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Alfresco Outlines India Strategy for ECM Market

o Yogesh Gupta
26.11.2012 kl 21:21 | Channelworld India

Denis Dorval, Vice President, EMEA & APAC, Alfresco, articulates the distinctive proposition as a preferred ECM vendor in the Indian market.


Denis Dorval, Vice President, EMEA & APAC, Alfresco, articulates the distinctive proposition as a preferred ECM vendor in the Indian market.

CW: Why did you pursue an open source path with content management instead of proprietary solutions, which is more mainstream?

Dorval: As an ECM (enterprise content management) software company built on commercial open source, the intention was to deliver a quick and fast platform. The idea was to disrupt the ECM landscape by offering easier-to-use software at a much lower cost to a market that fast-growing (in terms of usage and content management proliferation issues) and was flanked by legacy vendors offering complex and high cost solutions.

From a go-to-market perspective, open source allows for an instantaneous test-and-try model that can be extended anywhere in the world. It's a great distribution model, as we don't need heavy field organizations to take the product to market. Second, we get a quick check on whether we are developing a good pitch or not. With an open source product, the community size swells if the real problems are addressed effectively. That's possibly true with proprietary products too, but the real value lies in addressing a large community through open source.

CW: How beneficial has this market disruption been?

Dorval: Open source was the focus of our business model and it still forms a major component of our product roadmap. The model was similar to Red Hat in terms of a subscription-based model from a revenue standpoint. With over 2,500 enterprise customers and 250-plus partners worldwide, Alfresco is no longer just seen as a de facto disruptive player, but as a leading provider in ECM, especially for innovative solutions.

With open source, vendor lock-in is flexible compared to traditional proprietary software. Running a subscription-based model is like running for elections every year. If customers are not happy with the service or the value they get, they exit. Hence, we are on our toes all the time. We are well-positioned to drive the hybrid content management market to a new era.

CW: Many enterprises prefer multi-technology vendors across their IT infrastructure. How can a niche vendor like Alfresco win an ECM deal?

Dorval: In some conservative accounts, IBM can have an extremely powerful account control especially when the factor is no longer about leveraging technology for competitive advantage. When a CIO or a company wants to make a decision objectively on business application or technology, then we have an upper hand.

CW: What is your short-term and long-term strategy for the India market, both business- wise and partner-wise?

Dorval: We invested in India by fielding a team, with Vivek Pai as the country manager. We want to build a core team in Mumbai and will field staff in Delhi and Bangalore eventually. Our target is the Fortune 200 companies mostly, though the Tier-II segment will see an increased partner involvement. We are well positioned in financial services, banking and insurance, and government sectors.

We are forging closer ties with India's large systems integrators. We are also identifying smaller boutique partners to deliver solutions to corporate India. When we look to onboard partners, we look for expertise and skills in content management or solutions which are powered on an Alfresco platform.

The biggest percentage of codes comes from our channel partners including ISVs. Smart partners exploit open source to their benefit, and those who contribute to the code more have seen their businesses take-off.

CW: Open source demands alliance with other technology vendors. What is your equation with them?

Dorval: Our channel partners function more as systems integrators. The market is dominated by Windows Linux, UNIX, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM. Therefore, we did not want to offer 'no choice'. From a stack vendor or a technology standpoint, we follow the changing market and invest in the stack which you cannot afford not to have. In terms of technology, we are agnostic. We integrate well with SAP and Salesforce. We were heavily involved with the CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) standard (with EMC and IBM) as a part of the core set up.

CW: HP, IBM and EMC have had a well-entrenched partner ecosystem for many years. Why should an enterprise partner work with a new vendor like Alfresco?

Dorval: The content management partners approaching us are partners with IBM, EMC and others. However, they weren't seeing much value because these vendors maintain status quo when it comes to technology. They are also losing market share in ECM. It's not because there is no appetite for content management in the market, but because the technology has been locked in from the 1990s, which often creates friction in modern datacenters. For them to jump technology is too much of an investment. The big disruptive market players are Alfresco and Sharepoint. From a partner perspective, there are no new customers for both vendors. Partners also end up competing against the professional services provided by. Hence they are interested and believe in our technology for a lot of leads, contracts and new projects.

CW: How can channel partners effectively sell Alfresco's modern architecture to enterprise customers?

Dorval: Only 30 percent of companies use the direct box to deliver business solutions. Further, our subscription base means that there is no big capex for the customer. The cost of developing applications and deploying on an Alfresco platform compared to the other vendors is less risk for channel partners. Other vendors are building different products for the cloud. But Alfresco on the cloud, is the same as Alfresco on premise. This is the new disruption, as we deliver unified experience across content management through a same platform across devices and the cloud.

CW: Will big data, social networking and the cloud coerce CIOs to give a serious look to Alfresco and its open source vision?

Dorval: India's telecom and Internet connectivity market is yet to mature. However Indian CIOs will have no choice but embrace cloud and mobility in next two to three years. Cloud, big data, and social networking are influencing some of the core content management capabilities. However it does not change people's opinion about open source.Cloud is a reality, but we believe that everything will not go on the cloud. About 80 percent of content will be secured behind firewalls on premise, but the remaining 20 percent needs to be pushed out on the cloud. Content proliferation is increasing rapidly, which will be a big challenge for organizations--big and small. There is great appetite for better software and improved experience at lower cost, and we are ideally positioned to deliver that.

Keywords: Software  
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