“Content management” has emerged as a term now found in most IT strategies, ensuring its place in RFPs, vendor literature, and analyst forecasts. This circular chain reaction guarantees its continued popularity for at least a couple of years. We think it has even longer legs. Its meaning may be vague and it may be overused, but unlike most buzz-terms we think it will remain useful even though its meaning, or use, will doubtless change. In spite of its rising popularity, there is no question we hear as often as “What is content management?” People may not know what it means, but they sure know that it is mainstream.
The interest in content management arose as businesses moved from simple low-volume to complex high-volume web publishing, whether ecatalogs or portals. Today, content management looks more like the messy result of web publishing meets enterprise e-business. The integration, scale, and velocity requirements of e-commerce mean content management has to keep up with transaction management. It also means there are a lot more ways you have to process and reuse different types of content. All this means more products to do all the “managing”.
This month we look at various views of content management and describe its evolution, its use, and why we think it is a useful term that has staying power. Our objective is to help you understand enough to know how vendors and consultants are using the term, and to help you think about which technologies are relevant to your business needs. In future issues we’ll explore individual segments of the content management market.
What is Content Management?
“Content management” as used in IT circles is a relatively recent term that has emerged coincident with the web. It is used in many ways to refer to many different things. “Content management” is used to describe everything from Microsoft’s Front Page to Interwoven‘s TeamSite to Akamai’s EdgeAdvantage, and those are just a small sampling of products where, at first glance, it seems like an accurate moniker. Content management is a term that causes intelligent users and vendors to scratch their heads. As we mention in the introduction, “What is Content Management?” is easily the question we are asked more than any other (even more often than we are asked about XML), and most of the time it is vendors asking. Users usually have a concept of content management – they know what they mean and what they want, and mostly don’t care what vendors and consultants think it means as long as they can get their problem solved. Vendors have a much bigger stake. They need to know that if they market a content management solution, it will be recognized as such by a critical mass of potential customers. Consultants… well, we all know about consultants.
Content management is not only “in”; it is expected to be big. Analysts forecast a large market. The META Group predicts that the content management market will grow from $800 million in 1999 to $10 billion in 2004. Gartner believes that “leading-edge enterprises in all industries” will have formal content management strategies in place by 2003. Forrester sees big spending starting this year. We’ll talk more about how the analysts define this market, i.e., what they are measuring, below.
Everyone needs to manage content, but the similarity ends there. Our goal in this issue is simple to state: to help you understand the different ways “content management” is being used today so you can be comfortable discussing your needs with vendors and consultants, formulate your own opinion with confidence, and synchronize your expectations of content management solutions with your business needs.
“Content” & “Management”
Dictionaries don’t provide any insight to our question. The definitions are broad enough to cover pretty much any kind of processing of any kind of information. We can, and will, limit our discussion to digital content, but that doesn’t narrow down the field very much. That’s OK. In fact we think a broad interpretation of content fills a horrendous gap in IT vocabulary and will significantly simplify, as well as enhance, discourse.
Years ago, we used “information management” to try to transcend the bifurcation of applications into data management applications (which IT groups cared about) and document management applications (not usually deemed worthy of attention by real IT professionals). While “information” was inclusive enough, the applications were so un-integrated that “information management” had nothing concrete to refer to, was not very useful in understanding the landscape, and not surprisingly, never caught on. Today’s web applications require the integration of structured data and unstructured text, but also audio, streaming video, executable code, transaction-related information, etc. We need a term to describe what these data types have in common, and “content” seems to work just fine.
“Management” is an even fuzzier term – albeit one we have dealt with before. When we were trying to help companies makes sense of the document management market a few years ago there was a similar situation, i.e., where doing anything to a document, except perhaps reading it, was considered managing it by someone. As a result there was only a very slight chance that any more than a half dozen of the hundreds of “document management” products on the market would actually be appropriate for your specific application. With document management we classified true management systems as only those with check-in/check-out functionality. This was perhaps arbitrary, but very helpful in terms of helping companies avoid, for example, wasting time looking at a search engine product when they really needed a collaborative authoring tool.
Certainly check-in/check-out capability remains critical for many content management applications, however, the world is a little more complicated now. First, there are even more things to do to content that might be, and are, considered “managing” (authoring, acquiring, publishing, dynamic page generation, integrating, assembling, versioning, configuring, linking, delivering, caching, analyzing, sharing, searching, categorizing, transforming, re-using, syndicating, archiving, etc.). Second, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of repositories required for many applications due to the increase in content types and to enterprise integration requirements.
Analyzing definitions only gets us part way towards making sense of content management. What we really need to understand is how the term is actually used.
How”Content Management” has Evolved
It would be nice to think that the industry realized we needed a useable term that didn’t discriminate between content types and chose “content” to fill the gap we described above. But of course that isn’t what happened. Instead there continues to be a slow evolution of what we understand content management to be.
Web content management
We don’t know of anyone who can be credited with the first use of “content management”, but there is little doubt that it was Vignette who was the most responsible for the term becoming widely associated with web content management. This in spite of the fact that there were far more people “managing web content” using Microsoft and Lotus technology at a time when you could still count Vignette’s customers on one hand. Content management is still associated with web publishing more than any other application. It is largely because web publishing is so different from other types of publishing that content management has come to encompass such a wide variety of functions.
Now that businesses are starting to integrate traditional commerce and publishing processes with e-commerce and web publishing, we will see “web content management” used to refer to a much broader set of applications.
Document, knowledge & content management
The explosion of web pages should have been a gold mine for document management vendors as businesses became overwhelmed. There they were with most of the functionality already in place and installed customer bases. Some of them even had early support for link management, page caching, and packages of templates and subscription services for what have come to be known as corporate portals. Unfortunately, few customers cared. Documents, and technology for working with them, were considered irrelevant, or uninteresting at best, by web developers. There remains however, a lot of commonality in the requirements of the two types of systems. And there are a lot of features in document management systems that should be more prevalent in content management offerings. Some document management vendors have successfully morphed into content management vendors, and some content management vendors can now do more than assemble web pages.
Fortunately, the assault on logic and language that was knowledge management has run out of steam. We’ll still see the term used by consultants and some technology vendors (including Microsoft and Lotus), but we won’t have listen to specious marketing pitches claiming that managing knowledge will replace managing data, documents, content, etc.
Content management has overpowered both document and knowledge management as a mainstream concept.
Many of the capabilities that are missing in web content management systems are available in digital asset management systems (Bulldog, Artesia, Informix, etc.). Like many document management systems have done, digital asset management systems focus more on general-purpose management than on assembly and delivery. This is why partnerships like the one between Vignette and Artesia make sense.
As content management systems continue to add capabilities beyond those targeted at web publishing there is likely to be increased overlap. It is also possible that “digital assets” could emerge to rival “content” as the preferred term for digital information, either in general, or for certain applications. We’ll just have to wait and see which way our fickleness takes us. “Digital assets” doesn’t have the appeal “content” has, but it does have the credibility and is a logical alternative.
Code & content
When Java first burst on the scene there was a lot of talk about the integration of content and code. There were those who thought the distinction between content and code would disappear. There were even products and proposed content delivery standards promoting approaches that assumed content and code were inseparable. But is it better to keep content and code separate so that content can be processed by multiple applications? Or, to incorporate code into content so that it is self-contained and “self-processable” in appropriate environments? There is a real philosophical issue here that is more complex than our questions may imply.
There is a difference between integrating content and code and integrating the management of content and code. While the former is often questionable, the latter is likely a very worthwhile endeavor. Source code control systems and document management systems have historically had very close feature sets. Given the necessary velocity required for managing the integrated content and code of today’s web applications, using the same technology for managing both can ease complexity. Rational’s incorporation of content management technology in its products is recognition of this.
Clearly “content” is, in fact, used to cover a broad range of digital information. Perhaps transaction data (without unstructured supporting content) and other “pure” structured data tables are the only types of information that are excluded from most people’s concept of content management. However, even this pure data can end up in a content management repository when integrated with other content. E-commerce continues to be the single most powerful cause of what kinds of content need to be managed as well as what kinds of systems content management applications need to integrate with.
Because of e-commerce, personalization, syndication, digital rights management, catalog searching, product configuration, and other applications are increasingly being tied into content management. Any one of these could be a stand-alone application or a built-in function of a content management system. Also because of e-commerce, content management is being integrated with ERP, data analysis, and other back-end enterprise and business partner systems.
The first web sites had content without transactions (“brochureware”), and the second wave of web sites focused on adding commerce transactions. B2C and B2B strategists now clearly recognize that differentiation and value comes from content that surrounds and supports transactions.
Analyst views are always to be taken with a grain of salt, as they are typically the result of an individual analyst or two that is then influenced by the firm’s marketing needs. Sometimes this has to do with who the firm’s clients are, and sometimes with internal organizational issues, e.g., which group “owns” the topic. Nonetheless, these are smart people trying to makes sense of things; they are influential; and they have reasonable things to say. Comparing multiple analyst views is the best way to get a quick fix on the characteristics of a particular market. Not all the analyst firms have a focus on content management, but they all have an opinion. We have picked just a few we think are worth mentioning. (There are others we would have included given time and space.).
Gartner identifies four categories of content management solutions depending on what type of content they are designed to manage:
- Enterprise internal content. This would include corporate portal, document management, media asset management, retrieval, software configuration management, and product data management products.
- Web site content. Including web publishing and document management products.
- E-business transactional content. Including mainly commerce server products.
- Shared content. Including business partner and supply chain collaborative content that isn’t transactional.
Gartner also talks about something they call the “virtual repository” which integrates, logically or physically, four different types of existing content repositories. These are: traditional document management, web content management, digital asset management, and document component (e.g.,SGML/XML) management. This implies a view of content management that incorporates all of the content types and features associated with these four repository solutions. They don’t believe such a solution exists yet and suggest, as other analysts do, that multiple solutions are necessary.
Gartner recommends basing your content management strategy around a “content management life cycle”. By analyzing the flow of content, together with its use, you can determine what kinds of content management repositories make sense and how they should be integrated.
Forrester was one of the first of the major market research firms to target the Internet and web applications, particularly for e-commerce. Their concept of “transactive content” has been influential in helping drive home the critical role of content in commerce. There is now quite a collection of terms used by other analysts that are similar (processable content, dynamic content, active content, actionable content, transactional content, etc.).
They have not had a specific focus on content management. But that is not because they don’t see it as important. They consider content management to be a critical component of an e-business infrastructure.
Giga also considers the content management market as consisting of four categories of solutions:
- Software configuration management (e.g. MKS)
- Document management (e.g. Documentum)
- Web publishing (e.g. EBT), and
- E-commerce servers (e.g. Blue Martini).
They make the point that none of these types of systems will meet everyone’s content management requirements and so will often need to be combined.
They also argue that e-commerce requirements will ensure that content management and e-commerce servers become increasingly integrated. This integration will include personalization and analysis features.
Meta defines content management as “… a complex blend of functionality, including the acquisition, management, assembly, review and approval, effective publishing, retention and security of information bound for any of an organization’s … Internet, intranet, or extranet venues.” (From “The Content Supply Chain”, David Yockelson, The Meta Group.) Notice that even though they limit their definition to Internet channels they are still able to come up with a $10 billion dollar market by 2004.
CAP Ventures’ current view is that content management is an “umbrella” that includes numerous technologies including, but not limited to:
- “Web Publishing: Tools used to create, manage and deliver content to the web, including digital asset management systems.
- Collaboration: Tools used to assist content-driven creation and communication processes, including document management systems.
- Portals: Tools that provide a window to a wide range of information, from company documents and data to external resources and publications.
- Content Enrichment: Tools that help refine the selection of content for delivery or viewing, including taxonomy, categorization, personalization engines, and analytical tools, etc.
- Content Distribution: Tools involved in managing content outside the direct control of the dynamic content technology system, including syndication servers and digital rights management systems.”
What the analysts have in common
They all have an inclusive view of content. They all include virtually all unstructured content types and, (we think) would include structured data that is integrated with the unstructured content. They also all have some concept of transactional content that is either associated with a financial transaction or a business process although they may differ on the definition and where or how this type of content is managed. In fact, analysts within the same firm may have slightly different perspectives depending on whether they are covering B2C or B2B markets.
They all see content as increasingly important for commerce applications. One result is that analysts are all bullish on the market for content management software even though they may define it differently and may not have actually measured it yet.
In general, the common threads are more important than the differences. One important difference however, is that some include content management solutions for non-internet channels and some don’t.
Notes on Market size
Many of the analysts we mention are also market researchers who measure the sizes of various markets. Obviously, since the firms have different views on what content management is, they will measure it differently. It is not our goal to analyze their individual methodologies. However, there are three basic approaches these firms use and if you are interested in the size of the market you need to interpret their results based on both their definitions and on their methodologies. The three approaches, all with their advantages and disadvantages, are:
We have learned over the years that it is not always useful to force-fit products and applications into neat categories. The process of trying to fit products into categories is always educational and helps reduce confusion, but product marketing is not a slave to logic or science so most organizational efforts are doomed from the start. And let’s face it; you know your business problems are not exactly like everyone else’s, even those of your direct competitors. We need to deal with the fuzzy boundaries of our own business needs along with the fuzzy boundaries of analyst market, and vendor product, descriptions.
Another reason not to get too hung-up on precise market categories, especially if you are a vendor, is that the sometimes-subtle differences category concepts are based on don’t always translate well. A third of our readers are non-native English speakers and we know, for example, that both “content management” and (especially) “knowledge management” have totally bewildered many of them. And it is not because they don’t understand English.
We think the broad view of most of the analyst firms is appropriate, at least for now. We are sure that a number of subdivisions of the content management market will emerge as businesses re-organize their processes and workflows to reflect the incorporation of e-business requirements. Vendors will also be choosing different business processes to target and will therefore be adding different types of features. The landscape will look very different soon, and we’ll be watching. In the meantime, any of the various approaches proposed by the analysts we’ve mentioned can provide some help.
Today, there is not a single, well-defined content management application that has the usual 3-6 major vendors associated with it. Rather there are dozens of applications that have something to do with managing content that often have considerable overlap in functionality. Many solutions will involve multiple products that can reasonably be described as providing content management capability. For example, you might have a content management system that focuses on collaborative authoring, feeding into a content management system that integrates authored descriptions with product data, that in turn feeds into a content management system that assembles and personalizes content for the web. So far we have three “content management” systems that all use metadata and have some level of version control. It would be easy to expand this into a dizzying scenario involving a half dozen or more content management solutions.
You can expect vendors to jump into the fray as Vignette has just done with their Extended Content Management (XCM) initiative. They want to take control of the confusion over “content management” and use it. While their view is obviously going to have their products at the center, understanding their framework could be useful. And it may be that an analyst or two adopts it.
Last year (volume 7, number 6) we described a “spectrum” of repository applications with the more “commerce-oriented” (e.g., e-catalogs) at one end and “content-oriented” (e.g., business intelligence portal) at the other. We described characteristics differentiating applications based on where they appeared in the spectrum. You need to decide which specific challenge(s) you want to address. You may just have a notion you want to “manage content”, but you need to be much more specific. Target publishing an e-catalog, or managing policy manuals, or translating marketing literature, or assembling personalized portal web pages, or archiving transactive content, or building a foundation for syndicating, and so on.
Content management is sometimes considered a platform for other business needs such as personalization, syndication, portals, etc. Interwoven, for example, positions their solution this way. Some e-commerce platform vendors, such as Blue Martini, on the other hand, position content management as a component of their platform. Other vendors are targeting specific vertical applications. A key question for you is how tied your needs are to a specific application versus multi-application infrastructure support. Increasingly, content management is seen as a general enterprise-wide functional requirement with layered specific content management applications integrated as needed.
The content management market will continue to be driven by e-commerce, with non-commerce applications benefiting from the result of all the development. For example, corporate portal applications will get more and better personalization functionality, and sooner, because of its importance to e-commerce efforts.
The content management market will be dynamic for some time. While there are solutions priced from more or less free to hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are still large solution/price point gaps, especially in the mid-range. Expect to see a large number of companies entering the market in the next year with lower prices and enhanced functionality. As in other software markets, first generation high-end solutions will remain in demand for complex large-scale applications, but as the market matures, feature-rich, lower cost, 80% packaged solutions will start to take big chunks of market share. Many of the tools we have for single source content management, publishing, organization, internationalization, retrieval, and navigation will seem primitive when compared with some of the next generation solutions.
Everypath Forms Alliance with Interwoven
Everypath has formed an alliance with Interwoven, Inc. Everypath’s wireless platform, based on its “Intelligent Rendering” process, represents a key, enabling component of the new wireless framework announced today by Interwoven. In support of Interwoven’s Framework for the Wireless Web, Everypath will provide the Mobile Application Server technology that will allow joint customers to leverage existing content for optimized use on various devices, such as smart phones, PDAs, and interactive TV. Interwoven’s Framework for the Wireless Web consists of partner solutions and Interwoven TeamSite software as the common XML-based platform to extend an enterprise’s reach to new channels through any device. The two companies’ offerings will help enterprises rapidly increase and leverage their touch-points by making data, information, and applications available to customers, employees, and partners on multiple devices. www.interwoven.com, www.everypath.com
Sequoia Signs Treev as OEM
Sequoia Software Corporation announced it has signed a three-year OEM agreement with TREEV, Inc. TREEV is licensing Sequoia’s XPS to integrate with its next-generation content and document management solutions, creating powerful, portal-based applications for its financial services, telecommunications, and manufacturing vertical market applications. By integrating XPS with its content and document management solutions, TREEV will reduce the time required to bring its portal-enabled, next-generation products to market. In addition, the Sequoia relationship will allow TREEV to remain focused on its core business–providing advanced e-business content and document management solutions. www.treev.com, www.sequoiasoftware.com
Information Architects Announces Release of XML-Based Visual Platform
Information Architects announced the first public display of its next generation content creation and exchange management platform. IARC will release an XML-based Visual Platform (XVP) that provides a total environment to quickly and easily, create, manage and merge content without coding and other related development resources normally associated with content exchange technology. The release is an enhancement to IARC’s patented SmartCode content delivery framework. Information Architects’ SmartCode XVP is a graphical environment that was designed from the ground up to alleviate the tremendous pressures that every business experiences to quickly add, transform and rearrange content on their sites. With little or no technical resource, SmartCode now enables the creation of a new “acquisition agent” and in minutes defines a new view, relationship or stylistic expression for its site. The SmartCode Framework represents a web exchange as a graphical “matrix,” enabling customers to view inter-relationships and attributes of the content, or metadata. It makes it unnecessary to write code in order to create new composite views of that content, which may reside on many different servers, mainframes or cache engines. www.ia.com
IXOS-DocuLink 3.0 Released
IXOS SOFTWARE AG, announced a new release of its IXOS-DocuLink solution. IXOS-DocuLink organizes documents in structured folders and provides users with uniform access to both SAP data and non-R/3-related documents. The new release, IXOS-DocuLink 3.0, is integrated with mySAP.com Workplace. IXOS-DocuLink 3.0 fully supports the functionality of the new enjoySAP and mySAP.com Workplace user interfaces, and provides users with an intuitive and user-friendly environment. IXOS-DocuLink complements the process-oriented mySAP.com search and navigation functions with its document-oriented view. Companies today need quick and easy access to specific documents that are linked to business processes – such as inquiries, offers, orders and delivery notes. IXOS-DocuLink enables such results with its document-based approach so often required to access company-internal information. With IXOS-DocuLink, group-specific document views, such as customer files, can be easily configured and customized without additional programming. DocuLink does not require R/3-specific knowledge to access information. Users with little or no SAP knowledge can easily access and use all of the enterprise-wide information and/or documents. With IXOS-DocuLink, employees can link web-based mySAP.com Workplace R/3 data to non-SAP-related data to integrate them in a uniform view. In addition IXOS-DocuLink supports mySAP.com Workplace functionalities such as “drag and relate.” So, with IXOS-DocuLink, users can simply “drag and relate” to link an R/3 customer number to a process — and then quickly view all the documents for that specific customer number. IXOS-DocuLink 3.0 is immediately available to customers worldwide. IXOS-DocuLink 2.0 customers will receive a free upgrade to the new IXOS-DocuLink 3.0 version. www.ixos.de
Interwoven & Bluestone Collaborate on B2B Content Syndication
Interwoven, Inc. and Bluestone Software, Inc. announced that they are collaborating to create next-generation content syndication services. Interwoven has agreed to license certain components of Bluestone’s J2EE-based platform as the foundation for extensions to Interwoven’s syndication offering. Together, Interwoven and Bluestone will develop these extensions to enable high volume content exchange. Interwoven’s content syndication solutions intend to address many key challenges faced by e-business application providers; for example, the ability to dynamically access and syndicate assets directly from the content repositories to multiple application delivery systems. These syndication solutions will build upon Interwoven’s open, standards-based content management and replication technologies, and will leverage the subscription database and scheduling services offered by Bluestone’s J2EE-based platform. In addition, Interwoven’s syndication extensions will enjoy Bluestone’s implementation of a J2EE-based platform including Enterprise JavaBeans 1.1, which Bluestone has enhanced with global-class services. These services include XML persistence mapping, Dynamic XSL Stylesheets, load balancing, application management, security, as well as Universal Listener Framework (ULF) scheduling services. Performance-oriented facilities unique to Bluestone, such as Customer Facing Fault Tolerance, Internet Quality of Service (IQS), and Hot Versioning are also included as part of the license agreement. www.interwoven.com, www.bluestone.com
As we suggested in our analysis last month, you’ll be seeing syndication functionality in a lot more offerings soon. Two interesting questions are: 1) How much syndication functionality will come from syndication products, and how much will be built-in to content, commerce, or application servers? and 2) How much of an overlap will there be between syndication code and content?
Open Market to Support IBM WebSphere Application Server & DB2
Open Market, Inc. announced that Open Market’s content management products will offer native support for IBM WebSphere Application Server, a key part of IBM’s WebSphere software platform, and IBM’s DB2 Universal Database by the end of this year. Open Market’s Content Server and associated applications, Content Centre, Personalization Centre, Catalog Centre, and Marketing Studio, already offer native support for a variety of J2EE compliant application servers. Open Market also has become a participant in IBM’s Solution Investment Initiative. Open Market’s relationship with IBM focuses on the financial, new media and manufacturing markets. IBM and Open Market are already working together to provide solutions for a variety of businesses. Open Market’s Content Server and related applications are built using the J2EE framework, leveraging standardized modular, reusable components along with J2EE services such as database connectivity, and load balancing. Open Market’s suite is based on Java and XML. www.openmarket.com
WebSphere is certainly making progress with content management suppliers. Has it caught up to BEA?
Glides Announces UniSite 2000 for Multilingual Content Management
Glides Inc. announced the availability of UniSite 2000, a database-driven platform for creating and managing multilingual Web sites. UniSite 2000 helps corporations manage their multilingual websites more efficiently, create a site optimized for doing business and communicating with customers and partners in international markets, and to organize content by country, region, or group. Based on a platform developed and case-tested with partners, UniSite 2000 offers remote content administration, universal character recognition that accommodates double-byte character sets such as Japanese, bi-directional text for Hebrew and Arabic, and integration with XML-enabled applications. A key feature of UniSite 2000 is the reuse of existing sites. With UniSite’s integrated Assistant, existing content is tagged and ready for globalization in minutes. And because UniSite can be delivered as an outsourced ASP solution, companies can avoid the hardware costs associated with traditional multilingual solutions. Additionally, UniSite 2000 has an open, flexible interface that allows a company to retain its current live Web site hosting situation and development tools including DreamWeaver, HomeSite, and FrontPage. www.glides.com
Multi-lingual content management is going to be big.
Bertelsmann & iSyndicate Form Joint Venture
Bertelsmann and iSyndicate have announced the agreement of a European joint venture that will provide content syndication services and technology to media properties throughout Europe. The joint venture will combine Bertelsmann’s global media network with iSyndicate’s syndication expertise and relationships with more than 1100 independent content providers to deliver syndicated media to Web sites of all sizes and wireless devices. Each partner will hold a 50 percent stake in the joint venture enterprise operating as “iSyndicate Europe”. The company’s headquarters will be located in Hamburg, Germany with iSyndicate’s existing London office serving as the first affiliate office. Bertelsmann has the right to appoint the CEO of iSyndicate Europe. Under the terms of the agreement, Bertelsmann will acquire a four percent stake in US-based parent company iSyndicate Inc. Bertelsmann’s Chief Creative Officer Rolf Schmidt-Holtz will also join iSyndicate’s board. iSyndicate’s other strategic partnerships include NBC, Microsoft, NewsCorp, InfoSpace and Vignette. iSyndicate Europe will enable web sites of all sizes, corporate intranets and digital devices to enrich their content offerings with services and media from the widely recognizable publishing brands. iSyndicate Europe will syndicate a wide range of independent content providers in addition to Bertelsmann media properties, enabling content providers to generate increased revenue and brand awareness. www.isyndicate.com, www.bertelsmann.de
SoftQuad Partners with ec-Content
SoftQuad Software, Ltd. announced a strategic technology partnership with ec-Content. The partnership will combine SoftQuad MarketAgility, a supply side e-catalog solution, with ec-Content’s ability to create enhanced catalog content, allowing suppliers to deliver customer-specific catalogs to e-markets quickly and efficiently. Suppliers who want to effectively participate in e-marketplaces must overcome the challenges involved in creating, updating and delivering content rich catalogs with buyer-specific pricing information to multiple e-marketplaces. This requires collecting product and pricing information from enterprise systems, adding up-to-date product descriptions and graphics from manufacturers, and delivering each e-catalog in the XML format required by each e-marketplace. The combination of MarketAgility and ec-Content will provide suppliers with an integrated solution to rapidly create buyer-specific catalogs, normalize the data for consistency, enrich it with manufacturer information, and distribute it to e-markets. For suppliers, this enables them to bring their customized e-catalogs online quickly. For e-marketplace users, this ensures a rich buying experience by enabling them to quickly and efficiently find the products they need with accurate product and pricing information. ec-Content maintains a base of product information on over five million individual items from thousands of manufacturers, and provides management and maintenance services to expand and update this information for marketplaces and suppliers. ec-Content enhances suppliers’ catalog content by overlaying it with manufacturers’ comprehensive and current product information. ec-Content’s high quality e-catalog libraries are then published in the required format to each e-marketplace. www.ec-content.com, www.softquad.com
If ec-Content is really going to build an XML infrastructure under all their content that will be a welcome and impressive feat. Does it weaken their business model? (We don’t mean to imply that it does, but it is an interesting question).
NCompass Launches Resolution Content Connector for Microsoft Commerce Server 2000
NCompass Labs announced the release of the beta version of the Resolution Content Connector for Microsoft Commerce Server 2000. This product enables enterprises to use the full functionality of NCompass Resolution to build highly dynamic, content-driven e-commerce Web sites using Microsoft Commerce Server 2000. Resolutions’ tight integration with a wide spectrum of Microsoft technologies, including Commerce Server 2000, provides rapid deployment, low cost of ownership, and ease of use. NCompass Resolution delivers simple Web-based authoring, template-based publishing, and support for all major languages and accessibility for a diverse set of wired and wireless browsing devices. With the Content Connector, Resolution delivers integration with the Commerce Server Business Desk management application. Businesses that purchase Resolution with the Content Connector will have a complete enterprise content-management solution, with full access to Resolution’s rich feature set including the COM API, template-based authoring, approval workflow, rich Web content authoring, template switching for wired and wireless browsing devices, and multi-language support. The Commerce Server 2000 beta is at www.microsoft.com/commerceserver, and the Resolution Content Connector for Commerce Server 2000 beta version is at www.ncompasslabs.com/Products/Microsoft+Integration
Intershop Adds Autonomy Cartridge
Intershop and Autonomy Corporation plc announced the availability of the Autonomy cartridge for Intershop enfinity. The Autonomy cartridge for Intershop enfinity adds functionality to help businesses create a more compelling and convenient online shopping experience with personalized information that is tailored to the individual needs of the user. By analyzing and deriving the meaning from any piece of text, Autonomy’s pattern recognition technology can automatically categorize and link similar information (for example product descriptions) to deliver highly customized shopping information to the customer. Key features of the Autonomy cartridge for Intershop enfinity include the ability to recommend a range of products and services based on the automatic profiling of users’ preferences, the automatic suggestion of recommended alternatives and a natural language search facility. The Autonomy cartridge for Intershop enfinity for Windows NT is available worldwide through Autonomy. www.automony.com, www.intershop.com
Autonomy seems to be everywhere. Are they going to be the Verity of the decade? Less snidely, it is the kind of technology that seems amenable to this kind of a model.
Lionbridge & Documentum To Provide Multilingual Content Management
Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. and Documentum, Inc. announced that Lionbridge has joined the Documentum ASPire Program to deliver workflow-based multilingual content management solutions for ASPs. Within the scope of this partnership, Lionbridge will develop an add-on module to the Documentum 4i eBusiness Edition content management platform to address the management of global content. This add-on component will provide Documentum users and other Lionbridge customers with the technology framework, templates, and applications to create an automated globalization workflow system. Both companies plan to engage in joint sales and marketing activities to promote and deploy the solutions. www.lionbridge.com, www.documentum.com
As we said, multi-lingual content management is going to be big, and it is obviously not a secret.
BroadVision Launches MarketMaker
BroadVision, Inc. launched BroadVision MarketMaker. With MarketMaker, customers can quickly create B2B exchanges and marketplaces. MarketMaker takes B2B exchanges beyond basic online commerce transactions by enabling the creation and management of online communities through content management, customer intercommunication and account management. Together, these capabilities are designed to build site loyalty through a sense of community and help net market makers quickly achieve and sustain the liquidity necessary for a thriving exchange. The following are included: Catalog Order – parametric search tool that enables users to browse an aggregated or supplier catalog to identify a fixed-price item; Request for Quotations – interactive transaction for requisitions based on select products or product attributes; Buyer and Supplier Negotiations – interactive collaboration of buyers and sellers directly negotiating transactions; Dynamic Auctioning – ability to use multiple pricing formats which include English (forward auction), Dutch (descending price auctions), Sealed-Bid Auction and Reverse Auction; multiple structured formats including Limit Bidding, Multi-Staged Bidding and Multi-Parameter Terms; Content Management – dynamically generated personalized content, such as news feeds, event notices and public interest groups; Community Interaction System – threaded discussion groups; Account Management – Web-based account management templates to accommodate CSR or self-service models. Also, buyers and suppliers can add new product entries and buy products from a common aggregated marketplace catalog or supplier-managed catalog. BroadVision MarketMaker will be made generally available on the HP-UX and Sun Solaris operating systems September 29, 2000. www.broadvision.com.
Davinci Launches Trinity 3.0
Davinci Technologies Inc., launched Trinity 3.0, an upgraded version of its software that enables wireless carriers worldwide to rapidly develop and deploy robust, scalable vertical market applications. Trinity provides value added applications and a framework for wireless and web-based solutions that run on any carrier network and can be used on any browser-enabled or SMS device. Shipping immediately, Trinity 3.0 is the latest version of Davinci’s carrier-grade software. The product’s base functionality is a device-independent transactional XML application server coupled with a set of industry-targeted business modules and component-based legacy system connectors. Trinity 3.0 enables wireless carriers worldwide to provide customer care to the web-enabled devices of their clients’ choice. By accessing the WAP gateway and using this standard for communication Trinity allows carriers’ subscribers to manage their accounts how, when and where they choose. Technical advancements to Trinity 3.0 include: Updates to the functionality of the XML server component that allow Trinity 3.0 to optimize data convergence; the ability to converge multiple bills, for example, into one view and to query bill components separately for customized information; a Cache Engine; increased performance and scalability; and enhanced reporting capabilities. www.davincitech.com
IPTC Issues NITF Version 2.5
NITF is an XML-based DTD designed for the markup and delivery of news content in a variety of ways, including print, wireless devices and the Web. It was developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council, an international consortium of news providers, and the Newspaper Association of America, Reston, Va. The standards groups first released NITF in spring 1999, and an NITF Maintenance Committee has made a number of improvements since then. NITF and NewsML. Both the NITF and the NewsML wrapper can be stand alone but may also be used in a complimentary manner as NITF objects can be moved within and managed by NewsML in a multimedia environment. NewsML Version final is expected to be released next month. Among the changes: Clarification of language and time elements; Deprecation or removal of several unneeded HTML elements; Addition of an alternate code element (<alt-code>), for reference to an internal or external controlled vocabulary as a way of identifying a company, organization or person, among other things. A new website contains extensive material on the revised DTD, including a tutorial, dynamic documentation, links to discussion forums and of course the DTD itself (with or without documentation). Also posted is a link to the IPTC’s Subject Code list, for identifying the content of news material in any media. An updated version of the News Industry Text Format is now posted at www.nitf.org.
eBusiness Technologies & ScreamingMedia Announce Alliance
eBusiness Technologies and ScreamingMedia announced a joint technology alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will integrate eBusiness Technologies’ workflow and Web content management solutions and ScreamingMedia’s SiteWare technology platform for the aggregation and distribution of real-time digital content. The companies will also enter into joint sales and marketing activities. The partnership will bring customized content to portals and corporate intranets by allowing ScreamingMedia’s live news feeds to be incorporated dynamically into customers’ web sites. Select content offered through SiteWare can be routed through eBusiness Technologies’ content management tools and published side-by-side with articles submitted by other content contributors. Because news article selection is integrated with in-house content creation, the overall publishing process is streamlined and editorial review time is decreased. www.screamingmedia.com, www.ebt.com
Vignette & Artesia Announce Broadband Portal Solution for Media & Entertainment
Vignette Corp. and Artesia Technologies announced that the two companies will create a combined e-business solution based on the Vignette V/5 eBusiness Application Platform that streamlines rich media content management for the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry. The combined Vignette and Artesia solution allows companies to implement streamlined processes for creating and managing rich-media that produces content once – for targeted delivery in various formats over multiple channels, including broadband, wireless, personal computers and interactive set-top boxes. Together the two companies are simplifying the inherent complexities in converting, managing and delivering rich media content over multiple channels. Vignette and Artesia are enabling companies in the M&E industry to adopt new, Internet-based business practices while continuing to support traditional distribution channels. The integrated solution enables the easy repurposing of new and existing content for publishing over multiple channels to multiple devices – allowing M&E companies to develop strategies for delivering content to various customers while maintaining high standards of quality and consistency. This combined approach to content management will also enable organizations to create virtual supply chains, with both their creative and trading partners, in which digital assets are rendered readily and securely available for further use or augmentation. Vignette and Artesia will provide their software solution using Sun Enterprise servers. The companies will also support Java and XML. General availability for the jointly developed integration package is slated for fall 2000. Pricing information may be obtained through Vignette and Artesia. www.vignette.com, www.artesiatech.com
This is an interesting alliance and illustrates the complicated nature of the content management market. See our main article this month.
NextPage Enables Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Content Networking for E-Business
NextPage, Inc. announced that it is shipping the NXT 3 e-Content Platform to deliver peer-to-peer Content Networking for e-businesses. The technology creates a secure network, called a Content Network, where users can manage, access and exchange content across distributed servers on intranets, extranets and the Internet to enhance e-business relationships. The Content Network is accessed through a Web browser and viewed as if the information existed in a single location. NXT 3 eliminates traditional barriers of intranets, extranets and the Internet by providing users a single point of access to information from dispersed sources and different data types, such as XML, HTML, Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF files and database repositories. Once these sources are linked together in a P2P Content Network, they become a single, virtual repository. With NXT 3, content no longer needs to be pushed around the Internet or centralized on an intranet or extranet server to be accessed. Content can be created and maintained in its original location by its original author. Users can search, navigate, categorize and personalize information in their Content Network in real time. NextPage P2P Content Networking solutions are targeted at corporations that have large quantities of distributed content in different formats. NXT 3 can scale to tens of thousands of concurrent users and handle multi-gigabytes of information, while still providing secure, personalized information based on an individual user’s needs. www.nextpage.com
Dave Winer has flipped on this; so don’t feel stupid if you aren’t quite sure what to make of P2P. We are not sure, but currently think it describes part of the way we will all work in the not-to-distant future. We don’t know what the market is however.
MagazineContent to Syndicate Magazine Content
MagazineContent AG announced that it has established a U.S. office that will offer American publishers a safe and effective way to maximize the potential of their editorial product over the Internet. The U.S. office is currently based in New Jersey, and is headed by Bernard DeLierre, Director for North America. MagazineContent offers U.S. publishers the opportunity to extend their brands’ reach and achieve significant penetration into the English-speaking markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Under its business model, publishers license the content from their publications to MagazineContent, which in turn syndicates it to Internet sites and corporate Intranets around the world. MagazineContent is an international content syndication company specializing in magazines. It receives complete editorial content offline and automatically converts it from any format into XML, allowing Web masters to quickly integrate content into their sites. By providing editorial information instead of news, the service offers content that has a greater lifespan and subject-specific focus. As part of its free marketing and subscription-generating service, MagazineContent drives end-users right to the publications’ respective subscription pages by direct link so that publishers realize full-value subscriptions for their magazines. MagazineContent is currently syndicating content in English and German, with rollouts in Spanish, Italian, French and Japanese planned within the near future. www.magazinecontent.com.
Saqqara Releases Productserver 3.0
SAQQARA Systems, Inc. introduced SAQQARA ProductServer 3.0 and ProductServer 3.0 Multi-language Edition, adding increased functionality and flexibility to the SAQQARA product content management solution and Step Search technology. ProductServer 3.0 offers customers both parametric and text-based search capabilities, product content personalization, menu navigation and XML support to improve product content management and to enhance the buying experience. In addition, the Multi-language Edition of ProductServer 3.0 allows the customer to maintain and present their product content in multiple languages. Through SAQQARA’s search and find technology, ProductServer 3.0 provides buyers advanced search capabilities that allows them to quickly and easily find the products they are looking for through either a text based search or though a parametric Step Search. Additionally, buyers can now benefit from custom views of the catalog using a profile-driven content filter, displaying only the products that are applicable. The buyers’ experience is further enhanced through a new menu navigation functionality that allows drill down searches through a category hierarchy to find the appropriate product grouping. In addition to ProductServer 3.0’s search capabilities, the Multi-language Edition gives customers the ability to take advantage of a complete product content solution that includes language support for major European and Asian languages and out of the box presentation support for English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. ProductServer 3.0 Multi-language Edition allows buyers to view both product content and page presentation in the language of their choice. ProductServer 3.0 and ProductServer 3.0 Multi-language Edition will be available September 29, 2000 for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 operating systems and will be available for UNIX operating systems in the fourth quarter, 2000. Both Editions are available directly from SAQQARA Systems or through resellers. Pricing for ProductServer 3.0 starts at $95,000. Pricing for ProductServer 3.0 Multi-language Edition is an additional $35,000. www.saqqara.com.
Mercado & Cardonet Team on E-Catalogs
Mercado Software Inc. announced a technology partnership with Cardonet, Inc. The combined solution, which couples Cardonet’s online catalog content management system with Mercado Software’s search improves the performance of B2B e-Commerce sites. Together, the two solutions address common difficulties found in complex e-Catalog environments: finding and comparing items across multiple suppliers; uniting different catalog schemas into a single view; efficiently structuring and managing catalog content in a streamlined, automated fashion; and maintaining catalogs with up-to-date information as they grow and change. Cardonet’s enterprise-level software suite streamlines the process of e-Catalog content aggregation and normalization. It automatically publishes disparate data from multiple sources such as text files, relational databases, ERP and legacy systems into XML, and it automates the process of data cleansing, categorization and integration to the market maker’s master catalog. Cardonet’s solution can be used to aggregate catalog content for any industry, allowing customers to control content evolution as their e-Marketplaces evolve. Mercado’s IntuiFind search solution complements these features, providing a highly scalable solution for catalogs that aggregate products across multiple vendors’ databases. Built from the ground up to search content-rich e-Catalogs, Mercado Software’s IntuiFind produces consistently relevant e-Catalog search results. www.mercado.com, www.cardonet.com
Gene Expression Markup Language (GEML) Now Available
Rosetta Inpharmatics, Inc. announced the availability of a new file format, called Gene Expression Markup Language (GEML), to facilitate the interchange of data from DNA chip and other gene expression technologies into a consistent format for more efficient and extensive data analysis. GEML was developed by Rosetta Inpharmatics in an effort to accommodate the growing market need for researchers to have a consistent gene expression data format to use in analyzing data from the growing number of available gene expression technologies. Detailed information on the benefits of GEML and how to use the GEML format is available at www.rii.com/geml. GEML is an XML-based data file format that operates independently of any specific database schema. GEML supports data from various gene expression platforms including Affymetrix, Agilent, Incyte, Molecular Dynamics, 1-color or 2-color fluorescent labeling and scanning, nylon filters, and other data formats. GEML also tracks which data format was used, and with this knowledge enables normalization, integration, and comparison of data across technologies. As part of Rosetta’s efforts to encourage this potential industry standard for gene expression data, Rosetta intends to offer users of GEML additional tools for viewing and analysis of genomic data in GEML format. This will enable genomic researchers to publish and analyze data using any tools that support the GEML format. Rosetta intends to pursue future enhancements with input from collaborators in the GEML community, and intends to work with its GEML collaborators to propose this data format as a standard to the Object Management Group (OMG) in November. www.rii.com
IBM Announces Agreement with Extricity
IBM announced an agreement with Extricity Inc. wherein IBM will license and integrate the Extricity B2B software platform with the next version of IBM’s WebSphere Business-to-Business Integrator. As a result of this agreement, the enhanced product will help companies and electronic marketplaces automate the flow of information and business processes among groups of businesses on the Internet, saving time, money and improving competitiveness and responsiveness. IBM will license the Extricity B2B software platform as an integrated component of the WebSphere BtoB Integrator. The Extricity B2B software platform allows companies to automate the flow of information among groups of businesses by integrating and extending applications and business processes to work with those of their partners. The inclusion of Extricity’s technology in WebSphere BtoB Integrator will help customers to easily build B2B business process management solutions that will span functional and organizational boundaries. This integration further complements the IBM, Ariba and i2 alliance by providing an integration platform with additional B2B process management capabilities. This agreement will help traditional companies extend their supply chain for proactive process management between enterprises and help e-marketplaces facilitate buying and selling among industry consortiums. www.ibm.com/software/websphere/, www.extricity.com
WebCollage Announces Syndicator
WebCollage unveiled WebCollage Syndicator, a software solution that lets companies expand their reach and interact with users not only on their own sites but wherever they are on the Web. Designed to ensure rapid time to market for premium partnerships, Syndicator lets e-businesses package live and complete Web-based business applications as “e-services,” then syndicates them by placing them directly on partner Web sites. With WebCollage Syndicator companies can define e-services that capture their entire Web experience. Business partners can then exchange and incorporate all the relevant e-services that their users need to complete specific tasks into one place. WebCollage Syndicator replaces today’s phenomenon of sending users to other sites in order to access services and applications by bringing these applications to where users already are. WebCollage Syndicator applies dynamic Web site integration. When users visit a Web site, it pulls and “blends” syndicated e-services into the pages presented to users. Any Web page that is fused together dynamically from multiple sources would still appear to users as a single uniform page. WebCollage Syndicator’s unique capabilities then enable users to carry out complete Web transactions from multiple sources without leaving the site they are at. Other Web integration approaches, often using XML, focus on data exchange but do not address the sharing of an application’s user interface and Web experience. Companies can spend months re-building a partner application’s user experience into their own site, slowing time to market. Syndicator, using WebCollage’s Web Services Markup Language (WSML) technology, is designed specifically to overcome these limitations. It powers the syndication of complete e-services to multiple partner sites while maintaining the user experience and without requiring the partners to install any software. WebCollage Syndicator is available from WebCollage, Inc. The license fee for the Syndicator software is based on the number of partners served with e-services. Pricing starts at $50,000. www.webcollage.com
Excalibur Announces XML-Based Stand-Alone Video Logger
Excalibur Technologies announced an XML-based video logger, Screening Room Capture. The scaleable, standards-based video logger will be available as a stand-alone product or as part of Excalibur’s Screening Room product for end-to-end capture, encoding, indexing, management and re-purposing of video content. Screening Room Capture extracts visual and textual metadata from analog or digital video by controlling multiple subsystems for closed-captioned text extraction, voice-to-text servers, video analysis, manual annotation, device control, and timecode management. The product can control multiple video encoders no matter where they reside, enabling parallel, multiple format, simultaneous encoding. Due to its distributable nature, video logging capabilities and subsystems can now be scaled across as many computers as necessary. By encapsulating all metadata into XML, Screening Room Capture allows the easy integration of video logging into many other systems, such as an existing digital asset management or media asset management solution, or third party database. Screening Room Capture, when combined with Screening Room 2.2, provides a complete end-to-end system for video content management. Excalibur Screening Room is a fully integrated, modular system that gives any enterprise power to intelligently capture, manage, re-use and publish video content. www.excalib.com.
Commerce One Announces Network to Drive Content Creation, Delivery & Management
Commerce One, Inc. announced plans to develop a global content network to deliver high-quality content to Commerce One-powered e-marketplaces, buyers and suppliers across multiple industries worldwide. Final terms are expected to be reached, and definitive documents are expected to be executed, in the fourth quarter of 2000. The network will be based on the Commerce One Content Refinery technology infrastructure and will also include: Commerce One certified content processing partners authorized to deliver content development and processing capabilities in specific regions and industries; Pre-packaged content libraries, delivered through syndication arrangements via Commerce Ones Global Trading Web; and Published content interoperability standards to enable easy content syndication. The foundation of the global content network is the Commerce One Content Refinery solution, a set of software applications, services and methodologies that enable e-marketplaces and content development operations to create, integrate, enhance and maintain catalogs. The Content Refinery solution also enables the syndication and re-use of catalogs across multiple e-marketplaces, via the Global Trading Web. By tapping into pre-built content, the solution can offer reduced time-to-market and lower content cost for e-marketplace operators. The Commerce One Content Refinery solution is currently in limited release, with general availability scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2000. www.commerceone.com
AlterEgo & Interwoven Form Alliance to Deliver Wireless Content
Interwoven, Inc. and AlterEgo Networks, Inc. announced a strategic alliance to deliver an integrated solution that will allow their joint customers to create, adapt and publish enterprise Web content to wireless devices such as Web-enabled phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or pagers. In conjunction with the partnership, Interwoven also has announced that it will make a minority investment in AlterEgo. Under the terms of the agreement, Interwoven and AlterEgo will integrate elements of AlterEgo’s adaptation technology with Interwoven’s content management system in order to optimize delivery of “intelligent” wireless Web content. The integrated solution is expected to ship in Q1 2001. Together, Interwoven and AlterEgo are working to ensure that companies can effectively extend their Web content to customers, partners and employees, who choose to access information via Web-enabled phones or PDAs. Interwoven TeamSite software and XML-based TeamSite Templating, which allows content to easily be re-purposed for wireless devices will be integrated with AlterEgo’s device adaptation and delivery network. Together, AlterEgo and Interwoven technology will determine the required data and representation format for each type of wireless access device. Once these transformation rules are defined, they will be published to AlterEgo’s high-performance, scalable Adaptive Network, which then delivers the transformed content to mobile devices. This will allow businesses to provide consistent, timely, relevant content to employees and customers who access corporate networks through wireless devices in addition to through computers. www.aego.com, www.interwoven.com
webMethods Introduces webMethods for Trading Networks
webMethods, Inc. unveiled webMethods for Trading Networks, a software package that will provide Global 2000 companies and B2B marketplaces with a packaged infrastructure for building, managing and analyzing B2B trading networks. With webMethods for Trading Networks, organizations now have a point-and-click solution for profiling partner interactions, defining document exchange, and establishing business process rules between companies. In addition, this product offers operational and business-level views of the flow of information through the network, allowing companies to understand the business impact and R.O.I. of their entire range of B2Bi initiatives. webMethods for Trading Networks bundles a configurable trading network infrastructure with graphical monitoring, management and analysis tools. With streamlined profiling capabilities and robust operational management tools to maintain the health of the network, webMethods for Trading Networks enables integration of trading partners regardless of their level of technological sophistication. Additionally, webMethods for Trading Networks offers visibility into an organization’s trading network processes and adds intelligence to their B2B initiatives through sophisticated data analysis. webMethods for Trading Networks is priced on a per CPU basis with prices starting at $350,000 and will be generally available at the end of September. www.webMethods.com
Commerce One & Progress Partner on MarketSite Portal
Progress Software Corporation and Commerce One, Inc. announced that Commerce One has selected Progress SonicMQ E-Business Messaging server for Commerce One’s MarketSite Portal Solution. SonicMQ provides a scalable and reliable transport for the exchange of business-critical information over the Internet, which helps companies move global trade to the Web. Messages, which can range from simple purchase orders to complex CAD documents, may be instantly and securely delivered over the Internet by using sophisticated routing algorithms to determine the fastest delivery path and ensure high system availability. As new trading partners or communities are added to the Commerce One Global Trading Web, an extensive worldwide B2B trading community, the SonicMQ-based infrastructure provides access to all new destinations without requiring any local configuration or application changes. MarketSite Portal Solution allows corporations and Internet market makers to build open electronic marketplaces and link them to the Commerce One Global Trading Web. This set of products and services enables real-time, interactive transactions between trading partners, suppliers, service providers and market makers. Through the use of SonicMQ and an XML-based transaction infrastructure, value-added business services such as auctions, content management, payment services and logistics can be rapidly deployed and leveraged on e-marketplaces. www.commerceone.com, www.progress.com
Global Commerce Initiative to Adopt ebXML
Members of the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI) announced plans to use ebXML as the backbone of their new data exchange standard for business-to-business trade in the consumer goods industry. ebXML, an initiative of the United Nations CEFACT and OASIS, will provide the technical infrastructure for the Global Commerce Internet Protocol, a set of recommendations governing the management of data for Internet communication and other B2B interactions. GCI members include 40 major manufacturers and retailers as well as eight trade associations, which in total represent 850,000 companies around the world. Exchanges such as Transora, the WorldWide Retail Exchange, GlobalNetXchange, and CPGmarket.com are taking active roles in the GCI development. EAN and the UCC have made a major contribution to GCI’s effort to quickly standardize Internet trading in the consumer products industry with the first in a series of electronic commerce standards. In order to support the GCI Internet Protocol, the UCC and EAN undertook to provide GCI with a series of electronic commerce standards for the following processes: Item Synchronization, Party, Simple Purchase Order and Dispatch (Advance Ship Notice). This project encompassed the creation of business models, global data dictionaries, and XML schemas. GCI proof-of-concept trials are underway and the organization plans to demonstrate its protocol at the upcoming ebXML meeting in Tokyo, November 6, 2000. www.ebXML.org
W3C Advances XML Base Spec, Releases Canonical XML & DOM Level 3 Drafts
W3C announced the advancement of the XML Base specification to Candidate Recommendation status. The document describes a mechanism for providing base URI services to XLink and to other XML applications benefiting from control over relative URIs. The Candidate Recommendation period ends 8 December, 2000, when the XML Linking Working Group expects to deliver proof of use of XML Base in new specifications, and a report of successful XML Base implementations in applications based on them. Implementors are invited to contact the Working Group chairs to participate. Comments may be sent to the public mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, the fourth Working Draft of Canonical XML Version 1.0 has been released, addressing comments received during Last Call that ended 28 July. It is the goal of this specification to establish a method for determining whether two documents are identical, or whether an application has not changed a document, except for transformations permitted by XML 1.0 and Namespaces in XML. Please send comments to the editor with a cc: to the public mailing list email@example.com. The DOM Working Group has published the first public Working Drafts of the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3. The DOM is a platform- and language-neutral interface that allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure, and style of documents. Comments are invited on the public mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org. www.w3c.org
Optika & webMethods Partner
Optika Inc. and webMethods, Inc. announced a partnership to enhance Optika’s web collaboration and resolution offerings. Optika will use webMethods’ end-to-end B2Bi Solutions to build the Acorde XML Gateway, a conduit for dynamic exchange of B2B transaction information. Through this partnership, Optika will leverage the open architecture of webMethods B2Bi solutions to create an XML gateway that allows real-time direct exchange of transaction information between disparate systems both internal and external to the organization, facilitating quick and efficient resolution of B2B transaction discrepancies. webMethods has relationships with B2B software providers and offers pre-built adapters to their systems — the same systems that Optika’s existing and potential customers use to operate their businesses. Through this partnership, Optika and webMethods will pursue joint sales and marketing opportunities with both new and existing clients in a wide variety of industries. www.webMethods.com, www.optika.com
Thirty-Six Companies Announce UDDI Project
A broad coalition of business and technology companies announced the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) Project, a cross-industry initiative designed to accelerate and broaden B2B integration and commerce on the Internet. American Express Co., Andersen Consulting, Ariba Inc., Bowstreet, Cargill Inc., Clarus Corp., Commerce One Inc., CommerceQuest Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., CrossWorlds Software Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Descartes, Extricity Software Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Great Plains, i2, IBM Corp., Internet Capital Group, Loudcloud Inc., match21, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., Microsoft Corp., NEON, Nortel Networks Corp., NTT Communications Corp., Rational Software Corp., RealNames Corp., Sabre Holdings Corp., SAP AG, Sun Microsystems Inc., TIBCO Software Inc., Ventro Corp., Versata Inc., VeriSign, VerticalNet Inc. and webMethods Inc. are among the first to endorse and collaborate on UDDI. Growth of B2B commerce on the Internet faces challenges in scaling to universal adoption due to the multitude of technologies and standards used by businesses and e-marketplaces. UDDI will address these challenges by providing two things: First, UDDI defines a platform-neutral set of specifications to enable businesses to describe themselves and indicate their preferred means of conducting e-commerce transactions. Second, UDDI includes the shared operation of a globally distributed UDDI Business Registry. Through the UDDI Business Registry, companies publish information describing how they conduct commerce and search for other businesses that provide the capabilities, Web services or products they need. The goal of the UDDI Project is to offer the basic infrastructure for dynamic, automated integration of all e-commerce transactions and Web services. Similar to the impact HTML had for consumers on the Internet by providing a common Web site publishing format that fueled the Internet explosion, UDDI aims to make business-to-business commerce adoption universal by providing businesses with a common mechanism to publish Web services on the Internet. The UDDI Project is an open industry initiative in which any organization can participate and implement the specifications. The specifications build on core Internet standards — including TCP/IP, HTML and XML — and are independent of any underlying platform, language, object model, business application or marketplace. It is the intention of the UDDI members to transition the specifications to an industry standards body in the next 18 months. The open draft of the UDDI specification can be found at www.uddi.org. The final specification will be available shortly after public comments and feedback are incorporated. The UDDI Business Registry provides an implementation of the UDDI specification. Any company can access the registry on the Internet, enter the description of its business, reach a UDDI site, or search through all business services listed in the UDDI registry. There is no cost to access information in the registry. Although based on XML, the registry can also describe services implemented using HTML, Java, CORBA, Microsoft Windows DNA, or any other type of programming model or language. The registry is implemented as a Web service and thus can be discovered, integrated and programmatically invoked using XML like any other Web service. Beta implementations of the UDDI Business Registry will be available from Ariba, IBM and Microsoft within 30 days. These implementations will interoperate with each other, ensuring that information registered at one site is shared with all other operator registries. Other interoperable implementations are expected in the future. www.uddi.org
Documentum to Facilitate Secure Global Sharing & Centralized Print Control
Documentum announced enhancements to DocControl Manager (DCM), a controlled content services option for their content management platform, Documentum 4i eBusiness Edition. Specifically, the enhancements to DCM ensure the authenticity of electronic content and the integrity of business processes associated with content creation, validation and approval, management, and distribution — key requirements in meeting the compliance demands of securities regulations, food and drug regulations, environmental agencies, patent regulations, and international quality standards. Typical controlled content expedited with the product include standard operating procedures (SOPs), specification sheets, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), and engineering change notices (ECNs). Companies can now provide secured access to the most current versions of controlled content at any specified location. This is achieved using a defined change management process to assure the content is always reviewed and approved by the appropriate personnel. The solution also ensures that content release is always a consistent, tightly managed, and documented process. In addition, DCM will now integrate with Documentum’s Content Authentication Services, another add-on to 4i eBusiness Edition, to support electronic signatures and generate detailed audit trails for the creation, modification and approval of controlled content. The new product also provides centralized print control functionality, like restricting printing, tracking printed copies, and enabling recall of printed copies. www.documentum.com
BroadVision, H&Q Asia Pacific, Access, CTC, & Itochu to Deliver B2B Wireless Apps
BroadVision and H&Q Asia Pacific announced the formation of a new company, a Business Services Provider (BSP) to deliver B2B mobile commerce (m-commerce) services to the worldwide wireless market. The joint venture is the first initiative to integrate the explosive wireless market with the global enterprise B2B market. The new company will develop and rapidly deliver a new generation of “small but smart” e-business applications and services that will integrate an enterprise with its mobile workforce and its mobile business end-users. The new company is a joint venture between BroadVision, H&Q Asia Pacific, ACCESS Co. Ltd., a supplier of browser technology for non-PC devices, including NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode phones, and ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE Corporation (CTC), a system integrator and services company, and ITOCHU Corporation, the global company that promotes positive business development in the B2B and wireless fields. The venture will base its offerings on BroadVision One-To-One e-business applications and the company’s next-generation XML content management and XSL device-independent rendering technologies. The new company, tentatively named B-Mobile Corporation is slated to be established October 1, 2000 to provide a service for Internet-based business transactions via wireless networks such as mobile phones and PDAs. The company will also begin development of new applications for mobile B2B e-commerce by combining BroadVision’s technology and ACCESS’s mobile-enabled browser system for the use of client companies inside and outside Japan. The new company will be based in Chiyoda-ward, Tokyo. www.broadvision.com, www.access-us-inc.com, www.ctc-g.co.jp