Profile of Alan Pelz-Sharpe
News & Commentary Posts: 69
Articles by Alan Pelz-Sharpe
It seems timely to publish The Real Story Group's EMC-Documentum family tree, as there has been a change in senior management there recently... Mark Lewis is no longer in charge of Documentum at EMC. That's a big change and will clearly have repercussions...
In the past week mega-vendor Autonomy saw its share price plummet by 20%. Much discussed in the financial press, it's also news that will be much discussed and publicized by Autonomy's competitors. Today I was asked by an advisory customer whether they should be concerned about the state of Autonomy?... So how did I answer?...
Software support fees often make up the bulk of the yearly IT budget. This is hardly surprising when vendors typically like to calculate support contracts on the basis of ~20% of list pricing per annum, in perpetuity. Even if you negotiate the initial licensing costs down to $500k, you may still pay $200k per year in support fees...
What the move to eGovernement in the UK has shown us is that though there are great benefits to be gained in providing access via the Web to government services to citizens, that empowerment comes at a high cost.
It's all too easy to take ourselves and our enterprise software world too seriously. Every so often it's good to pop the bubble and just have a laugh... check out this little video I put together last week.
Over the years, I've learned a hard truth: more details and more complexity in a scoring methodology may not deliver you the right vendor. It can occasionally do the exact opposite. Ideally you should dispense with spreadsheet scoring entirely in favor of a more practical, facilitated decision-making process.
For years now, Google has played fast and loose with information confidentiality and privacy issues. As if further proof were needed, the PR disaster that is Buzz should be enough to firmly conclude that Google is not suitable for enterprise use-cases.
Apple's iPad looks like an ideal platform for accessing enterprise documents. Turns out this good idea is almost in the here and now...
Let me state my take on ROI calculations as clearly as I can. ROI calculations for information technology are junk calculations -- a fraud, a nonsense, and a complete waste of time. Clear enough for you? Oh, and by the way, ROI calculations from software vendors are even worse.
Enterprise Conent Management still has a place in the acronym pantheon, but that place is an increasingly limited one...
First off let me state boldly and clearly CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Standard) is an important document management (a.k.a., ECM) standard -- the most important standard. Here are three concise and valid reasons for putting CMIS on your list of RFP requirements.
According to our exclusive survey results, enterprises want more integration with content management systems, but cost and time stand in the way.
There is plenty to be excited about in SP2010, especially if you belong to the SharePoint channel of resellers, consultants, developers, and system integrators... but I am starting to get the distinct impression that the SharePoint bubble is about to burst.
One HR professional at a major healthcare firm told me this week that enterprise content management-skilled applicants are looking for approximately 40% more in base pay than their peers with a background in CRM or ERP... My advice (unchanged over the years) is to...
I recently hosted a panel for ARMA that proved to be one of the most thought-provoking sessions I have been involved in for a long time. What became abundantly clear early on was that records managers and compliance officers really need to get their head around cloud computing, and fast.
For those of you interested at what is happening in the world of Enterprise Content Management, here is a SlideShare recording that looks at the latest CMS Watch Cross-Check analysis of ECM vendors as of September, 2009.
One of my favorite technology terms is "Shadow IT." The term is not employed often enough, and its role in undermining good information management should be more widely broadcast, because Shadow IT represents a plague on content management.
Search-cum-enterprise content management (ECM) vendor Autonomy has announced an integration for its recently acquired WorkSite product with the iPhone... Smart mobile devices are increasingly usurping laptops as the mobile computing device of choice, so secure access to documents via the iPhone makes a great deal of sense...
Here in the US, the topic of electronic medical records has popped back to the top of the agenda, due to an impending mass injection of government money. Long talked about, long promised and long mandated (remember HIPAA?) -- electronic medical records in the US are for all intents and purposes still a pipedream...
This week Alfresco, together with Ingres, announced the release of an ECM "appliance"... However, this particular announcement left me a bit befuddled. Mainly because it is not really an appliance as such, rather it's a software bundling of sorts.
"Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM" -- so the saying goes. And in tough times there is, without a shadow of a doubt, a tendency for procurement and IT buyers in general to lean heavily toward very large (or incumbent) vendors, on the assumption that they represent a lower risk. But consider the following examples based on real vendors:
Today Autonomy announced that it intends to buy Interwoven. It was a surprise move for sure. Not that I was surprised that Interwoven was acquired, far from it; I expected that. But I did not expect them to be acquired by Autonomy... From a technology buyer's perspective, you need to use a great deal of caution when considering Autonomy as a "suite" vendor...
The technology sector has been nothing but doom and gloom recently, but a recent report by the Aite Group shines a bit more light on to what is a fairly complex market situation. The report focuses on spending in the capital markets, and considering the spectacular turmoil in that sector over the past year, its a particularly interesting one to read...
Imagine you have been using a particular vendor's technology for the past five or ten years... Now it's time for an upgrade, or even a replacement of that technology. The product did what it was supposed to do at the time, but now technology has moved on and it's time for a refresh... Make sure you consider both sides of the double-edged sword of incumbency.
Since the announcement of CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Specification) I have been inundated with requests to speak and write on the topic. There's no two ways about it; CMIS has caught the imagination of buyers and the industry at large. Yet CMIS (pronounced See-Miss) is still only a specification, not a standard, and - as I talk to buyers, integrators and vendors - I'm aware that it is also a poorly understood specification. Here are a couple of early observations from the field...
To know what's really going on within a firm or the industry in which it operates you need to watch where the money is flowing. At Open Text, money flowed out in September, as Chairman and CEO John Shakelton dumped almost all of his shareholdings. In contrast at NewGen of India it flowed in through a confirmed investment from SAP's venture arm.
SharePoint has been on my mind a lot recently, in part because I've had the unusual opportunity to speak to integrators, resellers and buyers on three continents over the past couple of weeks. The questions I asked may not have been scientific... but the responses have been almost identical whether asked in India, Europe or the US.
Yesterday I got a call from my friend Paul Steep at Scotia Capital regarding this announcement from ECM vendor Open Text. Yes, you guessed it, ECM vendor Open Text is acquring again. Just as we predicted in July the firm has announced its intentions to buy Captaris... Although this is relatively small acquisition ($131 million), it is a potentially complex one.
Microsoft SharePoint goes open source? Shock, horror! Ok, well not quite, but an open source alternative to SharePoint is now an option with the release of Alfresco's Lab 3 Beta product. Alfresco's new module allows you to hook Office into Alfresco, giving you the option to use Alfresco as opposed to SharePoint as your collaboration platform.
The whole issue of E-mail Archiving and Management (EAM) has come under the spotlight recently, triggered by a ruling by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco - a ruling that touches on the Fourth Amendment "Protection from unreasonable search and seizure."... It's a ruling that could have a huge impact on the EAM market.
Last week I had the pleasure of keynoting at the DocTrain event in Indianapolis and also running a small session on "How to procure Content Technologies."... At the end of the session I chatted with the head of a leading US-based systems integrator who said he liked the session but would have added two key points: 1. Never buy at the end of a quarter and 2. Avoid Enterprise License Agreements.
Last week we read about yet another major financial scandal allegedly exposed through the discovery of an e-mail message from a fund principal that apparently stated that their fund was going to be "toast." First, this was (if true) a fantastically stupid communication to put in an e-mail exchange. Second, I wonder why it took so long to find this e-mail message...
If there is a buzz around Web 2.0 in the Content Technology community, then there is a roar in the wider IT community around Cloud Computing. It's a great term, "Cloud Computing," as it conjures up visions of an invisible Internet... it sounds fluffy, it sounds cool, it sounds limitless, it sounds like the future.
I am asked two basic questions on a regular basis. The first is "what about SharePoint?" The second is, "what about imaging?"... Imaging is the major cost that most projects either forget about or dramatically under budget... It's all too easy to believe that every file will soon be digital, even though paper is clearly here to stay.
If there is one word I hate to hear used in this industry it's "compliance." To me it's like fingernails down a blackboard, and frankly if I never hear it used again then I would be a happy man... Let me be among the first to point out that the Compliance Emperor often has no clothes.
Oracle announced on Monday that it is entering the archiving market with the release of "Universal Online Archive." UOA positions Oracle to compete more directly against EMC and IBM in the e-mail and messaging archive space. Only a year ago nobody was much interested in archiving, but in the past twelve months we have seen everyone from Dell to Google try to gain a foothold...
The world does seem to love an XML fight. Last week, Microsoft scored a goal by getting their OOXML standard ratified as an international standard through ISO (International Organization for Standards) - a definite point score, since there were many other parties fighting tooth and nail to prevent this happening...
So HP finally made a move into the world of ECM by acquiring Tower Software of Australia. On the surface it's an unusual match for HP, as many had expected them to buy one of the top tier players such as Interwoven, Vignette or even Open Text... Revealingly, HP does not call this an "Enterprise Content Management" deal...
So Google has launched a product called Google Sites to compete with Microsoft's SharePoint. Even at first glance it is no SharePoint killer and is (as is normal for Google) more of a Beta product then anything that shows real maturity... Both Google and Microsoft have the means and depth to produce impressive tools, but just because something is usable and quick to deploy does not mean that by definition it is a good thing, particularly when it comes to managing confidential information...
My thanks to our friend James Robertson for pointing to an important UK study that debunks many of the "Web 2.0" and "Google Generation" myths that currently abound. I have bit of a reputation as a cynic, but the Google Generation is something of which I have simply seen no real evidence, despite vendors and fellow analysts arguing loudly about its importance in today's workplace.
My colleague Jarrod forwarded a link to a news story of how one person deliberately destroyed seven years' worth of corporate content/data with ease. Meanwhile, I had another tab open regarding the White House's inability/refusal to archive email messages and had just finished reading about the loss of a laptop containing personal details on 600,000 people - quite a busy day for data destruction.
So EMC (read: Documentum) acquired Document Sciences. Announced over the holiday period, the deal makes perfect sense for EMC as it continues to reposition Documentum away from the traditional complex document management activities that established the firm - a market that is under attack from Microsoft and Open Text - and more into high-value, transactional document management and archiving.
In the wake of Oracle's acquisition of Stellent, enterprise content management (ECM) was firmly on the agenda at Oracle OpenWorld. Or rather, Fusion Middleware was firmly on the agenda, and ECM was discussed as an integral part of it... Stellent the brand is no longer. The acquired functionality has already been repositioned and in some cases rearchitected as a set of services...
Only time will tell, but the sense in Silicon Valley is that the long-awaited shake out, shake up, and redefinition of search from it's indie, niche existence to the mainstream of the infrastructure is well underway. At the same time, there also seemed to be a new honesty about the limitations of enterprise search and the need to manage content properly.
It would be interesting to know how many failed enterprise content management (ECM) projects stemmed from the wrong deployment methodology. I was pondering this after a discussion with Liz Ure, head of Information Strategy for the Scottish Government. She talked about the inappropriateness of methodologies that emphasize implementation, rather than change. Her point is that they focus too much on "going live."
I have no problem telling buyers that SaaS-based enterprise content management may be worth considering, but actually recommending it is still something of a stretch for me... To what degree do you need to integrate into legacy content stores? How much development work do you need to do? If standalone applications suffice for now, will they still make sense when you have five or 15 of them? How would you/could you consolidate them?...
One of the great divides in the ECM world is the gulf between (and different understanding of) the needs of records management on the one hand, versus IT storage on the other. Archiving, storage, and retention all sound like similar disciplines, and to hear some IT folk speak, you could be excused for thinking they are one and the same thing. All too often very expensive electronic storage hardware and software systems operate in ignorance of, and non-compliance with, legal and regulatory demand
Inclusion in the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) is believed by vendors to have a very positive impact on sales. In the 2007 MQ for Enterprise Content Management, published last month, it's clear that little (in Gartner's view) has changed in ECM. Well, we beg to differ: 2007 has been a period of major change! Rather than harping on perceived weaknesses in the MQ, I'll point out where the ECM Suites Report analysis differs from Gartner's.
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendor Open Text recently announced that it will deliver a major upgrade to the acquired (ex-Hummingbird) eDocs technology for the Legal sector. Not earth-shattering, but important news nonetheless... It reaffirms Open Text's commitment to building on other repositories where sensible - in this case Microsoft - the platform that dominates Legal.
The largest of the remaining enterprise content management independents, Open Text offers a diverse suite with plenty of application- and industry-specific solutions, search capabilities and deployment approaches. Product integration and technology consolidation remain works in progress, but LiveLink ECM should be on the short list when SAP integration or regulatory demands are important.
Microsoft SharePoint continues to grow apace. In a presentation to financial analysts earlier this week, Microsoft stated that in the past year it has seen 35-percent year-over-year growth and revenues of a staggering $800 Million. The company claims is has shipped 85 million seat licenses to 17,000 customers since the beginning of SharePoint time (in 2001). If there was ever any lingering doubt that SharePoint was having an impact on the market, these numbers put that argument to rest.
At first blush, EMC Documentum 6 is a substantial upgrade to D5, consolidating many of the firm's acquisitions into a much more unified and standardized product set, and also boosting some areas, such as BPM and transactional document management capabilities... But the market has changed, and favors the buyer now far more than the vendor. Documentum was once the dominant and obvious choice for major ECM implementations, but today there is much more serious competition.
This week, Oracle announced 11g, the latest upgrade to its flagship database... Of particular interest is enhanced support for "LOBs" (Large Objects), such as documents, drawings, images, and so forth... It has long been the case that databases were ineffective at handling documents -- sometimes becoming grindingly slow -- but the performance gap has been closing over the past few years.
This year's big Drug Information Association (DIA) conference in Atlanta concluded with something of a shock for enterprise content management (ECM) vendors. Microsoft SharePoint will now compete directly with established Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences-focused vendors EMC|Documentum and Open Text. Pharma was supposed to be sacred ground for the big ECM vendors -- one area of turf where few thought Microsoft would tread.
In the content management world, I sense something of a backlash brewing against SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), but I wonder how real it is. With most Fortune 2000 firms already way down the SOA path, there seems to be no turning back. At the enterprise architecture level, there is no Plan B.
So the issue for me is not whether SOA is the way forward for ECM, but rather how seriously some of the ECM vendors are embracing it.
The story begins with CA (Computer Associates), which spun off its Ingres line into a separate, open source project. Ingres is now teaming up with open source ECM provider Alfresco. The Ingres "Icebreaker" product (linux + database stack) will offer an ECM option provided via Alfresco.
Large enterprises are now reembracing reengineering. It seems that there is only so much streamlining you can do until you reach a point where you need to completely rethink a situation. That point is being reached by more and more large organizations, and radical change is now on the agenda for banks, insurance companies and manufacturing firms globally.
Tony Byrne has provided some advice to vendors regarding product demos. Those ten points make essential reading for vendors and customers alike, but there is another perspective. Since I have personally sat in on those demos both as a buyers' advisor and as a vendor (system integrator), I need to add three points that customers should keep in mind when asking vendors to demonstrate their products:
Transactional document management (high-volume throughput of relatively static documents) has long been dominated by IBM and FileNet. EMC this week announced that it, too, wants to compete in this lucrative market. Hence as part of its forthcoming Documentum D6 release, they have announced "TCM" (Transactional Content Management). For now, TCM is essentially a user interface module for high-volume scenarios…
"When Search and ECM Collide" was the title of a tutorial I ran in New York this week. It's an important topic to explore as both Search vendors and ECM vendors both seem to believe that either A. they can do without the other, or B., they understand the other fully and see the opposing technology as simply a minor supporting or interfacing toolset.
At the recent AIIM Expo I had the privilege to lead a panel, "When E Means Big," where customers revealed lessons learned in truly huge enterprise content management deployments. A strong consensus emerged on the need for a detailed mid- to long-term strategy for ECM… and that nearly all ECM at this scale is underpinned in some way by BPM (Business Process Management).
Are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options viable for enterprise content management? I hear that question with increasing frequency, and it's a difficult one to answer. There are plenty of vendor options out there - from pure plays like Spring CM, to hybrids like Xythos and Treno. But just because there are plenty of options doesn't means it's a particularly good idea.
Alfresco is a scalable and well-architected open source alternative for ECM, but lacking industry-specific, out-of-the-box applications, its best appeal is to developers and ISVs.
Salesforce.com announced yesterday that it will enter the enterprise content management (ECM) sector leveraging Web 2.0-style collaboration software it acquired earlier this year from a start-up called Koral. It's a bold announcement that the Salesforce platform... will "liberate customers from....software like EMC|Documentum."
I have a short fuse with those who say that "basic content services" are all that any enterprise needs for their ECM requirements, but I remain nonetheless supportive of "lite" offerings. ECM is such an overblown and overused term that encompasses everything from huge imaging and case management deployments to simple document collaboration projects.
Xythos offers a low-cost-yet-scalable approach to document and records management that is refreshing, but it lacks the breadth and depth of the leading enterprise content management suites.
Last week IBM clarified its ECM intentions via a series of analyst briefings. In short the recently acquired FileNet P8 product will become Big Blue's main ECM offering, although legacy IBM products will remain supported for the foreseeable future... The ECM space will surely see more acquisitions, but the market has already bifurcated into business solutions providers and ECM platform players.
1. The average size of electronic documents has grown to a point where current network bandwidth is insufficient to deliver documents to the user in a sensible time frame
2. You are running your ECM system on old hardware and operating systems that need upgrading
3. You are delivering native format files to end users rather than making use of rendering functionality
4. You have allowed your users to dump content into your repository without concern for process, rules or structure, and now it's
James Governer has prompted an important discussion on his popular blog regarding enterprise content management (ECM) and Security. The architect views security as stopping bad guys from getting in (the Firewall Syndrome). The document management view casts security as assigning permissions (the ACL syndrome). They're two sides of the same coin, but they're quite different.