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AIIM '06: good news for KM users

On-demand software services are catching on, as customers respond to the appeal of having someone else install and maintain complex software products, as well as eliminating large capital expenses required for upfront purchases. In a traditional hosted service, the customer typically purchases the software, and the support and management are outsourced to the hosting company. Purchase of upgrades is up to the customer. With on-demand services, the customer pays for the software as a service, and the service provider purchases and supports the software. The pricing structure of on-demand services brings a wider variety of applications into the reach of small and midsize businesses. Market drivers pushing ECM into those businesses, though, are the same as for large ones—the volume of data being generated, compliance concerns and security (including disaster recovery).

ECM exhibitors that offer on-demand content management products included Digitech Systems, Spring CM and SilkRoad technology with its Eprise line of products. Digitech offers an on-demand Web-based content management service with ImageSilo. One of its customers is the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. The school had scanned 99 percent of its health records to ImageSilo when Hurricane Katrina struck. The director of health services, who had evacuated to Houston, was able to send health records to students scattered all over the country as they enrolled in new schools.

SpringCM was formed specifically to deliver content management services to small and midsize companies. Within just a few hours, SpringCM can provide customers with a document management system that includes collaboration, workflow and scanning/OCR services. Its service is based on a monthly per-user fee.

SilkRoad launched Eprise OnDemand last year; the product is offered on a per-server annual subscription basis, or on a shared-instance basis where multiple customers are on the same hardware, priced as a per-domain annual subscription. Eprise OnDemand allows non-technical users to contribute content while Web administrators retain uniformity of branding and content accuracy. Eprise OnDemand is designed for companies that want very broad participation in Web site development--one SilkRoad customer has 40,000 users who can contribute content. The company also offers a traditional hosted service with a variety of pricing models.

Along with all the growing volume of enterprise content comes the need to search it, and several innovative search tools were in evidence at AIIM. Globalbrain from Brainware, which was spun off earlier this year from SER Solutions, uses natural language search to retrieve content from 250 different file formats. A phrase, paragraph or document can be put in the search box, and Globalbrain retrieves relevant content and builds a taxonomy. Its OutlookAccess search tool integrates into the Outlook toolbar to search e-mails, attachments, notes and other Outlook content.

Also, Watson from Intellext also provides search results in context; it monitors users' active documents and proactively delivers related information in real time. Nuance Communications is including the Watson intelligent search agent in its latest release of ScanSoft PaperPort Professional.

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