Autonomy has this uncanny knack of staying in business with the strangest of business strategies. But, their search and compliance technology is still going strong. So what better way to up the ante with the big vendors, than to buy out their competition? Except they didn’t, they bought Interwoven, who are much bigger in the web content space. So a “bolt on to grow into another cumbersome ECM juggernaught” kind of acquisition, then.

In a previous life, I was the CTO of a traditional document and records management software vendor.  If that sounds like using the latest and greatest technology to make the worlds most dull applications, you’re on the money.  The market in which we operated eventually morphed into the “Enterprise Content Management” space, which included everything from web content management to imaging, and from archiving to surviving the email deluge.

One huge issue faced by this market was the clash with Web 2.0 technologies, including the ideas of free-from collaboration, social tagging, microblogging, and more.  Both sides of the technology space were adamant that their views trumped the others.

“You gotta keep control.  Audit, security, compliance, blah, blah, blah, blah. Without a structure classification, blah, blah, blah”  This style of thinking was also responsible for some of the most sadistic user interfaces ever inflicted on humanity.  The other side’s retort was usually along the lines of “No way man, don’t oppress our folksonomies with your corporate downer.” (OK, my impression of a hippy software PR person is a little lacking).

Interesting news from The Register shows that the extreme spin on both sides is pretty far from the real world.  In their recent survey, they found that organisations don’t care, and don’t find utility, in any of the compliance crap vendors harp on about with Web-2.0-ified collaboration tools, and equally that no one cares about the latest fads in twittering or tagging.

What we’re really interested in is better uses for the information they already have, and the tool getting out of the way so innovation and ideas can flourish.  Who’d have thought?!