Aligning To The Emergent Strategy

Gene Leganza

Gene Leganza [Posted by Gene Leganza]

CIOs’ business-IT alignment efforts and enterprise architects’ attempts to focus their architecture on business needs have one thing in common: they assume that good planning information is available from “the business side.” The problem is, the business folks don’t tend to plan too far ahead. And, when they can tell us about their goals and objectives, they don’t usually describe them in sufficient detail to allow us to cook up specific IT initiatives to move them forward.

 

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Can BPM Keep You From Getting Fired?

Clay Richardson

Okay, I have to admit it:  “My name is Clay and I am a political junkie.” They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I am also a policy geek and I love watching C-SPAN.By now, I’m sure you’re wondering “What the heck does this have to do with I&KM pros?”

I believe last Wednesday’s House Hearing on Madoff and the SEC should be required viewing for all I&KM Pros – particularly for those of you that want to understand how BPM can keep you from getting fired.

If you caught the hearing in its entirety on C-SPAN (I had a front-row seat on my couch, thanks to being taken down by a nasty flu-like virus last Wednesday – this will become relevant a little later), you saw the whistleblower, Harry Markopoulos, rip into the SEC, FINRA, and other industry regulators. Mr. Markopoulos raised numerous red flags to the SEC about Madoff’s Ponzi scheme over an eight year period.

Pulling no punches, Mr. Markopolos called the SEC "incompetent" and FINRA "crooks" to their faces – senior representatives from both organizations were in the audience listening to the hearing and waiting for their opportunity to respond.  Following Mr. Markopoulos’s testimony, I thought "Hey, its time to get some popcorn, the fight’s on!" Then I recalled why I was home in the first place – sick, right? 

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Autonomy Acquires Interwoven — What It Means For Search

Leslie Owens

Leslieowens

By Leslie Owens

Big news in the information management world today – Autonomy announced it will acquire Interwoven for $775 million.

Since 2005, Autonomy has acquired technology for search (Verity), archiving (ZANTAZ), and records management (Meridio). With Interwoven, Autonomy gains a technology foothold where it was previously weakest -- at the point where digital content gets created, captured, and managed. Yet knowing Autonomy, it’s likely after Interwoven’s solid customer base in several niche market segments: law firms and customer-facing media, entertainment, and commerce Web sites. All of these Interwoven customers had better prepare for a knock on the door from Autonomy reps prepared to sell them on the virtues of extracting “meaning” from their digital information (using Autonomy IDOL, of course).

Enterprise search and enterprise content management are two sides of a coin. Both are necessary to create, manage, store, find and analyze information. Yet information workers still generate an enormous amount of content in word processing applications and distribute it via email. Content created in this way is difficult to manage and control as well as difficult to find. The high price Microsoft paid for FAST Search and Transfer last year was based in part on the expected value of combining the two sides of the coin — to tightly integrate search and classification capabilities at the point where content is created and accessed. Autonomy brings more sophisticated — and much needed — archiving and records management capabilities to this picture.

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Oracle To Purchase Skywire Software – DOM And ECM Continue Pattern Of Convergence

Craig Le Clair

CraigleclairBy Craig LeClair

On June 24, 2008, Oracle announced its intent to purchase Skywire Software. This potential acquisition has three very strong positives:

Skywire enhances Oracle's ECM offering. Skywire Software has a document output management arsenal that includes Whitehill Technologies (InSystems) and Docucorp International, both of which the company acquired in 2007. Skywire's customer communication solution fills gaps and creates opportunities in Oracle's overall ECM suite. Universal Content Manager and Imaging and Process Manager can now provide complete structured solutions -- built for statements and bills for the print channel, and interactive output management -- creating direct marketing material, or collaboration and workflow for creating enrollment kits. In addition, pain points in customer communication can be addressed more broadly when Skywire's DOM solution is combined with Oracle's web content management products to provide a more complete multi-channel solution.

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SharePoint For The Enterprise

Craig Le Clair

CraigleclairBy Craig Le Clair

Forrester recently surveyed 233 IT decision-makers who have plans to implement or upgrade to at least some part of MOSS 2007 and asked: "Which of the following best describes your organization's time line for implementing or upgrading to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server?". The results? 21% will upgrade immediately and 41% will do so within 6 months.

With this level of adoption the issue of scalability comes up more and more. In one sense you have architectural concerns with any solution that scales horizontally, uses banks of load-balanced Web servers, application servers, and clusters of SQL servers on the back end. Add high availability and you quickly get a complex environment. To Microsoft's credit there is quite a bit available on performance guidelines. But looking through these, and coping with notions of site collections, lists, file arrangements, performance of folder hierarchies versus flat files, and automatic versus manual partitioning, the bottom line seems to be that even on the new 64 bit architecture with 4 screaming Intel processors, and SQL 5 -- the upper limit of the content repository is 500GB.

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AIIM Show: Still Serving Core Imaging Needs

Craig Le Clair

Craigleclair_2By Craig Le Clair

I went to the AIIM conference in Boston last week. My first AIIM show was in 1993 — where the ratio of demos to production systems was about a billion to one. For the historians out there, the 1993 show in Chicago had over 33,000 attendees. New optical disk jukeboxes and digital scanners were the rage. So it was good to see how far the industry has come in providing mature and productive solutions. Yet  — AIIM is still something of a chaotic, disorganized, vendor-feeding frenzy that seems to somehow work for most attendees.

It's probably the Boston convention center and not AIIMs fault, but is it really so hard to have something available to eat before 11AM in the morning? I gave a talk on ECM Strategy Tuesday morning and wrongly assumed some protein would be available. I was not looking for something as complicated as an egg sandwich, just perhaps a donut. The Dunkin Donut cart seemed to have more interest then any booth — an impossible line and very poor inventory.

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Oracle To Purchase Captovation

Craig Le Clair

Craigleclair_3By Craig Le Clair

On January 16, 2008, Oracle announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Captovation, a provider of document capture solutions. With Captovation, Oracle extends its solution for ECM for transactional content by adding a strong capture solution. The acquisition is expected to close by February 2008. Captovation already has joint customers with Oracle/Stellent and had actually partnered with Optica even prior to Stellent's acquisition. In this sense the acquisition is not surprising. "Oracle Capture" will be the new product brand.

For Oracle customers, it makes a more complete ECM solution, one that can address paper capture for invoice processing for ERP applications or more convincingly incorporate unstructured content for Siebel. For Captovation customers it means increased R&D, investment protection, and access to Oracle's global support and services.

A win for both companies and the customers.

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DOM Market Heats Up: EMC And HP Make Strong Moves - But For Different Reasons

Craig Le Clair

Craigleclair_4By Craig Le Clair

HP’s plans to acquire Exstream combined with EMC’s intent to buy Document Sciences demonstrates that output management for transactional content is becoming critical to many large organizations. But how do you rationalize these two acquisitions? First let’s look at EMC. They add to their consistently improving transactional content assets. Whether it involves invoice processing, account notices and policies for insurance, or new account opening, DOM gives EMC more complete support of the document lifecycle. More to the point, Forrester’s predicted growth in Interactive DOM is very important for the major ECM players. Interactive DOM makes more use of ECM then Structured applications that are essentially batch processes with little human involvement. Interactive applications need human-centric business process management to help author, store, version, and manage content dynamically. EMC can now link their broad ECM platform to Document Sciences for this emerging area.

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Hewlett Packard To Buy Exstream Software: DOM Is Getting Its Due

Craig Le Clair

Craigleclair_5By Craig Le Clair

In October of last year, I published "Give DOM its Due" and argued that for years, document output management (DOM) had been pegged as a back-office operation that produces customer statements and bills. And that now, customer experience demands will thrust DOM into a major software category supporting the growing and diverse content that enterprises must assemble and deliver to customers. A few weeks ago EMC purchased Document Sciences. And now on January 22, HP has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Exstream Software, a privately-held provider of document creation and publishing software for print, mail and online channels. HP expects to close on this transaction in the second quarter of HP's 2008 fiscal year.

Exstream continues to be a leading choice for the high-volume segment of the DOM structured market and will greatly strengthen HPs document automation capability. Initially targeting service providers — a tough crowd — Exstream followed an object-oriented development model to allow re-use of document components, which was quickly adopted by service providers to provide similar applications to many customers. Today's focus is heavily in the interactive and on-demand DOM segments with strong direct sales. While revenue numbers were not available, Exstream has 300plus employees.

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