This feature is by way of an introduction to the current situation in the ECM market. Techworld had a session with CYA's CEO, Wayne Crandall, and asked him some questions as we explored the ECM landscape.

Techworld: What is the current state of the ECM market?

Wayne Crandall: The ECM market continues to grow and become more focused given the consolidation that has and will continue to occur, and the reentry of Microsoft with MOSS ’07.

Gartner and AIIM predict that the growth will be spurred by vendors rounding out their product portfolios with records management, business process management, and web content management offerings, as well as with vertical applications that will sit on top of the ECM application. These vertical applications will focus on helping organizations meet specific compliance initiatives required in heavily regulated industries such as life sciences.

All in all, the traditional ECM vendors are trying to establish their systems as the standard repository while embracing the departmental deployments of SharePoint. In addition, newer ECM system versions from the leading vendors are addressing key functional needs but also creating migration challenges that will need to be overcome.

ECM systems will continue to become more complex given the blending of many different applications into a single solution, creating needs in areas such as migration services, mobile applications, and granular information recovery.

Techworld: Please compare and contrast the main suppliers in the ECM market please.

Wayne Crandall: Today the market is dominated by EMC, IBM and Open Text. IBM and EMC tend to focus on enterprise wide solutions in mission critical environments, while Open Text appears to focus on the large and mid-tier sectors. Keep your eyes on Oracle given its acquisition trail, which beefs up their total ECM product portfolio. Oracle has the muscle to impact all the players in the market, but of course the Microsoft factor is key.

Recent numbers show that Microsoft has secured more than four times the customer base of any one ECM vendor, and their revenues are twice as much as either Documentum or IBM FileNet. Microsoft’s ease of initial deployment is perceived as a possible cost savings, however this may not be the case for companies needing more customized deployments.

Techworld: What is the influence of SharePoint in this market?

Wayne Crandall: Microsoft wields significant influence when it believes there is enough market opportunity to support its investments. Early results show that SharePoint is gaining adoption rates at an accelerated pace.

How they will affect the other ECM vendors is hard to tell give the investments existing customer have made in developing their current applications. However, given the recent announced acquisition of Fast by Microsoft, they are committing to this market area, so the influence will be significant. All vendors in this market will need to formulate a strategy to support and embrace SharePoint as its use grows everyday by all levels of users.


Techworld: Is open source a real contributor to this market?

Wayne Crandall: The market seems to be moving cautiously here, but companies like Day Software and Alfresco—headed up by a co-founder of Documentum and the COO of Business Objects—are gaining some market mindshare and may be a force to reckon within the coming years, although it is still too early to tell.

Complex, mission critical applications may be wary of open source ECM given possible exposures from multiple development sources and the highly customized environments required. Time will tell where open source applications such as ECM will prosper, but for any open source application, it may need deeper pockets to penetrate the market.

Techworld: What is happening with HP in ECM?

Wayne Crandall: The market’s ripe for consolidation, and HP could be looking at acquiring some of the few remaining independent ECM vendors such as Open Text or Vignette. HP is a big player in the storage space, and archiving and information lifecycle management (ILM) are going to be important ECM growth areas for them this year, and will help them maintain their position in the storage market.

HP could look to better integrate its ILM and storage portfolios with ECM applications. Either way, ECM is most likely on HP’s radar screen in 2008. But as I said, keep your eyes on Oracle as well.

Techworld: How is all this consolidation talk going to affect ECM customers?

Wayne Crandall: After the dust settles around whatever acquisitions and mergers 2008 has in store, the industry will remain very competitive. Price points will continue to drop, and integration with other business processes will be eventually become easier.

The challenge will be to integrate the various technologies and migrate existing install bases without impacting users. Customer satisfaction and retention will continue to be a strong theme even as new demands are placed on ECM systems.


Techworld: What factors are going to drive ECM purchase decisions this year?

Wayne Crandall: Compliance will be a major driver in ECM-related investments in 2008. Here in the U.S., new or increasingly stringent regulations from the Food and Drug Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency—as well as legislation such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure eDiscovery Amendment—are causing enterprise IT managers to sit up and take notice.

For example, metadata—document-related audit trails and workflow data—has played a significant role in recent legal cases and audits, and is increasingly recognized as discoverable in legal trials. ECM does a remarkable job at managing this critical information.

In particular, ECM purchase decisions will be driven by the records management capabilities available with ECM systems, because they help companies to reduce compliance and litigation risks, as well as realize business efficiencies.

Companies that already have ECM systems will put dollars towards protecting their investment with ECM-specific granular recovery solutions. These solutions protect companies against partial information loss incidents by enabling them to recover one or thousands of pieces of information back into the ECM repository in its original state without any ECM system downtime.

According to AIIM International and Strategic Research, partial information loss, which is caused by common incidents such as user, programmatic, and logical errors, malfeasance, viruses, and metadata corruption, accounts for over eighty percent of information loss.

Traditional backup and recovery solutions aren’t suitable for protecting companies against this type of loss for various reasons. Most don’t validate and preserve the integrity of the original links between content and metadata that are so critical to maintaining compliance with mandates requiring the preservation of audit trails and other information.

In addition, traditional solutions require a full restore and cause additional data loss when the system is rolled back to the last known good state. ECM-specific granular recovery solutions such as our CYA SmartRecovery™ enable a single administrator to restore only the lost or corrupt information back to its original state in the repository without any ECM system downtime.

Techworld: What does CYA stand for?

Wayne Crandall: Officially? Well, the sign on our office door says that we ensure the “Continuity of Your Assets.”