Major Enterprise Content Management Players Now Focusing on Integration

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Buyers must still remain wary of technical glitches, cost overruns, says Real Story Group

Real Story Group

Buyers should validate and test any integration points, demand proof of concepts, and not just take the vendors' word that they can in fact integrate at the level required

Organizations now have greater choices to integrate Enterprise Content Management technology platforms with diverse environments and repositories to deliver enterprise-wide benefits, but cost and complexity remain serious barriers, according to new research evaluating ECM products from independent advisory firm Real Story Group (formerly CMS Watch).

Most larger organizations now utilize ECM systems for business-critical documents, but the profusion of documents stored in disparate silos remains a challenge. Major ECM vendors such as Autonomy, EMC|Documentum, IBM, and Open Text, have traditionally taken very proprietary routes, hoping that enterprises will consolidate all their content in one system, within a single repository.

That approach proved unrealistic, and vendors are now focusing more heavily on practical integration points with other systems. Several ECM vendors have recently released:

o Support for emerging repository integration standard, CMIS
o Connectors to Microsoft SharePoint and Office
o Improved integration with major business applications such as those from SAP and Oracle
o Support for the next generation BPM standard, BPMN 2.0

With an ever-widening array of integration tools and approaches at their disposal, organizations therefore have more choices for applying management services like search, re-use, and retention to documents stuck in remote repositories.

Nevertheless, buyers should not assume that these integration efforts will automatically bring relief. “Buyers should validate and test any integration points, demand proof of concepts, and not just take the vendors' word that they can in fact integrate at the level required,” notes Principal Analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe.

Meanwhile, the old challenges of cost and complexity remain serious hurdles. “Integration is never simple,” added Analyst Apoorv Durga. "Any buyer should understand the implications and cost of integration work before moving forward with one of these systems, especially since many ‘connectors’ are less proven, and come at extra cost."

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