Friday, December 29, 2006

Bribing Bloggers.....(and Analysts?)

Joel ( a top notch New York blogger) has posted a very interesting piece on what he call's the 'bribing of bloggers' it is well worth a read.

What Joel discusses is moves by Microsoft to treat bloggers as influencers - and basically extend top bloggers with the same privileges as Industry Analysts. These privileges extend to flights and first class hotel and dining at the vendors events, plus in many cases lots of freebies (cell phones, laptops)
In reading Joel's piece he makes no mention of Analysts and I am not sure if he is aware that what he describes is everyday business for analysts at Gartner, IDC and Forrester etc.

Indeed it was my regular life for six years with Ovum (though I never accepted cellphones, laptops etc) - and now I have made the choice to work with CMS Watch, and politely refuse any offer of generosity by vendors.

I think the CMS Watch way is the right way, I think genuinely reaching out and involving the user community (buyers, integrators and consultants) is the right way to do analysis. I still speak to the vendors, and would not be able to do my job properly otherwise - but I am hopefully not in anyway compromised when I do.

I don't blame Microsoft for reaching out to Bloggers in this way, and they are not the only ones doing this - all major vendors are working out how to deal with the blogger phenomena - and some are pondering if the old Industry Analyst hegemony is as solid and important as they once thought. Its a difficult time for vendors, and Microsoft shouldn't be beaten up over this - they are simply offering to influential bloggers what they and all their competitors have offered to Analysts for years....and if this is not the right thing to do, then the bloggers should advise Microsoft and the others as to what would work, as I am sure they will get a listening ear..

Friday, December 22, 2006

An ECM Report for ECM Buyers in 2007

As 2006 draws to a close, its getting dark outside, and I am getting a little sleepy from being overheated by my log burning stove, and the smell of woodsmoke. In this twilight world where I dream of getting chapters written, and deadlines met - I am also thinking about all things I have not done in 2006 and await me in 2007....

Things that I hope some kind hearted readers of this blog might consider helping me out on!

Compiling a list of relevant ECM standards for the Report (turn out this is easier said than done) - I have the JSR and DOD stuff all listed but then it all starts to get a bit hazy....

Finally writing an article for somebody on the complexity and standards of engineering manual authorship (SR1000D and all that)

Getting brave and taking up the challenge to really look at security from an ECM perspective.

Eventually punching the next person who says " ECM - thats the same as KM "

Dealing with the vendors when they see the final draft of their evaluations and as always don't like them (not the most fun part of this job)

Finding out more about non US and non Euro Centric ECM systems - I know they are out there - Japanese ECM vendors?

Meeting the ECM Report deadline - and it selling in truckloads

On reflection though 2006 as been a productive and eventful one -

My time at Wipro was really good and I am fortunate to have left, but stayed friends with so many

AIIM, CMF2006 and ECM Plaza were all very positive experiences as a speaker and attendee

Cover article 'Hide What's Inside' was particularly sweet as it was a devil to write

ECM is Dead, Long Live ECM article for CMS Watch really struck a chord with so many

I joined CMS Watch and so far so very good

Amassed a lot of American Airline points and a lot of Marriott points too (on a weekend to Vermont my family and I stayed at a Residence Inn and I hated it because it felt like I was at home - true story)

This blog became something positive in its own right, something I never expected

So as an ECM Analyst/Advisor/Consultant/Writer/Speaker/Shaman I am very much looking forward to 2007. The industry is in the midst of so much change and the future is very bright indeed. More importantly, following on from my work at Wipro and Ovum I am really fired up about working on behalf of technology buyers without compromise, or hidden agendas - with CMS Watch and with APS, what you see is what you get...

So to everyone - have a wonderful Christmas and a terrific New Years !

Friday, December 15, 2006

Poll on Open Source ECM

The outcome of my little poll here on the impact Open Source options will have on the ECM market is as follows:

Pretty overwhelming result then really! And if it means anything (and I would not place too much value on it) then I guess it is telling us that buyers are getting smart and the Open Source is simply another option to consider.

In truth the polling numbers weren't that high (under a 100) but its interesting nonetheless. That great book, 'Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics' would love such specialist polls and their outcomes. Yet even though this is far from scientific its probably as good as some polls we see come from more mainstream sources on the topic.

Personally I had thought that lowered software license costs would have polled much higher - but hey that shows how much I know :-)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chosing vendors for the ECM Report

I threw a little stone in the pond on Friday (see CMS Watch Blog) regarding the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM. I guess it was late in the day………

Anyhow, I now feel that I really ought to be as open as possible about how I am writing the forthcoming ECM Report, in particular how I am deciding who to include and not to include. Most important for me and CMS Watch is that the process is transparent.

First up – coming up with a workable list is much harder than it might seem, and the one that is currently on my desk probably bears no resemblance to the one I sent Tony Byrne last week! But nevertheless there is in effect more than one lists.

The first is those that without whom the ECM Report would make little or no sense. Therefore the major ECM vendors such as EMC, OpenText, Interwoven etc etc constitute the logical top tier, and will be covered in depth. After this I will cover those who are currently disrupting the market and importantly getting the ear of ECM buyers (the buyers are after all who I am writing this report for). The key disruptive vendors currently include Alfresco and Oracle (particularly with the pending Stellent acquisition) – and then I have a third tier, those that are solid established and high value players but tend to play in a particular geographic or industry niche, included here might be Formtek for Cimage – they may not be as well known as the tier one and two vendors, but in the right circumstances should be considered for the short list.

My hope is that the report will meet the needs of 90% of ECM product buyers ( I can never make everyone happy) and that third tier group will likely grow as new versions of the report are issued over time. Likewise the tier 2 (disruptive) vendors may also change as some will prove to have little longevity, and others come into play.

In the CMS Watch, ECM Report that we hope to publish in Spring 07, we also want to be sure that we are sensitive to geographic variations (EVER in France and Spain, NewGen in India and Objective in Australia for example), and though we cannot hope to capture everyone (nor would I try) it is in this last group of Geographic and Vertical Industry specific that the biggest gaps will inevitably be (and of course it is complicated as even regional players often play outside their regions!).

In other words there is really no rocket science to this – and I am always open to comments and suggestions as to how to improve things. The key thing though with the ECM Report (and the other CMS Watch Reports) is that they are written solely with the needs and requirements of potential technology buyers in mind, their/your needs are the beginning and end of the inclusion and product evaluation criteria. And its also worth stating loudly that CMS Watch does not receive any revenue at all from software vendors, no consulting to them, not even flights and hotels for an event!

And if anyone at Gartner wants to slug me one, then I can’t really blame them – but that magic quadrant was really begging for it too you know ;-)