Gartner & Deep Analysis Recognize Xillio for Disruption
With the amount of content within organizations growing in leaps and bounds, the management and utilization of it is becoming more and more time consuming, not to mention that with the advent of cloud applications, content is spreading far and wide across multiple repositories.
Xillio, the Netherlands based specialist in the area of content migration and integration, is making waves in their space, with Gartner and analyst firm, Deep Analysis, taking notice. Back in 2014, Xillio understood that the amount of content within an organization was only going to grow and moving it all into one repository was not the solution. Rather, creating a technology that could take content out of its siloes and free it up to be as agile and efficient as it could be, was the way of the future. To go behind the scenes on their innovation and what this recent recognition means to them, I spent some time talking with Rikkert Engels, CEO of Xillio.
Where Do They Fit?
When asked where Xillio fits in the world of content management and what the advantages would be to utilizing it in the face of the massive amount of content organizations can accumulate, Rikkert had this to say:
“If you take the new Gartner diagram about content services, at the bottom you have the repositories, at the top you have the applications, on the right you have the services and in the middle you have the APIs and integration layer. We are basically that integration layer between the repositories, the applications and the services.
In today’s businesses you have multiple siloes, you have on premise applications, you have cloud applications and the content nowadays, is stored everywhere. Organizations have a challenge to integrate those different repositories and what we are bringing is a simplification of that integration between those repositories and we kind of get the content out. So it doesn’t matter anymore now where the content resides. For the user, that has one major advantage and it is that they can now access all the content from the underlying repositories through one access point, whatever that access point may be. For the organization, it has two major advantages, one is because we simplify the architecture by having an integration layer on top of it, and we free the content from its source, it is a lot easier to develop a new service, and you are more agile, so you can implement your digital transformation project a lot faster.”
The Rise of Content Services
The Content Services conversation has been an interesting one in 2017, especially following the first blog post of newly minted Gartner analyst Michael Woodbridge, claiming the ECM market as he sees it is dead, with Content Services taking its place. In her article inspired by the Gartner post, my colleague Venus describes where the strategic principles of Content Services lie: “The point of Content Services aims to bring together architecture supportive of on-premises and hybrid cloud services, a multi-repository approach to managing content regardless of its source repository, and intelligent functions like enterprise search to create agile, cost effective solutions. The reason why this term can replace with ECM is because Content Services provide a more practical and multi-repository solution whereas ECM has been hidden in a single repository world.”
We don’t live in a single repository world anymore, nor do we have the luxury of time within organizations to hunt and gather content from multiple applications. A way around this in the past, has been the copying and storage of documents in multiple locations but the resulting dilemma is an ever expansive volume of content. Imagine consolidating your content during an upgrade, and finding you have hundreds of original documents plus a handful of copies of each. This was only one of the reasons the ECM space was ripe for disruption.
Enterprise Content Management Rethink
Now, I don’t throw the term ‘disruptor’ around very easily, as I believe it can be a far overused buzzword but at the same time, I understand why everyone wants to pin that badge to their lapel, to be a true disruptor is a feat. The crux of disruption is to uproot and change an entire thought process, while it displaces an entire market or industry with something of much higher value.
Deep Analysis, the analyst firm newly founded by Alan Pelz-Sharpe, released a report in early May entitled ‘ECM Fast Tracking from Stability to Fragmentation’ stating firms like Xillio, focusing on content migration and integration are primed for an expansive growth in the market over the next few years and are shifting the tides of the standard thought process around ECM. In a blog post on the report, Rikkert states: "The ECM market is in full swing, see examples like the acquisition of Documentum by OpenText, but also smaller regional deals. Startups, like us, develop our solutions on top of the existing traditional solutions and organizations will, therefore, need to rethink how their enterprise content is managed."
As mentioned earlier, in addition to the thoughts of Deep Analysis, Gartner also recognized Xillio as a 'Cool Vendor in Content Services 2017'. Rikkert explained what this particular recognition means to them:
“We have been doing migrations since 2004, and back in 2014 we saw this trend coming, that it was just no longer doable to have all these siloes or to migrate everything into one repository, so back in 2014 we already started the development of our integration layer and the cool vendor award is like a recognition and confirmation of that vision that we already had back then.”
The Importance of a Unified View
It all validates that they understood the need and worked to fill the gap but as time moves on, and platforms and methods of delivery evolve, content management must stay current as well. I was curious to pick Rikkert’s brain to hear what he saw as some of the most common difficulties occurring in content services today and he drew upon his own personal experience to illustrate his view:
“There are a couple of trends going on and one is that, the client expects a lot nowadays. I mean, if I look at my own life, I had to go to find a bank contract and I went just last night to my internet banking account because I expected that the bank would store my bank contract there, but I was disappointed I couldn't find it. Nowadays clients expect that the organization knows everything about them, they expect that they can be approached with one unified view and the client doesn’t care if he is in the pre-purchase phase, or during purchase, or actually past the purchase, they just expect that they find the right information, at the right time, at the right device.
The same counts for the employee, they use so many consumer applications, which are so well organized and well designed, that they expect that the right information, at the right time, at the right device and in the right context, will be at his lap. Organizations can have massive difficulties actually organizing that. That is the reason why we have included the unified data model into all of our repositories. The unified data model then acts as a glue, as an underwater language to connect different content repositories together. Which then allows to really offer that one unified view of the client.”
This tidal shift of Content Services is necessitated by the gravitational pull of the customer, and more specifically, their rising expectation for experience combined with their lowering tolerance for hiccups, delay or even awareness of the technology creating their journey. Rikkert pointed out it is the agility of an organization’s content that is going to make the difference in creating those experiences that lead to a higher success, and I couldn't agree more: “The lifetime of a client really becomes a lifetime. So it doesn’t matter anymore if it’s from the pre-purchase, from the purchasing point of view or from the post purchase, the client doesn’t really care and the client doesn’t care what kind of system you have underneath it. They just want to be served.”