Veteran ECM Integrator Hopes to Revolutionize Market

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There has been talk recently about the modernization of ECM technology—and a lot of it revolves around a transition to a more services-oriented architecture. Start-up Docxonomy wants to take things a step further. “I want to flip the industry upside down,” said founder and CEO Bryan Reynolds in a recent interview with DIR. “We are going to be part of a paradigm shift.”
Yes, we’ve heard this kind of talk before, but Reynolds certainly can’t be dismissed as some random yahoo. Before founding Docxonomy in early 2017, he spent more than 15 years as an ECM specialist focused on enterprise implementations. “For 13 years, I ran a content management consulting company that we sold to EMC in 2013,” he said. “Then I stayed on with EMC in a global role in the division that focused on Documentum.
“So, I’ve worked with what I will call the ancient and antiquated ECM systems of the past. As I traveled the world, all I heard was that people could not find stuff even though it was in their ECM system. When I left EMC, my intent was the solve that problem.”
Last month, Docxonomy formally launched a service for “intelligent search and file management.” “We have created a cloud solution that right now I am calling lightweight document and file management with intelligent search built on top,” said Reynolds. “Everyone is used to querying with Google and finding what they are looking for on the Web. But when it comes to unstructured data like documents, videos, and pictures, which exist en masse in enterprise environments, users can’t find things because their search tools are clunky and cumbersome.”
At the heart of Docxonomy’s initial offering is the ability to intelligently index content. “We take away the complexity of creating meta data from the customer,” said Reynolds. “Through the use of advanced machine learning and AI-related technology, our software can read and analyze documents like a human would. For video, we transcribe the audio and convert it to text. For photographs, we analyze and tag the content. We can also break down videos and analyze images in them the same way.
“For example, if there is a video taken by the bay in San Francisco, we would be able to identify the place if the Golden Gate Bridge is visible in the background. We could use other clues to determine the time. If a photograph is embedded in a Word document, we can extract it, as well as tables and charts. We can create a very rich index of data from unstructured content and enable users to search by people, places, dates, locations, and all the information you find inside a document.”
One of the more innovative approaches to content management that we’ve seen in 2018 is M-Files’ new Intelligent Meta Data Layer. This approach enables files to remain where they are without being moved into an ECM-specific repository, while still having ECM controls placed on them. Docxonomy is taking a similar approach.
“This is a powerful concept—users don’t have to move their files into our cloud,” said Reynolds. “They can if they want, but they can also utilize our connectors. That way, our system can index all their documents and make them searchable in our application, but also leave the content where it is, and we will create a pointer to it. If the user already has meta data in a system like Documentum, we can pull it out and apply it in our application. Everything we do is designed to reduce complexity and make content management easier to use.”
Docxonomy currently advertises connectors to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint, and Documentum, with several other locations listed as “coming soon.”
Docxonomy also has document classification capabilities. “We have trained the system to determine whether a document is an invoice or a contract, for example,” said Reynolds. “If it doesn’t get it right, the user can change the classification, and our system will learn from that. If a user has unique documents, they can build their own models.”
Reynolds noted that Docxonomy’s capabilities have already drawn interest from companies in Europe interested in utilizing it for GDPR compliance. “Because of the way we break down content, we can effectively identify personal information like social security and passport numbers,” he said. “We are looking to partners to design specific solutions in areas like that. We do not want to do a lot of professional services ourselves—I’ve been in that business before. We feel we’ve set up an ecosystem that partners will be able to manage and add things to as needed.”
In addition to search, Docxonomy’s initial ECM capabilities are focused on collaboration and file sharing. “Right now, you can basically upload, manage, and share files with our technology,” said Reynolds. “I would say initially, we might be positioned against Box or Dropbox, although we can also work with files within their systems. As we add capabilities, we will be more directly positioned against traditional ECM vendors like OpenText and IBM.
“And, although our initial launch is probably targeted more at the SMB, the product can also scale to the enterprise level. I know both ends of the market, having worked with an enterprise product in Documentum and run a small business myself.”
Reynolds said Docxonomy will add more ECM functionality in future generations. “Our content management related features will get richer and deeper as we move forward,” he told DIR. “Workflow is something that will be coming soon with records management a little further out. We will always release new features in tiers taking into account feedback we receive from the market. We always want to be building something that users want.”
Docxonomy’s application is hosted on the Google Cloud Platform. “We assessed all the major cloud hosting players,” said Reynolds. “We like that we can regionalize our service. If we have customers in Europe, for example, we can run our software on regionalized servers and guarantee that the customers’ data stays there. We found that the Google Cloud Platform also offers better scalability and elasticity than competitive platforms. This is important because our application can be very processor intensive when it’s analyzing and tagging content.”
For users that don’t want to run their content through the cloud, Docxonomy has an agent that can run on customers’ servers. “I have a rich history working with enterprise customers,” said Reynolds. “We have already sat down with Fortune 2000 customers who ask tough questions about security and architecture. We have answers they like.”
Docxonomy runs in a multi-tenant environment, but each customer’s files and data are kept separated. “Everybody accesses the same application through the same interface, which is how we want it to be,” Reynolds said. “On the back end, data is stored in the same database, but it’s siloed by user. There is no cross-contamination. Everyone has their own bucket, encryption, and set of keys.”
Most of Docxonomy’s technology has been developed internally, and some open source code is leveraged. “We have a few partners we go with, for stuff we have not had time to build yet, or that they have built really well and priced appropriately,” said Reynolds.
Cost is important to Docxonomy as the company is self-funded. “I’ve seen the VC side of things and we want to maintain control,” said Reynolds. “We want to make sure we can always respond rapidly to customers’ needs and not get stuck in discussions about money.”
Initial pricing for a subscription to Docxonomy’s service is $15 per user, per month, with no minimum or contract required. “Geographically, our initial focus was originally supposed to be just the U.S. market, but due to interest in GDPR use cases, Europe has emerged, and we’ll run with that too,” said Reynolds. “Global sales were always our long-term intention and we have the infrastructure to support them.”
Reynolds concluded that it’s his goal to make content management services as easy to utilize as people’s personal applications. “Over the years I’ve implemented hundreds of ECM projects and talked to thousands of users,” he said. “I’ve taken all my notes and used them to help launch Docxonomy. Our goal is to bring the same consumer experience that people enjoy with Facebook or OneDrive, that they use in their personal worlds and lives…we want to bring that same concept to the enterprise around files and data,” said Reynolds. “That is the missing critical piece of ECM software.”
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