by Kyle McNabb.

I owe the title of this blog entry to my San Francisco-based peer, Rob Koplowitz. Why? Well, he has a quicker wit than I do…. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest professional basketball player of all time, felt he could translate his incredible hand/eye coordination and skills to the sport of baseball when he first retired. The result? He played a few games in the minor leagues, drew a ton of attention, but never came close to the success he had in basketball.

The news? Through June 30, 2007, Microsoft’s offering a 25% discount off the regular price of SharePoint Server 2007 to existing FileNet customers that migrate off their FileNet ECM solution to Microsoft’s brand spankin’ new ECM support in Office 2007.

Microsoft’s a giant, and they’re very good, possibly "Jordanesque", at office productivity and collaboration. And we believe Office 2007’s new ECM support complements Microsoft Office’s strengths. But ECM addresses a wide range of transactional-content (high-volume production processes), business-content (information worker needs), and persuasive-content (customer experience) needs. We’ve just published an overview of Microsoft Office 2007’s ECM support and recommend enterprises think of Microsoft as an ECM platform addressing business-content needs.

Being good at managing business-content – project documents created in Word, financial plans created in Excel, sales presentations created in PowerPoint – doesn’t automatically translate into being good in high volume transactional-content processes such as mortgage origination; new account opening; claims processing; case management; or underwriting. To their credit, Microsoft’s aligned themselves with a few vendors that understand these high volume transactional-content processes including Hyland Software, KnowledgeLake, Kofax, Captaris, and Tecmasters.

The takeaway? Michael Jordan is to baseball as Microsoft is to high-volume transactional ECM – lots of raw talent, but not experienced, and not that good. Microsoft needs to walk before they run in the world of ECM by first demonstrating they can truly tackle an enterprise’s breadth of business-content ECM needs. I don’t think the 25% discount off of SharePoint remotely justifies the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of US dollars or Euros an organization may have to spend to migrate off of FileNet and build upon SharePoint + partner(s) – even if it is Hyland Software, a very good transactional-content ECM provider – to address their transactional-content needs.