On November 21st I'll be delivering the closing keynote at the i2 Swiss Internet & Intranet summit in Zürich, which along with a visit to the vibrant city of Berlin earlier this year has gotten me thinking quite a bit about the DACH (Deutchland, Austria, Confederation Helvetica a.k.a., Switzerland) market.
As much any of the other five continents where we have research customers, we see that Europe is particularly regionally inclined: small vendors flourish in their local markets, often keeping out larger global competitors. But perhaps moreso than the rest of western Europe (UK excluded), out of DACH has come come of the largest technology powerhouses in content management, from the likes of SAP and CoreMedia to Day (since acquired by Adobe) and e-Spirit, to open source projects such as Magnolia, OpenCMS, and Typo3.
On the DAM and MAM side, many medium-sized but steady vendors such as Canto and Blue Order (now owned by Avid) come out of Germany, as does Pixelboxx, while celum's origins are in Austria and VIT Picturepark is Swiss.
We tend to evaluate vendors when they begin to operate beyond their own local geography, and rarely before. Currently, the list of DACH-based vendors we evaluate is growing. These vendors and open source projects mentioned above are prominent within DACH, but in some cases, struggle to provide first-class services beyond western Europe, and even into the UK or the rest of the world.
Of course, if you're in DACH, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Working with some of our customers in the Zürich area over the past three years, I've seen an incredible number of talented small consultancies and system integrators that rival those in the much larger markets of London or New York. Sometimes our customers in DACH ask me if they should look beyond their borders -- usually, the answer is no.
Increasingly, though, I'm telling our customers in Scandinavia or other parts of western Europe to bring in a DACH-based technology or consultancy, usually because of deep experience in a vertical where DACH vendors have a long history, such as banking, manufacturing, or insurance.
Despite my Swiss surname and Rhine-region genetic roots, I ended up learning to read and speak French rather than German as a child -- so I can't read as much of the German-written, in-depth information about the DACH technology market as I'd like. But I hope those of you in DACH will join me in a few weeks in Zürich so we can discuss how enterprises in the region are growing and adopting new technologies, and we can learn a bit from each other.