Two of the IT industry’s most respected analyst firms, Gartner and Forrester Research, recently published reports evaluating the world’s leading enterprise content management (ECM) vendors, along with associated trends and developments.
The two reports, Gartner’s 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management, and The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management, Q3 2013, essentially represent the “State of the Union” of the ECM market, and provide some interesting insights into a rapidly changing sector.
M-Files is proud to have been included in both reports, validating our position as a global leader in the ECM market. We’re also happy to provide complimentary access to the Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management.
First, according to Gartner, “ECM continues to demonstrate value and growth, as the market grew 7.2% in 2012 to a worldwide market size of $4.7 billion.”
While both firms have their own unique approaches to evaluating the market and vendors, there was consensus from both firms on the following:
There is an increasing focus on targeted solutions rather than broad “do everything” suites typical of the large entrenched vendors
- Gartner: “Many enterprises are moving well beyond the basic uses of ECM (such as secure file storage in organized libraries) to tackle deeper business requirements that need strong process efficiency as well. This has led organizations to increasingly regard ECM as an environment for solutions that fit their business needs.”
- Forrester: “Organizations are moving away from the notion that an ECM suite will meet all their needs. It is hard to quantify the ROI of a suite without associating it to a specific business case. Of [the ECM professionals] that were able to measure their ROI, most found benefits in…solutions that focused on automating processes and eliminating the bottleneck of paperwork, e.g., case management solutions that help automate a dynamic workflow process.”
Businesses are focusing on productivity and specific business value, rather than narrowly focused compliance solutions
- Gartner: “The context of ECM has shifted from a focus on efficiencies and compliance to one that emphasizes impact and tangible business outcomes.”
- Forrester: “ECM project justifications have changed over the past six years from focusing on compliance to improving productivity. Organizations want better ways for their employees to derive value from content and increase the flexibility in the work environment.”
Mobile and Cloud are primary drivers of rapid change
- Gartner: “…more ECM vendors are offering a lightweight cloud-based environment to address emerging market needs and possibly to prevent their client bases from exploring the popular cloud-based file sharing environments, which only offer a fraction of the full functionality of ECM. This area of technology may become a common feature in ECM systems during the next few years. As the use of ECM begins to increase on mobile devices, we expect to see a generational makeover, with ECM moving further away from its roots in networked back-office environments.”
- Forrester: “‘Mobile First’ has become the user expectation. The work-anywhere future is a world in which work is something you do, not a place you go. End users are demanding new systems of engagement that focus on the context in which they work and not the processes that drive the business function.”
Forrester also goes on to state that while, “ECM vendors have moved quickly since the 2011 Forrester Wave evaluation to deliver a range of hosted services, private cloud, and public cloud offerings for their core products… ECM clients, however, are still in early stages of cloud adoption, with only 12% of decision-makers reporting use of ECM cloud applications.”
On-premise remains the dominant deployment model for a variety of reasons, including existing investments in infrastructure, compliance requirements and governance mandates, and integration with existing enterprise systems. However, given the compelling benefits cloud services offer, hybrid deployment becomes particularly interesting as it enables companies to leverage the cloud in stages and/or for specific projects and use cases, without radically destabilizing their business.
Given the significance of the cloud, coupled with the pragmatism driving the continued dominance of on-premise solutions, it’s noteworthy that Forrester concluded that, “M-Files provides one of the few true hybrid offerings.”
Gartner also called out M-Files’ hybrid approach, stating: “Next to traditional on-premises solutions, M-Files offers a native Azure cloud solution with the ability to run the solution in a hybrid content management model using metadata as a filtering and control mechanism.”
This latter point also brings out another area of commonality in the two reports, which is that both firms highlighted our metadata-driven architecture. We refer to the approach this architecture enables as Dynamic Content Management, which is fundamentally unique, more precise and more flexible — and it’s driving the next generation of ECM based on the simple notion of organizing and processing information based on “what” it is rather than “where” it’s stored. Most significantly, it moves ECM from a technology-centric tool to a business solution that puts the power of information in the hands of the business problem owner — rather than IT. The two most prestigious analysts firms following our market (not to mention customers and partners) are taking notice of how M-Files is disrupting the old-school approaches to ECM that still employ a folder paradigm that is over 30 years old.
The 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management
One of the key evaluation criteria that Gartner uses in the Magic Quadrant is “Completeness of Vision,” and regarding this criterion they state, “Completeness of Vision focuses on a vendor’s potential. A vendor with superior vision anticipates, directs and initiates market trends, particularly if it integrates its vision for a broad range of areas, and capitalizes on product and service development.” As such, it’s important to note that M-Files’ change in ranking based on this criterion outpaced any other ECM vendor in this year’s ECM Magic Quadrant when compared to the 2012 edition.
Gartner noted the following points as our “strengths” in the 2013 ECM Magic Quadrant:
- M-Files’ technology is built around an easy-to-use metadata model for file management, permissions and navigation. Files are organized and accessed through metadata. This makes the solution very flexible. Users see files in the context of their unique requirements; the files are not hard-coded to a static folder structure.
- M-Files has several strong vertical use cases in quality management and contract management.
- Next to traditional on-premises solutions, M-Files offers a native Azure cloud solution with the ability to run the solution in a hybrid content management model using the metadata as a filtering and control mechanism.
The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Content Management, 2013
M-Files’ debut in Forrester’s 2013 ECM Wave further cements our position as a recognized player in the global enterprise content management market.
According to Forrester Research:
- M-Files offers an entirely fresh approach to enterprise content management, with a metadata- and search-driven UI rather than the traditional folder and subfolder navigation scheme.
- M-Files’ metadata-driven architecture provides for flexible, folderless navigation, giving end users a versatile approach for grouping documents.
- Wave newcomer M-Files provides one of the few true hybrid offerings. M-Files metadata design has enabled it to lead the way with cloud-based computing, providing complete functionality and transparency between on-premises and cloud-based implementations. M-Files provides the ability to replicate data across distributed repositories and deployment types based on metadata.
The recognition we received from Gartner and Forrester, as well as the fact that we’re winning in competitive customer environments against larger ECM vendors, is further validation that organizations across a wide array of industries are realizing the merits of the M-Files approach to ECM.
Latest posts by Greg Milliken (see all)
- The End of the Beginning for ECM - September 16, 2016
- Gartner ECM Magic Quadrant 2015: The Drive for Contextual Relevance (Part 2 of 2) - November 18, 2015
- Gartner ECM Magic Quadrant 2015: The Drive for Contextual Relevance (Part 1 of 2) - November 11, 2015