Friday, September 21, 2007


ECM: Five Questions for John Newton of Alfresco and Brian Huff of Stellent...

John Newton and Bex Huff are two of the smartest in the world of ECM. I figured I would ask them questions in hopes of them responding...

  • Historically, Documentum and some of the other vendors in the ECM space as part of the design of their product made folks duplicate user stores. Brian Huff has chimed in stating that ECM products should focus on content and not users which is something most folks will agree with. What makes it so hard to move away from the legacy approach? Is it really that embedded?

  • If you hang out with the portal crowd, you have folks discussing common industry standards such as portlets. If you hang out in the rules engine crowd, you have standards such as rulesML and so on. If you look at pretty much any and every technology horizontal, you can find not only evidence of standards but vendors being passionate about working together to create more. Why is ECM the sole domain that doesn't have this mindset?

  • What do folks actually talk about at AIIM conferences? How come there is never any discussion regarding interoperability? I know that if you go to a Burton Group conference they will talk about interoperability for federated identity, entitlements management, portals, BPM and other technologies. If folks in the ECM world aren't talking about interoperability, are they simply encouraging their attendees to wander mindlessly ogling the latest products in a stovepipe manner?

  • The whole SOAP vs REST debate seems intriguing to me. Many in the world of ECM think that REST is a natural fit which I would agree if they think about ECM in an insular way. What does it take to get ECM vendors to NOT think about searching for a document, retrieving a document and so on and instead thinking about how ECM plays i a larger process such as I want to retrieve all documents for a claim? I suspect the conversation may migrate more towards SOAP if they had the right mindset. Curious to also understand why it has to be either/or and not both? Yes, I expect part of the issue is time but what else is an impediment?

  • You probably have heard of design patterns, Core J2EE patterns, SOA patterns, .NET patterns and so on. When will folks start talking about ECM patterns?

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