ECM: A Working Definition for the Next Generation

A while back I talked about how the current definitions of Enterprise Content Management left a lot to be desired. They don’t accurately describe the reality of what ECM systems need to accomplish in today’s environment. They are also boring and lack a soul.

I have come back to this topic through multiple avenues. One is the concept of Invisible ECM from Billy and crew over at Oracle. It resonated very strongly with my previous discussions on Transparent ECM. We can debate terminology later, but what is important now is the shared concept.

A second avenue comes from my need to explain where ECM is going, ECM 2.0, in a simple and concise way. I can explain it and speak passionately on the topic. The need to get the concept out there in one breath has become more important as I talk to more people.

I have developed a proposed definition for your consideration. I would love feedback. I will approve all constructive comments for sharing, though I may not respond until a subsequent post. I’ll throw it out there and then discuss it briefly. Remember, I want this definition to have a soul.

Enterprise Content Management is the empowerment of all content within an organization. This is accomplished through the centralized management of content, allowing for people and systems to access and manage content from within any business context using platform agnostic standards.

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Conversational Collaboration at EMC

Thought I would let me next post on security in ECM percolate for another day and share something that Jed found. He found a second blog by Chuck Hollis chronicling EMC’s adoption of Social Media as an Enterprise 2.0 effort. The blog started in August, so I started reading there as Jed recommended. I’m going to chronicle my adventure through his blog.

These are posts that I found particularly insightful or useful. If you don’t have time to read the whole sequence, you can jump around.

  • Why Me?: Chuck starts with a simple introduction to himself, explaining why he is leading the initiative and his initial strategy in getting started. My favorite line is, I had to informally recruit (hijack!) a few people who were as passionate on this topic as I was becoming, especially during the formative stages. Having recently started leading a few initiatives in my own company, I like the accurate portrayal. The key is to recruit those that will contribute, but may have been hesitant to volunteer due to various reasons. I’m trying to make sure that they get credit and rewarded for that work so they are still willing in the future.

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BEA…Going, Going, Gone

So, a while back, Oracle made a play for BEA at $17 per share. BEA told them to take a hike for anything under $21. Today, BEA caved at $19.375. That’s right, caved. When you offer someone a 25% premium and then later are able to buy them for only a 24% premium, you win. Yeah, they may be spending an extra $1.8 billion, but BEA is worth a lot more now. What does this mean? It depends on who you ask…

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Patenting a Standard

I haven’t been a big booster of JSR-170, the Content Repository for Java Technology API, or its sequel JSR-283 here. It isn’t that I have anything against them, it is just that I think that the bigger problem is at a higher level of the architecture stack. I think ECM systems should be accessed through Services and not APIs whenever possible. It is also a little too technology focused.

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Co-Existence of SharePoint and ECM

A few weeks ago, I attended the AIIM seminar SharePoint meets ECM. When I registered, I received Doculabs’ White Paper, The Co-existence of Microsoft SharePoint and Advanced ECM Platforms: What You Need to Know. I hinted in my post about the event that I would write another post specifically addressed to this White Paper and I have finally gotten around to it.

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty details, I wanted to share an interesting observation. I started this blog to talk about things that were of interest to the EMC/Documentum crowd. That has expanded to encompass broader ECM issues such as standards. I think these topics are of interest to Documentum Architects, so it isn’t a reach. However, I’ve noticed a trend. Whenever I post on SharePoint, my hits jump way up. If I was just after hits, I’d just switch to SharePoint all the time. However, I expect this to be one of my last posts on the topic for a while as I have bigger fish to fry and I think I’ll have covered most of what I feel I need to cover for the short term.

It does make one think. I wonder how far my hit rate would jump if I included the name of a celebrity who is named after a French city? I’m not shameless enough to find out. Now on to the meat of the post…

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We Define ECM 2.0, Not the Clock

While I was taking some time off for Son 2.0, my friend Jed Cawthorne over the the UK wrote an interesting post on Enterprise 2.0 and ECM 2.0. He refers to a post by Billy Cripe at Oracle talking about what it will all be. Jed then sums up ECM 2.0 as:

Just making stuff look like the ‘consumer’ Web 2.0 apps workers are using at home. What ECM 2.0 will not be is the highly componentized, SOA and standards based dream of Laurence.

Jed sounds more resigned to that definition than excited. Personally, I think we only have to live with that definition if we choose to do so. This isn’t only my dream for ECM, this is one that has been shared by EMC multiple times, and other vendors are prepping, or have prepped, their platforms for ECM 2.0. So why do we have to settle?

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