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Open Text Wants To Be The Lifecycle Hub For Content

The enterprise content management vendor plans to discuss at its user conference this week that its library services can reduce liability by ensuring that no documents are kept longer than legally necessary.

InformationWeek Staff

November 13, 2006

3 Min Read

Open Text Corp. plans to unveil this week a product roadmap that the company hopes will convince large corporations to use its Livelink software to manage the lifecycle of content through out the enterprise.

The Canadian company is set to unveil at its user conference in Phoenix Tuesday, the first since acquiring content management vendor Hummingbird in October, a major upgrade that would manage documents taken from emails, enterprise resource planning systems, productivity applications and desktop file systems. All the information would reside in a common store and managed through Livelink ECM 10's Enterprise Library Services.

"(The library) is completely transparent to the end user," Bill Forquer, executive vice president for business development at Open Text, said. "But from IT's perspective, they will have control over content and its lifecycle across the enterprise."

The idea behind Open Text's pitch is the recognition that there is no single product in the market that does everything, Toby Bell, research director at Garner said. Therefore, Open Text is telling customers to use its technology for governance, as well as policy and rules management among disparate systems.

"Enterprises don't have a single solution or application that manages all content through out the lifecycle, so it's a good concept," Bell said. In addition, Open Text, the largest pure-play CM vendor in the market, is battling against heavyweights IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, so its important for the company to stress how it can work with these other vendors' products.

Many of the components of ECM 10 have already been released in upgrades to ECM 9, Forquer said. For example, the platform currently has connectors for Microsoft Office, Exchange and Sharepoint, and IBM Lotus Notes.

In January, Open Text plans to have connectors available for SAP's ERP systems, and hopes to have the same for Oracle's J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft applications in the future. Forquer, however, couldn't say when.

"We're doing specific things to integrate J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft, but we're not ready to announce anything," he said. In SAP, however, the U.S. Department of Defense has certified Open Text for records management.

ECM 10 is scheduled to ship in its entirety in the first half of next year. The release would include integration with Hummingbird, so content from that system can be stored in the Livelink Enterprise Library. At the user conference, Open Text plans to announce that Hummingbird's reporting engine can be used with Livelink, Forquer said.

In addition, besides Livelink's Web-based user Interface, the upgrade next year would include a client interface that provides access to content from within Microsoft Outlook, Office and Internet Explorer. The new features are meant to reduce the amount of time to train new users familiar with those applications.

Livelink has always had a library store for retention, archiving, storage, metadata and search. The company, however, plans to stress its ability to capture and manage important information found in emails. "Email is the fastest growing and least controlled content," Forquer said. The library shipping with ECM 10 next year is expected to support Web services standards, which are based on XML technology, for integration with email systems and other applications.

In marketing the upgrade, Open Text plans to focus on retention, which refers to the amount of time businesses should hold on to documents before destroying them. All documents have a shelf life dictated by legal requirements, government regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; or internal business policies. Open Text is recommending that companies manage retention through an ECM system, preferably Livelink, to ensure they don't keep documents any longer than required.

"What we're trying to tell people is they don't want to keep everything," Forquer said. "There's no reason to take on that liability."

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