Yup, Gartner selected CorasWorks as one of the four Cool Vendors in Content Management for 2009. Here is our press release about it. Pretty cool. We think it really marks a shift in the perception of SharePoint that bodes well for all in the space – here’s why…
Remember, we are talking about the content management category. This year you had four vendors: one for search ontologies, one for content migration, one with an alternative open source content platform to SharePoint, and then, CorasWorks for our modular application development system on SharePoint (the only SP pure play of the bunch). In the 2009 report, the word SharePoint occurs 21 times. In the 2008 report, the word SharePoint DID NOT appear. The four vendors were classic content management solutions.
We believe that the SharePoint flavor of the report and our inclusion this year as a Cool Vendor denotes some big changes in the perception of SharePoint as follows: a) SharePoint is recognized as THE leading “XX” platform, b) they acknowledge the maturity of the ISV ecosystem by picking CorasWorks, a pure play SharePoint ISV, c) they acknowledge SharePoint as a viable application platform (business apps and processes vs. just content-centric), and, d) they recognize the technology category convergence that is happening driven by the major platform superpowers. I’ll talk a bit about each of these.
Over the last 12 months there have been many analyst reports about SharePoint as the “new file share”, and, at most as a platform for collaborative/content-centric work. We feel that many analysts miss the point about Microsoft’s platform adoption strategy. It is patient, deliberate, from content up, and, relies on a partner ecosystem. To support the point, over the last 5 years, CorasWorks has established a very large and solid base of successful customers that leverage SharePoint as primarily an application platform. We’ve always been about apps and have gotten much better over our 4 generations of products since 2003 (my blog about the CW product evolution). To our customers, their workplace on SharePoint is the place for departmental applications, business processes, LOB extensions, and even database applications. Building the applications, managing them, integrating them is enabled by CorasWorks. To give you a sense, our 1,000+ customers have more than 1,000,000 deployed users, which makes our existing ecosystem is about the same size as Salesforce.com (in number of users and probably number and type of application). And, we are just one application ISV on SharePoint.
So, how does this map to content management? In my white paper “Solution Quadrant on SharePoint for 2009”, released in January, I frame the solution space on SharePoint for 2009 with content-centric applications (like a workspace) and activity-centric applications (like a business process). Historically, there has been a divide. However, as you see in the Quadrant show below, the two types of “solutions” are now part of the work environment on a single platform. What is happening is that layers of technology and value are appearing on top of the base foundation to make higher-level applications and this integrated work environment possible and practical.
I think Gartner deserves some credit. I spoke with them back in 2004, and, they were rather critical of SharePoint for ECM and didn’t really accept the ecosystem’s value at that time. They didn’t just jump on the bandwagon. Over the years, they’ve watched. They now feel that SharePoint has come into its own, that the ecosystem has matured, that it is a broad platform that does enable an integrated business environment and they now believe that it is time to say so. You have to respect this restraint.
Further, I believe that Gartner and some other analysts are recognizing a certain convergence of technology categories around the “platform” vendors. This is really interesting as the platforms and the layers of functionality and business use on top of it start to cross or obliterate previous technology/solution categories. It will be interesting to watch how the analysts, who themselves are siloed by category in their work structure, respond to this convergence over the next 3 years. I expect their categorizations to change, even to create platform specific ecosystems.
Well, it is great to be a recognized Cool Vendor, I just hope this doesn’t mean that I have to start being cool and dressing in black and all.