Organizations of all shapes and sizes are concerned with not only the data and content on their networks that they are aware of, but also the vast amount of data on their networks that is unaccounted for. The data or content in question can take on a number of guises, including text files, instant messaging logs, PDF files, Microsoft Office files and e-mail.
William Peterson, director of Portals and Content Management for the Hurwitz Group, believes that there is no shortage of software vendors that will offer their wares to help organizations present and manage their content resources. These vendors include organizations that manage the data (content management), present this data (portal), use and analyze the content (business intelligence), find data (search) and organize and manipulate this data (database and application server). The key for organizations considering a software purchase for managing and presenting their data resources is to understand the directions for the software vendors in this space.
In the current world of rapidly changing software and unstable economies, a few drivers for software vendors in the presentation and management of data software market space emerge for the fourth quarter of this calendar year.
- Convergence messaging. The next step to managing and presenting both structured and unstructured data from an organization is melding the feature/function sets of a number of separate technologies. This melding could, over time, occur via the convergence of technologies such as application server, database, content management, search, portal, business intelligence and database. Look for vendors in each of these categories to push a convergence message in Q4, specifically around the supported database and/or application server. For example, portal or content management vendors will start to talk about how they are integrating their feature/function sets (inherited security rights as an example) back through a specific database or application server. This back-office integration is the start of the convergence and will set the stage for convergence of other selected feature/function sets over time.
- Vertical focus. Today, software vendors in the presentation and management of data space will suggest that their offerings are horizontally focused. This has been a matter of survival. A software vendor offering to present and manage disparate data by definition should have a horizontal approach so as to address both structured and unstructured content creation, resources, and locations. However, increasingly, vendors are taking a vertical approach to presenting and managing content. Again, this is a survival tactic. In these tough economic times, purchasing organizations want very specific and targeted solutions that speak directly to their business. Purchasing decisions are being made by business managers who want to know that the software vendor understands their business model and process. Look for vendors to push vertical solution focuses in Q4, specifically in the financial services and telecommunications vertical markets.
- Decoupling of the suite approach. The decoupling of a product into separate individual offerings versus a complete suite or platform of products is a trend that will continue into Q4 for vendors in this space. Purchasing organizations simply are not writing many purchase orders for a high six- figure software suite or platform. This decoupling of presentation and management products into more targeted individual products dovetails nicely with the convergence and vertical focus drivers mentioned above. It will be much easier for software vendors in this space to address convergence issues and create vertically focused product sets with a smaller footprint targeted product model than with an all-or-nothing suite/platform approach.
These drivers should introduce a surge in interest and innovation for both customers and vendors in the presentation and management of data software space. Hurwitz Group believes that these drivers will be the catalyst for a number of new or expanded partnerships/relationships in the software communities represented. As these drivers mature into advanced product and feature/function sets, purchasing organizations will be offered a compelling, targeted, and specific solution to their data and content needs.
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