One of the things that I missed during my tour at AIIM was working with partners. I’m not talking about consultants, though I missed them as well. I missed the technology vendors. When I was at the Alfresco Summits last month, I was able to see a lot of vendors creating some cool technology to enhance a wide variety of Content solutions.
It was particularly fun to see several vendors that I had worked with in the past. IGC’s Brava product was one of those. Their viewer and annotation tool is pretty much the standard in large swathes of the pharmaceutical industry as they are vendor agnostic.
Another one that was good to reconnect with was Generis. One reason is because their CEO still has to pay up from a bet we made during the last World Cup. The other is because of what they are doing with Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS). While most of the industry has been coasting on the standard, Generis has been working hard to show its potential.
Focus on the Business
When I first talked about Generis almost four years ago, the focus was on the separation of the business application from the Content Management System. Generis and WeWebU, since bought by Alfresco, were building generic interfaces for different systems using the CMIS.
I was pretty impressed by these applications back then. WeWebU’s Workdesk has since become Alfresco’s default Case Management interface as it allows people to focus on the task at hand. Generis’ CARA has evolved to become a consumer of a wide variety of application services, sufacing them in a highly configurable front-end application. The ability to have a single application for people to access Content and relevant information from other business applications is what the average knowledge worker needs.
Generis’ focus seems to be paying off as well. CARA has several vertical applications (remember Content Enabled Vertical Applications?) that are gaining traction in Life Services. By building on CMIS, Generis can be agnostic with the CMS under the hood, allowing the organization to use the CMS that best meets their needs while CARA focuses on delivering business value on top of that CMS platform. This ability to interact with Content seamlessly with information from systems such as Clinical Trial Management Systems for eTMF, labeling, and other systems within a single interface is a huge boon for productivity.
After all, nobody likes to hit Alt-Tab to get work done.
Not a New Market Strategy
The approach taken by Generis to grow their business is not new. It is the same approach most successful software vendors take. They have built applications in several verticals and have found one that stuck. Now they can develop and then tackle the challenge of crossing the “chasm” into the mainstream.
All thanks to CMIS.
Generis hasn’t had to limit their market by using the API of any single vendor. They can focus on the ENTIRE vertical.
The focus on peoples’ experience in getting their job done without worrying about the underlying platform has allowed them to solve the business problem at hand. Each innovation by a CMS vendor becomes their innovation. When a CMS vendor stumbles, no problem. Not being tied to one vendor gives them ability to ignore CMS vendor turmoil
My only regret is that I don’t know about more stories like this. There have to be some out there and I would love to hear about them. After all, any application that leverages CMIS can only help everyone in the industry solve the business problems people are facing daily.
Do you have a CMIS success story? Let’s hear it.