Open Text Enhances ECM Platform

The integrated-services vendor's Livelink ECM platform helps organizations with ERP systems, compliance and e-mail management, while supporting JSR 170.

Open Text has announced enhancements to its Livelink ECM platform, a platform that company executives say virtually completes Open Texts transition to a vendor of integrated services providing universal access to enterprise content.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company unveiled the Livelink ECM Platform Tuesday, offering a complete set of ECM (enterprise content management) services inside the platform, from low-level physical storage management through midlevel document and content management to compliance-intensive records management. The platform also supports the full spectrum of structured environments, ranging from very structured to transactional support environments.

The platform can help organizations, said Dave Glazer, chief technology officer of Open Text Corp. "Say youre trying to build applications that add rich content capabilities into and in support of transactional systems like ERP [enterprise resource planning] and claims-processing systems, while on the other end, you need to build collaborative business applications to help people work together in a way that involves content and person-to-person collaboration and is built on a common platform.

"As business processes and/or individual pieces of content need to go back and forth between being handled on one side or the other, and as your needs evolve from relatively low-level to high-level needs, you know youre covered by building them all on a single platform," Glazer said.

Open Texts transition from a records and information manager to an ECM vendor, thanks in part to the acquisition of storage-management vendor IXOS Software AG last year, is a path followed by other ECM vendors, including Documentum, Stellent Inc., Interwoven Inc. and EMC Corp.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about enterprise content management and EMCs Documentum.

With this announcement, Open Text is responding in part to those who have criticized ECM vendors for failing to fully integrate acquired technologies into a common platform, said Mike Maziarka, a director at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures of Weymouth, Mass.

"From an end-user perspective, besides removing the objection that ECM isnt a common set of services, it provides a foundation to be able to build applications that leverage information of all different content types irrespective of where they are stored," Maziarka said. "It starts to enable organizations to craft applications regardless of the information asset type, which prior to ECM required multiple systems to support."

Along with Open Texts announcement of a unified Livelink ECM platform came the introduction of e-mail-management software as part of the Livelink ECM offering. Designed to work with Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, the solutions offer classification, indexing and search; integration with records-management capabilities and the ability to address specific legal, policy and compliance requirements; archiving capabilities; and integration with storage systems, Glazer said.

"There are three pain points with e-mail today: storage, management and compliance," he said. "Weve put together an offering that allows you to start by addressing straight storage management, move up to handling compliance and managing the risk of too much liability in the e-mail, and finally to use the full power of the Livelink ECM platform to search, organize and provide access to e-mail as if it were any other type of information."

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead details here about compliance-related content management tools from Sun Microsystems.

Finally, Open Text announced that it now supports the emerging Java standard governing content integration, called JSR (Java Specification Request) 170. Simply put, JSR 170 makes it easier for people to build content applications because they dont have to worry about where the content itself actually resides.

"If you want to build an information-retention application, the standard means that you wouldnt have to migrate all of your information into one application at the low level in order to apply retention capabilities at the high level," Glazer said. "And if you wanted to build a search or web-publishing capability, you would be able to access that information whether or not it lives in the same system thats providing the business logic."

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