Software Executive Magazine

December 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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But back in 1999, ECM platform providers were at a crossroads. Denver-based Digitech Systems was among those providers, but the company wasn't long for the fork in the road. It jumped into the cloud when cloud wasn't cool. Big Risk, Big Reward The cloud, in fact, wasn't just uncool at the turn of the century. It was poorly understood and in many ways maligned by wary enterprise IT users. The dotcom bubble was beginning to burst. Fear of the unknown IT implications of Y2K had just about everyone on pins and needles. There wasn't much appetite for the concept of an internet-driven, subscription-based service driving critical applications to thin clients at a monthly rate with no visible, on-premises big iron to be seen. If you're under 30 you might just have to take my word for this — or ask your parents about it. It was a tough time for any company to sell the concept of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service. I asked Shawn Morris why, then, did Digitech Sys- tems move its ECM application to the cloud in 1999? We've ascertained that cloud-based anything-as-a- service was a tough concept to sell back then, so who better to ask than the guy in charge of overseeing its sales at Digitech? His response is brilliant in its sim- plicity. "The ECM space needed a game changer," he says. The company was doing just fine building ECM applications and selling them through its network of some 500 worldwide resellers, but, says Morris, "If you really want to upset the industry or change the status quo to grow your company, you have to change the delivery mechanism you're using to get your product to market." nterprise content management might not strike you as a burgeoning space in B2B software. In IT years, it's a bor- derline geriatric concept that saw its heyday back in the 1990s, when large organizations were committed to scanning physical documents measured in tonnage and stored in massive Remstar Lektriever filing carousels into rudimentarily searchable digital formats. Back then, content manage- ment systems were among the poster children for ex- pensive, complex, proprietary software-based systems. By 1999, growth among ECM solutions providers was beginning to wane. ECM software and service provid- ers were beginning to look all too similar to one anoth- er, and the implementation of a content management system was prohibitively expensive to the underserved mid-market. To some, it was looking as though the movement had peaked. The scenario might look familiar to veteran software execs who have ridden a growth spurt to exploitation of a well-heeled market, only to struggle to maintain returns when market saturation forced their hand toward a move downstream. At the time, ECM was on-premises, cumbersome, and inherently ill-suited for reverse-scalability into the mid-market. Fortunately, 1999 was also the dawn of an inflection point in software delivery models. While ECM sales were stalling, they had yet to peak. Digital transfor- mation, IoT, and the great data awakening mean ECM has never been sexier—and with the cloud facilitating an affordable subscription-based application delivery model, there's new life in content management. Mar- ketandMarkets predicts the ECM market will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18.7 percent to $66.27 billion through 2021. E "The ECM space needed a game changer. If you really want to upset the industry or change the status quo to grow your company, you have to change the delivery mechanism you're using to get your product to market." S H A W N M O R R I S D i r e c t o r o f S a l e s , D i g i t e c h S y s t e m s 17 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM DECEMBER 2017

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