Friday, November 16, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Seven years ago I started this blog as an outlet to pull thoughts together for this book - but life and other writing commitments got in the way in the intervening years. That may happen again, but fingers crossed this time round I will finally get the job done!
Marketing has become a strategic and co-ordination function. Strategic in that the Marketing Director has to manage and execute on campaigns and a consistent vision - co-ordination in that most marketing today is actually done by external agencies and contractors. The other major shift in marketing is that Marketers are ever more being explicitly tasked with generating leads, and broader marketing concerns such as visibility and brand trust have been relegated. Pushing marketing back to its original home as a subset of Sales.
In my experience, CMO's are not technologists, nor do they want to be, as they have better things to do with their time. So though much more money will of course be spent on digital marketing efforts in the future trusted external agencies that will become key stakeholders in any technology decision making process.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
IBM, Oracle, EMC, Microsoft & OpenText define the bulk of the market - collectively between them they account for the vast majority of revenue in this space. They have all been at it a long time, and I have spent a career watching and advising them. At various times all of these players have seem lost and without a clear purpose, defaulting into a world of cash cow status. With the exception of Microsoft all of them in the past year seem to have rediscovered their real purpose in life and are trying to get out of comfortable ruts. Documentum seems reinvigorated and has returned quite rightly IMHO to its roots and is making a real fist of sorting out its usability history. IBM is really meshing together the worlds of structured and unstructured, Oracle is truly excited about web experience and the promise of related big data, and OpenText seems to really want to move on from holding company to innovator again. All of these are gargantuan tasks and only time will tell how successful each is - but its good for all of us surely?
This turnaround in the past year reminded me why I got hooked on this industry in the first place. I fell from a burgeoning career in TV (researching/writing) into document management/control to pay the bills, and then found I was fascinated at the beauty and complexity of information management. Over time I grew more and more attached to this unloved discipline, and passionate about its value to society. Over the years I have personally been involved and seen it deliver incredible returns in joined up justice (police through prisons to probation), averting oil spills in the North Sea, saving lives in healthcare, targeting the right bad guys and gals in intelligence and defense etc. I have also seen sloppy information management do the opposite with disastrous results. In a world of spectacular waste and irrelevance, a world of economic and humanitarian crisis, a world driven by technology, data & content - doing IT and information management badly has real world consequences. This belief is what gives purpose to my work.
But the same thing applies to large organizations - they are no different really to individuals. Without a purpose they drift or expend their energies in pointless and ever more lackluster directions. With a common purpose they are energized, focused and make a difference. I don't care about ECM firms making money (that's for them to worry about) but I do care about them driving innovation and providing the right tools to manage information efficiently and accurately at such a critical juncture in our history.
Friday, September 30, 2011
I am recently back from a pretty remarkable week working out of our Delhi office with my colleagues Apoorv and Sanjeev. Remarkable in that though I have been to India many times before, there is clearly a groundswell of change underway, and its major change at that. Hence I am excited that we are investing in our business there, and am looking forward to working more directly with buyers of technology in the future.
So what is this change? Well it comes in a number of different ways, firstly India is in and of itself an emerging market for content technologies, and one that in some regards is jumping ahead of western countries, by passing the PC and Laptop world and leaping straight to the mobile handset. The mobile consumer market is frankly years ahead of anything one sees in the US. In the enterprise the change is equally revolutionary but maybe less sexy and obvious. India is, if nothing else a huge bureaucracy on a scale and complexity that would have stumped Kafka. It's not just Government and the public sector, but it spreads to corporate organizations and is in large part a result of both embedded cultural and historical factors, important to note is that much if not most of this huge bureaucracy is paper based.
Yet a strengthening middle class, and an influx of former ex-pats from the UK and US are driving change. You can see it in the US style shopping malls that seem to be popping up on every corner, and the impatience of folk of doing things the 'traditional' way. To highlight all this, during the past week I was privileged to watch and experience the Anna Hazare led protest against corruption, a protest that though focused on rampant and often blatant corruption, goes deeper. It is not for me to take sides (though hopefully we are all against corruption) but I can be a casual observer. It goes to the heart of the problem in India, that old institutions and ways of working, simply don't work any longer, and people are impatient for change.
In my own remit of research (Document Management) it was confirmed to me that imaging and capture along with associated business process management (including Case Management) are hot topics and look certain to grow substantially. This is a trend that is not limited to India, but the potential for growth is more likely more extreme there. Furthermore I have little doubt that in such a rich media savvy nation that the demand for DAM (Digital Asset Management) will also grow substantially there over the next couple of years.
However, tied to all this potential is the very real problem of immature and overly burdensome procurement practices for IT. Though India is surging ahead in some areas of technology and there is surely an appetite to do so more in future. Plus there is the dominance of Indian system integrators such as TCS, Sapient, and Infosys in the world of IT,there can be no doubt that India has a surfeit of tech skills and knowledge. But in terms of thorough product selection and buyer driven procurement processes I don't think India is there yet, nor it should be said in many cases are firms in the US or Europe. Yet my hope is that Real Story Group can in some small way help contribute to this situation in the coming years.
To the visitor India seems to change slowly, you see visuals from the car and street that look unchanged in millennia, yet at the same time India seldom does things by halves and I think buyers there are going to take content technologies in some new, dramatic and exciting directions over the next few years, going from laggard to cutting edge in the blink of an eye.