Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Three biggest trends?

Looking across our business and complementing that with discussions with clients and analyst and consultant friends it seems that the three biggest trends in our neck of the woods these days are:-

  • Next Generation Web Content Management
  • Imaging and Capture
  • Volume ECM for the masses

Missing from this list is collaboration, digitial asset management, record management and all the other components that make up the plethora of technologies we call ECM.

Taking a closer look at various projects we see so many clients looking to the next stage of their unstructured data adventure. They are finding that paper and forms are just as much part of today's business as they were 5 or 8 years ago when the industry predicted a sharp decline in paper and forms.

They are finding that fancy web sites are no longer good enough, customers are demanding fully functioning portal environments where they can work and interact.

And lastly they are finding that traditional DM tools have not scaled eiher technically or price wise to entire enterprise deployments. And the basic housekeeping of electronic admin needs to be urgently addressed.

I could also argue that Record Management is in fact booming, but there are few major RM projects on the go, rather major imaging, ECM and WCM projects are starting to accept that RM is a defacto piece of the bigger puzzle. Convincing anyone that collaboration tools or digital asset management is a 'must have', remains tough.

In large enterprises we are seeing the dawning realization that WCM and DM are part of the same content lifecycle. In other words as more transactional and complex web sites are built, they cannot exist as ivory towers - but need to be integrated into and become front end element of DM & Workflow processes.

Yet we still see consultants in the industry coming from one camp or the other (WCM or DM). Lisa Welchman's podcasts recently touched on this topic more effectively than I can. And though I think this is often a very good thing, as structuring a DM repository is quite a different skill set to building a website, increasingly we are going to need those who major in both.

Some personal flavour - I am writing this from the back of a stretch limo at midnight on my way home from Boston airport. This is not my normal mode of transport - I booked a regular car as mine is in the shop. Quite bizzare, funky lights and the tinkling of champagne glasses as we roll through the New England countryside.


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