mercredi 11 février 2009

Technovision 2012 and me...


Since I worked in a large technology services group such as Capgemini (South to be precise), I had the opportunity to discover and understand really interesting informations and methodologies.

I recently had the opportunity (I was advised to be too precise) to read and see the methodology TechnoVision 2012.

TechnoVision few points in 2012 (source capgemini.com):

TechnoVision 2012 is Capgemini’s strategic framework to help our clients develop the most relevant innovations for their organizations. It enables us to map the latest technologies, trends and innovations to our clients’ business drivers.

With TechnoVision 2012, Capgemini responds to current changes in the economic climate and addresses the demands and expectations of our clients. We aim to help our clients answer important questions, such as:

  • How will technology evolve?
  • Where should we invest?
  • What is the most effective information technology strategy for our business?

TechnoVision is Capgemini’s way of mapping technology trends to determine which ones meet the needs of a particular business or industry. The rapidly growing number of technology innovations is confusing for many clients. TechnoVision simplifies this complexity.

To learn more, for more information and to download your copy of Technovision , follow one of these links:

Technovision 2012 and me ?

I'm sure you have a question now : What is the relationship between this methodology and I (and my blogs ) ?

Well... Actually I would like to share personnal ideas that can link some aspects of the methodology and the open source ECM world.
In this post, I'm trying to create an association between Technovision clusters and my ideas about open source ECM. I will NOT apply the methodology! I will simply illustrate the clusters with my knowledge of Alfresco and Nuxeo largely ...

Technovision clusters

You Experience

Simple definition: New technologies make highly interactive user experiences possible.

Question: Does Open Source ECM can create a richer user experience? If so, how?

Answer: The answer is obviously YES! Solutions such as Alfresco and Nuxeo illustrate this trend. User experience is illustrated by the following points:

  • Rich Internet Applications (RIAs): We see more and more solutions (community or editor) based on these solutions with Interfaces and rich clients built on technologies like Flex .
    Examples: FLEX Interface Alfresco, Nuxeo RCP

  • Role-based user portals: Implementing REST architectures, ATOM protocol , RSS, JSR 168 standard, netvibes portlets/widget or Google widget in solutions allowed easy access to contents and informations. Users can organize easily .
    Examples: Integration JSR 168 portlets Alfresco / Nuxeo, WebWidgets Nuxeo, Alfresco Webscript

  • IPodification: The community has demonstrated the integration of these solutions through new user interfaces such as mobile terminals.
    Examples: Alfresco integration with iPhone

  • Mashup applications: composite applications are not left behind in the world of ECM.
    Examples: Alfresco integration with FaceBook

Transaction To Interaction

Simple definition: Predefined business transactions become ongoing relationships with clients and partners.

Question: Does Open Source ECM cacan create an collaboration and exchange environment ?

Answer: One of the components of ECM is (of course) collaboration . It's also possible with integration of another collaborative solution like an opensource blog engine. Indeed the main goal is to make easier the interaction between the various users and document/content around one community.

  • Social collaboration tools of Web 2.0: Wikis, forums, blogs, tags, shared calendar ... All these components of the collaborative Web 2.0 are natively integrated in solutions such Alfresco or Nuxeo.
    Example: Share Alfresco, Nuxeo WebEngine.

Process On The Fly

Simple definition: A new wave of service-oriented solutions increases our ability to manage and execute processes.

Question: How are business processes managed? Does each solution offers services ? In what forms they are exposed? Can we control them?

Answer: In this answer there are several possibilities.

First each solutions embeds a workflow engine (usually based on JBPM). It allows the execution of documentary workflows depending on type of content. We can also note rules engines presence that enable easier document management .
Example: JBPM engine in Alfresco / Nuxeo, Alfresco Rules engine

Then there are services exposed by the solutions. This is referred to Web services, REST services, services exposed via a programming language such as PHP, Javascript, Java, JCR ... The vast majority of all public services are exposed. They can be "controlled" by a third party.
Example: Web Services REST for Alfresco / Nuxeo, Alfresco PHP

Thriving On Data

Simple definition: Insight into key data and events helps us navigate a rapidly changing, information-rich environment.

Question: Does ECM allows access to all information and indicators within the company? How is information managed?

Answer: If the solutions is associated with BI (Business Intelligence), the ECM performs as THE manager of unstructured information (the structured part is managed by ERP systems). By combining ERP information, we can have a global vision of all corporate information.
Example: Integrating ERP-SAP Connector integration BIRT

Sector As A Service

Simple definition: Core, commoditized business solutions delivered as customized, standard software on demand.

Question: Here I am a little dry ...

Answer: ...

Invisible Infostructure

Simple definition: Services supplied increasingly from the 'cloud' hide the details of technologies and systems.

Question: Here I am a little dry too...

Answer: ...

Open Standards / Service Orientation

Simple definition: This approach underpins and facilitates all other clusters.

Question: Are ECM services standardized or normalized? What is the interoperability between ECM solutions ?

Answer: We can notice in this part the creation of CMIS (Content Management Interoperability System) that will standardize the exchange of information between different systems.
Example: Alfresco CMIS Integration

That's all!

Now it's your turn ! Don't forget, if you want more information, to read and download Technovision 2012.

This article is could be change in a near future depending on my understanding and my findings on each point. Nevertheless, I invite you to continue this discussion via the comments!

Have a good trip !

samedi 7 février 2009

News about Open Source Solutions


Since few weeks, I was mainly focused on interviews. I dropped the news about our favorite ECM Open Source solutions !

I will fix this bug immediately :

From Alfresco Side

  • Release of a stable community: Labs 3 Final
Alfresco has officially announced the release of a "stable" community version. In other words if you start a project based on Alfresco, it is the version to use!

By reading Alfresco forums , it is truly a breakthrough. So don't hesitate to try it!

This version is available for download at: http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Download_Labs

New features ?
Well the same things in previous versions with fixes and improvement of webstudio.

To go further:

Alfresco Sites

  • Do you want surfing ?
If you are curious or Alfresco developer, Jeff Potts (interview) has published on his blog and on his SlideShare all media-training about Alfresco Surf Camp sessions .

MUST SEE if you try to understand how to surf with Alfresco.

  • How much does it cost?
When you search for an ECM solution, one of the key is, of course, the total cost of ownership of the solution (license, support ...). In other words how much it cost? To demonstrate the power of open source (and therefore Alfresco), Alfresco has made a comparison in a specific use case of its TCO against proprietary ECM solution
A number to remember: 96% reduction in cost of Alfresco ownership compared to a large proprietary vendor.

For more information you can
download the white paper: http://www.alfresco.com/products/whitepapers/
see a webinar: http://www.alfresco.com/about/events/2009/01/reduce-ecm-cost-15jan09/
see the presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/alfresco/webinar-slides-total-cost-of-ownership-for-ecm-ian-howells-alfresco-presentation

From Nuxeo Side

  • Release of version 5.2m4
The new Nuxeo has arrived! You can download it at:

Packaged Version

http://www.nuxeo.org/static/NuxeoEP/nuxeo-ep-5.2.0.m4-installer-1.jar [Generic]
http://www.nuxeo.org/static/NuxeoEP/nuxeo-ep-5.2.0.m4-setup.exe [Windows 32-bit]
http://www.nuxeo.org/static/NuxeoEP/nuxeo-ep-5.2.0.m4_64-setup.exe [Windows 64 bit]

New features ?

There are many changes and improvements in this version, therefore I advise you to take a look on the announcement made by S. Fermigier on the Nuxeo mailing list: http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.comp.cms.nuxeo.general/5579

  • Annotations
If you know the online service diigo then you can understand the interest of annotations. Otherwise what is it? We all love to make little notes, little "scribbling" on a document or put a highlighter on the neck of an idea or a relevant phrase . This useful practice in the real world is not necessarily available in the digital world. Well in its new version, Nuxeo incorporate this new feature!

Try it!

For more information:
http://blogs.nuxeo.com/sections/blogs/ian_smith/2009_02_03_annotations : Practical informations and how to use annotations
http://doc.nuxeo.org/5.2/books/nuxeo-book/html/annotation-service.html : For Developers!

  • A book to learn Nuxeo
Nuxeo has a rich literature for developer / administrator with the Nuxeo Book and other documentation for users through the users guide or evaluation guide.
However there was a "gap" in this documentation. It was the intersection between this two worlds (user / developer). This gap will soon be filled with the creation of a new book called "Learning Nuxeo EP 5".

You can now find the evolution of this book at: http://www.nuxeo.org/static/book-draft/

Note : You can post comments to help editors and writers (if you find errors or if you have an idea...)

  • Nuxeo made in USA
A small brief : Nuxeo announces the creation of Nuxeo Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts.
Our American friends will now be able to discover the different services and support delivred by Nuxeo. Good luck!
You can find the announcement at: http://www.nuxeo.com/news/ouverture-boston/

From KnowledgeTree Side

I will start slowly to give you information about this solution.

You want to know more about KnowledgeTree and how KT can be used in a context of document management. So we can find a video presentation knowledgeTree at: http://www.knowledgetree.com/blog/document-management-ramp-up

During 20 minutes, Sean Tierney demonstrates how to use KT.


From CMIS Side

The first meeting on the future CMIS specification was recently held in Redmond (USA).
If you want more informations, you can found here and there on the web the notes of the participants:

John Newton (Alfresco): http://newton.typepad.com/content/2009/01/cmis-face-to-face-at-microsoft-in-redmond.html

Florent Guillaume (Nuxeo): http://blogs.nuxeo.com/sections/blogs/florent_guillaume/2009_02_02_cmis-meeting-notes

OASIS: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=cmis

Now we're no longer out of date!

Have fun!

mercredi 4 février 2009

Interview : Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Principal and Lead Analyst CMSWatch

Hello readers!

Today I continue interviews around the ECM ecosystem. After a CEO, a Vice President, an Architect, a Consultant, a founder and bloggers... I have the great opportunity to interview an independant Analyst.

Remember : The subjects I focused on for these interviews are
1. To introduce men and women playing a role in ECM environment
2. To discover the ECM community
3. To explore ECM Solutions
4. To learn more about technologies and content management practices.

So today, I interview Alan Pelz-Sharpe Principal and lead Analyst on The ECM Suites Report at CMS Watch

Hello Alan !

First of all, many thanks for the time you are spending to share your knowledge about ECM.

First of all, let's present yourself, what's your role at CMSWatch and what are you doing day after day ?
I am a Principal Analyst and Partner at CMS Watch. I research the ECM market, and write technical evaluations of the leading tools for our customers. I also consult directly and spend a lot of my time talking to buyers and users of ECM technology. At CMS Watch we never work with or for vendors - all of our work is for buyers and users - I travel a great deal and spend a lot of time on the road either consulting, researching or speaking at conferences.

I read recently an old article from you about the relationship between Vendor/Analyst/Buyer... It's incredibly hard to be neutral in your job. Could you resume and present those relations ? How it works ? What's your tips and tools to be neutral ?
It is very difficult indeed, and frankly it is a lot easier to make money if you work with vendors. That is a sacrifice we make, and I think it is the right one to make. Being neutral, writing what we believe to be true and staying free of ethical conflict is central to our work at CMS Watch, but that does not mean that we have bad relationships with vendors. Most vendors like what we do and are very supportive of our work, one or two do not - and that's ok. Remember that for vendors, the craziness of paying an analyst firm to write a favorable/independent report is not something they like to do. The whole machine of analysts consulting to vendors, vendors paying the same analysts, and the analysts then trying to give honest and bias free advice is a broken model, but its a very profitable one!

By the way, Could you present CMSWatch ?
Certainly, at CMS Watch we cover what we call 'Content Technologies' so that is everything from Document Management to Web Content Management to Web Analytics to Digital Asset Management and Search - and all things in between. Our goal is to give detailed technical evaluation advise to buyers of technology - and we feel that we offer real value. Value in that we save people many weeks of time in selecting the right product, and value in that we help people avoid major mistakes in their projects - ECM projects are notorious for falling short of expectations. We all do this because we have all been there before, we are long term practitioners - I myself have been in the Document/Records/ECM space for 20 years.

Let's back to the past... in 2008-2006. What was the main trend of ECM Market ?
Difficult to say to be honest - on the one hand we could argue it was consolidation (IBM acquired FileNet, Open Text bought a bunch of companies, HP acquired Tower etc) - but I think really the main trend was SharePoint. Both SharePoint as a toolset in its own right, and SharePoint as a threat/opportunity/partner for the established ECM vendors.

and in 2009 ? What will the main trend ? (CMIS Adoption, Vendor Consolidation, Open Source Explosion, Web2.0 style...)
I think the big trend in 2009 will be a return to basics - document processing, the web as self service - in other words projects that realize a solid return on their investments. Clearly in a recession price is an issue and Open Source and SaaS will have their role to play but I don't see an explosion. CMIS though I think will start to become more important, we are already seeing buyers adding this requirement to RFP's.

I want to buy an ECM solution. Is there a methodology to make a choice between all ECM products ? Is it really possible to compare ECM solutions ?
Yes there is a methodology, and it is perfectly possible to compare ECM solutions - but you have to buy our report to know the secret ;-) But seriously you must compare ECM solutions - and accept and be aware that there are wide differences between them. You need the one that is the right fit for your needs, not 'the market leader' or best known name. Factors such as their industry specific expertise, regional support etc are just as important technical considerations.

Based on your experience, do you notice a difference on content management between country (Europe, US, Asia...) ? Is there a different way to manage contentdue to location ?
Oh there are huge differences - I have been blessed to live in the US for 8 years yet I am a European and spend lots of time there - in addition over the years I have travelled regularly to Asia, so this is in fact an area that I find particularly fascinating. If I were to summarize (and stereotype) in the US there is a tendency to swap technology out on a regular basis (and add more technology to the mix), in Europe investments tend to be long term, and in Asia there is a tendency to custom develop.

Do you make a difference between Open Source ECM solution and Proprietary? Why ?
Yes I do, and I do so simply because buyers and vendors alike make that distinction. At CMS Watch we are followers not market leaders - we leave the crystal ball gazing to our friends at Gartner and Forrester (who do a very good job at market predictions). So if the market makes a distinction we will follow. That being said it is a very common conversation for me to have with buyers - explaining to them the differences between different open source options, some are true community supported and developed, some are very proprietary and only open source in terms of some vague licensing terms....

Is it really important for buyers to know this difference in the open source solution ? The most important thing is not simply support ?
Yes its important - and I say this as somebody who often recommends open source options to his clients. Its important because cultures have to resonate. Some firms are just not going to buy into the open source way and are never going to be comfortable with reliance on the community - they want (and need) the support of a major software firm. Though this is difficult for many in the open source community to swallow, its nonetheless true. Conversely there are many who thrive with open source solutions. But my bigger concern these days is not in pointing out the differences, but more the similarities. There are some good true to the source open source solutions out there (particularly in WCM) but more and more 'open source' solutions are simply proprietary solutions that don't charge an up front fee for software but simply rely on maintenance fees for their livelihood, nothing wrong with that - but its not the open source ideal I first encountered circa 1999....

I had the opportunity to read The ECM Suites Report 2009 and I was really impressed by the number of technical and commercial informations (I also learn a lot about ECM...). Could you present this report ? How long does it take to create one?
To create a report like The ECM Suites Report can take anything from six months and it is an ongoing task to keep it up to date - many many interviews are conducted with users of the technology we review, as well as sitting through product demonstrations etc. It is a big job, and though it is one I have done on many occasions now, it is not something I would recommend to anyone else - it can add many years to your life! Our goal with all our reports is to ensure that you have a solid understanding of the topic as well as the individual software solutions - we try and balance it so that both the IT person and the Business person can gain value. The purpose of each product evaluation is not to give you what you can get from the vendors marketing, but to provide a critical analysis. Where it works well and where it doesn't - allowing you the buyer and user to enter into relationships with suppliers with a full understanding of their limitations.

Could it be possible to know the methodology used to realize this kind of report ? Do you make a lot of debates with vendors ? Do you test hundreds servers with product demonstrators ? Do you listen client feeedbacks ? others...
The methodology is simple but very thorough - in that we construct an evaluation matrix at the beginning so that there is consistency between each evaluation - we then usually start by undertaking a lot of desk research, reviewing everything we can get our hands on - demonstrations of the product with the vendor or one of their partners - and then (most important) we interview buyers and users of the products. Client/customer feedback is central to what we do - we are there solely for buyers and users, so in many ways they dictate what we do. For example some vendors complain that they are not included in our reports but their competitors are included. We include vendors solely based on their visibility in the market and requests from our customers. If we don't see a vendor appearing on buyer shortlists then they will not be included.

After all that works, have you your personal ECM definition? (or is ECM just a marketing term?)
ECM is a marketing term - but there is nothing wrong with that. To me ECM is about controlling information - information and process management. I (and we at CMS Watch) separate out Web Content Management as distinct from ECM. I think this is right to do - managing web content and processes is very different to managing document processes - hence we have different services and reports. But ECM as a term is sticking and it is as good a term as any I think.

In 2009, can you advise us on public meeting/ event or conference we must not miss ? Will you be present ?
I speak at a lot of conferences and there are a few that I really enjoy, I enjoy them because they offer a great opportunity for buyers and users to interact. The big one is AIIM Expo in Philadelphia this spring, AIIM Expo is the grand daddy of them all and actually a lot of fun to attend and speak at. In the UK I like Online Information later in the year (usually Dec), a different crowd but again very good. The events run by Janus Boye in Denmark in the winter is (IMHO) the best for Web Content Management.

Finally, can you recommend us weblinks or blogs about ECM or IT in general ?
I subscribe to over 500 blogs that are ECM specific - most are not that great, but have flashes of brilliance and insight. I guess if I were to mention a couple I would point people to the AIIM blogs, as well as Big Men on Content and Word of Pie. There are some other really good ones and I hope I haven't offended anyone by not mentioning them - of course the CMS Watch blog is pretty good too :-)

What would you say to conclude this interview?
Nothing, other than to say that I think in this economy ECM is not a bad place to be - what we do with ECM is essential and its need grows ever stronger.

Many thanks, Alan, for this interview. We wish you a nice and exciting journey on Open Source (or not) ECM Road!

To find out more about CMSWatch : http://cmswatch.com/

and if you want to follow Alan, read his blog : http://cmswatch.com/ECM/Trends/

PS : You can download this interview at this url : http://www.scribd.com/doc/11639533/Open-Source-ECM-Interview-ENG-Alan-PelzSharpe-CMSWatch