Content Management’s Changing Story Line

Historically, content management represented a safe market for small and medium software suppliers. “The ongoing joke in the content management industry was that it consisted of Documentum and the Seven Dwarfs,” says Richard Medina, principal consultant at market research firm Doculabs.

Indeed, content management suppliers were able to build businesses generating hundreds of millions in revenue without attracting much competition from large suppliers. Astoria Software Day Software Holdings AG, Filenet, Interwoven, Mobius Management Systems, Opentext, Stellent, Tower Software and Vignette are some of the firms that thrived in the market.

EMC’s purchase of Documentum in 2003 started to alter the typical vendor profile. Not only did that billion-dollar company enter the market, but also Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle developed content management products. The large companies were attracted by the increasing revenue generated—content management became a multi-billion business in only a few years—and the software’s growing importance in the enterprise. “Because of many recent changes in government regulations, content management has been a top management concern,” says Tony Byrne, founder of market research firm CMS Watch.

The changing vendor profile alarms Frank Matthewson, manager of EPC Systems at Bechtel, which has been using Documentum to manage content for its projects since 1992 and has 150 copies of the software spread through the organization. “We were concerned that content management would become a low priority item for EMC,” he explains. “We have found the opposite to be true, and our relationship with Documentum is as good as it ever has been.”

Other users should brace themselves for potential market changes. “They won’t admit it, but every major content management supplier is looking to be acquired,” Doculabs’ Medina says. If that occurs, the tale in this market will switch from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs to Land of the Giants.

About the Author

Paul Korzeniowski, a freelance writer based in Sudbury, Mass., specializes in writing about technology. His e-mail address is [email protected].