Friday, October 3, 2008

Evaluating ECM Options – Where to Begin?

Even with SharePoint popping up in businesses all over, we still get plenty of questions from prospective customers about how to assess their ECM alternatives. Perhaps because Xythos has been an open standards technology champion they think we might be more neutral offering advice? I’m not sure, but it might suggest that while organizations will have to support SharePoint at some level, they understand they’ll need more help to meet their complete ECM needs.

My recommendation to best understand current ECM options would be to look at the guides published by the folks over at CMS Watch. While Forrester, IDC and Gartner also do a good job of analyzing the ECM market few provide the deep level of up to date product comparisons that CMS Watch offers in its 2009 edition of their ECM Suites Report. It’s not cheap at about $1,000 - $4,500 depending on your subscription size, but it’s worth it. Besides, you probably couldn’t pull all this data together from other suppliers for twice the price.

Yes, Xythos is included in this report too. However, I’m not promoting the report because we received a perfect rating. The report really doesn’t do that kind of stuff. I think Xythos did get a fair and balanced review and that’s really the outcome that we should hope for in these publications. Ideally, well-researched and balanced assessments result in better matching customers with the right ECM solutions. That can save everyone from a lot of hassles in the long run.

Like most ECM vendors, we’re looking at how our technologies can work together with SharePoint. It does a good job of helping MS Office users collaborate among themselves, but its also kind of Microsoft-centric in its approach. We know of organizations whose need to safely manage and share other types of files is equally as important. We’re also hearing requests for more flexible content storage models and easy integration with other web services. Oh, and what about Mac users? I guess these are things Microsoft is still working on?

How are you dealing with SharePoint in your organization? Will it replace older ECM systems or, do you expect it will eventually compliment them? I’d be interested to know.

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