A Timely Example of Needed ECM Standards

So the question has gone up repeatedly since this dialog began, what problems are we trying to solve? I’ve tried to explain this and I think I’ve been getting through. However, I still encounter pain in real life because of this. In fact, this just may be a punishment for raising such a ruckus.

Here is my most recent problem. A client has a legacy Records Management solution. It works well, though is a little dated. The client is now going to implement a Web Content Management solution. The approved web pages need to be automatically declared as a record. If these were the same ECM platform, there wouldn’t be any problem. However, they aren’t. In fact, one is Microsoft based and the other is Java based. Neither of them is Documentum, though that wouldn’t change the problem significantly.

So how do I get the content and required metadata from the publishing system to the RM system? Well, it isn’t going to be straightforward. For the RM system, we are going to have to write a Web Services interface using .NET to allow us to receive the content and declare it as a record through the products API. Once done, we just send a message back to the publishing system giving either a confirmation or an error message. For the WCM solution, we are using an additional module to define and create the Web Services we need. If it works as documented, it won’t be nearly so painful.

The best part is that the client in question is thinking of changing RM systems in the near future. Know what that means? You got it. The interface into the existing RM will have to be re-written for the new one before long.

Now, if there was Standard defined, and widely implemented, that would allow me to send the content, metadata, and maybe even a flag indicating that it should be a record, that would be simple. The initiating system would send it and await an acknowledgment. It would eventually receive either a complete, a partial complete (say it couldn’t declare it as a record), or a failure. Life would be simple.

Then again, I wouldn’t get to make as much money consulting either.