I am positive that this is not a “never the twain shall meet” situation when it comes to content strategies and ECM technologies. Process and content are siblings; it is only a matter of time before many of the isolated technologies that support both will merge in a more tangible manner than simple workflow.
Made me think…The mature ECM suites all have document centric workflow as a core capability. More of the larger ECM vendors are expanding this functionality to include full fledged BPM as defined by the Gartner research report “Business Process Management: Preparing for the Process-Managed Organization” last year.
BPM is a management practice that provides for governance of a process environment toward the goal of improving agility and operational performance. BPM is a structured approach employing methods, policies, metrics, management practices and software tools to manage and continuously optimize an organization’s activities and processes.
I think this intersection is already happening and is being fueled by three things:
- The move to open XML file formats like Open Document Format and the alternative from Microsoft, Open XML File Format
- Web Services being embraced by not only by customers but being supported by the major ECM vendors
- The growing buzz, hype, and popularity around BPM and the fact this BPM market is heating up
The ECM vendors do not want to be left behind and see the “ECM Lite” or core content management services being provided by Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft (oh yeah, and Alfresco for Open Source) being combined with stand alone mature and functionally rich BPM suites to replace the “single belly button” ECM value proposition.
I think the acquisition of ProActivity by EMC can be looked at two ways: First, not really an intersection but maybe EMC Software Division recognized that the current “BPM” capability in Documentum was not up to snuff and needed a boost; or could it be that like Oracle (The Oracle Buying Spree), they see the smaller companies out there with specific technical capabilities and niche set of customers an annoyance as well as opportunity and they find it easy to just gobble them up and remove the unnecessary competition and add another capability to the toolbox.
What do you think?