Independent Forrester Research recently identified four leading vendors in the enterprise content management (ECM) space which are responsive to the requirements of today's enterprises."The Top 100 IT Projects of 2009Traditional players EMC, IBM, Oracle and Open Text continue to take the lead in the ECM space based on the latest study by Forrester. However, Forrester said Microsoft is "making inroads" and labelled the Seattle-based company a "strong performer". Other strong performers include Hyland Software and HP.In a report titled 'The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Content Management Suites, Q4 2009', Forrester evaluated eight companies based on 70-point criteria grouped into: current offering, strategy and market presence.An eighth company included in the evaluation, open source software player Alfresco, was labelled a 'contender' as it challenges the proprietary players with its low-entry cost.Forrester studied the different ECM vendors in July 2009 at which time the research firm noted the diverse solutions offerings in the ECM market as required by enterprises. In fact, Forrester noted that aside from diversity, enterprises are looking for a broad range of solutions to make sense of their information resources, which not only include documents but also images and other media.Four leadersThe four leaders in the ECM market offer a mix of solutions to help information and knowledge management professionals manage, secure, and retain content, the Forrester report stated."Their offerings include a mix of data management, business intelligence, content integration support, and content-centric application support. All four offer the promise of end-to-end ECM functionality from a single vendor," the report added.Meanwhile, Microsoft was faulted for the lack of depth and breadth which the four leaders have. However, Microsoft is credited for its "relevant ECM support". Forrester referred to Hyland and HP as "competitive alternatives" to EMC and IBM in the areas of document management, imaging and capture, and records management. However, Hyland and HP both lack "strong support" for persuasive content in areas such as Web content management, document output management, and digital asset management.Aside from lower cost, Alfresco's strength is its smaller footprint.The conclusions were derived from vendor surveys conducted by Forrester, product demos and two customer reference calls per vendor.