Interesting things about ECM


Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” Goes To Court – ZL Technologies Lawsuit

Filed under: Gartner — Tags: , , — Anthony Fast @ 7:44 pm


Gartner will seek to dismiss claims by ZL Technologies, based in San Jose, CA, that the use of it’s proprietary “Magic Quadrant” is misleading and favors large vendors.

On Friday October 23, Gartner is seeking the dismissal of ZL’s complaint on First Amendment grounds.

Dennis Howlett, over at ZDNet writes:

ZL points up some uncomfortable assertions. Even if it lucks out in court it will have been successful in drawing attention to important issues.

…I spend a lot of time talking to other so-called analysts. Almost to a man/woman (but not entirely) they are 70-80% in the pay of the vendor community. Many believe they are independent. However when I ask who really pays the bills they go silent. Shout all you like about defending your independence but at the end of the day? Show me the money.

Gartner in the dock over Magic Quadrant | Irregular Enterprise |

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant has been very successful for the market research and analyst firm. It has been widely adopted as a way to define the position of companies and their products, within their sectors.

Companies that appear in the top right hand quadrant are considered the best positioned, the higher the position the better.

ZL Technologies provides email and file archiving for corporations. It’s claims are:

– Gartner’s use of their proprietary “Magic Quadrant” is misleading and favors large vendors with large sales and marketing budgets over smaller innovators such as ZL that have developed higher performing products.

– The complaint alleges: defamation; trade libel; false advertising; unfair competition; and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.

Fair Disclosure on Conflicts of Interest – Gartner generates its revenues from payments made by the same vendors whose products it evaluates. Similar to the new rules now being imposed on financial ratings agencies on Wall Street, Gartner should be required to disclose the revenues received from the vendors it ranks.

– Fair Disclosure on Evaluation Scores – The tech industry would benefit if Gartner were required to disclose more data in its evaluation process and disclose component scores so vendors know exactly where they are lacking and by how much and take corrective action. Currently, there is zero disclosure, which can lead to arbitrary placement, with no recourse and no basis for appeal.

– Better Oversight –Gartner currently has an employee act as ombudsman to handle disagreements. The conflict of interest is self-evident in the way ZL’s concerns were summarily dismissed with little supporting evidence. There is a crying need to establish an impartial ombudsman similar to those found in public media, in order to ensure purchasers that they are receiving impartial analysis.

The legal documents are here: ZL v. Gartner Court Documents | ZL Technologies

Gartner and other analyst and market research firms have long denied that their analysis is biased by their client base.


Looking beyond the magic quadrant to find the nitty-gritty

Filed under: CMS Watch, Gartner, Oracle UCM — Tags: , — Anthony Fast @ 11:37 pm


At first I was hesitant to write a critique of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for WCM. They’re a worthy competitor, we could learn from them about the value of high-level summaries, and the MQ makes an easy target (Alan has already dissected the phenomenon). But when you look beyond the famous quadrant and review the actual rationales, some important issues emerge for enterprises evaluating vendors and technology.

One tendency is revealing. Many of Gartner’s “strengths” and “cautions” have to do with a vendor’s “marketing effectiveness,” “messaging,” and “awareness.” Things that matter to investors and other vendors, but not so much to buyers. We are about to publish a short statement on sixteen principles behind CMS Watch’s methodology. Principles ten through twelve seem relevant here:

10. We do not rate vendors’ “market leadership,” which is vague and typically not germane
11. We do not evaluate vendors’ sales and marketing acumen, except inasmuch as different sales tactics may be meaningful for buyers to understand
12. A vendor’s “story” doesn’t matter; what they actually do matters

Let’s contrast what Gartner says with a sampling of what our research says about Web CMS vendor CoreMedia.


  • CoreMedia has a solid reputation and proven ability to execute in its traditional “sweet spot” in the media and entertainment sectors.
  • Its regional presence is strong. Even in broader Western European markets, CoreMedia has a presence and a reputation for good engineering.
  • CoreMedia has customers in different regions, but needs to develop its organization in North America more strongly and aggressively.
  • As with many engineering-focused developers, its marketing and promotion currently lag behind its technical proficiency. But recent changes in management appear to signal an intent to focus more on marketing and global expansion.

CMS Watch

(partial list)
  • Flexible, open Java architecture
  • Portal-friendly (integrates with many popular portal products)
  • Streamlined in-context editing user interface could appeal to casual authors as well as marketing experts
  • Strong globalization features
  • FAST InStream search engine included in base package
(partial list)
  • Combination of CPU- and seat-based licensing makes the product comparatively more expensive on larger implementations
  • Internal communication relies on dated CORBA infrastructure
  • Some important integrations (e.g., MS Office, Lotus Notes) have not been productized and remain third-party customizations
  • Power user interface is a thick Java client; some non-traditional UI metaphors
  • Product not well suited for intranet scenarios
  • Comparatively light footprint outside of Germany

There is one other difference. Our research costs money, and this MQ is free.  Or rather, it’s been pre-paid for you by Oracle. (Note the URL:…) This tweet from an an Oracle employee — “Oracle WIN!” — suggests how useful the MQ is for them.

So, vendors can win (and lose) at this game. But what about you the customer? Before you start researching which tool to adopt, first figure out your requirements, starting with what sorts of website(s) you publishOracle might suit your Intranet, but perhaps not your public sites.

Gartner’s observations are arguably more strategic. CMS Watch was founded on the notion that in vendor selection, the nitty-gritty matters. A lot. You see, whatever tool you ultimately select will bring tangible strengths and weaknesses — probably more of both than you ever imagined– that will impact your business. Software developers make trade-offs all the time. Which ones do you want to make?


Sorry Gartner, but the Magic’s Gone

Filed under: Gartner, Oracle UCM — Tags: , — Anthony Fast @ 10:30 am


In a few months the 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant will magically appear. Vendors in the ECM space will proclaim their leadership positions and many a potential customer will make their enterprise decisions based on this outdated concept.  Yes I said outdated.   For years I would wait to see what they thought of the vendor landscape.  It would help validate my own opions and show me a few new ideas.  Maybe I’m finicky and I take peoples’ statements too literally but hey they’re the ones that say it.

Content management is a critical technology that helps organizations manage important documents and other unstructured information, such as photographs, XML components, video clips, podcasts and e-mail messages. Content management vendors address a range of user needs and offer a range of functionality, with some focusing on process-centric applications and others on basic content services (BCS). Enterprise content management (ECM) represents a vision and a framework for implementing a broad range of content management technologies and for extracting higher value from disparate content formats throughout an enterprise. Business planners and IT architects must understand the changing market dynamics and vendor landscape for ECM. ECM vendors must offer a wide range of capabilities that interoperate, but which may also be sold and used as separate products if needed.

Note what I highlighted.  Not to live in absolutes, but misinterpreting this note can cost a company millions.

So How Was I Supposed to Phrase My Question?
A few years back I found myself leading a really fun project.  I even thought that this was “the project” I had been preparing for my entire career.  I was asked to perform an ECM vendor evaluation for a retailer’s enterprise strategy.  I had years of experience and thought I knew where each product met their limits but I still new I would learn a few new things.  But one vendor ignored my boastful introduction as to my pedigree.

In round one, with my client in the room, I let my questions get answered in “marketing terms”.  But in round two, I put on my laser focus.  You see I did my research and like many of the ECM vendors, this one had more than one platform.  And while “yes the company supported feature A”, it was in platform 1 not in platform 2.  And then “yes the company supported B”, it was in platform 2 not in platform 1.  So while yes the company supported both features, you would have to choose one feature over another or implement two completely separate platforms.

Do Multiple Platforms Rule?
I really don’t get this idea that ECM systems don’t need to integrate.  But I think I’ve fallen into believing that ECM is much like DBMS.  And for those of us that have been around, consolidation was the story in DBMS in the 90’s.  And this wasn’t vendor consolidation, like with ECM today, it was consolidation by the clients.  Why have administrators, maintenance contracts, upgrades, etc with Oracle, Sybase, and Informix?

But here we are and EC-ehM vendors think that people don’t mind having several platforms in house.  These vendors think it’s not a problem to have a whole bunch of administrators for unstructured content.  They haven’t been listening to the client because their opinion is the complete opposite.  Do you really need an admin for each your WCM, EDMS, and Imaging platforms?  No.

So What is Your Opinion, Big Man?
I won’t do Gartner’s job for them, today.  So I’ll only hit the highlights and focus on Leaders, Visionaries, and Challengers.  I’ll follow Gartner’s own rules and look at formats, interoperability, and separation.  But I will also go ONE step further and recognize that there are PLATFORMS.


Looking at the above the above and focusing on “capabilities that interoperate”.  A typical ECM vendor today supports Document Management, Web Content Management, and XML in a single or interoperable platform.  IBM Content Manager, EMC Documentum, Oracle Universal Content Management (formerly Stellent), Open Text Vignette, and Autonomy Interwoven all support this standard base level of format interoperability.  Of these, Only EMC Documentum has the vision to also look at Digital Asset Management, Images, and eMail in a single platform.  IBM FileNet also needs to be considered for its support of DM, WCM and Images in a single platform.  That really just leave Microsoft and Hyland trailing the pack.  Of course looking at platforms they are not alone.

If I were breaking up the categories.  Here’s what I would do:


IBM FileNet
Open Text Document Management
Microsoft SharePoint

IBM Lotus


EMC Documentum

Autonomy Interwoven
IBM Content Manager
Open Text Vignette
Oracle Universal Content Management


EMC Captiva
Hyland OnBase
Open Text Digital Media
Open Text Captaris Alchemy
Open Text eDOCS
Open Text IXOS
Open Text Web Solutions
Symantec Enterprise Vault *


EMC SourceOne *

Of course to do this right, you need to look at vendor viability, customer satisfaction, and specific features of each platform.  For instance that we all know that Open Text LiveLink has much better office document support over Open Text Vignette.

So I Don’t Use the Magic Quadrant?
No, you still look at the Magic Quadrant.   The way Gartner looks inside the feature functionality of each vendor is still very in depth, even thought they do ignore the multi-platform issue.  Maybe some customers are still willing to go the overhead route of multiple platforms.  For them, I say beware and be prepared to buy additional platforms as needed.  Then again maybe Gartner’s listening and we’ll see a deeper analysis.  It’s not only software that upgrade over time.

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