Even though the enterprise content management (ECM) market is a mature one, vendors still struggle to meet rapidly changing business and worker needs. The rise of mobility, demands for easy collaboration and the push to provide better customer experiences are all emerging as market drivers.

Enterprises, meanwhile, continue to look to ECM to put content into the applications where it is most needed. According to new data from Nucleus Research, this is pushing vendors to develop strategies that are based around simplification and integration, wider user adoption as well as mobile and sharing capabilities.

In attempt to help prospective ECM buyers, Nucleus has just released its Technology Matrix H1 2014 ECM. It evaluates the abilities of vendors to deliver ECM systems based on usability and functionality, as well as an analysis of how vendors are innovating to keep their place in the ECM market.

As well as being challenged to provide new functionalities, vendors are also being challenged by developments outside their control and in other areas of technology. Cloud computing is a perfect example.

ECM vendors are now being forced to develop either pure cloud-based versions of what were previously on-premises ECMs or those increasingly popular hybrid solutions that blend the cloud with on-premises deployments.

Enterprises that are buying these products look to ensure end-user adoption and maximum return on investment (ROI).

Key Trends

Nucleus has identified three trends that are now being pulled into the product roadmap for ECM applications:

  • Simplification: Simplifying the end-user experience and making it easier for workers to work has become the priority, as has automating more processes to reduce training times
  • Integration: There is a move away from standalone solutions toward integration with other applications
  • Mobility and collaboration: Focus on ways to help employees create, access and share content securely from mobile devices

Nucleus Methodology

Before looking at vendors that made it into the leaders quadrant (and latter in the week at the other vendors in the other quadrants), a quick word about the methodology.

The Value Matrix is based on functionality and usability, the two core measures that Nucleus says indicate an application’s ability to deliver initial ROI and maximum value over time.

It is divided into four quadrants: Leaders, Experts, Facilitators, and Core Providers. If this sounds similar to Gartner’s MQs there are two important differences. Gartner’s Quadrant is based on absolute values, while the Nucleus analysis is presented as relative values, in which vendors are compared to each other.

The other major difference is that the Nucleus quadrant is published twice a year with the axis rebalanced for every different publication.

Each vendor’s location on the Matrix is the result of the usability and functionality scores assigned to that vendor based on interviews that Nucleus analysts have had with end users.

As part of Nucleus’s analysis, customers are asked to evaluate both the application they selected as well as other vendors they considered. (These are the main criteria, but there is a lot more on this, which Nucleus outlined in a paper specifically on this from 2012).

Then the vendors were broken down into quadrants. Vendors in the Leaders quadrant are those that have invested in both functionality and usability features that are likely to deliver the greatest potential returns. In this Matrix and in this order, they include:

  • OpenText
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • OnBase
  • EMC
  • HP Autonomy
  • Perceptive Software
  • SpringCM

1. OpenText

OpenText, according to Nucleus, is top dog. This is probably not a surprise given developments over the past two years since it outlined its five-pillars of information management strategy two years ago and followed it up with Project Oxygen, which it unveiled last November.

According to Nucleus, its portfolio of offerings is constantly growing in both depth and breath, while moving from 2013 to 2014 has focused to a large extent on improving usability across collaboration, sharing and content access features.

Users also noted OpenText’s ability to respond quickly to business needs as an important quality, while its ongoing integration with other vendor offerings to provide better users experiences is also a major plus.

Nucleus says it expects OpenText to continue to streamline its product offerings and introduce new social and mobile functionality to increase the ease of deployment and overall usability of its solutions.

2. Oracle

Oracle has taken a two-pronged approached to developing the functionality and usability of its WebCenter offerings while the depth of its application infrastructure makes it an easily integrated complimentary content management application for all Oracle systems.

Nucleus points out that Oracle is extending the functionality of its content management integrations with other applications outside mainstream ECM, like applications for customer relationships management (CRM), or enterprise resource planning (ERP), making it easier for users to collaboration, capture and manage content directly form the application interface.

In 2013 Oracle redesigned the WebCenter UI to make it a simpler, more intuitive user experience and to drive greater adoption among users at all levels of the enterprise. Nucleus says it expects Oracle will continue to improve the usability of its solutions with a continued focus on the user experience with improved UI design and deeper content management integrations.

3. IBM

IBM continues to build it ECM presence through innovation and deeper functionality that anticipates new industry use cases as businesses look to optimize the value of content.

With the announcement earlier this year that it is investing $1.2 billion in developing its cloud strategy, Nucleus says IBM is underlining the development of a strategy that will see it strengthen its interoperability across different environments.

It has also added new collaboration and content security functions to enable easy, mobile access to mobile content management, while recent upgrades to its Content Navigator enables easy search across systems and environments.

Nucleus says that it expects IBM to continue to integrate its analytics and other data analysis offerings deeper into its ECM offerings.

4. OnBase by Hyland

OnBase By Hyland (OBH), the newly rebranded Hyland Software, still offers extensive document intensive business process management, which can be deployed  on-premises or as a cloud-based offering.

Unlike many other vendors, OBH has taken a dual approach to content management by focusing on developing customer service, or usability, while at the same time developing its functionality. The result is that its primary focus is ensuring that the solution is intuitive and easily customizable to meet the needs of small and large businesses across industries.

Customization has also been simplified through the development of menu-driven configuration wizards, which means it is relatively cheap to deploy.

It has also developed seamless integrations between the cloud and on-premises as many clients, while not happy to move to the cloud entirely, are happy to put less sensitive content there. Nucleus says it expects OnBase to strengthen its functionality around business intelligence and analytics over the next year.

5. EMC

EMC released a major upgrade of its Documentum software that underlined its strong focus on content management integrations with other systems to increase its usability.

EMC is now working on boarder integrations to embed Documentum functionality in legacy systems that are not ready to be retired.
Nucleus says that greater availability of Documentum functions across platforms reduces barriers to adoption and allows companies to test-drive specific functionality before adopting the entire Documentum suite across the enterprise.

Nucleus expects that EMC will continue to expand its integration offerings to make it easier for organizations to incorporate Documentum capabilities.

6. HP Autonomy

HP Autonomy (HPA) has a deep set of ECM capabilities which it has been adding to over the year by integrating it with its information governance portfolio, which enables enterprises create consistency and accuracy as these elements become more important in the ECM space.

Last August, it released its upgraded Records Manager in v8.0 that brought information governance into existing records management functionality, while in February it released HP Healthcare Analytics to help manage and analyze patient records and unstructured data. It also announced in February an extension of its eDiscovery Platform.

By integrating information governance functionality into its broader set of ECM offerings, HPA is leading a drive to reduce layers of additional software needed in manage content effectively and allows them focus on processes rather than pure-play and reactive content management. This will continue over the year.

7. Perceptive

Perspective’s acquisition strategy during 2012 and 2013 has seen it add a large number of different functions and abilities as well as ensuring double-digit revenue growth in the last quarter of 2013.
The new functionally, Nucleus says, is enabling it build an end-to-end ECM that limits the software layers that users in the enterprise have to navigate to get work done.

Its most recent release, Content 7, reflects the functionality gains made through its strategic acquisitions.

According to Nucleus, users consistently cited ease of customization as a key factor in choosing it over other vendors. Nucleus also predicts that it will continue to grow in industries that require more complex ECM functionality.

8. SpringCM

SpringCM is the only vendor that is exclusively cloud-based. If organizations have been reluctant in the past to move to the cloud, it is gaining wide acceptance as a safe environment to store and management content.

From the cloud, SpringCM is developing stronger integrations to share content and functionality in other cloud-based applications and platforms.

In order to encourage adoption of its platform, SpringCM has made a number of strategic investments to continue to grow its integrations to embed its ECM capabilities without other cloud-based applications.

According to Nucleus, it has achieved its greatest success with its Salesforce integrations, and expects it to continue to grow its content sharing integrations for Salesforce and other. Later in the week we will look at the other quadrants.