Tools & Technologies

Open Text Embraces Enterprise 2.0: Post-Publication Collaboration

An alternative strategy to going with a completely new platform for post-publication collaboration is to work with your current ECM vendor. For example, assume that you have an Open Text ECM platform at your place of work. Open Text has been around for a long time (16 years), and has offered a variety of flavors of enterprise collaboration integrated with ECM over this time. At the AIIM Conference at the beginning of March 2008, Open Text announced its Enterprise 2.0 strategy and a first product that will encapsulate some of its Enterprise 2.0 ideas.

The big difference? Industrial strength ECM with content lifecycles, archiving and records retention meets and embraces the key capabilities of Enterprise 2.0, and particularly in the context of post-publication collaboration, capabilities to support the same. At the AIIM show, Open Text outlined the key capabilities that it is intending to bring to market:

Meta-Data to Underpin Experience Optimization: Deeper levels of meta-data handling will enrich the user experience. This includes richer meta-data handling for content, but with particular emphasis on richer meta-data for people and processes as well. It also includes blending the best of both top-down taxonomies with bottom-up tags.

Relationships: Graphing interactions between people, processes and content that can reveal implicit, sometimes hidden, relationships that can be used to optimize business processes.

Workgroups: Adapting technology to improve workgroup effectiveness. Additional workgroups include committees, governance boards, escalation teams, and exception management. This also includes blending collaborative escalation and exception handling within high-throughput applications such as Accounts Payable.

Classification: Improved intuition to auto-classify content, particularly drawing on past user behaviors and current context.

Email Analytics: Building on classifications and graphing interaction, introduce or extend tools that reduce our email dependency and burden, such as auto-promotion of email threads to blogs.

“Enterprise 2.0”, then, in the view of Open Text, is a series of product capabilities that can be added to its existing array of tools, which are already impressive. From the limited information that Open Text has made available, it seems to me that what they are offering to the market is as follows:

  • You can now use Enterprise 2.0 capabilities for managing projects using Open Text. Rather than embracing earlier versions of collaborative workspaces, use the new Enterprise 2.0-style ones, eg, blogs and wikis. That’s a change for users from one form of technology-enabled working together to another form.
  • There are new tools for determining or inferring interest on the behalf of a given person based on what they are doing. This is Pillar 7 at its best … finding and showing people the things that could be of relevance and interest to them based on the work they are currently doing, without requiring them to do an explicit search.
  • An organization can use the Enterprise 2.0 tools offered by pure-play Enterprise 2.0 vendors, but they can’t do it within an environment which has already mastered the archiving, compliance, and records management swamps. Those are big things to get right, so rather than embracing something from a small vendor because it is “new” and “fun” and “exciting”, and then having to figure out how all of the other (vitally important, go-to-jail-or-not) stuff works, Open Text have embraced the technical constructs of Enterprise 2.0 and made it work within an ECM platform that already has all of that difficult stuff worked out. It is, after all, just content that someone has created within the business, and depending on what it is and how it is categorized, you can have the same archiving and compliance management policies apply.

Net-net: If your organization is a current customer of Open Text, and there are people clamouring for the new Enterprise 2.0 tools, wait until May 2008 when Open Text Livelink ECM – Extended Collaboration ships, and see what Open Text has to offer. Given what you will lose in switching to a pure-play vendor for Enterprise 2.0 tools, there may be no need to switch, if indeed Open Text can deliver on its directionally-right promises.

Categories: Tools & Technologies