market for the Lotus brand outside of this loyal group.  I agree with Mike Gotta from the Burton Group when he says in his pre-Lotusphere post this year:

“IBM needs a message that resonates beyond the “Notes faithful” that attend Lotusphere each year.”

Did I hear that message at Lotusphere?  I think it’s most accurate to say I heard some good attempts, some of which may well pan out but it’s too early to tell.

The most notable of these were IBM’s announcements around LotusLive (formerly known as Project Bluehouse).  LotusLive is a SaaS offering combining the web conferencing capabilities IBM got when it acquired WebDialogs in 2007 with file sharing and some of the social networking capabilities in Lotus Connections.  There’s also the inlusion of “hosted Notes” but the email components of LotusLive are likely to change and expand (especially given IBM’s acquisition of email provider Outblaze last week).

The main problem with LotusLive is that IBM is attempting to position it for two markets simultaneously, a tricky proposition.  On the one hand, it wants LotusLive to appeal to the SMB market, a sector that is definitely “beyond the Notes faithful” and a new market for Lotus.  But it is also positioning LotusLive as an extended collaboration environment for existing enterprise customers that want to collaborate with partners and clients in a secure, private, external environment.  Now these are both real and valid market opportunities, but they are different markets with different requirements and different competitors.  We’ve commented before on the difficulty of selling social software for both internal and external use cases and this will be compounded by the fact that Lotus is not a well established brand in the SMB market.

IBM has also continued to claim traction in the social software market and Lotus Connections is a strong product. The announced 2.5 release will add more capabilities, most notably the wiki that has been lacking to date, and Lotus clearly leads Microsoft in this area.   So far though, Connections seems to be having the biggest impact in the Notes installed base — that’s a good thing, as it’s one more reason for that Notes base to stay on Notes, but it doesn’t necessarily do much to attract new customers to Lotus.  We consistently hear that Lotus Connections is a strong competitor in Notes shops, but seen little elsewhere.

There could be some opportunity to sell Connections coupled with WebSphere Portal for use cases other than classic internal collaboration.  IBM claims adoption outside of the Notes installed base when Connections is tied to Portal but as noted earlier, external “social media” or community software is a fairly different market and one that IBM doesn’t seem to be after all that aggressively at the moment.

Also of note were demos of the latest enhancements to Lotus SameTime, showing that IBM continues to do a good job innovating in the area of on-premise software for real-time communications, another way that it can capture new customers.

The other major announcements at Lotusphere — Alloy, the jointly-developed SAP-Notes integration and extended integration with RIM’s BlackBerry devices — are mostly targeted at that loyal installed base of large customers.  Again, good in terms of keeping that installed base on board and happy, not to mention upselling them additional software but not exactly targeted at bringing new customers to the Lotus brand.

Saas, open source and “social media” at Gilbane 2008

There were several interesting things happening at The Gilbane Conference this year and for me, these mostly came up during the analyst panel I sat on yesterday afternoon with Melissa Webster from IDC, Stephen Powers from Forrester and Guy Creese from Burton Group.

Frank Gilbane moderated and asked us first to identify a couple of key trends we see for the year ahead and then what we had heard at the conference that we disagreed with.  Here are my responses:

Open source and SaaS have a bigger impact

I was the last panelist to answer the trends question and of course generally agreed with comments made by the other analysts about IT spending cuts and the impact of SharePoint on most segments of this market.  For my bit, I called attention to SaaS and open source and the increasing presence they have in various parts of content management.

Open source was particularly prevalent this year at Gilbane.  I met with folks from Acquia, Hippo, Magnolia, and eZ Systems, and noted that Alfresco, Mindtouch and Jahia were also there (there may have been others as well).  Hippo, Magnolia and eZ are notable as European open source providers that are starting or expanding US offices.  Based on the reported success of these and other vendors, it seems open source is an increasingly viable option in content management and one that may see increased adoption when IT budgets are tight.  This is something I hope to explore more with my CAOS colleagues next year.

SaaS also had a showing though a smaller one in terms of core content management.  Clickability and Crownpeak were there, the usual WCM SaaS suspects, and both report record growth so far in 2008.  But SaaS also shows up in many areas related to content management; web analytics has been a SaaS market for years and SaaS is the dominant model in areas like personalization and A/B or multivariate testing.  Social software is also largely SaaS, particularly in customer-facing environments.  I noted the panelists at the social media panel yesterday represented two SaaS (Awareness and WetPaint) and two open source vendors (Acquia and MindTouch).

Which brings me to my other point…

Social media is too broadly defined

I didn’t disagree with anything specifically that was said during the social media panel that occurred just before our analyst panel but noted (as did others) that lumping all kinds of social technologies under a “social media” banner causes too much confusion for everyone involved.  This panel really highlighted this as the conversation veered widely between internal collaboration goals, issues and technologies, and using social technologies to market to and serve customers online.  The panelists got confused at times about which thing was being discussed and it was clear from the questions being asked that there were some in the audience were confused as well.

I harped on about this in the presentation I gave at our client event last month.   The uses for social software internally are generally pretty different from what companies are trying to accomplish in customer-facing initiatives.  As a result, the requirements of the tools are different as well.  I think it is difficult for vendors to serve both markets (internal and external) well and I expect we’ll see more specialization along these lines in the year ahead.

Someone in the audience during the social media panel asked “don’t we have to be social internally before we can use these technologies with our customers?”  That’s a good question and I think the panel generally gave her an affirmative answer.  Not sure that I agree.  I think it certainly helps if an organization culturally gets social technologies and uses them for internal communication before embarking on some sort of external initiative.  But it’s still primarily about finding the right tool for XYZ job.  Ensuring that everyone internally is using Twitter doesn’t seem a pre-requisite before you get started on some other project, unless of course it really is a pre-requisite for that particular project.

One of my general points, and I saw a lot of nodding heads in the audience when I said this during the analyst panel, is that I generally remain unimpressed with the “newness” of all this, particularly for internal use.  I  noted on the analyst panel yesterday that when I was a product manager at Sun in 2002, we used the team collaboration product from Intraspect (ultimately bought by Vignette) for a lot of stuff.  It had shared workspaces, discussion forums, comments etc.  Is that really all that different from what we’re talking about with social software internally?  There are differences, I’m not saying there aren’t.  But it is an evolution, not a revolution.  That is less true, I think, when using social technologies to interact with customers where there are really fundamentally new models.  Which again gets to my point that these are different markets with different antecedents, different integration requirements, different cultural changes required…

In any event, lots of talk about social technologies at what has always been a content management conference.  There’s no apparent slow down in the collision of these two sectors.  I noted on the panel that this makes sense in the enterprise environment where social networking without a tie to content creation, sharing and access is, as Aaron Fulkerson put it during the social media panel “kind of boring.”

‘Tis the season…

…for back-to-back events that have thrown my blogging right out the window.  I know I’m supposed to blog before going to an event to facilitate meetings and then directly after to share useful info from the event, but it just didn’t happen.

Where I’ve been:

IBM Information-on-demand (IOD) in Vegas in late October.  This was my first trip to IOD and it was bigger and flashier than I expected.  I found it a bit hard for someone focused on content management to get too much out of the high-level presentations that aim to cover IBM’s overall information portfolio, including Cognos, DB2, FileNet and Content Manager, at the least.  I felt a bit as James Kobielus over at Forrester did, a bit surprised that compliance and risk management weren’t higher level themes at the event, given what’s going on in the financial world.  But the business optimization message IBM was hitting on is also increasingly relevant for those organizations (all?) being asked to figure out how to work smarter, more efficiently, and get by with reduced budgets at the moment.  I did also have a few useful sessions specifically on eDiscovery that were helpful in finishing up our special report on eDiscovery, due to hit the shelves any day now.

Next I went to Defrag in Denver, a bit of a culture shock from one week to the next to say the least.  Here I sat on a panel with Jonathan Yarmis from AMR Research and we discussed the future of industry analysts in the age of social media.  I think we were geared for a discussion of whether or not analysts are as outdated as newspapers, but we never really seemed to get there.  No one had the heart for it in the end.

As Nick detailed in his last post, our own 451 Group Client Conference took place here in Boston November 11-12.  This was surprisingly lively and well attended, considering the macro environment.  I met with quite a few investors interested in discussing ECM and collab opportunities at various stages of development.  All wasn’t as doom-and-gloom as I’d expected, except in Brenon Daly’s M&A panel…

At the event, I gave a preso with my views on where short-term opportunities lie in the broadly-defined content management market, especially when we’re hearing reports of declining IT spending in ECM specifically.  I tried to cover the landscape from the nascent social software market, which is splitting into markets for internal collaboration software and external, customer communities, all the way through the information governance strategies we’re starting to see from large ECM and info management vendors.

Now finally, the way I’m supposed to do this, next week, I’ll be at the Gilbane Conference again here in Boston.  I’ll be on the keynote analyst panel, which is always a pretty lively session covering a range of trends and topics in content management.  Gilbane has a big emphasis this year on social software and how it is changing the world of content management, so it should be a particularly timely and useful event.  Schedule is getting pretty tight already but let me know if you’ll be there and would like to meet.

Apologies for the travelogue, will be back up to semi-regular blogging after this week’s holiday.