For the greater part of the last decade there has been consolidation among ECM vendors and this has been championed by the business community for the most part because prior to this consolidation we had information separated throughout our organizations. Application X doesn’t talk to Application Y prior to consolidation. Afterwards they are owned by the same company and made compatible or Application Y is replaced by an offering by Application X. As there is a shift to the cloud with innovative applications like box.net, dropbox, etc. are we simply recreating these same information silos?
I think this answer is yet to be answered fully. For the most part, the answer right now is yes. Since these applications are primarily separated from one another, their functionality and their information is also separated. The long term answer, however, is a bit more complicated.
The cloud based parts of the industry realize that this could be a major issue, and are developing functionality to fight this (APIs, connections between apps, etc.). The other shift that is happening is that as these cloud tools progress, several of these tools are becoming platforms. Case in point is Salesforce.com. Salesforce started as a basic CRM system but now has expanded to a suite of tools based around their CRM. Another example is Zoho which has a broad suite of tools.
The shift of these cloud based tools to cloud based suites is going to present some long term problems for traditional vendors whose suite of non-cloud based products are moving to the cloud but have significant costs in comparison. Oftentimes, these traditional vendors have a broader functionality, but will that be compelling enough to retain market share?
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