EMC, IBM Beef Up Content Management Foundations

Within the next week, EMC and IBM plan to roll out updated content management infrastructure. EMC's Documentum 5.3 will add federated search of diverse unstructured data and improved content integration across its applications. IBM said it has integrated the records management expertise it acquired with Tarian Software three years ago into its new DB2 Content Manager 8.3.

Jim Nasr, CEO of Armedia, an Atlanta-based content management solution provider, said Documentum has significantly bolstered its ECM infrastructure and tightened integration between its various application areas.

"The hottest thing is the integrated search, which now works across multiple repositories," Nasr said, also pointing to the new content-transfer mechanism for moving data around. "Before, it was a clunky, slow Java applet. Now Documentum's Unified Client Facilities makes such transfers easier and faster."

This wizard-based approach lets users easily take and transform desktop documents and rich media, including images, into any compatible data type, according to Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC. There's also a new Outlook client interface for the content management system, which facilitates training.

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Nasr said EMC also has made strides by integrating eRoom and the content management repository. Documentum acquired eRoom, a collaboration software company, in October 2002. About a year later, EMC bought Documentum.

With DB2 Content Manager 8.3, IBM seeks to meld the so-far discrete worlds of content and records management. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company claims the product is the first to integrate automated records management within content management. IBM executives have said their goal is to search and manage structured and unstructured data as well as integrate records management into overall content management.

Solution providers said DB2 Content Manager 8.3 lets administrators automate what gets declared a record from within the content management system.

"You can set up an item type so that when a type of file comes in, it gets stored automatically as a record," said Greg McCormick, president of Silicon Plains, a Des Moines, Iowa-based content management VAR and ISV. "Before, you had to carefully identify the record and manipulate it. The reason IBM bought Tarian was to get an easy way to declare a record in two clicks and in seconds. Otherwise, users won't do it."

Records management has been a hot spot in the world of increasing regulation and compliance mandates. IBM acquired Tarian and Documentum purchased TrueArc within days of each other in November 2002. And last year, Vignette bought Tower Technology for its records management expertise.

Although the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other regulatory requirements have sparked interest and hype around integrated records and content management, the reality so far has fallen short of the promise, VARs said.