AIIM '06: good news for KM users
Microsoft made a big and important splash at the AIIM Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia in May with announcements about its SharePoint content management solution and Office 2007, but the ripples that came from the many Microsoft partners at the show were equally important. For the knowledge management customer base, the news was good. The Microsoft Office 2007 environment will integrate tightly with a broad range of well-established KM products. Users will benefit from working in the familiar Office environment while still having easy access to the robust functionality they have come to expect from their KM solutions.
"Our customers do not want us in a shootout with Microsoft," says Bill Forquer, executive VP of Open Text. "While there may be some overlap in content management for simpler applications," adds Forquer, "we will continue to support more complex requirements as well as offering expertise in domain areas such as accounts payable, litigation readiness and pharma solutions." Open Text believes its expanded relationship with Microsoft will be beneficial to both companies as well as to customers.
Solutions from Hummingbird that are integrated with Microsoft will include content life cycle management applications built on the Microsoft platform, using templates that leverage existing IT investments.
"We believe this integration will help remove the complexity of content management and broaden the market," says Andrew Pery, a senior VP at Hummingbird (Editor's note: at the time of the posting of this article, Mr. Pery had been appointed VP of Marketing at DICOM) . "With compliance at the forefront of our customers' concerns, seamless access to records management from the environment in which workers create their e-mail messages and other documents will provide a scalable yet lower-cost system."
Interwoven also sees the development of SharePoint in a positive light. The company already had a thriving relationship with Microsoft, but is enhancing and extending its integration with Office 2007.
"The biggest challenge with content management has been adoption," says Neil Araujo, VP of marketing for professional services industry solutions at Interwoven. "The net result of integrating with SharePoint and other components of Office 2007 is that users will be able to carry out their work in the normal fashion, but will have the benefit of the specialized content management solutions we offer."
E-mail is a particularly important issue, Araujo notes, because of the sheer volume with which companies and users have to contend. Surveys of Interwoven clients indicate that 80 percent of the files are e-mails and 20 percent are documents, a reversal of previous ratios.
In Web content management, solutions also focused on ease of use, specifically on bringing Web content development to desktops throughout the enterprise. Ektron's browser-based interface allows business users to author and update Web content from any Internet-accessible location. Users can also deploy forms to collect information from visitors to the site. Built-in analytics allow assessment of visitor traffic, and a wizard allows online surveys for customer feedback. Automated e-mail approval chains provide a means of validating information prior to publication. This comprehensive set of out-of-box capabilities simplifies the creation, deployment and management of Web content. Ektron CMS is getting significant traction in education and healthcare, where customer service and accurate information are vital.
Mediasurface lets business users manage and publish their own Web content through a user interface called Morello.
"Early products in this space made promises about usability that were not met," says Chris Tew, senior VP for North America at Mediasurface, "especially for high-volume, sophisticated Web site development."
Morello, a front-end application for Mediasurface 5 content management, provides a familiar Windows-like interface but with powerful functionality. "In a matter of minutes, users can develop an industrial-strength Web site that can handle millions of hits per day," says Tew. With development time and costs low, organizations can set up Web sites for specific purposes or a limited time, rather than needing a six-month rollout. Morello also allows users to publish content to multiple channels, presenting content tailored to mobile devices such as cell phones or BlackBerries.