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Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Changing ECM/WCM Landscape

Recently I wrote that more consolidation of ECM space appears plausible – that would be bringing together platform/infrastructure players, portal players, ECM players together. This was written based on Opentext buying Hummingbird and IBM offering to takeover Filenet. When the Filenet news came, I wrote that this is now going to bring into shaper focus the competition between the major players in the ECM/WCM space. Once can expect more action centered on acquisition by the majors – Oracle, HP, EMC & may be Microsoft( actually it has a different approach in terms of the product play than rest of the players – but ironically, in my view, if anybody they must be acquiring the likes of filenet – if not for anything else atleast for the customer base! And gain a firmer foothold). Almost all players in the ECM/WCM space may now be looking at merger/exit strategies that may include the well known players like Vignette, Interwoven, Stellant etc.. besides BEA. John Newton, co-founder of Documentum and the main force behind Alfresco writes on IBM buying Filenet as signifying that consolidation is truly on its way. He also confirms my earlier view that clearly, the reason for these mergers is not for technology, but for market share and customer base. As he sees it with the level of overlapping technology in these systems, the problems inherent in consolidating the repositories must be outweighed by the desire to consolidate customers. Alluding similarlity to the developments in late 80s and early 90s in the relational database industry when Oracle took on DEC’s RdB products and IBM purchased Informix, he says that these acquisitions can only accelerate the continuing consolidation of the industry. He too does not foresee Vignette & Interwoven to continue as standalone players for long. He further expects that the standardization process shall get accelerated - all the major vendors - IBM, Oracle, and EMC - have a reason to create a standardized way of accessing their repositories. it helps customers to access each other’s repositories and further provides a consistent way of accessing their own repositories. His insight : In the relational database world, standardization preceded consolidation, but in the content management world, it seems to be happening the other way around. Look for more action in this space in the months to come.

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