The large WCM companies, suchasVignette and divine, had reachedthe apex oftheir market and lookedat enterprise content as an attrac-tive sector to pursue. The largedocument management compa-nies, such asDocumentum andInterwoven, retaliated by trying tobreak into theWCM space. Thetwocamps launched a featurechecklist war. To be recognizedbyindustry analysts as a player inthe ECM sector, nearly every con-tent management system (CMS) vendor claimed it could holistically solve the crisis of content growingout of control. This content crisisresonated with customers who were willing to suspend theirdisbelief in the hope that ECM really was the magic bullet to solve it.
THE “ERP OF CONTENT”
From a marketing perspective, ECMis an excellent term because it con-notes “enterprise class” and createsan up-market brand. Targeted CMSproducts that were worthy of con-sideration by large companies wereeffectively excluded because they didn’t carry the ECM label. ECMbecame the “ERP of content.” ECM vendors asked customers to stan-dardize on an architecture or suiteof products and, in return, promisedefficiency, control, and better intelli-gence. To fulfill this promise, ECM vendors extended their products oracquired other products to deliverfunctionality in what came to bedefined as the three areas of ECM: WCM, DM, and DAM.But there are several inherentflawsin the vision of becomingtheERP of content. First, ERP isfocused on automating and sup-porting certain well-defined and/ or highly regulated businessprocesses (accounting, humanresources management, manufac-turing, etc.), and there is standard-ization on the structure of the data,the organizational roles of its users,and how it is used. While the busi-ness environment is starting tochange in regard to regulating themanagement of content, contentmanagement is still less defined.“Content” is an abstract term thatspans a diverse set of assets, users,and uses. Everyone within an enter-prise is responsible for producing orconsuming some sort of content.Users do not think of all these assetsas being variants of “content” to behandled in a uniform way. Why should the system? Managing con-tent is often inseparable from thebusiness processes and organiza-tions that the content supports.Consequently, content manage-ment is a specific, rather than gen-eral, enterprise problem. Sharinginformation across departments isan enterprise problem, but ECM isnot necessarily the solution. Whileexecuting an ERP project is a formi-dable challenge,
ECM projectscould be considered even riskierbecause of the diversity of require-ments, stakeholders, and goals andthe comparative difficulty of meas-uring the benefits. It is difficult toalign the goals of project sponsorsfrom across the enterprise, and as aresult, ECM projects are hard to sell.
PROJECT SCOPE ANDTIME TO BENEFIT
When ECM tries to universally solvemany distinct CM problemsacross the enterprise, the numberof stakeholders becomes over- whelming and ECM projects growlarge and complicated. Require-ments are difficult to collect acrossdisparate user groups with diverseprocesses. Analysis takes time.Each group must make compro-mises that it would not need tomake if the system were built justfor its use.The result is that the business waitsa long time to receive a CMS that
©2005 Cutter Information LLCMay 2005
THE RACE TO ECM
Documentumacquires Bulldog for DAM.
FileNet acquires eGrailforWCM.
Documentum acquireseRoom for collaboration.
Vignette acquiresEpicentric for portal capabilities.
Interwoven acquiresMediaBin for digital RM.
Open Text acquiresGauss for WCM.
Interwoven acquiresiManage for DM.
Vignette acquiresIntraspect for collaboration andknowledge management.
Vignette acquiresTower for DM.
Interwoven acquiresSoftware Intelligence’s RM systems.
Open Text acquiresArtesia Technologies for DAM.
A survey of CEOs found that 65% believethat ERP systems could be harmful .