At the Gilbane Conference keynote today, execs from ECM vendors Alfresco, Oracle, IBM, and Adobe focussed on -- perhaps inevitably -- Enterprise 2.0. The overall gist was: enterprises should focus on sharing information rather than just controlling it.
Well of course that's true. But it's always been true. So I couldn't help feeling a sense of irony inasmuch as each of those vendors were proponents of the kind of über-centralized infrastructures and enterprisey controls that they are now telling those very same customers are no longer cool. It was just a year ago when these same guys were going on about Sarbanes-Oxley.
And even today, they are sending mixed messages. Twice in recent months I've heard an IBM enterprise content management (ECM) rep describe ROI as "Risk of Incarceration." Fear-based selling anyone? Oracle's new Stellent step-child is moving away from its Web CMS roots to do more heavyweight document and records management. Adobe acts like AJAX doesn't exist. Alfresco built a very complicated and rather user-unfriendly development framework that only a Java systems architect could love.
So while the ECM vendor talking heads get excited about their new religion, their companies are actually praying to different gods when it comes to selling enterprise information management on the ground.