Each year around this time, all the Real Story Group analysts get together to partake in some crystal-ball gazing about where the content technology market will head in the next year.
Here are our collective predictions for 2013:
- SharePoint 2013: Consultants Rejoice, Customers Yawn
Microsoft’s latest release of this almost ubiquitous platform won’t magically transform content management or the social digital workplace. SharePoint 2013 is an improvement more in degree than kind. But it’s still SharePoint, so you know it will continue to fatten consultant and integrator revenue streams.
- Trans-Media Trumps Multi-Channel for Brand Marketing
We’ve talked about "multi-channel" distribution for years now, and distributing brand assets to print, web, and mobile channels from a single source has long offered a rationale for investing in brand & digital asset management systems. But brand engagement is increasingly about delivering different parts of the brand story and brand promise via different media -- not necessarily the same story or advertisement on different channels. In a tip of the hat to gamification, you’ll see more enterprises stretching to allow people experience brands and products in different ways and via different components that are unique to each media.
- Convergence of Social Media Monitoring and Social Media Marketing
As social media monitoring becomes more accessible -- and social media intelligence becomes more jaded amid widespread customer disappointment – enterprises will focus more on engagement in the social space. This takes comparatively high operational savvy and effort – not to mention higher-end technology investments – so you’ll want to investigate cost considerations very carefully.
- Cloud Adolescence: Business and IT Both Deal with Growing Pains
For both business and IT teams, Cloud has definitely arrived already. But with vendors and gurus alike using the term Cloud to describe such disparate models as IaaS, SaaS, and (especially) good ol’ managed hosting, customers can’t consider Cloud to be all grown up yet. Consider:
- Vendor promises of “hybrid” models are typically separate environments when you look under the covers, with some nasty usability issues resulting for Business and IT.
- Many Cloud vendors really can’t track where your content resides, nor that they can truly delete it. Expect to see lawsuits in 2013.
- IT and Business teams will struggle with usability vs. security trade-offs in the ubiquitous search for the ideal file-sharing solution.
To be sure, Cloud is here to stay. It will reach young adulthood in the years ahead. Just remember that Cloud is not transformational in and of itself. It’s simply a better way of doing some things, some of the time.
- Web Content & Experience Management Vendors Litter Systems with Outbound Digital Marketing Services
Much like the influx of social and community features into WCXM technology a few years ago, in the next wave WCXM vendors will infuse their technology with tools for marketing automation, email marketing, predictive analytics, lead scoring, and reporting. But, in long-term, this strategy will prove faulty as the more polished and mature capabilities of specialized digital marketing vendors will win out.
- The Autonomy Debacle Reverberates Across Several Technology Sectors
Leave aside for a moment allegations of financial hanky-panky. HP’s disastrous acquisition of Autonomy will reverberate far and wide throughout 2013. It re-opens the enterprise search market, especially given Microsoft’s exit with its SharePointization of FAST. It also validates the demise of the highest-end Web CMS segment, something we’ve been pointing out for several years now.
Perhaps more importantly, it should temper appetites for mega-acquisitions. We doubt, for example, that Autonomy wannabe OpenText will get acquired in 2013. To be sure, some small social vendors will surely get sucked up (à la Yammer) by major players, if only for eye candy. For you the technology customer, a pause in big-time M&A should prove a welcome respite.
- Document Management and Cloud File-Sharing Vendors Compete Head-to-Head
Traditional Document Management (DM) vendors and Cloud File-Sharing suppliers are on a collision course in 2013. DM vendors will try to build (or acquire) file-sharing services, and file-sharing vendors will continue to build more sophisticated content services.
As our subscribers know, DM vendors have been trying hard to offer SaaS/Cloud based offerings for certain productized applications, like simple case management, but with only modest success. In 2013, they will take a more serious run at it, via the simpler file-sharing route.
On the other hand, Cloud file-sharing vendors will continue to enhance basic content management capabilities like version control, versioning, and workflow, rolling out more sophisticated, SaaS-based content management applications. Of course for you the customer, more choices is a good thing.
- Contextual Mobile Delivery Rises to the Fore
Delivering a "contextual experience" will rise to number one on the mobile songsheet. This means getting the right message to a particular device according to what the user needs at that moment in time. For marketers, this means thinking about customer journeys in a whole new way. For digital workplace leaders, it means re-thinking the environments in which your employees want to get work done.
Note that most WCXM and Portal vendors can’t do this today and likely won’t deliver any major breakthroughs in 2013. We see a growing drive to mobile middleware next year. Watch this space for more details, and our usual tough analysis of that technology segment.
- Big Data Gives Way to Useful Data
Some enterprises can achieve some business value from some Big Data use cases some of the time. The rest of us will discover that smaller, better-quality data will prove more practical, manageable, useful, and ultimately preferable to "Big." Enterprises will need manage multiple data scenarios: when large high quality data is available, the quality of data is suspect and… when no data is available at all.
- Rise of Social Media Compliance Concerns
Social media gurus often espouse a tweet-first, think-later approach to social media communications. As social media engagement gets more diffused through the enterprise, compliance will re-emerge as a big topic in 2013. The past two years have only been a foreshadowing: A CFO fired for tweeting ahead of the results; Politicians risking their jobs for social media indiscretions; and so on.
Vendors will begin to wake up and build new or better archival and retention modules. A cottage industry of social compliance solutions will also spring up.
- Broadcast & Media Management Focus on Social TV Strategies
Much like video never killed the radio star, the internet hasn’t killed television – in fact it’s made TV another avenue for social media interaction. Interactive television will continue to proliferate, and MAM vendors will race to supply broadcasters and media distributors with multi-screen applications, content / program discovery apps, companion apps to particular shows, everywhere/anywhere sports access, and ways to see what your friends are watching via social network presence applications.
- Several DAM Vendors Morph into Digital Media Management Suites
Though we may see a pause in mega-acquisition à la HP-Autonomy, we won’t see an end to acquisitions and moves in the DAM market, where vendors are looking to service more of the end-to-end brand and media management ecosystem. North Plains has emerged as the most ambitious in this regard with recent acquisitions.
More large DAM vendors will acquire tools in the production and distribution ends of the ecosystem in an attempt to fulfill a broader need, just as document management vendors made acquisitions in prior decades of tools to fulfill document creation, production, scanning, and archiving needs. This could bring added value for DAM customers, but just remember: most of the time, suites are less than sweet.
This is our seventh year making these predictions. In the past, we’ve been only about 75% correct. You’ll want to apply that same co-efficient this time as well.
If you are an RSG subscriber with deeper questions on any of these topics, please sign up for a personal advisory call, and we’ll be happy to walk you through our thinking, as well as help you plan for next year.