Document management's rosy future: reports

Document management's rosy future: reports

Delphi charts yearly growth rate of over 30 percent, due to integration into intranets and overall product maturity.

By Hannah Birtles

A report from the US-based Delphi Group has revealed the market for document management software reached US$248 million in 1997, an increase of 31 per cent over the previous year's level.

According to the report - Document Management Market Reference Point 98 - this figure is expected to reach US$325 million in 1998.

Market growth was found to be the result of three major factors: an increase in the range and scope of document management applications in organisations; manufacturing configurations among leading products now flexibly supporting enterprise computing, and vendors responding to the option of intranets for networked document management.

Those vendors who succeeded in incorporating or at least embracing intranet computing in their product lines enjoyed significantly higher growth than those lagging in this area. Those with full flexibility of platform deployment options also registered stronger performance overall.

In addition to the focus on intranet document management, other underlying market drivers were: improvements in processes to support compliance with regulatory mandates governing operating procedures; product performance, safety and other corporate responsibilities; a reduction in the entry level price to implement an adequately featured document controlled environment.

Vendors who succeeded in embracing intranet computing in their product lines enjoyed significantly higher growth.

Documentum was found to be the leading software supplier in the world market with 22 per cent of the overall software license revenue, followed by PC DOCS with 13.7 per cent, Open Text with 8 per cent and FileNet with 4.8 per cent.

In determining the size of the market, Delphi based its report on software license dollars. "We do not believe that the commonly used metric of 'seats' is a helpful criterion for determining a market reference point," say the authors.

The consultancy group points to the fact that "not all seats are created equal", in that the functionality and cost of products varies wildly, while some 'seats' are not always occupied. Web-based clients have inifinite numbers of seats, while there are also 'unlimited' corporate licenses.

Delphi also excluded groupware products, such as Lotus Notes, MS Exchange, Novell's Groupwise or Netscape's Collabra software as part of the EDM market. While Delphi acknowledges that some organisations are using these products for file management, they are excluded because "they do not include in native mode the control functions necessary to mee the minimum definition of a document management system".

While Documentum figures strongly in Delphi's worldwide report, in Australia it is a different matter. Even though it won selection in the Office of Government Information Technology (OGIT) list of EDM vendors announced last year, the company has since resigned from the panel.

Documentum had been an active player in the Australian document management software market place for approximately two years. The company focused heavily on the process manufacturing industry with sites such as BHP and BOC Gases.

The company is now working to expand its sales and distribution channels in Australia and recently announced plans to establish a new Asia Pacific service centre to in Melbourne.

The fastest growing company in 1997 was Open Text, which nearly doubled its market share over the course of the year on the strength of its intranet-focused LiveLink product line.

The US and Canada continue to be the major markets for document management technology, followed by the European market with 23 per cent. The Asia Pacific region accounts for six per cent.

The leading vertical market in this year's survey was found to be the manufacturing sector with 18.7 per cent followed by the Government with 12.6 per cent and financial services with 11.3 per cent which, according to Delphi, showed a particularly strong growth moving from the fifth position in 1996.

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