Standards at cmf2007


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:

  • Forms
  • Rules Engine
  • Business Process Management
  • Document Generation
  • Email, fax, and Imaging system integrations
  • Portal
  • 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.

The Questions

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.

5 thoughts on “Standards at cmf2007

  1. Pie,
    Thanks for the inputs. I also believe the progress has been slower that expected and hopefully things will improve if there’s enough demand from customers. I’ll try and get some answers to questions you posed and some others as well.

    As for your comment about it being a “narrowing” example, i agree and my post said so clearly when i wrote “This is obviously a simple scenario and things….”. Idea was to take an example which hopefully will explain what i was trying to say.

    Best,
    /a

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  2. I totally agree. To me it is all about integration between systems. Stovepiping between systems is way too common today. To me it also a bit strange that there are so few actual solutions where the systems have been integrated. I mean, all the pieces for it are out there.

    I would very much like to see an integrated solution where every aspect of a user is integrated. When I list some documents in a folder in Documentum and sees that Person X is the lock owner I would like to be able both to go to this persons Address Book/Digital CV (to see who he/she is) but also see a green light if that person is online. Preferrably not only presence information but also an option to start a chat or call him/her via Voice of IP. By integrating both presence information and chat/voice/video we open up to store all content in the collaboration process in the repository. Further on we could initate a web meeting where we access a Powerpoint (or Keynote) presentation stored in the repository which is uploaded into a virtual meeting rum where users can collaborate around it and have meeting around the presentation. The modified file is then saved together with notes and audio files from the meeting down into the repository.

    Wouldn’t that be great?

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  3. Alexandra, that would be great. I’d like to go to a portal and instead of having an email portlet, a content portlet, and a CRM portlet to have portlets by my own categorization. Maybe one with everything about Documentum, another about client A, and maybe another related to internal project B.

    Been dreaming of that for years. We may actually be getting there soon.

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  4. I talked to some of the managers at EMC about integrating instant messaging in the repository and they said they have been looking into supporting XMPP.

    What amazes me is that most people I talk to about the vision I described above keep saying “Oh, interesting, have not thought about it that way”. Why isn’t “seamless computing” getting more attention.

    Just have a look at Mac OS X. This kind of integration exists there but of course nothing like a document management system. Just a metadata enabled filesystem with full text index. But global address bok (with LDAP support), presence information available both in Mail and Address Book and so on.

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