Tools Cut Paths to Sharing

Stellent and IBM upgrade collaboration applications for enterprises.

Software updates from Stellent Inc. and IBM each take a slightly different way to enable corporate users to share documents and collaborate on projects.

Stellent this week will begin shipping Version 6.0 of its Stellent Content Management suite, which has new capabilities for letting users manage collaborative projects and for distributing content more broadly across an enterprise.

Separately, IBM last week rolled out Version 4.1 of its WebSphere Portal, which is a key component of the Armonk, N.Y., companys recently announced Dynamic Workplaces solution set and is focused on collaboration.

WebSphere Portal 4.1 allows users to create and reuse collaborative workplaces such as whiteboards, information libraries, group calendars, bulletin boards and discussion groups. It also features IBMs new Collaborative Components technology, which allows collaborative capabilities to be extended to any portlet that is an extension to the portal. Users of the new version will be able to publish a portlet within WebSphere Portal as a Web service, IBM officials said. Web services are then published to a Universal Description, Discovery and Integration registry for access by other users.

Security has been enhanced in this version of WebSphere Portal, thanks to the addition of encryption capabilities from IBMs Tivoli Access Manager. IBM is also providing an integrated offering of WebSphere Portal 4.1 with WebSphere Commerce 5.4.

The English language edition of WebSphere Portal 4.1 is due at the end of next month. In the second half of this year, IBM plans to deliver new Portal Industry Editions for financial services, insurance, distribution, public sector and wireless, as well as a version for small and medium-size businesses.

Meanwhile, Stellent Content Management Suite 6.0 will feature three new servers: Collaboration Server, Connection Server and Extrasite Server.

Collaboration Server lets users at their desktops design and administer collaborative projects, according to Stellent officials, in Eden Prairie, Minn. Users can identify team members, manage content security, define workflows and administer threaded discussions. It also supports Stellents slate of document management capabilities, including document check-in and revision control.

Version 6.0 offers a new WebDAV-compliant, drag-and-drop interface that enables users to add documents that can be shared with others. This feature is particularly compelling to Mark Heindselman, who said it will mean less training for users.

"This will make [content management] a part of everyday life, not an add-on feature," said Heindselman, manager of knowledge networking and information services at Fisher Controls International Inc. The Marshalltown, Iowa, company, a unit of Emerson Corp., is getting ready to upgrade to Stellent Content Management 6.0.