Stellent, Inc. announced the release of Stellent Outside In Technology version 8.0. Version 8.0 is a new release of the entire suite of Outside In products: Outside In Viewer Technology, Outside In Content Access, Outside In Search Export, Outside In HTML Export, Outside In XML Export, Outside In Image Export and Outside In Transformation Server. The new release features performance improvements, and new file format and operating system support. Additionally, it includes an architectural enhancement that consolidates graphics handling code into one module, which will reduce time-to-market for future Outside In releases. Outside In 8.0 includes a new SDK — Outside In Search Export — designed specifically for application developers in the search, indexing, computer forensics and electronic evidence discovery markets. This product provides these customers with search-specific transformation options, including a choice of output formats for converting files to XML, HTML or text. Outside In 8.0 allows for the searching and indexing of MSG, PST, OST, MIME and other email formats. The new version also provides support for Visio 2003; Project 2003; Corel Word Perfect Office Suite 12; Office 2004 for Macintosh; the Korean and Japanese word processing programs Hangul 2002, and Ichitaro 13 and 2004; and updates for Star Office Writer 6.0. The Viewer Technology SDK also includes enhanced bi-directional text display for Arabic and Hebrew. The Outside In 8.0 release adds support for four new platforms: HP/UX Itanium 64 bit and 32 bit, Linux Itanium 64 bit, and Windows AMD 64. www.stellent.com
In the middle of this month a new SEC rule will go into effect, allowing companies to voluntarily submit EDGAR filings in XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language). As the rule explains, the SEC is interested in “allowing registrants, the Commission and others to test and evaluate tagging technology.”
In a press release on the topic early last month, SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson said that “this initiative is part of the Commission’s broader effort to improve the quality of information available to investors and the marketplace. By working to enhance the Commission’s filing and disclosure process through the use of new data formats, including tagged data, the Commission can improve how content is organized and analyzed.”
What This Might Mean
The interesting thing about sending out financial reports tagged with XBRL is that you can analyze the reports automatically. Rather than manually picking through the numbers, you can use software to compute values and ratios for things such as working capital, free cash flow, asset utilization, and so on. You could then automate comparisons between companies, or could load data into spreadsheets for more detailed analysis. Widespread use of XBRL could transform the financial marketplace, bringing new transparency. An analogy might help bring the impact of all this into focus …
It used to be that, if you were buying something sold through specialized retailers … say, a really good camera or a high-end audio system … you did your product research by visiting lots of stores and reading lots of magazines. It was even more difficult to get a transparent view into the pricing of such products. All that changed with the advent of the Internet. On the Internet, buyers had access to professional reviews, discussions and evaluations by consumers who owned the products, and could find broadly available pricing information. Shopping “Bots” even automated the pricing comparisons. The result has been the emergence of a more competitive, more transparent marketplace. XBRL has the potential to bring some of the same changes to the securities market.
Further, as Amey Stone suggested in a BusinessWeek article titled
“After Sarbanes-Oxley, XBRL?” the SEC’s interest in XBRL could make such possibilities more than theoretical. She suggested that, “like many SEC voluntary programs, it’s likely to become mandatory if it’s successful.”
What’s In This for Public Companies?
All of this leaves open the question of why senior management should want to support this, short of someday finding that it turns into a requirement. Does XBRL do any good for the companies that use it?
It seems to me that the answer to that question depends on where the XBRL is being used. Here is a diagram taken from the XBRL International website. It shows that there are a number of very different ways to use XBRL:
The two kinds of applications on the right of this diagram are what the SEC is talking about. For these applications, it does appear that the benefit of XBRL is primarily for external users of financial information. But, if XBRL were also used in the kinds of applications on the left side of this picture–aiding in the preparation of internal financial reports and in the translation from internal to external reports–there could be very substantial benefits from XBRL adoption. I could also see applications to compliance and internal control initiatives.
Are any readers engaged in XBRL applications that would fall on in the left half of this diagram? Is anyone thinking about it? Does this seem like a good idea? Send an e-mail or post some comments …
This is becoming a hot topic. Perhaps there should not even be a “?” in the title, but it is still very early in the market and adoption stages. In our newest report Blogs & Wikis: Technologies for Enterprise Applications? Lauren Wood investigates (and finds some happier outcomes than the one mentioned by Leonor!). We’ll also be covering it at our April conference in San Francisco. From our intro to Lauren’s article:
“… Most of the discussion about blogs is centered around their affect on mainstream journalism, their power as a new communication channel and voice of the people, and how this will impact society. All this is interesting, but what does it have to do with implementing content or knowledge management, or enterprise collaboration applications? IT, business managers, and even analysts can be forgiven for thinking “not much”. In fact, we have been skeptical ourselves.
But, being dismissive of blogs and wikis because of how they are most often used, and talked about, today is a mistake (PCs and web browsers weren’t considered as serious enterprise tools at first either). What is important is how they could be used. They are simply tools, and many of you will be surprised to find how much they are already being utilized in business environments. For this issue, Contributor Lauren Wood provides a straightforward explanation of what they are, describes how they compare with content management systems, and reports on some telling examples of how blogs and wikis are currently being successfully used in enterprises.”
New Free Gilbane Report “Blogs and Wikis: Technologies for Enterprise Applications?” Now Available
Welz & Weisel Communications
Cambridge, MA, March 2, 2005. The Gilbane Report and Lighthouse Seminars today announced that the Gilbane Conference on Content Management, taking place April 11-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, will offer attendees an early look at how today’s growing trends of blogging and wikis should be considered for use in enterprise applications. Also announced today is the immediate availability of a new Gilbane Report titled, “Blogs & Wikis: Technologies for Enterprise Applications?”
Taking place at 8:30 a.m. PST on Wednesday, April 13, the conference is hosting a session titled “Blogs, Wikis, and RSS as Enterprise Content Applications.” The session will offer attendees an opportunity to understand and consider how to use these technologies as enterprise applications or as components in these applications. Today, companies are using these technologies for collaboration, knowledge management, and publishing applications in corporate environments. Do these companies only represent the experimental fringe, or are they early adopters of technologies that will soon be part of every IT department’s bag of tricks? This session will look at the suitability of these for corporate use and hear from both skeptics and proponents.
The conference session will be moderated by Lauren Wood, Consultant, Textuality Services and views will be presented by Ross Mayfield, CEO, Socialtext, Inc. and Peter Quintas, Senior Vice President, General Manager, SilkRoad Technology.
Blogs and wikis are flexible practices and technologies that are increasingly being used within companies and organizations to ease the creation and dissemination of information, as well as making it easier for companies to communicate effectively with customers, partners, and the public. “Blogs & Wikis: Technologies for Enterprise Applications?” discusses some of the salient features of blogs and wikis and provides examples of companies who already have implemented one or more of these systems. The report, written by Lauren Wood, is available at https://gilbane.com/artpdf/GR12.10.pdf and is available at no charge.
“IT and business managers need to take a closer look at how blog, wiki, and RSS technologies can contribute to their content and knowledge management and collaboration needs,” said Frank Gilbane, Conference Chair and Editor of the Gilbane Report. “They are bound to be surprised how these technologies are already being used by companies with great success either on their own, or in conjunction with other content technologies. In fact, they might find they are already being used in their own organizations ‘under the radar’, as many early web applications were.”
The Gilbane Conference on Content Management is unique in that the majority of its conference sessions are delivered by industry analysts and researchers to offer attendees a neutral and balanced market perspective related to content technologies and trends. The program is organized into five technology-specific areas: Content Management, Enterprise Search & Knowledge Management, Content Technology Works (case studies), Document & Records Management & Compliance, and Enterprise Information Integration.
Full event details can be found at:
About Bluebill Advisors, The Gilbane Report
Bluebill Advisors, Inc. serves the content management community with publications, conferences and consulting services. The Gilbane Report administers the Content Technology Works(TM) program disseminating best practices with partners Software AG (TECdax:SOW), Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW), Artesia Technologies, Atomz, Astoria Software, ClearStory Systems (OTCBB:INCC), Context Media, Convera (NASDAQ:CNVR), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Open Text (NASDAQ:OTEX), Trados, Vasont, and Vignette (NASDAQ:VIGN). www.gilbane.com
About Lighthouse Seminars
Lighthouse Seminars’ events cover information technologies and “content technologies” in particular. These include content management of all types, digital asset management, document management, web content management, enterprise portals, enterprise search, web and multi-channel publishing, electronic forms, authoring, content and information integration, information architecture, and e-catalogs. http://www.lighthouseseminars.com