Alfresco: The Story of How Open Source Disrupted the ECM Market


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The early 90's saw the rise of powerful, inexpensive team collaboration software on one hand and huge document management systems on the other. Open source and cloud have brought us full circle. Today's businesses can implement extremely powerful productivity enhancing solutions quickly and easily. Alfresco capitalized on this trend. It used open source to get to the market quickly. It delivered functionality on par with legacy ECM as open source. Today, however, it is not just an open source alternative to things like Documentum and SharePoint, it is a visionary in the ECM market. This presentation tells that story, putting into context the things happening in ECM, collaboration, open source, and cloud from the 1990's to present day.

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  • This is the story of how that happened.
  • Documentum bornLotus power users building their own business apps with Lotus NotesOpen Source existed before this time, but starts to appear on enterprise radars. PostgreSQL and MySQL also started during this time
  • Documentum grows, gets into team collaboration, gets acquiredFirst-generation intranets getting refreshedFree Software advocates become decision-makers in their careers
  • Open source starts to be less about imitation and more as a source of innovationSocial goes big, looks to make inroads into the enterpriseAlfresco launches, grows like crazy. Legacy ECM plods on.
  • ECM vendors looking toward cloudConsumer-oriented file sharing gets big, starts to look at the EnterpriseOpen Source and cloud have combined to give us a return to “quick and easy dev, without IT”, just as we saw in the early days of Lotus Notes
  • Gartner (Kenneth Chin, late 2012) says: -“By 2015, 80% of ECM vendors will provide cloud service alternatives.” - “By 2015, at least 60% of information workers will interact with content applications via a mobile device.” - “A hybrid architecture will make content integration and information sharing easier.”Alfresco is here already.Open source alternative to our cloud offering
  • Alfresco: The Story of How Open Source Disrupted the ECM Market

    1. 1. Alfresco: The Story of HowOpen Source Disrupted theECM MarketJeff Potts, Chief Community Officer
    2. 2. Alfresco is the second largest,privately held, pure play, opensource company in the worldafter Red Hat.
    3. 3. The Roaring 1990’sHoward Shao & JohnNewton createDocumentum“Groupware” andteam collaborationsoftware is hotLinus Torvaldsopen sources thekernelAggressively goes afterPharmaRe-brandingof FreeSoftware asOpenSourceEDMSreleased in1993DCTM goespublic in1996Lotus buys IrisAssociates for$84 millionIBM buysLotus for$3.5 billionQuick & easydev, withoutITApacheWeb ServerNetscapegoes opensource
    4. 4. No one realizesat the time, butthese threethreads are on acollision coursethat would disruptan entireindustry.
    5. 5. The first half of the 2000’sDocumentum4i is web-nativeTeam collabsoftwarestarts to beused forlow-end DMneeds,WCMIBM embracesLinuxDocumentum 5adds extensiblecontent types,BPMEMC acquiresDocumentumfor $1.7 billionin 2003Documentumacquires eRoomIntranetsSharePointRecessionfocuses IT onvalueBasecamplaunches,2004Salesforce.comIPO, 2004Sun Java WebServerbecomesTomcatRed Hat goespublic
    6. 6. They threw great partiesBut, there were a few problems…
    7. 7. Problem #1: Cost$X,XXX,XXXUp-front license$XXX,XXXMaintenance$X,XXX,XXXServicesToo Much! And it still doesn’t do exactlywhat we need it to do
    8. 8. Problem #2: Transparency
    9. 9. Problem #3: No source code
    10. 10. Meanwhile, back in the lab…Where are you, ECM?
    11. 11. What client conversations about OpenSource felt like in the early 2000’s
    12. 12. One fine day, a blog post
    13. 13. Alfresco: Open Source ECMBuilt with open source, shipped as opensourceA “real” software companyFounders had major ECM and commercialsoftware credExample of open source “moving up thestack”Set to commoditize the ECM industry
    14. 14. Second half of the 2000’sFacebookopens toeveryone, 2006AndroidunveiledAlfresco 1.0released in 2005Reaches 1milliondownloads1.4 adds jBPM in2006Twittertipping pointAndrewMcAfee coins“Enterprise 2.0”John Newton & JohnPowell createAlfrescoJohn Newtonclarifies OpenSourcestrategyUbuntuFoundationAmazon WebServiceslaunches, 2006Open Sourcewebframeworks
    15. 15. Alfresco FoundersJohn Newton, CTO & Chairman John Powell, Board Member & Co-Founder
    16. 16. The 2010’s, thus farAlfrescolaunches iOSclient asOSSDropboxhas 50millionusers, $240million inrevenue in2011Rackspace andNASA launchOpenStack,2010Alfrescolaunches SaaSoffering, 2012Simple filesharingwarsSharePoint2013upgradeslook trickyAlfresco 4.0AlfrescoacquiresWeWebURed HatOpenShift,2011Github getsbigQuick & easydev, withoutIT
    17. 17. Perfect timingThe market wants• Openness• Ease of integration• Friendly, modern interfaces on any device• RESTful APIs• Social features• File sharing• Cloud• Scale
    18. 18. Today’s Open Culture…
    19. 19. Makes proprietary seem out-of-touchOld School Proprietary… Alfresco…Reinvents the wheel Leverages “upstream” open sourcecomponents to build our productsLimits early exposure to their products Releases early and often to get asmuch feedback as possibleHides bugs, roadmap, &documentationManages issues in the open, updatesthe roadmap, provides public accessto docsHolds customers hostage, using lock-in to extort obscene profitsEarns customers’ business every year,shows confidence by providing a freealternative, flexible in how we’redeployedTreats source code as a closely-heldsecretShares all source code openly topromote collaboration, quality,integration, and innovation
    20. 20. Market forcesOpen SourceGovernmentRegulation
    21. 21. Alfresco todayMillions of downloads & installationsThousands of paying customersPartners & customers defecting from legacyECMAlfresco leading the way on industry-wideECM standard (CMIS)
    22. 22. Annualized RevenueConsistent Quarter-over-Quarter GrowthBookingsinUSD
    23. 23. Visionary ECMGartner Magic Quadrant for ECM (2010) Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM (2012)
    24. 24. Some challengesEarly accusations of not being “true” opensourceCommunity Edition versus Enterprise EditiondifferentiationShift in sales mentality from inbound tooutbound modelOpen source no longer a compelling go-to-market message on its ownCloud as the preferred trial mechanism
    25. 25. Enterprise Edition IncludesClusteringSupport for Enterprise databasesSupport for Enterprise app serversJMXStorage policiesJOD ConnectorTransformation Server
    26. 26. Where do we go from here?
    27. 27. Worldwide excitementActive Alfresco forum users by location, November 2012
    28. 28. You Could be a StarAn engaged community…
    29. 29. Fighting against softwaretyranny!• Helping out in the forums• Editing the wiki• Writing blog posts• Listing Add-Ons• Becoming Registered Developers• Starting open source projects• Downloading Community &Enterprise Trials• Reporting bugs• Organizing meetups• Hanging out in #alfresco• Sticking it to the man
    30. 30. As our platform evolves, sotoo will our communityMore SaaS• Alfresco in the Cloud• Hybrid ECMMore mobileMore APIsMore SolutionsMore end-usersNew developersNew programminglanguages &frameworksMore outreach tobusiness users
    31. 31. Alfresco bridges the gapLegacyECM(On-Premise)Simple FileSharingStartups(Cloud)AlfrescoHybrid ECM
    32. 32. Before I wrap-up, two quickplugs
    33. 33. CMIS: Important ECMstandard for interoperabilityEverything you need toknow about CMIS1.0 & 1.1Lots of Groovy andJava examplesAlso covers Python,Android, & iOSNow on MEAP!37%-off: 12cmisal
    34. 34. Alfresco SummitBarcelona, Nov 4 - Nov 7Boston, Nov 12 - Nov 15The mission of the Alfresco Summit is to be a key enabler ofsuccess for anyone doing anything with our software products byfacilitating discussion, collaboration, and discovery around bothtechnical and non-technical topics related to Enterprise ContentManagement.
    35. 35. SummaryThe democratization of IT began withdesktops and groupware and today isrealized through open source and cloudAlfresco capitalized on this trend by• Getting to market quickly by leveraging opensource• Backing open source innovation withcommercial software know-how/drive• Undermining legacy vendor positions withheavy price pressure
    36. 36. Thank You!Jeff PottsBlog: http://ecmarchitect.comTwitter: @jeffpotts01