Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Portals, Content and Collaboration – The Future of ECM?

I attended Gartner’s Fall Portals Content and Collaboration Summit in LA earlier this month. Unfortunately, the Hollywood sizzle seemed to be missing from this event, even though it took place just across the street from Creative Artists Agency’s impressive new headquarters. Perhaps it was because the event was located in the basement levels of the Hyatt Century Plaza that caused us all to feel a little squeezed? Although, I must say the rest of the hotel has been wonderfully updated.

Maybe the issue is that the whole PCC concept might be getting old. I got the sense that many of the leading edge businesses, which have aggressively adopted PCC technologies, were busy doing just that – building and using them, instead of attending the event. Those organizations that did attend seemed more like the late adopters, still gathering information and waiting to see what the general consensus about ECM was going to be.

It’s also possible that Gartner’s somewhat artificial separation of the Web Innovation Summit from the PCC Summit had forced web developers to choose one venue vs. the other for budget reasons. I personally don’t know how it’s possible to separate Web 2.0 technology discussions from those about content management, collaboration or portals. In fact, it appeared that Web 2.0 applications, practices and case studies were getting the most attention at PCC this fall anyway.

The ECM market is evolving rapidly, and I know the folks at Gartner recognize this. However, its not just because of Microsoft and SharePoint. While SharePoint IS the tidal wave driving change in the ECM market, the market itself is quickly moving in new directions. Collaboration in particular is migrating to many new places on the web. (Are you having trouble keeping track of all your communications services?). My iPhone is rapidly gathering content sharing applications which connect to new web services – probably causing me to become an ECM rogue.

I’m not sure what’s going to stop this? Corporate policy? Probably depends on where we work. It’s also possible that the whole concept of ECM will need to get updated. (Just when everyone was beginning to understand it). Maybe the common content repository is more of an illusion than we expected? OpenText has some new ideas about using federated policy management against multiple content repositories that might help… Hopefully, Gartner will inject more web innovation into PCC next year before the event starts feeling more like a Lotus Notes conference.

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