Cheryl Mckinnon, Forrester Research Inc. Analyst, and author of the Forrester Wave: Enterprise Content Management Business Content Services, explains in the in Q3, 2015 report the capabilities of 11 top Enterprise Content Management vendors. The vendors subject to careful examination include , Alfresco Software, Box, (Dell) EMC, Everteam, IBM, iManage, Lexmark International, M-Files, Microsoft, OpenText, and SpringCM. The solution providers were evaluated against 31-criteria detailing how the vendors stand apart from each other within the almighty Wave.
What makes this year’s wave special, is that Forrester took a closer look at its evaluation of ECM solutions and made some important changes. In 2011 and 2013, the report tracked how well significant vendors managed both transactional and business content, yet this year, the research firm divided the evaluations into two different Forrester Waves in an attempt to better distinguish between the two solutions. Business content includes well known and loved formats, such as Microsoft office offerings, like documents, spreadsheets, email, and multimedia– created with the intent to capture insights and inform a wide range of business activities. Forrester defines Transactional Content, as representing that which flows from in and outside of the office, like, “scanned faxes or print streams generated from back-office applications.” This type of ECM can be found with a deeper assessment in this service space in the Q3 2015 ECM Transactional Content Services Forrester Wave.
Forrester: Vendors ‘Have A Vision For Their Next-Generation Platform’, Cloud and more..
Offering rapid deployment, reduced up-front expense, security and disaster recovery capabilities are all cited as some of the many benefits of moving to the cloud, and ECM solutions are no exception. Forrester explains,
“Major vendors such as Microsoft, with Office 365 and SharePoint Online, are providing compelling reasons for clients to look at cloud for content services. IBM is moving key ECM applications to its SoftLayer cloud, and EMC looks to its Pivotal team to supply infrastructure for its next generation of content services. The accelerating move to cloud to create, store, and share business content has compelled vendors to make investments in newer architectures.”
Forrester expects the investment in cloud technologies to increase over the next three to five years as enterprises look forward to next-generation capabilities.
“Born cloud” vendors, such as Box and SpringCM lead in cloud-to-cloud integration. This week, Google and Box announced at BoxWorks 2016, that the companies will collaborate on several initiatives to transform work in the cloud, including new integrations between Box, Google Docs and Google Springboard, to deliver a seamless experience for working and collaborating on content in the cloud.
Key Take-Aways, Consumers, and Specific Use Cases
Forrester Wave vendors are categorized in, well, ‘waves’, including Challengers, Contenders, Strong Performers and Leaders, with vendor offerings, and market strategy assessed within the wave on a sliding scale from weak to strong.
The 11 featured vendors in the 2015 come from all walks of The Wave and situated narrowly in the middle of this year’s strong performer category, ECM vendor, iManage, is ‘designed for the modern business’, allowing legal, accounting, financial and other professionals to organize all phases of their engagements. Citing iManage’s strong integrations to common authoring tools, iManage has earned it’s place in strong performers. Forrester explains:
“iManage delivers solid document and life-cycle management but lags on collaboration. Newly independent iManage, spun out of HP in July 2015, offers a solid set of foundational content management capabilities with particular strengths in document management with the Worksite product.”
Above that wave, reside ECM Leaders; a category PACKED with a majority of the top 11 ECM players, 9 of them in fact; an indication of how tight the competition is within the ECM industry. With varying degrees of market presence, ECM vendors are competing to bring innovative capabilities to market in a rapidly changing space. To put it shortly, vendors are emerging to challenge traditional legacy ECM technology, and Forrester reports that 2015’s Wave criteria objectives shifted to account for solution mobility, usability, and flexibility, as a new generation of solutions emerge. Cloud first content solutions, like Box, are making the concentration of top performers in the leader’s wave like a quaint beach town in the summer time, the difference being that winter is NOT coming, and the contender’s wave will have to continue resembling a vendor population like that north of The Wall.
Check out the Forrester Wave Vendor Review Policy to learn more about how analysts decide vendor placement within The Wave.