IBM, Microsoft, and EMC Team on ECM Interop Spec

Industry specification for content management interoperability services floated by three major players

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 mine field 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 such tasks as 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 provides 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.

-- Herb Torrens

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.