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Standard Interface Will Open New Options For ECM

Enterprise content management vendors are coming together around the Content Management Interoperability Services specification.

While enterprise content management vendors battle for sales, they've come together around the Content Management Interoperability Services specification. The goal of the spec, which has been submitted to the Oasis consortium to become an industry standard, is to use Web services to create a standard interface to different content repositories.

Content-centric applications, such as loan origination and invoice-processing apps, were often built on a single content management platform. Connecting to content from competing repositories meant costly integration. Applications built on a standard interface should be able to communicate out of the box with any enterprise content management repository that supports CMIS.

That would cut costs, and also should let them take advantage of content in new ways, like an application combining an auto insurance claim with Google Maps to show where the accident took place. Other possibilities include improving workflow and business process management-based applications, archiving apps, search, and e-discovery. The spec has big-league support: originally IBM, EMC, and Microsoft, now joined by Alfresco, Open Text, Oracle, and SAP. The standard's expected to be official by end of 2009.

Vendors are moving forward already. Alfresco has a draft implementation available. EMC says its Documentum APIs will support a beta version of the standard by the end of this year. IBM has code on its AlphaWork site that provides a CMIS layer on top of FileNet P8. And Open Text says it has a prototype integration between its LiveLink content repository and SAP, though it's not publicly available yet.

Photo illustration by Sek Leung

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