Twelve Predictions for 2008
By The CMS Watch Analyst Team at 2007-12-18 00:01:00 |
It's that time of year again. The CMS Watch analyst team ponders what to expect next year, and offers 12 predictions that we think will shape content technologies in 2008.
Archiving becomes a prime focus for ECM vendors
Whether e-mails or regular documents, the need to shift large volumes of dated and dormant data to compliant archives is becoming an IT priority. In 2008 we will see a major shift among established ECM vendors from managing active information to the archiving of redundant information. Storage vendors such as HP will move in on the space aggressively to compete against EMC, IBM, and Open Text -- all in all good news for technology buyers as more thought and understanding of lifecycle management will go into the selling of archival and storage related systems for content. Meanwhile, one new vendor on this landscape will take particular notice...
Google will make a bid to become the World's Content Repository
Seeing the enormous archiving opportunity, and leveraging their own unique computing capacities, Google will offer to store anyone's data, of any kind (in any quantity), and make it queryable via SQL, XQuery, keyword search, and/or other options. We suspect Google will try to convince you to use your existing storage (whatever it is: file system, database, etc.) as a cache, with The Truth stored on Google servers somewhere in the great Google cloud. For many smaller enterprises, this could be an attractive proposition, but as Google has already learned in other applications, searching the web and reliably storing enterprise information are two very different businesses.
-- Kas Thomas
MOSS enters the valley of disappointment
SharePoint will continue to grow at viral rates as a low cost, low touch, document collaboration system. But in 2008 we will see the start of a noticeable backlash, particularly among larger enterprises.
The backlash will be two-fold. First larger enterprises will exhibit major compliance and litigation discovery issues across numerous unmanaged and unaccountable SharePoint locations. You will also see a backlash against sizable development costs and times to build maintainable applications in the MOSS environment. With the more complex SharePoint projects struggling to launch, customers are realizing a disconnect between Redmond's heavy promotion and the realities of a product that is significantly less out-of-the-box than most expect.
Return of the buyers' market
After years of ubiquitous scarcity among experienced consultants and product integrators, a slowing world economy could give buyers more options in the search for good services support. To be sure, you're likely to see continuing deficits in certain hot areas (e.g., SharePoint expertise, advanced Drupal architectures, and so on). But on the whole, especially later in 2008, you should see a hungrier integrator and consultancy community, as customers at least slow down their heretofore ambitious implementation plans.
One interesting side note: to get the most of their money, we see buyers increasingly beginning to exchange experiences, not just at conferences, but via formal and informal networks.
-- Janus Boye
Web 2.0 exhaustion
"Web 2.0" will finally garner enough momentum to have everyone fall asleep at the slightest mention of the term. Already usage of the term seems to be subsiding, even as some of the underlying concepts (user-generated content, web-based social networking, AJAX interfaces, and so on...) become more ubiquitous.
The realization that Web 2.0 is not a secret sauce containing seven secret herbs and spices will suddenly sink in. Instead of endlessly debating whether garlic or oregano should be in the mix, we'll get back in the kitchen cooking up new content management recipes.
Social Software vendor collision
So what is replacing Web 2.0? You got it: "Enterprise 2.0" Like its predecessor, the term is vague, but the phenomenon is real. And there are vendor battles brewing.
Many early social computing platforms (e.g., Awareness) have targeted public use cases for media outlets, consumer goods firms, and start-ups, providing various services for interacting with public customers. But as with most new technologies, the bigger prize lies behind the firewall, and many Enterprise 2.0 vendors are looking to translate their experience into supporting collaboration and networking on enterprise intranets.
This makes good sense, but here, the newfangled products will collide directly with the ambitions of incumbent Web CMS/Portal/ECM/ERP vendors, who all want to capture the Enterprise 2.0 mantle themselves. Look for the upstarts to compete on usability and functionality, while the more traditional information management vendors tout security and native access to existing information stores. You've seen this collision elsewhere before. And the key to sorting it out, of course, is proper business scenario analysis. Look for more on this topic from us in the coming year. In the meantime, Facebook will serve as a kind of laboratory...
-- Tony Byrne
Facebook backlash in the enterprise
Facebook is growing at stratospheric rates, with substantial momentum among professionals in general and media and technology companies in particular, the latter in some cases looking to supplement or replace their Intranets with this exciting (and free) new collaboration and social networking platform. Other enterprises will experiment in their wake, and in many cases, will retreat in disappointment.
Why? Despite Facebook's well-deserved reputation for supporting presence and communications services, enterprises will learn that it is not an ideal platform for information-oriented collaboration, and therefore at best it can only supplement more serious information management toolsets. Of course, given the dreadful user experience working in most heavyweight packaged application solutions, any friendly new interface is a welcome development, but behind Facebook lurks deeper problems of access control (very coarse-grained) and security. Security has always been important, but we think next year it will become an even bigger deal -- read on....
-- Tony Byrne
Security and Identity Management trump functionality for buyers
Security and Information Rights Management will become areas of key focus for those managing large ECM implementations. This will be driven by the need to align ECM systems with emergent SOA strategies, and the realization that application-specific security for documents is no longer sufficient. As such, buyers will be demanding better integration with federated and corporate-wide identity management mechanisms -- from the repository all the way down to the document level.
Finally bridging web analytics and online marketing
2007 was the year that web analytics vendors talked about tighter integration with online marketing vendors. 2008 will be the year that companies begin to buy into the promise of this integration.
Analytics vendors are continuing to productize their APIs after ironing out initial integration issues. Customers are starting to mature their analytics beyond basic reporting -- to guide targeted e-mails, personalized offers, and focused segmentation.
With this growing maturity, customers will focus more on going to the next level...integrating third party marketing vendor data with analytics, so that the web analytics UI becomes the single interface for viewing all costs, revenues, ordering and demographics-based segment data; offline channel performance, such as that from call centers and direct mail; and for making real time decisions on marketing and content delivery, behavioral targeting and multivariate testing.
At the same time, we will probably not see a near-term resolution to the debate over where this online marketing data warehouse is best seated, and it make take more than a year for enterprise business intelligence specialists to weigh in fully on the matter.
-- Phil Kemelor
Search is dead....Not!
In 2008 you'll hear vast pronouncements that "search is dead," particularly as enterprise search vendors' marketing continues to shift en masse towards the concept of "information access platforms." This is a chimera.
Our recent research for the Enterprise Search Report suggests that getting enterprise search to work at a fundamental level still requires a lot of basic heavy lifting. So while vendors can rave about faceted navigation, "social search," and natural-language processing, who really cares when oftentimes we still can't type in a single keyword and get the thing we're looking for? If your enterprise search system can't work with your most important file formats and repositories across the enterprise, or can't make sure the wrong person doesn't get access to a confidential document, what good is it, really?
That's why we're seeing a renewed focus on search fundamentals in 2008. Cleaning up content. Building a better index. Ensuring content security, both early-binding and late-binding, at a granular level where necessary. Providing more and semantically richer hooks into content with consistent meta data. Treating large implementations as real applications that need proper software development lifecycle practices -- if the search software allows! And, please -- a simplification of the search results page. Options are one thing, but to have "facets," "buckets," and "folders" all in one set of results doth not make for a more usable experience.
Savvy enterprises will focus on getting these search basics right, then maybe turning their attention to social tag clouds on results pages....in 2009.
Productization of Search Platforms
Though there's a clear sense of a return to search basics, at the same time the Google Appliance -- whatever its limitations -- still has other vendors in a fit. Google can deliver a turn-key solution that will start indexing within the hour of receiving the shiny box. We suspect many a CIO will find a blue GSA or yellow Mini under his corporate Christmas Tree.
But with that promise of instant gratification, out goes the notion that enterprise search is worthy of a year-long implementation, carefully crafting custom solutions from the toolkits, APIs, and libraries other vendors offer. Across the board, we see search engines being turned into products you could actually install and run.
Coveo realized it had another advantage than just the one-uppance over SharePoint's search: a single setup.exe and an easy-to-use web interface. Oracle came out with Secure Enterprise Search -- basically, Oracle in a box, albeit cardboard instead of a 19" rack server. A Microsoft partner first contemplated whether orange would be next year's hot data center couture, but quickly realized a free download would be a better gift. Even IBM, with a search smörgåsbord so broad their own consultants are often at a loss explaining the options, managed to produce stand-alone search (though, true to form, not one, but two very different products).
For 2008, expect a demo CD with your favorite computer magazine -- and this time, your coasters or doorstops won't be Compuserve and AOL, but an enterprise search engine with all the trimmings.
We'll have 12 new predictions next year
Analyst firms love to make predictions, and we're no different. But you should understand that technology does not move in neat calendar cycles. Fads can crest and fade in one scant season. The really important, seismic shifts happen over years, or even decades.
Among the technologies we cover, we see enormous experimentation occurring at the user interface level, but really serious legacy challenges on the back-end, especially as enterprises emerge from a SOAPy hang-over. Arguably the biggest innovation in IT over last few years -- ubiquitous server virtualization -- has had only minor impact on content technologies. Equity market fluctuations will shape vendor merger and acquisitions activity far more than technology compatibility and roadmaps. And so, next year could see major changes that none of us could foresee.
What should you do? Keep focused on specific business objectives. Someone in your enterprise should be thinking about The Next Big Thing, but not at the expense of undertaking the hard work of real information and process analysis today.
-- Tony Byrne
Good luck, and best wishes for the New Year!