Content Management Solutions Interoperability

No, this is not about CMIS, although the topic can be linked together not just through an acronym.

infoexchangeThis is a bit inspired by the recent identity crisis manifested in the “Enterprise Content Management” space, by many esteemed professionals doing their best to define either “content” in itself or more nowadays replacing “Enterprise” with “Easy” within ECM. While these kind of discussions are good and provide at least food for thought, I would like to see how we can go forward.

After a period of effervescence in the mid 2000, looking around to see what kind of solutions and software we have for solving common business problems around content…. I don’t see a significant evolution.

Sure, there’s this “cloud” thing. But we’ve been doing SaaS for a much longer time. And there’s file sharing, that’s indeed cool.

What I do believe is missing today is a roadmap to have inter-operability at the business level. Everybody is tackling the “information silo” problem and, of course, this creates new silos based on brand new shining technology.

When Cloud was born, a lot of people said we need to have cloud inter-operability. To integrate one cloud provide with another. But most of the reasons behind this are technical and even if you related them to business needs, there are always more pressing itches which need to be scratched, so the money and time will go elsewhere.

What does the “business” need is actually a way to be able to scratch quickly and later on to exchange their information with other business areas/departments/systems/you get the idea. I don’t want to sound like a prophet, but I think we’ll see new and new information silos created everyday, much faster than any consolidation can occur. And we should not be afraid of this.

These silos need to inter-operate. This is the actual need. Technically, we have CMIS – for example. But not the technical issue is the main roadblock. It’s the data, with its meaning (context, as it can be referred to). How do you exchange data?

Picture this:

What if, every major ECM system (EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet, Microsoft SharePoint, OpenText XYZ, Alfresco etc.) will come preloaded with a set of predefined, extendable “schema” to exemplify how an “invoice” should be modeled? Or a “drawing”, or a “project plan”, or a “meeting minute”?

What if these schema would be built together by a consortium of all these people implementing solutions for customers (eg: Oasis)?

Imagine what this would do for enabling value driven inter-operability.