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Enterprise Content Management 2.0, Still in Beta

8 April 2008

The Big Men on Content, Lee to be precise, recently joined the ECM 2.0 discussion, stating that they are going to wait for EMC’s sp2 before they jump on-board. That could be a long wait. After all, we are still in Beta as far as I am concerned.

This was prompted by a reading OpenText’s Enterprise 2.0 Content Management strategy. Note the placement of the 2.0. We’ll be getting back to that.

ECM 2.0, Coming Soon to an Enterprise Near You!

Well, if you look at my definition of the next generation of ECM, ECM 2.0 for fun, you’ll quickly see that we aren’t there yet. Even Bex chimes in on the Identity Management support in Oracle ECM and says that it isn’t there, yet. It is a great post and all concerns and issues there are true for Documentum as well.

Let’s take it as fact that all ECM systems are currently lacking in open support for Identity Management systems. Most can leverage external authentication, but fall short for external authorization.

Documentum can handle external groups, but not security policies. Those have to be created inside of Documentum using the external, or internally managed, groups. Documentum, like many systems, cache the external information for various performance reasons. That is fine, except that if something changes, you are out-of-date until the next synch job runs.

As if my critical eye wasn’t enough, EMC themselves aren’t at ECM 2.0 yet by their own reckoning. Way back at EMC World 2007, they defined their vision of ECM 2.0. They stated that D6 was just laying the foundation for ECM 2.0 and that it wouldn’t be realized until at least D6.5. That is this summer, so we can’t even evaluate it until then.

D6.5 will either be the Beta 2 release of ECM 2.0 or the “gold” release. It depends on who you ask and what is delivered.

ECM 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, Not Even Related

Aside from the flashy 2.0 attached at the end, there is little relation as far as I am concerned. ECM as it currently stands can support Web 2.0 artifacts. Some user interfaces may need some updating, but the back-ends of almost all Content Management systems, Enterprise or not, can store any type of content. Being able to store a wiki isn’t that impressive. Sounds more like a new feature for either a Collaborative CEVA or a Web Content Management CEVA.

ECM systems can support Enterprise 2.0. It is the interfaces that need to be updated. Clearspace, from Jive, supports Enterprise 2.0 activities. Infovark, once released, will support Enterprise 2.0 activities. Neither are ECM systems or based upon them. I bet that I could take Documentum 5.2.5 and use it as a back-end for content for Clearspace. It may take a little development, but it could be done and nobody will EVER confuse that old version of Documentum with ECM 2.0.

OpenText is updating their user interface. That’s it! Big deal. If they have to make a lot of changes to their back-end to make this work, then they are in worse shape than I ever imagined.

Everyone, Look Outside the Traditional 2.0 Box! (Traditional 2.0? Funny.) ECM 2.0 is the next generation of Enterprise Content Management. It is not a slave to any other technology. It is a servant for the emerging Enterprise Architectures in the SOA world. It isn’t dependent on Web Services or REST. It is dependent on an undefined SOA Standard.

Look, databases have ODBC and JDBC. ECM needs an equivalent. CEVA providers shouldn’t have to write different interfaces to interact to different systems. They need one interface and ECM system will then only need one interface. Then we can get back to features and not pick a vendor because they are at least average in everything that we need.

Jed Cawthorne gets it. Billy Cripe gets it. Lee Dallas is getting it. Do YOU get it? If not, tell me why and I’ll see what I can do to help you along. Please chime in and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from someone at EMC like Cornelia, Craig, Mark, Chuck, or someone new.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 April 2008 4:32 am

    Visions are nice and keep everybody focused on the master plan to “conquer the world” (Bwahaha!).
    My thoughts are that the real ECM 2.0 must be exactly what it means: a new version of the ECM products, finally stepping up from the “first version”.
    All major vendors are still having troubles with core technology in one way or the other. This hurts in real life. Customers do not have perfect IT skills. Nor does the consultancy/implementation company. The ECM must be stable, reliable enough to withstand not so clean installation / operation.
    My dream is that I open the “ECM 2.0″ box, put in the CD and install the ECM infrastructure. And that ECM infrastructure simply works. Always. This is what I expect from the second version of a ‘product’. Or is it to early (grin)?
    PS: The CEVA’s and other stuff are a different story.

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  2. 9 April 2008 4:37 pm

    Hey dude, ta for the mention. I would blog in response, but trying to wrap things up as an ‘ECM Programme Manager’ do a little consulting work for my new employer, and pack stuff for the international movers, so quicker to comment here !

    I am not so sure that ECM 1.0 platforms can actually provide the basis for ‘Enteprise 2.0′ – integrated records management for your Wiki posts, well I am sure your clever enough to code it, and the current platforms might be flexible enough to provide, but they dont make it easy enough …..
    Hence the need for the ‘paradigm shift’ required towards standards based, SOA compliant, web service happy, componentised ‘ECM 2.0′ :-)
    Bring it on……….

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  3. 9 April 2008 5:45 pm

    I think I get it already – if “it” is the realization that utopian EMC is just a standard away. Every consumer and integrator’s life gets better as a result I just don’t think the market will ever get “it.”

    An open SOA standard works against competitive advantage. It will take a huge federal declaration like CALS to get the vendors to support it. Now that I think about it, they may decide to support the idea simply to solve the integration problems brought on by their shopping addiction.

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  4. 10 April 2008 4:23 am

    Good points Lee, but do open SOA standards really work against competitive advantage ? It might prevent ‘secret sauce’ based advantage (and lock in) but surely it also frees development time and resources to improving aspects of a solution, such as an improved user experience that would absolutely provide competitive advantage.

    Where is the competitive advantage for RedHat, Novell/SuSe and Canonical et al, whom are all making money out of selling the same standards based product, versions of the GNU/Linux OS.

    If EMC, IBM, OpenText et al think they can continue down non-standards based paths they will start to loose ever more custom to Alfresco !

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  5. 10 April 2008 11:05 pm

    You’re right – better stated – “in the minds of some vendors, standards erode competitive advantage.” To be fair, none of them are completely standards averse.

    If memory serves, all of the above were on the committee for ODMA. I just believe that there has to be a significant driving force to get them to adopt it and I don’t think developers can do it. The desire needs to originate in paying customers which is difficult to drive because this topic is so IT centric.

    Notice that both of us leave Oracle out of that list. I have religious problems with Oracle’s classification of ECM with middleware but it serves this purpose nicely.

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