Mid-Year Market Summary from A SharePoint of View

By Mike Alsup posted 07-27-2015 15:05


This post summarizes market developments in the SharePoint, Office 365, and ECM ecosystems over the last quarter.  I was fortunate to attend a variety of events recently, including the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), and events hosted by AIIM, Lexmark, Nintex and the DLM Forum in Europe. 

Microsoft continues to strengthen its mix of products with Windows 10 and EMS for iOS and Android.  They made a number of acquisitions this quarter that aimed to provide a more capable Office 365 and Azure environment that equally supports Windows, iOS and Android.  At WPC, they said that their EMS software which manages multiple BYOD devices has been growing very rapidly.  Julia White couldn’t say SharePoint often enough and probably broke the record for the most times SharePoint was ever mentioned in one sentence.  With the delivery of Windows 10 this week, and the delivery of the SharePoint 2016 on premises Beta this quarter, there will be no shortage of news. 

Office 365 is getting bigger with SharePoint 2016 in the cloud and on-premises.  Microsoft has addressed many of its historical file and list size limitations.  They are learning lessons from the requirements of Office 365 multi-tenancy and are bringing cloud scalability to on-premises platforms and solutions instead of the reverse which had always been their approach before.  I see Salesforce as their model.  They want to build vertical and horizontal solutions in the cloud with data and documents on the scale of enterprise multi-tenant solutions.  Microsoft doesn’t see Office 365 as only a cloud productivity and collaboration solution.  They see it as a platform for managing files, sites, portals, and enterprise-scaled content management solutions that are tightly integrated with business processes and ERP and line-of-business applications.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s top lawyer, came to WPC with two messages.  First, Microsoft is the people’s champion for security and privacy.  If the United States government or anyone else wants unreasonable access to your files, Microsoft will fight on your behalf.  Second, people should trust Microsoft to be more secure than a normal organization could ever hope to be in protecting information from unauthorized access.  This is becoming a more powerful marketing message with every big hack at large companies.

Integrators, from the largest to the tiniest, are begging for better Office 365 provisioning tools and solution platforms.  They see the demand in their customers for business solutions in Office 365, but there is much work to be done to build these solutions.  ISV’s like Nintex are killing it as they offer simple forms that connect to Salesforce and SAP data easily within a workflow.  This includes validating data against either Salesforce or SAP, creating template documents based on data in Salesforce or SAP, and linking documents in SharePoint or Office 365 back to transactions in SAP.  I expect to see similar capabilities emerge for Oracle EBS, Dynamics, etc. in the near term. 

The SharePoint ecosystem providers have largely become Office 365 ecosystem providers, and very few of them exhibited at WPC.  Software ISV’s and integrators and consultants attended in smaller numbers to meet with the Microsoft partner teams.  Microsoft’s message to partners was “bring us real business solutions with subject matter expertise and we will help you sell them into the cloud.”  As Microsoft is completing their transformation from an on-premises stack to Office 365 and Azure, the Ignite event is where much of the partner and vendor action will be.  Many partners and customers complained that they tried to attend or exhibit at Ignite too late in 2015 and they won’t make that mistake again.  I expect Ignite to be the significant event in this area in Chicago in May, 2016. 

Acquisitions and divestitures are rapidly changing the ECM terrain.  Developments with Lexmark Enterprise Software (LES), Fujitsu, IManage and Syncplicity are actively increasing the number of core ECM market competitors.  While we have had new ECM categories, like cloud file sync and share, emerge, as John Mancini noted today, it has been a while since we have added this many new core ECM providers. 

Lexmark Enterprise Software (LES) is rapidly combining the capabilities of Kofax, Readsoft, Perceptive, Saperion, and the many prior acquisitions that those companies represent to create a new full service ECM software company.  Forrester published a Wave report on ECM Transactional Content Services in the last few weeks that lauded the evolution of LES as one of the five leaders in this market. 

Fujitsu, which had previously been a very large partner of Kofax, KnowledgeLake and Ephesoft is investing more in solutions that they are taking to market directly.  Fujitsu has been a dominant supplier of capture hardware for decades and could easily make a big market splash in the capture market based on their current customers. 

IManage and Syncplicity have recently emerged as solo software companies from much larger parents (HP and EMC) with venture backing to reclaim their prior market momentum.  From what we have heard, both ventures have had a very positive reception back into the market from their remaining installed base of clients. 

Finally, at the DLM Forum meetings in Riga, Latvia, the MoReq 2010 standard along with completed test scripts was approved.  I believe that the National Archives, particularly in Europe, will drive records management transfer standards towards the MoReq approach (as the standard drops the 2010 nomenclature).  MoReq is modular and well suited to multi-repository content governance challenges.  Our clients seem to have many repositories, including SharePoint, Office 365, Exchange, File Shares, OneDrive, Dropbox or Box (or both), and assorted legacy ECM solutions that all need consistent content governance.  MoReq is a modern standard that is well positioned for the transfer of records either to another records repository or to an archive.  Records management and archival software should fit together like hand and glove.

Change is the only constant.