This is part of the continuing ebizQ Open Source Software (OSS) “Applications”
series that looks at the importance of applications to the growth of OSS within
the software market. This article looks specifically at enterprise content
management and other content management functionality.
It is conventional information-technology (IT) market wisdom that there is
four to 10 times as much unstructured data as structured data (the kind typically
managed by relational database software) in enterprises and other organizations.
There is no estimate for the volume of such unstructured information held by
and for individuals; simply think of the typical person’s daily delivery
of snail mail plus his or her Hotmail or AOL account, and begin to add it up.
The extent to which all such data and information needs to be classified, taxonomized
and otherwise organized—and deciding which information needs such treatment
and which doesn’t—is an almost immeasurable opportunity for software
and IT suppliers says the same conventional wisdom.
Therefore, as with all things immeasurable and unpredictable, users, suppliers
and investors are taking it slow. IT staffs do not want to attack an unstructured
data project until top management in their organization identifies it as a priority.
Suppliers are not interested unless users are; investors follow that lead. Even
where IT staffs and suppliers show interest, investors hesitate because of the
lack of hard measurements.
As a result, over the history of the IT market only a small percentage of software
spending has been devoted to content management despite the conventional wisdom.
And almost any company that grows dramatically based on content management functionality—for
example Documentum, FileNet and Stellent—is acquired by a larger IT supplier
(EMC, IBM and Oracle in these examples), often primarily to use its content
management features as underlying technology for some other solution. (That
is also why there is the cross over from content management software to the
business intelligence software arena, which ebizQ covered in an earlier article
in this series, and business process management middleware, which ebizQ will
cover early in 2008.)