Content Management Colliding with Collaboration

Market consolidation, application convergence build on naturally collaborative nature of information management apps, Yankee Group finds

Market consolidation, application convergence build on naturally collaborative nature of information management apps, Yankee Group finds

Boston — November 13, 2003 — Consolidation in the content management market has hastened over the past six months, with much of the activity in the market indicative of a growing trend toward the convergence of content management applications and collaboration solutions, according to a recent research note from technology consultancy Yankee Group.

In its report, "Content Management and Collaboration Collide in a Consolidating Marketplace," Yankee wrote that the market consolidation and application convergence are building on the naturally collaborative nature of information management applications such as content management and portals.

"Content management systems are intended to facilitate the creation of content, centrally manage or store it, and control its distribution," the consultancy wrote. "Portals are intended to be a single point of interaction with content and colleagues. Both these applications can be incrementally improved by collaborative applications."

Meanwhile, Yankee noted that "collaboration" comprises both a set of applications and a business process. Collaborative applications can be synchronous (instant messaging, video conferencing) or asynchronous (e-mail, on-demand Webcasts), as well as structured or unstructured. The most common collaborative application is e-mail, but other applications such as instant messaging, Web conferencing, chat and Webcasts are becoming popular among business users, according to the consultancy.

A number of recent mergers and acquisitions have brought together content management and collaboration, while other solution providers have addressed the convergence through integration, reselling agreements and informal partnerships. Highly visible market activity includes the acquisition of eRoom by Documentum, the merger of iManage and Interwoven, and the recent acquisition of Intraspect by Vignette.

Less visible activity includes a host of integration partnerships involving small vendors of collaborative applications, such as FaceTime, Latitude, IMlogic and Bantu. Further, large software vendors, including OpenText, PeopleSoft, IBM and Oracle have been focusing on the development of collaboration tools to complement existing products.

Yankee pointed out that prior to the past year a lot of hype surrounded collaboration and content management. But while many believe the hype continues, data from a recent Yankee Group survey demonstrate that a significant percentage of U.S. businesses are managing content from collaborative applications.

According to the survey, nearly half of respondents currently are managing content from a variety of collaborative applications including streaming media, video conferencing meetings or presentations, Web collaboration sessions or threads, Webcast content and instant messages.

Although the data do not assume these businesses are using content management systems to manage all collaboration-related content, 72 percent of the respondents use content management systems and will eventually integrate their applications.

Yankee cited two drivers behind the convergence of content management and collaboration. First, a key aspect of content management systems is the creation of content. Collaboration functionality is central to the creation stage of the content lifecycle, creating a natural habitat for collaborative applications such as team rooms, chat and instant messaging.

Second, collaborative applications generate content that must be managed. Discussion threads, e-mails and presentations are all forms of electronic content, some which must be managed effectively because regulation requires it.

Looking ahead, Yankee believes that the growth of the content management market, combined with the continued adoption of collaborative applications, will see these two markets draw closer together. The consultancy predicts a rash of consolidation as larger applications vendors — looking to enhance product sets — consume the remaining vendors of collaboration solutions.

"Further," Yankee predicted, "businesses will become increasingly desperate to use the e-mail client as the common interface into other applications and as a framework for enhanced collaboration. Recognizing e-mail is the most widely used communications application, vendors such as Kubi Software are building collaboration directly into the client."

Among the consultancy's recommendations for enterprise, Yankee asserted that enterprises must identify existing use of collaborative applications. "As the survey data shows, there is a significant amount of content in today's businesses generated by collaborative applications. Unless this content is effectively managed, it will lose its value and eventually become an obstacle to productivity," Yankee wrote.

In addition, enterprises must determine what groups require collaboration and then select tools that will cause the least disturbance to existing internal processes, Yankee concluded.