Tuesday 10 April 2007

ContentExchange (Koral) knocks another brick out of the enterprise IT wall

I almost wandered straight past this post about Salesforce.com's new hosted content management offering - on the face of it, ContentExchange, which is Koral rebadged, is just a simple content management system with some nice social software features, like tagging.

I think comparisons with Microsoft Sharepoint and EMC Documentum as reported in Read/WriteWeb are little overstated (there's actually a cheeky post on the Koral blog that suggests 8 of 10 collaboration vendors don't even use their own products), particularly as I don't see any records management functionality or true Web 2.0 capabilities in Koral. However, if we look at the bigger picture this is obviously a way for Salesforce.com to leverage their CRM beachhead into organisations and sell related hosted services. This has two impacts:

  • Its an easy way for non-IT functions in organisations to bypass the IT department by using a existing supplier with a good reputation (its going to be hard to block); and
  • Its a cheaper way to implement (potentially if the solution works) as  Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) disrupts how these content management solutions are traditionally implemented - Saasforce, a Salesforce.com implementation consultancy, commented recently that "How we differ from the big five consulting organizations is that we are focused on doing lots of short integration projects, whereas an Accenture or a BearingPoint wants to send in a school bus full of consultants into its clients for 18 or 24 months at a time."

Another point to consider is that if Salesforce.com is successful, then it also points to value being seen in managing content around specific business activities rather than across the whole of an organisation. So from one point of view all ContentExchange and similar services will create is yet another enterprise content silo - unless of course it really is an open, Web 2.0-based solution.

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