Vibrancy in the ECM market

  • 16-Dec-2008

The ECM world is dominated by EMC, Open Text, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle -- all big vendors with equally big publicity machines to keep their brands and "story" right, front and center.

But of interest to me these last couple of months has been the news from lesser-known vendors such as Nuxeo and SpringCM. Different news from each to be sure, but evidence that mid-market vendors should be watched closely by buyers as those suppliers often have a more resilient and detailed ECM strategy, they just don't have such big marketing machines to explain it with.

So firstly Nuxeo. They released their first packaged application to provide functionality for correspondence management (mail, invoices, contracts etc) in late 2008. With a second planned application for mid 2009 in Digital Asset Management. Why is this interesting news? Well Nuxeo is one of only three serious ECM open source options (Alfresco and KnowledgeTree being the other two) -- and the one that most closely follows the traditional open source model of a vibrant, community-driven framework/platform approach to software. Added to this sign of corporate maturity (packaged applications), reportedly big revenue growth in 2008, and planned expansion into North America for 2009 -- it's evidence of open source growing as a real and credible option for ECM buyers.

Secondly SpringCM, who throughout 2008 has been announcing an ever broadening SaaS alternative for ECM. Their partner network is expanding, as are the number of industry-specific applications that those partners have built on the SpringCM platform. Many customers have asked me about SpringCM in 2008 and for a small firm they have certainly caught the market's attention.

They probably deserve their day in the sun. Their smartest moves in 2008 were offering free Records Management functionality, and their decision to push SaaS ECM as a development platform, an approach that flies in the face of most people's understanding of SaaS. But it's equally an approach that gets SaaS on shortlists and begins to establish it as a potential alternative to on-site options.

Nuxeo and SpringCM are not alone in setting the ECM pace at the mid market level. As ECM Suites Report readers know, Objective released one of the more cutting-edge, SOA-based ECM packages in 2008, and of course Alfresco continues to steal some headlines away from much bigger rivals.

All in all a good market for both vendors and buyers -- with lots of options currently available. Vendors continue to differ widely in their offerings, with growth (and accompanying research and development investment) the norm, even in this challenging economy. All good signs for those planning ECM investments in 2009.

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