Wandering through ERM Conferences Lately

By Michael Alsup posted 06-01-2010 15:09


In the last six weeks, I have attended a number of fascinating ERM industry events.  The Managing Electronic Records (MER) Conference, EMC World, the ARMA Houston Spring Conference, and SharePoint Saturday in Houston.  All had several hundred attendees.  Here were some themes I have noted lately:

Share drive clean-up is the new focus of the eDiscovery Information Management vendors 

Several leading vendors, including Autonomy, Guidance, Kazeon, StoredIQ, FAST, Active Navigation, and Digital Reef have recently attacked the market for crawling through and identifying potentially responsive Electronically Stored Information (ESI) for eDiscovery purposes.  The significant cost of projects to establish in-house tools for eDiscovery searches has been reduced by the competitive pressures of competing eDiscovery search vendors.  Bonus for cost-conscious users! 

A side benefit of this market has been the increasing sophistication of these tools to support crawling through and categorizing content on Share Drives.  The classification information derived from these searches enables content to be tagged and migrated into better structured repositories.  This can include suggesting a navigation taxonomy for the target repository and, in some cases, supporting the use of imported industry standard taxonomies for navigation.  As SharePoint 2010 becomes better established, look for these vendors to support the provisioning of SharePoint sites that incorporate this classification information into the resulting SharePoint site navigation. 

Stand-alone physical records management is challenged by SharePoint

An important competition in physical records management has long been between the ECM Suites (IBM, EMC, Open Text, and Oracle) and the stand-alone physical records management vendors (OmniRIM, Accutrac, CA-MDY, Information Networks International, and many others).  My prior columns have documented how SharePoint is eroding the ECM Suite business in favor of multi-repository solutions.  SharePoint is also changing the market dynamic for physical records management companies.  SharePoint is seen as a promising ECM and RM solution for many mid-sized organizations, which have traditionally bought stand-alone physical records management solutions.  As HP Tower has launched its SharePoint External Blob Storage solution, and File Trail has introduced a physical Content Type for inclusion in a SharePoint 2010 Term Store, the XML file transfer or other limited integration mechanisms between the physical records management solutions and SharePoint 2010 is starting to hurt these vendors also.  The stand-alone vendors are working to build their SharePoint 2010 solutions and we should see these emerge in the third and fourth quarters.  

SharePoint 2010 has exploded into the market quietly 

While there is lots of excitement around the new capabilities of SharePoint for ECM and RM, there has been less hoopla around the launch of new SharePoint 2010 add-on products for ECM and RM.  I think that there are several root causes for this:

  1. The Release to Market (RTM) version of SharePoint 2010 had some significant changes that are causing ISV’s to re-test their products.  SharePoint 2010 includes many new tools, features and capabilities and it is taking ISV’s more time to figure out how to best add value to SharePoint.  Incorporating features like In Place Records Management, Unique Document Identifier and the Content Organizer are challenging the product assumptions of some Microsoft ISV’s. 
  2. Many of the leading Microsoft SharePoint ISV’s are first adapting their MOSS 2007 products to SharePoint 2010 before introducing significant innovations to their products to take advantage of the new SharePoint 2010 features.  This is both understandable and the most comfortable approach for many of their customers to adopt. 

However, it is clear that there will be many innovative ECM and RM products introduced into all of these market categories later this year.  “Seatbelts fastened and seats and trays in the up and locked position”. 

#ElectronicRecordsManagement #ERM #SharePoint