Creating an integrated Content Management system

Recently I drove the design of integrated content management systems within some enterprise companies. Following the so called “Enterprise Content Management” vision.

This post aims to mark the fact that I’m happy with what resulted and I’m looking forward to the user adoption of the integrated system. There is definitely still a long way to walk.

What have we done here?

For example, I have a customer in which multiple business solutions are running on the content management platform, using multiple products and exhanging information seamlessly between them.

I have a MailRoom system, together with a document routing service available to all employees to track incoming and outgoing correspondence. We find on the same platform the Contract Management solution and a Matter Management solution for the legal department. Documents and information pass through them easily (eg. an incoming document can be first registered in the MailRoom, pass through ad-hoc workflow in the organization until somebody decides its a document which should be attached to the virtual contract case/dossier and at some moment could be part of a case/matter opened by the legal department to review it – such as the review of a draft contract).

All of this while mantaining the corporate wide taxonomy and displaying the whole repository through the standard user interface application and even on mobile devices (future, still).

There is also a TaskSpace (oops, given away the license vendor) system, heavily used for almost 100 different processes, with which the previous business solutions integrate also.

Even SharePoint is in the picture, although the integration to it is still not done yet. But at least the boundary vision is established and each system (DMS and ShP) have their role clearly set up and defined which kind of collaboration happens where.

Speaking of collaboration, the system allows each employee use it as it pleases for managing documents which are not governed by a certain business application yet. And allows them to collaborate with others on the documents through the out of the box mechanisms of the platform.

In another customer I have a very similar thing. Plus an historical archive.

And all is beautifully orchestrated using some core CM techniques on content lifecycle management and aspect oriented design. Of course, custom code is necessary and well put to work. Of course, we leverage several repetitive solutions we’ve came to build in the past years.

It’s just good when you see them all come together.