Friday, November 18, 2005


Thoughts on Alfresco

There are tons of open source projects already addressing web content. Figured I needed to spend some time understanding Alfresco's value proposition after having served on a panel at the OSBC conference with one of its founders...

ECM as an acroynm is highly abused and can mean lots of things to lots of folks. In my own world, several things come to mind. I think about it holistically and notions of records management, email archiving, document retention and other things come to mind and I get excited. Sadly, my bubble gets burst since none of the industry analysts are producing anything meaningful on how enterprises can take advantage of these particular problem spaces. Likewise, the vendors don't provide much guidance either. I wonder if Alfresco can get the likes of RedMonk to talk about how ECM and Compliance Oriented Architectures may converge.

Likewise, I would love to see Jason Bloomberg talk about ways to service oriented ECM systems. I am pretty sure that John is familiar with the notion of IDARS which is popular in many large financial institutions. Maybe he could task Matt Asay to create a publicly available reference implementation such that us folks in corporate America can understand Alfresco's value proposition quicker than simply providing us with a framework that we will otherwise make a royal mess out of.

One of the things I have struggled with is figuring out the best way to integrate ECM into portals. Many folks are aware that I am a big fan of Liferay enterprise portal. Hopefully, Alfresco will develop an ECm portlet and get it included in the next release of Liferay. Maybe I am hoping for too much.

While I am wishing, I would love to see Alfresco certified to run on a 384 CPU appliance offered by Azul Systems. I am pretty sure that John will want to claim the platform can outscale all competition (open or proprietary). Maybe he could hook up with Shahin of Azul?

Anyway, I still haven't quite figured out what demographic they are attempting to pursue. The folks who use Sharepoint tend to be large enterprises who cut enterprise deals for software so it wouldn't be cost effective to pursue them. Microsoft also does a great job at the low-end with their own content management services. Maybe someone could ping me back and provide enlightenment?

I am somewhat jealous if my peers who have attended various industry analyst conferences over the past year. Several of them got nice new laptop bags while mines is starting to fall apart. I have had it for about six years now as it was given to me by the folks at GHR Systems during my dot-com days. If there is an analyst (or software vendor) that happens to have an extra laptop bag they could spare, I will certainly acknowledge your generosity on my blog in a future entry.

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