Despite continuous outbreaks of the global financial crisis all over the world, the information technologies industry is going forward steadily. Though, according to Gartner, the worldwide IT spending is increasing at the moment only by a few percent a year, the rapid progress in the technical sphere continues. It triggers creation of new smart solutions, enables cutting costs & overall spending, and allows richer knowledge exchange between people. Document management systems, and particularly enterprise solutions, are coming in the avant-garde of this process.
The variety of DMSs today makes it possible to choose from many vendors. But at the same time it is not so simple to get a clear picture from this multitude. Let us investigate the major types of this software and familiarize with leading vendors of this niche. For this case it would be handy to divide them into several categories.
The League Of IT Veterans
The first one consists of computer industry pioneers – big corporations who continue holding strong positions in this market they have conquered a while ago. These companies are typically providing both hardware and software solutions for a wide range of different customer needs. Having faced the challenges of a new era, they responded with developing their own products for enhanced e-data management. Such are the solutions provided by IBM (InfoSphere Optim and others), Dell (Fluid Data and others), HP (HP Flow CM, HP Industry Workflow, etc), Microsoft (SharePoint, Visual Studio Extensions, etc) and others.
New software backed by the power of a brand well-known for decades already has some extra chances for success. Loyal customers of HP or IBM are likely to prefer DMS products designed by them. This is especially true for big enterprises. The questions of compatibility and better integration will surely be prevalent in this case. This new product must be able to successfully exchange data with a lot of other software products already deployed by the company – of course it is better for them all to be designed by the same producer.
Microsoft, as a world software leader, holds the strongest position in this group. Its suite of DMS products, especially SharePoint, is maybe most well-known for an average customer from any part of the world. SharePoint is integrated with MS Office applications making it easier to share different types of documents. Modules for document analytics, business intelligence, and project planning are also available. The recently released SharePoint Online 2013 is more customizable and has also some social media features added.
IT Veterans’ solutions have some disadvantages as well. Lack of flexibility, lack of cross-platform opportunities, and prices too high for individual users – these are the most widespread rants about them. Despite being well tested and regularly upgraded, a big, complex solution typically shows up some bugs when being forced to cooperate with products from a dozen of other industry peers. Such diversity is actually a mainstream for small & medium businesses which cannot afford a full partnership with a big IT corporation.
Masters Of Big Data
The second category is formed by software companies which entered the niche of information management and business intelligence a long time ago. Their brands are rather popular among enterprises concerned with building integrated systems of processing their corporate data. SAP (with its SAP HANA at the first place), Sage (with its HandiSoft), Intuit (producer of QuickBooks and other solutions) and some other software vendors provide various products for corporate data management and analytics.
A notable member of this category is EMC², a US-based IT software producer which specializes in data storage & security and business intelligence. Its Documentum solution is well-known in the enterprise content management market segment since the 1990s. It provides corporate data management tools for different platforms. Being also a Cloud Services provider, EMC² enabled shared storage and easy synchronizing features in this product. Documentum is customizable for different industry-specific business needs – i.e. for healthcare or energy industries.
What are the pros and cons for this group of companies? Aiming at a rather narrow niche of IT products helps these companies to gain significant success as the problem of handling ‘big’ corporate data became very important even before the concept of ‘Big Data’ became known in the Internet. This means they have gone rather far along the way of enhancing their tools and raising the quality of their services. However, the target audience of this group consists mostly of big and medium-sized enterprises due to high prices and general complexity of their tools. Another problem is compatibility – success of DMS products’ deployment in this case depends on which networking solutions are already used by customers.
The New Wave
This category is composed of smaller vendors – mostly, the companies which have been in this market sector for not too long. These companies typically come up with solutions focused on a narrow field of business needs or occupy some small and specific market niches. An example – vendors providing document management solutions for local government organizations.
Despite being not very popular in the market yet, a solution from a small vendor can often be more dedicated for a certain kind of business need. Another possible advantage is better compatibility with latest data processing standards. In this case a small vendor can be a few steps ahead of a big software producer who may be reluctant to change its products too fast. And the last but not the least – products from this category are usually cheaper.
On the other hand, smaller vendors tend to have a shorter lifecycle than their bigger industry peers. That means such a company may cease to exist someday, leaving its customers without further upgrades and technical support.
So how can we learn to recognize ‘good’ DMS vendors from ‘bad’ ones? Well, things aren’t just black or white in this sector of technology. Naturally, each of the categories above has some strong and some weak sides. If you are interested in finding a perfect DMS solution for your specific business – let us know and we will help you!