IMG_20100930_123841(Cheryl's NYC AIIM roadshow session - Sept 30/10 - Photo Credit - Joe Ryan @ AIIM)
Over the last 2 weeks Nuxeo has been on the road with AIIM, as sponsors and speakers at 3 of their east coast educational seminars. We met dozens of ECM practitioners, consultants and even some cool potential new partners in Toronto, Boston and New York City. Was fantastic to see many familiar friendly faces, but even better to at last meet a few long-time ECM online friends in the real-world.

The session I delivered was an update on the theme of 8 Things You Should Know About Open Source - what started as a guest blog post for John Mancini's Digital Landfill blog, then morphed into a webinar, whitepaper, and slide deck (see link at bottom of the post for latest on SlideShare).

I was glad to see that one theme in particular resonated with attendees in all cities... that with the rise of the web, and the wide open playing field now available for small and new companies to compete globally, there is now a new imperative for enterprises - of all sizes - to get serious about content management needs. I've started to use the phrase

"with the democratization of opportunity, comes the democratization of risk..."

I really think this is an important and often neglected topic. With the rise of the web, easy-to-use online commerce and marketing technologies, social media as a global platform for 'word of mouth' marketing, and lower cost of go-to-market for small and new business, it's become a far more level playing field for innovators and start-ups. Small and emerging businesses have the potential to compete and win against large established incumbents in many areas of products and services.

But. In the immortal words of PeeWee Herman: Everyone I know has a Big But.

As opportunities open to small, new or expanding businesses, so does the potential for risk. Small companies in biotech or pharmaceutical have the same compliance and regulatory oversight pressures that their 10,000 person incumbent competitors do... local school boards strapped for budgets may be subject to the same freedom of information pressures as large state or provincial agencies. With the 2006 changes to the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding electronic discovery (and numerous similar e-discovery laws in Ontario and other jurisdictions) ALL businesses feel the pressure to address information governance issues.

The disconnect in the ECM market, however, is that the large legacy vendors will only actively engage with Global 2000 corporations or large government institutions. If your business makes less than a billion dollars a year, a vendor might not see it worth their time to return the phone call. It's not worth the effort because of the expensive sales, marketing and administrative overhead needed to pursue a deal with a small company.

But things have changed. I was really pleased to hear John Mancini and Peggy Winton in the roadshow keynotes emphasize that the ECM market is changing. New vendors with entirely new businesses models suddenly are able to deliver the document/records management, workflow and collaboration tools needed and expected to run a company in the 21st century knowledge economy. Open Source, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are the two most attractive alternatives for organizations who cannot or will not benefit from the usual per-license/per-server/per-CPU models still promoted by vendors who built their business models in the 1990s.

Innovation is driven by competition, by new models, new approaches and by challenging assumptions. The web lets us share these innovations, ideas and perspectives. It's leveled the playing field for new entrants in hundreds of industry sectors. When regulations and information management risks present a barrier to continued growth, remember that open source ECM is a way to help keep this playing field level.

View more presentations from Nuxeo - Open Source ECM.