Broad suites, compliance rule AIIM
The dominant role of compliance was evident at AIIM 2005, where many product offerings were positioned as solutions for Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and other regulatory requirements. Another clear trend was that software suites are encompassing an increasingly broad range of functionality, and are better integrated within the suites themselves and with other applications. Although many of the products are horizontal, vendors have also been working diligently to tailor them to specific verticals such as the healthcare and legal markets. Among the technologies and vendors showcased at the AIIM conference and exhibition, held in Philadelphia in May, were the following.
The IBM (www.ibm.com) Solution for Compliance in a Regulated Environment (SCORE) provides document life cycle and workflow management, security and auditing to support compliance in the pharmaceutical industry. IBM SCORE, built on the WebSphere platform, is presented as a solution that reduces risk and also shortens development cycles. It is designed to work with many data repositories including Documentum (www.documentum.com), Oracle (www.oracle.com) and IBM DB2 Content Manager. Partly to address the dual needs of compliance and productivity, many products are extending their functionality well beyond their initial mission. Enterprise content management (ECM) was a point solution five or six years ago, but it is now integrated with records management (RM), business process management (BPM), digital asset management (DAM) and more. Those products simplify deployment by decreasing the number of separate applications an organization must install and reducing the associated training requirements.
An example is AIIM exhibitor Open Text (www.opentext.com), which acquired IXOS and Gauss to extend its document management and collaboration products into content management and e-mail archiving. Its acquisition of Artesia added digital asset management. The IXOS purchase also brought in BPM through IXOS' previous acquisition of PowerWork AG.
Similarly, AIIM exhibitor Hummingbird (www.hummingbird.com) over the years has acquired document management through PC Docs and search via the Fulcrum search server, developed its own portal and collaboration components, and acquired business process automation technology from Dralasoft.Accepting the reality that all enterprise content cannot be placed in a single repository, vendors are responding with helpful ways to access such content. For example, recognizing that widely used applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Siebel all create content that users must access, FileNet (www.filenet.com) developed content federation in order to catalog documents from applications outside of FileNet.
"This was a customer-driven change," says David McCann, senior VP of products at FileNet. "Customers want to be able to find content in all their repositories regardless of the application in which it originated."Enterprise applications are also integrated more seamlessly with each other. eCopy (www.ecopy.com) ShareScan OP integrates paper with enterprise applications. It works with digital copiers from Canon, HP, Ricoh and others, as well as with Fujitsu scanners, to allow users to scan documents directly into the workflow of enterprise applications. It's integrated with more than 20 products, including the Documentum Enterprise Content Management Platform and Microsoft Outlook. An indication of how seamless the product is: A user can send an e-mail directly from the copier and it will be saved in the Sent mail file.
Group 1 Software (www.g1.com), a Pitney Bowes company, takes another tack in unifying print and digital information with its customer communication management (CCM) strategy. Designed as an integrated system for customer interaction, Group 1 products handle requirements such as collecting, analyzing, composing, archiving and distributing customer information in print and electronic channels. The solutions take a content-centric approach, overlapping with some functions of CRM but adding steps such as improving the quality of data about each customer (e.g., reconciling inconsistencies in mailing addresses).
New products continue to emerge, even in the face of what would seem to be daunting competition. Xythos Software (www.xythos.com) introduced three new product suites, two of which are document management products. Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 5.0 is geared toward the commercial and government markets, while Xythos Digital Locker Suite 5.0 is designed for the academic community. Xythos believes that its ease of use and relatively low cost will be attractive to organizations that do not need the extended functionality of the current products. Activity at the other end of the show floor, where On Demand was exhibiting, proved that paper is alive and well--booths were packed with attendees watching new printing technology in action. One system started out with a huge roll of blank paper and ended up with bound books at the other end, in a matter of minutes.