ECM, SOA, and Bees


I am glad that Billy responded to my earlier post critiquing his article for AIIM. I meant it to be constructive, and I wanted it to lead to further discussion. It was a difficult post for me to write because I respect Billy and didn’t want to alienate him. It seems he gave me the benefit of the doubt, at least in print, and for that Billy, I thank you.

The funny thing was that when I read the name of his post, Poking the Bee Hive, I was watching a Dr Who episode featuring a giant wasp. Weird stuff.

I’m going to bypass the editorial stuff discussion for the most part. That is a matter of opinion and Billy had a co-author and editorial staff to answer to when writing the article. Like Billy, I want to focus on the intersection of Enterprise 2.0, SOA, and ECM. That is the meat of his article and the part that can actually lead to greater understanding on everyone’s part.

So while I wait for Billy to start his side of the discussion, I will poke the bee’s nest some more.

ECM Supports SOA

This is a no-brainer here, and one for which I think Billy and I are on the same page. If so, then we can just move to the next section. Both SOA and ECM pre-date Web 2.0 and work well without any Enterprise 2.0 applications. There is no dependency in that direction.

I think my initial disappointment with the article was that it was titled ECM and SOA. There is a lot to write about on this topic without any reference to Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. The whole concept of Transparent ECM, ECM 2.0, is built for the SOA world. There is a lot of benefit to be gained from combining these two technologies that doesn’t require any of the new Enterprise 2.0 mind set.

Not to say that Enterprise 2.0 isn’t useful….

Enterprise 2.0 Enhances Knowledge Management

I wrote a while back on how Enterprise 2.0 really enables that old mystical Knowledge Management solution that people have been chasing for years. While the observations are more directly related to Social Media, that encompasses much of the Web 2.0 mind set. All of these new tools enable collaboration with participants that used to be purely consumers.

SOA and ECM can both improve upon this, but neither are required. Yes in an ideal world, they will all co-exist. The only problem is that I have never met anyone living in an ideal world. Let’s look at ECM and Enterprise 2.0…

ECM can heavily benefit from Enterprise 2.0. Better tagging and discussions around content. More dynamic work areas. Life is good.

Enterprise 2.0 can benefit heavily from ECM. Centrally storing blogs, wikis, and discussions can allow for content on public sites to be captured as a record for liability issues. Content generated on a site in one country can be translated and pushed out to a site in another country. Let us not forget any moderating of that content that can take place.

These are great things. No SOA required.

When do you need SOA? Ideally when you want two systems to talk together. You can give any application that Enterprise 2.0 make-over, but what happens behind the scenes is independent of that. The need for SOA exists outside of Enterprise 2.0.

Having all three is nice, but you can have any two without the other. (Note: Enterprise 2.0 and SOA without ECM does seem a little silly.)