Saturday, April 21, 2012

The ECM App And the Turtle

Four years ago, I was a member of a consulting team who was trying to pitch their services to a large Pharma in New Jersey. It was for a clinical trial Institutional Review Board (IRB) solution. We had designed and developed a Webtop application based on compliance manager (Taskspace was still too buggy at the time to show). Our audience was a mixture of IT managers, architects, and one lower level business representative responsible for clinical trial coordination.

We were not prepared. We did not understand the requirements for an IRB. The first thing that our audience brought up was that they did not want to sit through any more basic Webtop or Compliance Manager demos. They had just seem an IBM demo which focused on the IRB functionality and proposed solution. All my work was out the window.

This was four years ago. Even now EMC Documentum does not have a core product to solve the IRB communication and content management issues. Why is this? I know consultants have created one-offs to this, but don’t these “xCelerate” into Documentum’s core offerings? Slide decks only go so far. Dog and Pony shows wow the first time. Real solutions which are designed from the users themselves are not getting recognized. They are being coopted by smart and motivated users who have tech savvy connections.

ECM applications in general have the base of offerings which give them a few year of advantage. For example, there’s an open source clinical trial solution which touts the ability to create and manage users and security, and control the UI configuration. This product has been improved over the past four years, but the point is at its inception, an ECM application could have been built on top of its core products which easily surpassed the open source and grabbed market share. Are ECM apps that hard to innovate? 

No comments: