Microsoft, IBM and EMC Team on ECM Interop Spec

An industry specification for content management interoperability services has been floated by three players in the enterprise content management (ECM) space.

An industry specification for content management interoperability services (CMIS) has been floated by three major players in the enterprise content management (ECM) space.

Last week, EMC, IBM and Microsoft announced that they had jointly created the "first Web services interface specification" that aims to make ECM systems more interoperable. The spec has been submitted to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) for development and publication.

The announcement marks a turning point in the evolution of ECM, which historically has been a minefield of disparate applications and proprietary technologies. The term ECM was coined in late 2000 by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), marking an evolution from the electronic document management models of the 1990s.

Today's ECM systems are integrated solutions that have grown from earlier standalone apps. Those apps addressed things like image processing, workflow and document management. Integrated ECM suites can capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver various documents used in the enterprise. However, interoperability has haunted document management since the days of hand scanning and paper filing.

The new CMIS spec is designed to provide a language-agnostic platform that will encourage application development by ISVs in the ECM space. The new spec "decouples Web services and content from the content management repository" while providing standardized Web services and Web 2.0 interfaces that simplify application development, according to the announcement.

"By working together we believe we can enable customers to maximize the use of critical business assets," said Jeff Teper, Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Office Business Platform, Office SharePoint Server Group, in a prepared statement.

The three industry titans were joined by ECM providers Alfresco Software, Open Text, Oracle and SAP. All seven companies validated the interoperability of the CMIS specification, which will be subjected to testing by OASIS.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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