This is big

If we can give credit Microsoft for anything is for being able to take a success and turn it into a bigger one. Yep, after reading some more things about SharePoint 2010 I’m more inclined to see a new wave (tsunami could be a better word) heading for the ECM shoreline.

Currently SharePoint has an well established foothold in the minds of most CIOs and IT teams across the globe. Some ECM professionals looked at it initially from a somehow superior position.. something like “whow, you’ve come to play with us… how cute…”. Now everyone in their right mind thinks differently. SP changed the ECM space and it’s coming back for more.

Some new things which I identified in the new release and are really a giant leap forward:

– unique document identifiers. across all the SP “sites”. Until now sites were quite isolated. No more – one limitation gone.

– metadata based navigation. This is required in all the projects I’ve did on ECM until now (100+). It almost always required coding (not configuring) or a sepparate licensed product (eg. Content Intelligence Services in EMC’s world). In SP 2010 is ootb and seems to be across the featureset.

– logical groupings of documents. Case management and many other ECM use-cases requires to have documents grouped together in a virtual “stuff”. Not a list, not a folder, an entity of it’s own. EMC Documentum had an old-time response to that: virtual documents. Quite clumsy and it always required customizations to make it really effective for the user. Now SharePoint has not only this but also thought of a visualization UI different than from standard items (yes, a grouping of documents should not behave and look as a single document… revelations 101)

– records management. You, traditional ECM guys out there… admit that you laughed when you heard SharePoint 200x did Records Management ;). I did. Come on… it was so inflexible, so isolated from other content areas… and performance… let’s not talk about it. No more! now it has a content dispatcher based on metadata, multi-stage retention policies, hierarchical fileplan, in-place record declaration… and even more… in place records management (doesn’t move the document just because it is declared as a record). And can declare almost anything as a record (e.g. wiki, blog…). Declaratively they also worked a lot on performance. Second thoughts, anyone?

Simpler (MS style), better, building on a success. How many ECM vendors can match this momentum (sic!)?