Wednesday, 14 October 2009

How many ECM competitors do you really have in your sector?

Do you really know how many companies operate in your specific sector of the ECM industry?
The reality is that the vast majority don’t know. They operate within a segment of the market and regard that as their world as they peer through a keyhole. Typically, they come into contact on a regular basis with the companies that are known to them, maybe due to geographic location or because they share a similar vertical focus.

The known competitors are also often the companies that are:

The largest in your sector
Have been identified and appear in consultants and analyst reports
Companies that attend the industry trade shows
Have websites with positioning similar to your own
Employees that have left the company and moved to yours

The big players have clearly been reduced in number by acquisition. However, the overall number of players in the market has not reduced. So where are the other players lurking? By way of example, in the UK alone there are just under 400 scanning capture service companies! There are over 500 document management software vendors worldwide, which would include those focused on specific vertical markets and line of business applications, whether for healthcare, insurance, manufacturing or local government. In capture and related imaging software there are just over 200 vendors worldwide. All of the above, forming a subset of the ECM marketplace.

Are there hidden companies in the ECM sector?
Many do not get the limelight of publicity and could be regarded as "below the waterline", unseen by the majority of the sector. Don’t assume that you are seeing a true picture of all your competitors. ECM organisations are too busy or just not able to collect the data to get a true bird’s eye view of the sector.

Document Boss has yet to see, in over 10 years of operating in this sector, any company that has come close to knowing the true number of companies active in their own sector. The majority underestimate the size of the market by a factor of two to three! Document Boss holds a unique position in that we do know these numbers.

So what?
If you don’t come across them regularly and are not aware of them, why does it matter? If you don’t know how many competitors you have, should that be of any concern?
We think, YES! You cannot afford to forge your business strategy blindly, on the back of poor and inaccurate "guesstimates". Without proven market intelligence, how do you create a solid strategy and business plan? Sometimes these unseen competitors can suddenly appear in your pond with big teeth and a bite that is damaging to your company and could prove fatal!!

When looking to acquire
When considering acquisitions, how do you ensure that you are not “shoe-horning” your requirements into the wrong fit due to your limited perspective. Opportunistic acquisitions have been proven time and time again to be less successful than proactive, planned and strategic acquisitions. You need first to get an accurate picture of your sector of interest.

Document Boss doesn't just take an overall view of ECM, BPM & BPO. We are able to split the sector down and analyse the individual technologies. We are also able to ‘slice and dice’ the industry by regions and vertical sectors and by the size of competitor. Armed with this information, we can then truly appreciate the scope and potential of the market place.

Take a quick bird’s eye view for yourself
To get a quick bird’s eye view of the ECM market landscape, click here.


  1. Great mindmap! But no boxes for Archiving or Collaboration??

    Alan Pelz-Sharpe
    CMS Watch

  2. Hi Alan, Thanks I must admit that it took a few of us some head scratching to come up with that format.

    Regarding archiving you are right since it is not a technology we thought it was covered in storage and in the floating box above. Collaboration is covered I think you must have just missed it.

    I now have this blog on our website and am going to migrate people across so I will be able to close down this Google Blog fairly soon. Have a look at setting up a RSS feed on - it the same but more integrated solution for us and will hopefully provide some more interesting content for readers.

    All the best