Gartner’s 2012 ECM Magic Quadrant: Quick Analysis

By Hemant Prasad posted 10-31-2012 05:21


Gartner has recently released much expected ECM Magic Quadrant for 2012. There are quite a few interesting facts to note. In my earlier post Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM 2012: What to expect? just before the Gartner release, I had predicted IBM to be on the top of chart in terms of ability to execute and Gartner proved me right. But I was wrong in predicting the visionary position for Microsoft, which went to IBM followed by Oracle. Gartner gave credit to IBM's overall business alignment with its ECM offerings, wherein Oracle gained the position due to its acquisitions, mainly FatWire and the ability to better align its acquisitions with overall business strategy.

There is disappointment though for Microsoft and EMC fans in ECM Magic Quadrant 2012 despite EMC IIG CMO Mr. Jeetu Patel making dedicated efforts to improve analysts ratings. Microsoft's SharePoint story seems to be losing steam. Finally customers and analysts have started realizing that Microsoft never focused on making SharePoint a robust ECM solution. Microsoft is known for making solutions with nice user interface (they deserve due credit for giving Windows OS to the world, else DOS would have never helped IT this much) and SharePoint undoubtedly has a user friendly interface.

We can classify SharePoint as a nice collaboration solution and a 'good' DMS solution, but I don't think it can be categorized as a full-fledged ECM solution. The lack of native functionalities in the areas of administration, backup and recovery, workflow, WCM, replication, mobile support and broad usability were the major concerns cited by Gartner (I just wonder why does Gartner even includes SharePoint into ECM MQ after citing all these weaknesses which are core of ECM and how it gained the top spot in 2010 ECM MQ?).

Microsoft's frequent architecture changes are also the major concern for user's annoyance which makes upgrade difficult. Remember SharePoint was a Portal Server in 2003 (SPS 2003), then it became MOSS 2007 and then SharePoint 2010 and now upcoming SharePoint 2013. The evolution is a good thing, but Microsoft should learn from the failure of IBM FileNet wherein many customers migrated to other ECM systems (primarily to SharePoint) due to the complex and expensive upgrade process from Panagon to P8. The trend might reverse if Microsoft doesn't address the challenge in its upcoming release.

I have visited the benefits page on Microsoft SharePoint website and noted that Microsoft is emphasizing only on the collaboration benefits of SharePoint namely (1) Share (2) Organize (3) Discover (4) Build (5) Manage. The new feature in SharePoint 2013 will be the ability to build Apps for SharePoint, but ECM features are virtually missing from the benefits page. Its evident that the decision to focus on Apps is very much driven from the success story of Apple AppStore, which makes sense commercially.

The next to disappoint is EMC (Documentum). Once the market leader and the trendsetter for ECM is slumbering. It has been consistently performing behind IBM, Microsoft and Oracle in visionary block for the last 3 years. But the bigger surprise came this year when Gartner rated it below lesser-known ECM vendor Hyland Software in terms of ability to execute. Gartner cited lack of ECM business alignment within EMC with its core storage business and inconsistent product strategy for Social Content Management as the major cause of concerns.

Not just that Gartner also sees erosion in EMC Documentum business due to high cost, product complexity and weak sales and marketing efforts, which is not a good sign either for its IIG division or for its business partners. It also gives strength to speculations about the future of Documentum with EMC.

EMC is organizing its annual user and partner conference Momentum Europe in Vienna in few days from now and analysts will have a keen eye on the announcements made, which will decide the future of Documentum. And possibly this will be the last chance of EMC IIG President Rick Devenuti to give some confidence to users and partners, if Documentum is here to stay.

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