In our first post on the future of content management -- Defining the Future of Content Management – Part 1 – Evolution of an Industry we talked about the changes that have swept through the content "space" (going all the way back to microfilm), the acceleration of those changes over the past few years, and voiced the opinion that the "ECM" term is started to feel a bit tired.
In this second post, we'll talk abut how the buyer has changed. Driven both by the mainstreaming of content technologies and the entry of consumer technologies into the enterprise, there has been a dramatic evolution in who buys content management and how they approach the content management buy decision.
If you think about the typical buyer profile of the past, he/she usually would fall somewhere into this hierarchy (click on the diagram to enlarge it):
- The focus of IT was on cost reduction.
- Senior executives were largely technology oblivious (one CEO recently told me, "I viewed IT as a big hairball I just hoped would go away.")
- Job security was found in system complexity.
- As mobile and social entered the world of systems of record, initially just their sheer existence was a source of competitive differentiation.
- System implementations were long and paid for by capital expenditures (CAPEX).
- Technical skills in and of themselves had value.
As a result of the consumerization of IT in the enterprise, there is now a buyer migration in progress, largely reflected in the "other" side of the above pyramid (again, click to enlarge the image):
In this new world, much of the following is/will be true:
- The central mission of IT is value creation.
- Senior executives are now technology aware. (Note this is different from technologically-competent, but that's another story.)
- The coin of the realm is now simplicity rather than complexity.
- We have quickly moved into an environment in which mobile and social are becoming table stakes rather than differentiators in an enterprise IT strategy.
- The desired purchase mode is by the drink rather than by the gallon -- OPEX instead of CAPEX. Oh, and also don't talk to me about implementation cycles longer than a quarter.
- The really desireable technology players are those with domain/technical skills, but in a business context. Technology staff who can think more like engineers ("How can I fit the pieces together for systems that we didn't necessarily invent here?") have increasing value.
Often I talk about the above migration in this chart:
Now the challenge is that when I talk to people -- both on the buy side AND the sell side -- and ask them where the world is headed, they inevitably point to some version of the right side of the above chart. But when I ask them where all the action and money and effort is NOW, they point to the left side. When I ask them how they will make this migration and how long it will take and what they need to get there, the answer is almost always uncertainty.
And therein lies the central challenge of the next 2-3 years. Our mission at AIIM is to help organizations understand how they build content and governance strategies to navigate the transition. How can we help?
You might also be interested in...