Note: this post follows the previous one about the ECM market and I advise you to read it to better understand the context of this one.
What differentiates you from the other enterprise content management offerings?
I get this question regularly, and too often the expected answer is “open source”. While playing a role, I wouldn’t say that open source is what makes us different. Open source is in our DNA, but that’s not the key for our customers, nor the biggest change we’re aiming to bring to the market.
What makes us different? Our technology, the ECM platform.
This is by far our main market advantage and what we have to bring to the market: Nuxeo Enterprise Platform (EP), our ECM platform. We’ve built superior technology, leveraging an up-to-date Java stack, design pattern and modularity. This is hands down the main reason that we win deals today with enterprise architects and technology-savvy business sponsors.
The value proposition here is simple and compelling — We dramatically reduce the time and the cost of building on top of the ECM platform when compared to LiveLink or Documentum. This is why we won major deals with Jeppesen — a Boeing Company, Orange, BBC, EllisDon, Cengage Learning, Overstock.com, and many more.
We don’t try to hide from architects, we bring them back to the center of the game and give them the tools to answer challenges of the 21st century. To fully bring competitive advantage and deliver the value it promises, technology is important. We believe software is an engineering discipline, at the service of the business.
Of course, open source is deep in our DNA and brings a lot of value, ease and insurance to our customers. But from a decision-making standpoint, it plays a role but isn’t usually a key factor. The same is true for cost. Yes it is important but clearly only satisfying the functional and technical requirements are paramount. Ironically, price regularly plays against us: such as when our competitor friends have the financial resources to buy deals from us when money is key. Hence the best case for us to win is when what we offer is not achievable by the incumbents.
We offer a better ECM platform, enabling a new generation of content applications
On the platform side, our mission is to commoditize the market for “ECM platforms” with standards, widely known technology and great infrastructure. We made a strategic bet 3 years ago on a stack of technology and infrastructure that is now mainstream. So we have a great ECM platform, leveraging open standards and a well-known technology stack, highly modular and flexible. It runs on a wide range of hardware (from embedded devices in planes to large farms with terabytes of data) and serves very diverse needs (from mission-critical editorial systems for press agencies to a highly secure case management system for a nuclear agency or a mobile document repository for an offshore welding engineer.)
The net result of all this is that our platform is the most flexible and modular on the market and is widely recognized as such. This has become a great market advantage for us with the rise of content applications (CEVA/CCA: Content Enabled Vertical Applications / Composite Content Applications – as Gartner puts it and discussed at its recent Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit).
Content Apps represent a steady move in the ECM market where buyers want to buy vertical solutions, solving actual business problems. They don’t want to pour money into generic technology anymore. We are seeing a new category of ISVs, packaging business knowledge into software to create and sell those content applications (ex: construction project management, clinical facts management for biotech and life sciences, software for control and command centers, etc.). Content apps are a logical evolution of the ECM market toward more vertical, business-ready solutions. And we believe we offer a great development and composition model for the next generation of content apps.
As such, I believe Nuxeo is well-positioned to benefit from this evolution given that:
- Open source software has shown superior ability to commoditize markets, recycling big vendors’ license revenue into a new stream of value. We participate actively in this commoditization, deriving revenue for us and offering better value for the customers.
- Our platform’s flexibility and feature scope combined with the open source aspect of the software ease the life of content app architects and developers. The development model the platform offers is widely recognized and praised. We believe we can enable a new way of building content apps. Easier, cleaner, faster.
- Our business model derives value from applications built on top of Nuxeo EP (thanks to the subscription-based business model we have created).
That’s why we’re here. To offer and evangelize an ECM platform and the associated content apps, responding to the new needs of businesses in this era of information explosion.
I hope this also bring some clarification and will entice people to look beyond the “open source” label. Because there’s a lot more to discover and that could really help your business!