Me and Content Management

Pie seems to prompt a number of my blog posts on here, actually good that someone can initiate activity and spur me on to provide comment! Anyway, his latest prod has been on how we got involved in Content Management.

I actually started my IT career developing a set of workflow components based on Oracle technology, both Forms and some server side procedures. One of the implementations of this ‘product’ was in a pharmaceutical company within the manufacturing division. We implemented an application for tracking incidents in the plant to ensure they were fully investigated and any corrective action taken. As part of this various parties in the process would produce reports in the Document Management system they used, Saros Document Manager. I was very loosely involved in tha area of the system as I concentrated on the process design and implementation, nevertheless it was a start. (N.B. for those that don’t know FileNET acquired Saros).

I then worked on an eCommerce project for an online music store, well before Amazon! Whilst not Document Management this taught me the need for some of the basic Web Content Management services such as staging, approvals and content expiry…in effect we were building this functionality into the eCommerce application.

Anyway a change in career left me joining a company who specialised in Document Management implementations, amongst other things. To integrate me into the company I was sent to Sweden for 6 months where I learned an awful lot under the tutelage of some very knowledgeable, and patient, experts. The product they used the most was Documentum, and welcome to the world of RightSite…oh how life has moved on.

Interestingly I was asked to look at a new concept, this was in 2000/2001, Microsoft had released a product named Tahoe and I was asked to look at a new offering for the company called ‘Webben som Arbeitsplan’, or Web as a Workplace. We even built some integration between Tahoe and Documentum which we achieved through Web Services and the, at the time, emerging SOAP standards. Funny that 8 years later I’m still speaking to customers about the best way to achieve that!

CMIS

Its almost like last week’s news, and there certainly has been some activity on this front on some of the blogs out there, e.g. Pie, BMOC, Craig and John Newton amongst others. In case you are not aware, this is what has sparked the sudden activity, CMIS.

From the link above there is some information on the focus of the first version of the spec, and it is very much early days:

“The initial set of deliverables will be targeted for the following use cases:

  • Collaborative Content Applications
  • Portals leveraging Content Management repositories
  • Mashups

The following use cases should be able to be supported by CMIS Domain Model and Bindings, but are not primary drivers:

  • Workflow and BPM-centric applications utilizing Content
  • Archival Applications
  • Compound and Virtual Documents
  • Electronic and Legal Discovery

The following use cases are out of scope for the initial set of deliverables:

  • Records Management and Compliance
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Web Content Management
  • Subscription and Notification Services”

I find this quite interesting, especially the move of RM to a later release. I do need to read the spec, printed it out today, but I hope that the minimum that it deals with are the Basic Content services. I can see the logic behind the drivers re Portal and Mash Ups, this is where we would expect current integration pain to be but I would think RM is such an important factor in the current climate that it would need early consideration. However I would not be surprised if one of the reasons for not having this in early is, to put it crudely, it is hard. I don’t mean necessarily implementation is hard but getting concensus on what would constitute RM is difficult with the various standards out there, e.g. DOD, MoReq2, etc…. There is also the question of whether compliance to these adds value to the customer, interesting discussions to be had. I’ll read the specs and post again.