You might imagine that Open Text had been suffering somewhat from indigestion after having recently acquired a range of content management and Web publishing companies that include Ixos and Gauss, not to mention Corechange and Obtree. Open Text says that the fit between Ixos and Open Text - its most significant acquisition - has been excellent with very few overlaps in capability.
None the less, it faces a major challenge in creating a product roadmap to pull together the best elements of the products that it has acquired and to realise the synergies between them. The first fruits of the roadmap are the announcement of a new Web Content Management Server at LinkUp Europe 2004, Open Text's annual ECM summit. Email management and regulatory compliance products are planned for this autumn.
Web Content Management (WCM) is a product area that is ripe for change as several trends in the field are making a new, integrated approach important. The key change is the desire of everyone in the organisation to participate in the Web publishing process. We have already seen a huge increase in the volume of personal publishing on the Internet, with surveys finding that up to 40 per cent of Internet users contribute content to the Internet through Blogs, Wikis, online photo albums and personal websites. Organisations face similar demands as individuals in the organisation see the benefits of controlling how they share their information and expertise with the wider world and organisations see the benefits of reducing the cost of a large team of webmasters.
Enterprise content management vendors such as Open Text are well placed in comparison to the pure play Web content software vendors because they are able to integrate Web publishing closely with the other elements of the enterprise content lifecycle. Integration with Open Text LiveLink combines Web Content Management with Team Collaboration, Document Management, Records Management, Process Work Flows and other ECM facilities. Thus, instead of Web Content Management being a separate activity using separate content and carried out by a dedicated web masters, it becomes an integral part of the organisation's management and distribution of content.
When you integrate Web Content Management with the rest of the enterprise content life-cycle you gain the benefits of reduced costs and cycle times and it is easier to share and re-use content across the enterprise. Open Text's capable collaboration facilities can be used to support the creation of web content as people in a team get together to discuss the design of Web pages. Critical content that is published on many different media streams such as the Internet, paper based brochures and emails can be controlled much more easily and effectively.
After the acquisition of Documentum by EMC, Open Text Live Link is the biggest of the remaining pure play providers of Enterprise Content Management. Having assembled all the elements of a complete Enterprise Content Management solution, their challenge to the next few years will be to gain the lion's share of this rapidly growing market.