Since many companies, large and small, are now working on revamping and updating information technology systems, they are developing long-range three to five-year plans. Perhaps the easiest part of the plan is deciding that it should include a way of leveraging the value of information available to the company.
The decision about which vendors to partner with over the long term will not be as simple. The company you decide to work with today might not exist in three years, or the product you choose today may be discontinued. Given the M&A mania that has gripped the content management industry for the past few years, the number of vendors with solutions that appeal to smaller companies appears to be dwindling in kind. This is a trend that will continue for some time as larger content management vendors seek partners to help them broaden and deepen their current lineup of services. (That said, a number of vendors have moved to offer modular solutions that can be built upon over time and that can solve smaller, departmental content and document management needs.)
The urge to merge is also fueled by the major vendors' perception that their current and potential customers want to cut down on the number of vendors they deal with on a regular basis. So, the consensus seems to be, the vendor with the most comprehensive array of content management services can best vendors with more limited offerings in a competitive situation. "The days of companies buying bits and pieces are over unless the [smaller] vendor has a much better solution," Stellent's Ryan says.
Interwoven's Cochrane feels strongly that it is a mistake for companies to rely on small vendors, (those that have less than $100 million a year in revenue). He says that such companies are ripe for the picking as major vendors continue to hunt for smart acquisition properties. Ryan also sees the trend of vendor consolidation continuing. "Companies are buying other companies that they can quickly integrate into their applications and product lines," he explains—and notes that is one of the reasons behind his company's recent purchase of Optika. The merger was intended to help strengthen and expand Stellent's document imaging, business process management, and compliance capabilities.
Even an improving economy can't make companies forget some of the hard lessons they've learned over the past few years. One of the biggest lessons worth remembering is that companies need to find ways to work smarter and do more with less—all the time, not just when the economy is doing poorly. By making the decision to unleash the intelligence inside of content and by moving document management into content management on as broad a scale as possible, some companies are demonstrating that they've learned their lessons well.
Companies Featured in This Article
Captiva Software www.captiva software.com
Documentum, Inc. www.documentum.com
FileNet Corporation www.filenet.com
InterDoc Corporation www.interdoc.com
Interwoven, Inc. www.interwoven.com
Mobius Management Systems, Inc. www.mobius.com
Plumtree Software www.plumtree.com
RedDot Solutions www.reddot.com
Stellent, Inc. www.stellent.com