Enterprise Content Management: Are we there yet?

clip_image002Greeting and salutations! My name is Raj and I manage Microsoft’s relationships with several of the leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software companies.

Gartner, Microsoft and others have witnessed dramatic changes in the Content Management landscape in the last 18 months, the arrival of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, MOSS, the increased scope of manageable content and the resources available to manage content have changed dramatically. I can’t help but ask, “Are we there yet?” From my perspective, we are at the edge of a precipice and the view of what is ahead is full of opportunity and optimism. Intriguing, of course! Scary, yes. However, this unknown is quite similar to what we have seen before and we can step through, just as we have before.

If we look at how ECM started 10+ years ago, in most cases there was a discrete application that solved a need within a business unit to address a specific problem that the business unit was facing. Soon the word got out about how valuable this was and other variations of the need surfaced within organizations. The providers of Content Management solutions started offering these new solutions and found that there was quite a bit of re-usability of the code from the first solution. Born was the term Content Management platform, where these solutions were using “core” functionality from the platform. Though this was successful in departments, teams and individual business units, we all know the challenges faced with broad adoption of these across the organization.

Let’s fast forward to the Information Worker era with the rich functionality in the Office Client applications coupled with the content management capabilities that MOSS 2007 provided. There was a disruption, if you will, in the market place. For the first time, enterprises had the possibility of using an agile infrastructure with the core content management features well integrated with the tools that users across the organization utilized every day.

This sounds like just what the market ordered. So now you are asking, “Are we there yet?” Well, Almost! We’re on our way to what I believe is a new era in Enterprise Content Management. This new era provides the possibility of a core ECM infrastructure that is well integrated with users in an organization, and provides the platform capability needed for the specific solutions that business units require. A similar phenomenon occurred when databases became standardized infrastructure. This ability to rely on the existence of a database enabled software companies to develop and bring to market a variety of new applications and solutions. With MOSS providing a core ECM infrastructure, this is the right time for software vendors to seize the opportunity to provide the wide variety of business solutions needed knowing that organizations can worry less about manageability and user adoption.

Buckle up and seize the day!

Raj Rajesh

Senior Business Development Manager