Until recently, component content management (CCM) technology, which allows enterprises to manage text content as componentized chunks of information rather than documents or webpages, has been the domain of a wide collection of small niche software vendors. Now larger vendors are starting to take control, potentially bringing XML to the masses. The recent XML and CCM report developed by CMS Watch and The Rockley Group reviews this growing and dynamic sector.

    With the advent and general acceptance of the XML standard Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), there has been an explosion of increased functionality, decreased pricing structures and new tools. Most recently, the market, which had previously been dominated by small vendors (20-30 people), is witnessing the emergence of mainstream vendors into this space, with EMC Documentum's acquisition of X-Hive (a native XML database and associated content management system) and the recent launch of their dynamic publishing services; SDL's acquisition of Tridion, Trisoft CMS and XyEnterprise, all XML-focused tools; IBM FileNet P8 4.3 along with Quark XML Author, potentially providing enterprise-level support for DITA; and Microsoft's Intelligent Content Framework, an industry solution based around SharePoint 2007 for DITA and pharmaceuticals.

    However, it's not just DITA that is attracting larger vendors. Organizations now see unstructured content in business documents as standing in the way of processes that could be automated end-to-end. The lack of structure leads to inconsistency, poor readability, the inability to reuse content and increased costs. These same documents contain organizations' intellectual property, which because of the inherent lack of structure remains hidden from business intelligence and other software tools. Herein lays the opportunity to structure content, automate content publishing processes, deliver dynamic content and, ultimately, mine content just like data.

    In assessing the market for XML and CCM, the report uses its Vendor Cross Check to evaluate the product offerings in this space. This assessment has four key dimensions:

    • Size: denotes the relative size and importance of the vendor in the broader technology market.
    • Focus on CCM: indicates how much of the firm's efforts are focused on CCM.
    • Vendor evolution: weighs the current pace of change within the vendor itself.
    • Product development: weighs the current pace of change for the solution.

    In 2009, software vendors like to shout that they "support XML." However, the question is not so much whether they support XML but what they actually do with it and, more importantly, how they help enterprises manage and create component-based content in a way that makes the job easier. It is important to note that in some ways this is a fairly mature and stable space. Even with downturns in the industry, this sector has remained fairly stable, with very few company losses in turbulent times. However, with the increasing interest in providing enterprise solutions for structured content, there may be further acquisitions in 2009-10.

    ALAN PELZ-SHARPE [www.cmswatch.com/Analyst/10-Pelz-Sharpe] is a principal analyst at CMS Watch, an independent research firm covering ECM technologies and practices.

    ANN ROCKLEY is president of The Rockley Group, a content management consultancy. The full "XML & Component Content Management Report 2009" is available online at http://www. cmswatch.com/CCM/Report.