Apoorv Durga is presenting on Standards at cmf2007 (The 3rd International Web Conference) in Aarhus, Denmark this week. In his blog, Random Thoughts on Portals and Content Management, he made a request for questions on multiple occasions to ask of the experts at the conference. To put my questions in perspective, I am going to reply to his earlier post on Standards and Content Lifecycle.
Aporov provides an example of a web-based insurance system. He listed several components:
- Rules Engine
- Business Process Management
- Document Generation
- Email, fax, and Imaging system integrations
- An ECM system to store all the content
He uses this as a setup for standards. I think it is very narrowing, if for no other reason than many of these features can be gotten out of one suite of products, if not always well. I think the need for standards comes from integrating the structured data with the content. If I am customer support, I’m not working in an ECM system. I’m working in a CRM system like Siebel. However, I need to see the content that the user generated on the fly, and the data that they entered on that web form.
What do standards get me? Well, they should get me a way to plug and play those components together. I can plug Siebel into an ECM system and Documentum into a CRM system. I think we need to think big here. An imaging system should also be able to plug into an ECM system using the same interface. An ECM standard for SOA will get us there.
My basic question is this, what are people doing about it? I know some people are doing things, but is any real progress being made as a whole? Are vendors actually ready to embrace this approach? Are users content with SOA enablement of an application or do they want a well-defined, extensible ECM SOA standard to perform these interactions? Do people demand more from standards than JSR standards?
Don’t get me wrong, JSR standards are quite useful for developers. However, how does this help those in Microsoft environments? Tightly coupled integrations are faster, but it will also limit company’s ability to change the infrastructure.
Basically, a full report would be nice. Hopefully Jed will also help ask some of these questions as well.