Enterprise Content Management in your IT Infrastructure

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An in depth conversation with Forrester EMC analyst Kyle McNabb, discussing Forrester’s content-centric view of Enterprice Content Management (ECM). You’ll learn why Forrester believes customers are making purchase decisions based on the types of content involved in their business processes – transactional, business and persuasive content. Kyle will define each of these content types and how an ECM platform can be utilized to manage each.

Transcript:

Host: Bryan House – EMC Software

Guest: Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Bryan House – EMC Software

Hi, my name is Bryan House; you are listening to an Enterprise Content Management Podcast series, ‘When Content Matters’ from EMC. Today, I have the special luxury of having a guest, Kyle McNabb from Forrester Research joining me today. Kyle, can you take a minute to tell us a little bit about yourself and your focus at Forrester?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Sure, my name is Kyle McNabb, I’m a senior analyst with Forrester and I do cover Enterprise Content Management; more specifically, I cover discrete areas such as document management and web content management within the overall Enterprise Content Management landscape.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Great, so right now is a really exciting time for Enterprise Content Management and the market’s changing and growing and really evolving pretty rapidly right before our eyes. What do you think is behind some of the growing interests in ECM and what’s happening in the market?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Well, because of number of drivers. Number 01, we do live in a market now that is very much focused on risk management, risk mitigation and content is one of those assets that can put an organization at risk. So, there is a ton of interest within IT organizations to look for ways to better manage that content, manage that content that maybe putting the organization at risk to help mitigate risk, to help support compliance initiatives. I also think just in general, there is a broader recognition that content is important and if an enterprise can put their content to use, they can get more efficient, they can improve productivity, etcetera and that is really driving I think a renewed interest in a lot different areas in Enterprise Content Management.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Yeah that’s great, I mean we hear that a lot from our customers too, that the need to — sort of the untapped potential of unstructured content. I know that you’ve led the Forrester’s Research for the EMC suites way that was published last fall, can you talk a little bit about that and some of the findings you had as result of that wave?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Sure, that wave itself was an evaluation of ten different vendors with a particular audience in mind. What we did is, we worked fairly closer with a larger number of senior IT architects to get a good understanding of how they are looking at Enterprise Content Management and for a lot of them, what they really want to do is, they recognize that content is a problem within the enterprise and within their enterprise they may have anywhere from 5, 10, 20 or even more different content systems inside the organization and what they really want to do is find a solution that they can standardize going forward to help them address future business needs, future IT needs as well and get them in a position where they can prevent some rogue spending. So, they can keep their line of business peers from buying that next content management system but eventually has to come IT’s ways to manage and support to point forward.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Great, you also led the research much more recently around Forrester’s content centric application waves. What’s the premise behind this view of content management and sort of what’s the — how do you draw distinction between the two wave reports you have published in the last six months or so?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Sure well, harking back to the Enterprise Content Management wave, you know with that senior IT architect view, what they often miss when dealing their line of business peers is they miss context. You know miss some of that need and information, that’s going to help them figure out how to put content to use to address maybe a transactional process need or to help address, making that intellectual worker with inside engineering, or finance a little bit more intelligent or help marketing address a broader customer experience need and put content to use to help derive a consumer to a customer. So we actually took that context in mind and evaluated the same sort of vendors and a few more to help those IT architects and to help those in IT that are aligned with a line of business. Get a better perspective of what vendors, what products, what solutions are out there that aren’t just focused on helping them address their platform needs, but help them put content to use.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Great, now do you see ECM as an infrastructure decision today or as a — do you see more heading in that direction around the platform.

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Well, truth we tell at ECM, it really is an infrastructure decision now. Most enterprises that we talk to they look at ECM for lack of a better way to put it as kind of the next iteration of the database, or the next generation file system. They do want to standardize on top wave an infrastructure platform, that they can build up that IT skills that are around, that they could have readily available to deploy, to go meet any type of business need or any type of IT need. So, your by and large IT infrastructure decision makers are driving evaluations of ECM but we’re also seeing quite a bit of bifurcation beginning to take place in the market, in that those aligned with the line of business in IT or even some of those more intelligent business users and business managers are looking at content. And looking for ways to — again, put it to use to help them become more efficient, so yes ECM in general is becoming an infrastructure decision but we are seeing this bifurcation take place in a new class of applications, a new class of solutions emerged, that are going to leverage that infrastructure and help those end users in the lines of business etcetera, put that content to use.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Can you give us an example of this?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Sure thing, typical one that I went across with is marketers are really focused right now, especially in the retail world if they are in, if they are retail financial services, the retail banking, typical product retail, consumer markets, you name it, they are very focused and concerned on trying to present end customers a consistent experience. Across all channels, be it wireless, be it you know what happens on the website, be it what happens with the direct field organization, be it what happens within a kiosk instead of a retail store. They are very focused on making sure that any customer that comes to them will get a consistent experience across all of those channels. Now those marketers, they are not exclusively identifying that there is a content problem, but the fact is that it is a content problem and so that’s really kind of highlighting, if you will, a disconnect between lines of business and IT whereas in this case you know the marketers, they haven’t expressed a content problem but they do a bit content problem and that often gets lost on the IT organization; end results in an unsatisfied set of needs for the marketers and addressing a customer experience need. We think that’s kind of driving the bifurcation of the market and really kind of leading a lot of IT organizations to rethink what they need to do for their content initiatives. You know IT organizations need to be a little bit more consultative when they are addressing these types of needs and need to recognize that, hey, in some areas that may be a content problem where the line of business hasn’t explicitly identified it.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Right, now in part of the content-centric applications where in the reports that you’ve wrote on — issued on this topic, you sort of defined three categories of content; transactional, business and persuasive. How should an organization prioritize their ECM strategy particularly when most companies have content that falls across every one of these categories?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Well, kind of the anecdote here is most enterprises that I talked to; they prioritize based on who’s screaming the loudest. In many cases I think that does work for some enterprises, but I really do think, the best way for enterprises to move forward is to think of ECM, yes it is infrastructure but to think of it as a strategy as well and work to identify where inside an organization you’re picking a particular process area, picking a particular business unit, picking a particular user constituency and help them understand what their information architecture is. You help them understand, how content can be put to use to help them address their needs, help them understand what content or information they need to be effective and also help them understand you know what policies and procedures need to be in place to help them manage that content.

That’s a better way to help identify what paying points need to addressed then in what many enterprises do right now is they look across the board, they recognize a content isn’t owned by any one particular senior executive inside the enterprise and so they focus on trying to find that lowest common denominator that they think can address any particular business need. You know that’s a recipe for disaster, so those that want to focus on more ECM as a strategy, do need to kind of pick their battles with a particular business unit or line of business and help them identify what that information architecture is, then go off and begin to identify the right platform or the right set of content-centric applications that can address those needs.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Great, great actually I want to go back to a thing you said a little bit before; you talked about that organizations are looking to start to make their ECM strategy and decisions sort of similar to the database and the way they have looked at databases before. So, what is Forrester’s vision for the platform vendors in the ECM space going forward and should organizations evaluate their platform capability requirements; things like records managements, security, classification or metadata management with the application that content-centric application requirements that you describe?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Yeah, a great question and when we opt in here from a lot of our clients, the market really is bowling down as especially about ECM has infrastructure to a enjoy a kind of a four horsemen race of IBM, EMC, Oracle, and Microsoft and I think a lot of parallels can be made between ECM and RDBMS market in particular. You know many enterprise IT organizations they didn’t make their relation or database decisions based on a particular end application requirement, they looked across the board and identified that, hey, structure data is common and it needs to support a wide range of applications and behind that you need to have a strong set of security and management applications to support all that information. I think the same thing can be said here for ECM as infrastructure but I don’t think you can just as you didn’t do it for the RDBMS world; you just focused solely on the backend you know kind of back office IT specific type of support you would find within an RDBMS and enterprises looked at as well as what applications were readily available, or what applications I could quickly build on top of that platform to go address particular line of business and process needs.

The same thing can be said for ECM. Enterprises do need to evaluate ECM as infrastructure, along the lines of what is going be available for IT to help them better manage and deploy content and content repositories to go address lines of businesses, but you can’t just stop there. I think enterprises about who are those senior IT architects to look at what types of applications are readily available to run on top of that platform so they really need to press on vendors including EMC and IBM and Microsoft and Oracle of what applications do you have now? Or what vendors, what other ISBs have built out applications? What SIs have built out solutions on top of this so that you as an IT infrastructure decision maker don’t have to worry about building everything over and over again to go address line of business needs.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Yeah that’s a really great point and that’s the reason — one of the reasons why we built the application development portfolio program here at EMC to just address those requirements that we are hearing from our customers as well. Well Kyle, I do want to thank you for joining us today, its been a very interesting discussion on really a hot topic, I think out in the market and certainly one they were very interested in. Before we do sign off though, can you summarize the three key take ways from the Forrester wave content-centric applications report for our listeners?

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Well, sure thing, I’ll summarize it with three words or one word said three times. Context, context, context. You know as an enterprise IT decision-maker you cannot just make a decision on their own of what is that platform that I can have readily available at my disposal to go address these needs. You need to work closely with those process owners inside the line of business with those different user constituencies to understand their context so that you have a better idea of how to put content to use and doing so sets you up in a — puts you in a much better position to go identify the right platform as well as the right applications to go address your organization’s needs.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Great, thanks again Kyle. With that that concludes our session today; for more information as well as access to teach you these reports you can go to software.emc.com and have access to these or obviously go to forrester.com. Get that right and check this out as well, so again Kyle thank you very much.

Kyle McNabb – Forrester Research

Thank you.

Bryan House – EMC Software

And we are signing off.

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  1. September 6th, 2008 at 17:57 | #1

    I am really surprised about Forrester enterprise content clasification, and how every one is glad about it.

    The fact that a contnt is a business content or a persuasive content has NOTHING to do with a content clasification, and has no consecuences in an ECM implementation or maintainance.

    There are really important facts associated with business processes that makes this clasification really useless!

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