This summer, travelling around Ireland with my family (right), I was struck by the sheer antiquity of landmarks around me, and the stories of change that they embody. The forests of long ago were changed by people who used the Irish rocks to build the fortifications of feuding clans and kingdoms. Eventually global influences took over, the kingdoms dissolved, and the castles slowly succumbed to weeds.

These constant cycles of change are also seen in the enterprise content management (ECM) world where, for many years, the trend has been towards consolidation. Bigger (usually), more powerful ECM vendors purchase smaller ones, or they buy technologies to fill technology product and/or service gaps in their longer-term vision; case in point: Adobe’s recent acquisition of Day Software .The newly merged company should create yet another player in the Content Management realm – though likely focused more on the web content management (WCM) end of the spectrum. Clearly, Adobe/Day perceives a growing market opportunity sufficient to take on both traditional vendors and not-so-traditional ones like SharePoint. It’s a bold move.

Invaders Sometimes Leave Customers, Partners Out in the Cold

Just like ancient Irish clans, there is constant merging, splitting and emergence of new invaders to the environment. Software companies often behave the same way, evolving from point solutions to comprehensive systems. Sometimes these moves can leave the customer base without much recourse except to start looking for a new vendor that fits their needs. In the case of Adobe they may have also left a partner out in the cold, too – the open-source enterprise CMS vendor, Alfresco.

Adobe has positioned the acquisition of Day Software as a logical evolution for their product line – the next step in providing a comprehensive system to provide the whole ‘engagement platform’. They hope to own the user experience right from user-facing web forms to the back-office workflow tools and repositories that store the data. Whether this is good or bad for their customer base remains to be seen.

Either way, customers with an eye to acquiring ECM now have another potential vendor to confuse…er, consider… when making their choice. Traditional vs. upstart. Microsoft vs. open source. Beta vs. VHS…

Another clan has built a castle and joined the landscape of larger ECM kingdoms. (Beware of the weeds.)