2006 has been an exciting year for content technologies. Based on some of the interesting happenings, the following themes (in no particular order) have emerged that might have an impact on this space in coming years:
- Standards: or the lack of them was evident. Although portal standards (JSR-168, JSR-286) have done well, content management standards (JSR-170, JSR-283) have not done that well. Alfresco, Magnolia, Day and eXo support JSR-170 and there have been occasional talks of JSR-170 connectors for other products (e.g., BEA supports this using Day’s connectors). However, I think the acceptance has been below my expectations.
- Mergers and Acquisitions: After some small acquisitions, it was turn of some big time moves in this space. IBM’s acquisition of FileNet and Oracle’s buyout of Stellent were the big ones. Other notable ones were Red Hat’s (Jboss), Documentum’s (Authentica) and Stellent’s (SealedMedia). There wouldn’t be any change in the short term and choices for a buyer would not be any easier. Or would they actually become less?
- Open Source getting more attention: Inspite of myths surrounding Open Source, it is actually gaining more respect in the enterprise. Alfresco has been active and has got an offering now that spans Document Management, BPM, WCM and Records Management and has created some sort of a benchmark for JSR-170. Sun Open Sourced JES (that includes Portal), Liferay and Jboss both improved their products.
- Web 2.0: Web 2.0 has been quite popular with the consumer internet. However, the same consumer web technologies have started making inroads into the enterprise. Although, AJAX has been most popular of these, other aspects are also getting attention. The next version of Fatwire’s Content Server focuses a lot on so called “web 2.0″ – Blogs, Wikis, Social Computing, Tags and so on. Stellent and many other products have also announced similar features.
- Usability: It’s not just how humans interact with computers anymore but how humans deal with devices. Focusing more on devices other than computers becomes even more important in countries like India where PC penetration is less than that of other devices. Although many product vendors are using AJAX and other rich internet technologies to make their interfaces more usable, people should remember that usability is much more than pretty looking interfaces.
- Search becoming better and important: The position of search box is becoming more prominent. Instead of building their own search capabilities, CMS vendors have started decoupling it and in the process, giving more choices to users. IBM and Yahoo’s recent free offering is sure to give good competition to already established offerings from Google, FAST, IBM, Oracle, Autonomy and other vendors.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): The trend towards SaaS has been growing. This is shown by the success of hosted CMS vendors and improved CMS like offerings from Google, Yahoo and Amazon.
- Embedded ECM: Documentum and Alfresco have announced embedded ECM.
- And finally Google: The year can not be complete without discussing Google’s impact. A product that integrates features of Blogger, Page Creator, Google Docs and Personal Home Page can be a good CMS. This when coupled with other Google products (Search, Gmail, Google Talk etc.) could be something!
Here’s wishing you all a very happy and prospersous new year.