If you have to evaluate an IT system, the first thing you do is often to consult studies by a renowned research company, with “Gartner” and “Forrester” usually being the first to be mentioned.
Both have been studying the market for enterprise content management solutions for many years, although Gartner has recently started referring to ‘content services’ rather than ‘ECM’. It’s a shame, really – after all, end users have only just got used to ‘ECM’ (rather than archiving, eDMS, records management, scanning, etc). started to get used to.
Both research firms list the global ECM players, and their approaches differ:
- Gartner maintains a single ranking or “Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms” at the top level
- Forrester maintains two of its “waves” for ECM
- The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management – Transactional Content Services
- The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management – Business Content Services
At a) focuses on the processing and archiving of large masses of documents and records, b) focuses on dynamic documents and collaboration.
Symbolic: at b) Microsoft (primarily with SharePoint) is a leader, with a) not even mentioned. That’s right: Archiving bulk documents according to MSSP is a no-go!
Forrester thus differentiates better than Gartner: depending on where the emphasis of the use cases to be implemented lies, the CIO reaches for a) respectively to b).
Speaking of ‘use cases’ – this is exactly the rub: these are UNCONDITIONALLY to be defined, prioritized and put on an approximate roadmap before selection. Possible, eventual and future use cases should also be considered before proceeding to system evaluation, see the white paper on ECM/DMS procurement by Bruno Wildhaber.
In addition to the use cases, there are of course other fundamental challenges, although we would like to highlight one in particular:
The listed providers, are those with the claim to be world leaders. They are technically at the highest level, which can be decisive. However, it must also be very important to the CIO of an SME that a solution is established locally. That is:
- Vendor and/or integrator are stable, nearby, and available for project and ongoing support.
- There are – preferably neighboring – users with similar application scenarios from similar industries (although the industry focus is often exaggerated…)
- The integrator understands his own business (technical implementation competence) and can also advise the customer in a process-oriented way (how often the second one is lacking!)
Such requirements cannot be read out ‘just like that’ from a market analysis. In Switzerland in particular, there are some providers of excellent quality that are not mentioned by either Gartner or Forrester. For this reason, we support MSM’s Swiss market study.
The foundations for an ECM evaluation must and can be developed in a careful preliminary study. Support for this is available from independent, practice-oriented and experienced ECM consultants who know the market – e.g. from KRM.