Does Gartner’s Magic Quadrant view your ECM solution as revolutionary or evolutionary?

onbase14Gartner, Inc. has published the Magic Quadrant® for Enterprise Content Management (ECM), 2014.

This year’s edition represents the 11th year Gartner has published the world’s most prestigious ECM vendor evaluation. Hyland was the lone occupant of the “Challenger” quartile for the first six editions, and 2014 represents the fifth consecutive year that Gartner has named Hyland a “Leader” in the report.

Funny thing about Hyland. There’s never been a dramatic shift in terms of where Hyland’s “dot” lands within one of the quartiles from one year to the next, unlike what many ECM vendors have experienced over the years, including this one. Progressive advancements in placement are incremental with Hyland, but never drastic. That’s a good thing.

Revolutionary versus evolutionary innovation – the difference
There are several reasons for this. First, most analyst firms make note of revolutionary innovation over evolutionary innovation. Both forms of innovation are valuable under the right circumstances. Analysts, however, like our society as a whole, tend to see more glamor in breakthrough new ideas.

What’s the difference between the two?

Revolutionary innovation tends to focus on the needs of tomorrow’s customers, whereas evolutionary innovation emphasizes the needs of today’s customers. Revolutionary innovation relies on visionary foresight, but sometimes has the potential to take an unstable leap in the wrong direction. Evolutionary innovation depends much more on insights into customer needs in order to intelligently move forward. One involves a few sudden big changes, while the other relies upon smaller and more frequent changes.

Why Hyland is evolutionary
When Hyland was early to the ECM industry, the company’s origins were revolutionary. After all, getting rid of paper was a novel idea back in 1991. Company leaders quickly decided to focus on a solution that was working very well, so Hyland’s approach to innovation became evolutionary. Enhancements to OnBase over the years – although many, frequent and based on customer requests when they make sense – have typically not grabbed headlines like some of our competitors.

Using the word “typically” raises a few eyebrows when I tell people that no other leading ECM suite has undergone more changes and modernization over the past decade than OnBase. The evidence speaks for itself. There have been 26 major releases since 1992. In that time, the OnBase code base has been completely rewritten. It’s gone from supporting 16 bit to 32 bit to 64 bit architectures. Workflow has also undergone continuous improvement – from its first incarnation as a basic document routing engine to its current iteration which meets Gartner’s criteria to be a BPM Platform.

So why has all this flown under the radar? One of the biggest reasons is the lack of drama surrounding our customers’ capacity to take advantage of new features and enhancements. Despite major changes to OnBase, Hyland customers have never had their upgrade path to the latest version of the software severed. There are some very well-known ECM vendors that can’t make such a claim.

Staying relevant with constant, evolutionary innovation
Through a steady influx of small changes that build upon one another, the OnBase platform remains as relevant to the workplace in 2014 as it was in 1992, when it was first introduced to the market. While other cloud-based ECM vendors grabbed headlines, Hyland quietly led the market more than a decade ago by embracing the cloud as a practical deployment alternative to premises based solutions. Today, ECM buyers can feel secure knowing that the OnBase Cloud is a mature and proven offering that’s been embraced by more than 500 organizations around the world.

Gartner and others analyst firms have noted how mobile is extending ECM out of its back-office domain and exposing technology to a new generation of workplace personas. Today, OnBase is at the vanguard of this movement with stable, feature-rich solutions. In fact, six years ago, we introduced our first mobile offerings on a device called the Blackberry.

I believe Hyland’s focus on evolutionary innovation is a big reason Gartner cited high levels of customer satisfaction as a “Strength” in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management. As I indicated above, evolutionary innovation depends upon having insight into the needs of today’s customers. Each new capability added to OnBase reflects an enhanced understanding of how people get done work done. This insight also translates into foresight about what capabilities and information employees will need to realize their full potential in the future.

Evolutionary innovation means not biting off more than our company or the market can chew. It means making small but frequent changes, one after another, so Hyland is nimble enough to pivot quickly and help customers as their needs change over time. It’s why OnBase remains as relevant today as it was 11 years ago when the first Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management was published in 2004.

For more information about how OnBase’s stable innovation keeps it among the most relevant ECM solutions in the industry, download the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 2014 and see for yourself!

Ken Burns

Ken Burns manages the Analyst and Influencer Relations program globally for Hyland, creator of OnBase. He is responsible for keep leading industry analyst firms informed about Hyland’s company and product strategies. He has worked in the ECM industry for nearly 15 years and is a keen observer of the customer and competitive forces shaping the software segment.

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