Summer ECM review

Here I am in the middle of summer, looking forward to a small holiday. And while I’m at this and waiting for an email to arrive from one of my colleagues… I’m thinking to make a quick review of the ECM technologies I’ve used and seen lately.

The first thing which comes to my mind is that I almost didn’t see an ECM project where a vendor product can be used out of the box with only configurations to be done.

Personally I use (and like) SharePoint for storing documents in some scenarios. It works great as a replacement for file shares – on electronic documents. But that’s it. For almost anything else in this area you need to call in a developer. Because this is what SharePoint 2007 is right now: a development platform.

Now, take EMC Documentum. I’ll just not mention the end user products. Everything I’ve seen is not suited for ootb use in ECM scenarios – you simply pay too much for a set of functionalities which actually stand in your way when you want to do something. In almost all (90%) of my implementations we needed to develop on the platform in order to meed the business needs.

Don’t take me wrong… I don’t say this is not normal. It’s just that I strongly believe we need to change this.

On IBM FileNet… the same story. Different API, different limitations… same need for a developer. And IBM CM is definetely an “only developers” area.

And this is where my experience ends. Why? Because I didn’t find the time to play seriously with others (Alfresco, OpenText, Nuxeo… these are on my todo list)

So.. which is better? All. And none. It costs roughly the same to do the same ECM business requirements on all of these platforms. The difference comes from the other related services and activities (like installed base, integration with other products, skillset of existing IT at the vendor/partner/customer…).

So.. what’s next in these cloudy days? hehehe

No… not the coud. That’s old news. And anyway, as fellow bloggers said… it’s the same Mary with a different hat. It’s a way IT people find new ways to respond to business challenges while reusing the same technology. Not boring but dull.

I have the feeling that the big innovation must be already here. Buried somewhere in a garage/apartment company. In the brain of some enthusiasts which think outside the box. Where are you?

Content management is not easy. Especially when you need to take care of big organization inertia. And when you need to solve a problem “yesterday”, not “next year”. You can hardly keep innovating in this conditions. This is why big vendors probably can’t do it (reminds me of Virgin & “BA can’t get it up” stuff).

Anyway… i’ll just present my PhD thesis and go home. To my ECM projects on old and still rushed-to-market products. With vendor support which is unable to truly solve my issue. To escalation meetings where everybody tries to blame others…

Maybe after the holiday I’ll see the ECM vision. Somewehere between a jacuzzy and a glass of wine. Wish me luck!


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