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Tag: SharePoint (Page 1 of 5)

Collaboration, Convergence and Adoption

Here we are, half way through 2011, and on track for a banner year in the adoption of enterprise search, text mining/text analytics, and their integration with collaborative content platforms. You might ask for evidence; what I can offer is anecdotal observations. Others track industry growth in terms of dollars spent but that makes me leery when, over the past half dozen years, there has been so much disappointment expressed with the failures of legacy software applications to deliver satisfactory results. My antenna tells me we are on the cusp of expectations beginning to match reality as enterprises are finding better ways to select, procure, implement, and deploy applications that meet business needs.

What follows are my happy observations, after attending the 2011 Enterprise Search Summit in New York and 2011 Text Analytics Summit in Boston. Other inputs for me continue to be a varied reading list of information industry publications, business news, vendor press releases and web presentations, and blogs, plus conversations with clients and software vendors. While this blog is normally focused on enterprise search, experiencing and following content management technologies, and system integration tools contribute valuable insights into all applications that contribute to search successes and frustrations.

Collaboration tools and platforms gained early traction in the 1990s as technology offerings to the knowledge management crowd. The idea was that teams and workgroups needed ways to share knowledge through contribution of work products (documents) to “places” for all to view. Document management systems inserted themselves into the landscape for managing the development of work products (creating, editing, collaborative editing, etc.). However, collaboration spaces and document editing and version control activities remained applications more apart than synchronized.

The collaboration space has been redefined largely because SharePoint now dominates current discussions about collaboration platforms and activities. While early collaboration platforms were carefully structured to provide a thoughtfully bounded environment for sharing content, their lack of provision for idiosyncratic and often necessary workflows probably limited market dominance.

SharePoint changed the conversation to one of build-it-to-do-anything-you-want-the way-you-want (BITDAYWTWYW). What IT clearly wants is single vendor architecture that delivers content creation, management, collaboration, and search. What end-users want is workflow efficiency and reliable search results. This introduces another level of collaborative imperative, since the BITDAYWTWYW model requires expertise that few enterprise IT support people carry and fewer end-users would trust to their IT departments. So, third-party developers or software offerings become the collaborative option. SharePoint is not the only collaboration software but, because of its dominance, a large second tier of partner vendors is turning SharePoint adopters on to its potential. Collaboration of this type in the marketplace is ramping wildly.

Convergence of technologies and companies is on the rise, as well. The non-Microsoft platform companies, OpenText, Oracle, and IBM are placing their strategies on tightly integrating their solid cache of acquired mature products. These acquisitions have plugged gaps in text mining, analytics, and vocabulary management areas. Google and Autonomy are also entering this territory although they are still short on the maturity model. The convergence of document management, electronic content management, text and data mining, analytics, e-discovery, a variety of semantic tools, and search technologies are shoring up the “big-platform” vendors to deal with “big-data.”

Sitting on the periphery is the open source movement. It is finding ways to alternatively collaborate with the dominant commercial players, disrupt select application niches (e. g. WCM ), and contribute solutions where neither the SharePoint model nor the big platform, tightly integrated models can win easy adoption. Lucene/Solr is finding acceptance in the government and non-profit sectors but also appeal to SMBs.

All of these factors were actively on display at the two meetings but the most encouraging outcomes that I observed were:

  • Rise in attendance at both meetings
  • More knowledgeable and experienced attendees
  • Significant increase in end-user presentations

The latter brings me back to the adoption issue. Enterprises, which previously sent people to learn about technologies and products to earlier meetings, are now in the implementation and deployment stages. Thus, they are now able to contribute presentations with real experience and commentary about products. Presenters are commenting on adoption issues, usability, governance, successful practices and pitfalls or unresolved issues.

Adoption is what will drive product improvements in the marketplace because experienced adopters are speaking out on their activities. Public presentations of user experiences can and should establish expectations for better tools, better vendor relationship experiences, more collaboration among products and ultimately, reduced complexity in the implementation and deployment of products.

Open Text Launches Full Service Offering For Enterprise-wide Deployment of SharePoint 2010; Acquires Burntsand

Open Text Corporation, the provider of enterprise content management (ECM) software, announced the availability of a complete set of products and services intended to help enterprise information technology (IT) groups centrally manage large numbers of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 sites from creation through archiving. The consulting services will be led by Burntsand which joins Open Text after a recent acquisition. Using the SharePoint 2010 version of Open Text Content Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Open Text Case Management Framework for SharePoint 2010, Open Text services can help IT departments deploy the infrastructure needed to take control over unmanaged SharePoint 2010 deployments. Moreover, it can give users simple tools to create and deploy SharePoint 2010 sites and applications in accordance with corporate governance policies and manage the lifecycle of SharePoint 2010 sites. Open Text enhances SharePoint 2010 by adding a case-centric business application and process layer. Open Text business applications typically comprise a business database and records and archive repository, as well as a number of integrated SharePoint 2010 features, workflows, forms, reports and an administration user interface. Open Text’s solutions for Microsoft are offered as part of the Open Text ECM Suite.http://www.opentext.com/

TEMIS Unveils Luxid Content Pipeline

TEMIS announced the launch of Luxid Content Pipeline, a new content collection module integrated within the latest version of its content discovery solution, Luxid 5.1. This platform collects content from a range of information sources and feeds them into Luxid. After annotating content with relevant metadata, Luxid then applies search, discovery and sharing tools to the enriched content and provides users with content analytics and knowledge discovery. Luxid Content Pipeline accesses content by three different methods: Structured Access connects and automates the collection of documents from structured content sources such as Dialog, DataStar, ISI Web of Knowledge, Ovid, STN, Questel, EBSCOhost, Factiva, LexisNexis, MicroPatent, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Minesoft, Esp@cenet, and PubMed. Enterprise Content Management Access connects to corporate knowledge repositories such as EMC Documentum, EMC Documentum CenterStage and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. To be as compatible as possible with a wide variety of document sources, Luxid Content Pipeline also supports the integration of UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) collection readers, enabling the connection to these sources using UIMA standard protocol and format conversion. http://www.temis.com/

SharePoint 2010 – The Big Story

I spent a couple of days at the SharePoint conference two weeks ago with about 8000 others. Many attendees were customers, but the majority seemed to be Microsoft partners. It would be difficult to overstate the enthusiasm of the attendees. The partners especially, since they make their living off SharePoint. There has been a lot of useful reporting and commentary on the conference and what was announced as part of SharePoint 2010, which you can find on the web, #spc09 is also still active on Twitter, and videos of the keynotes are still available at: http://www.mssharepointconference.com.

As the conference program and commentary illustrate, SharePoint 2010 is a major release in terms of functionality. But the messaging surrounding the release provides some important insights into Microsoft’s strategy. Those of you who were at Gilbane San Francisco last June got an early taste of Microsoft’s plans to push beyond the firewall with SharePoint – and that is the big story. It is big because it is a way for Microsoft to accelerate an already rapidly growing SharePoint business. It is big for a large number of enterprises (as well as the SharePoint developer/partner ecosystem) because it is a way for them to leverage some of their existing investment in SharePoint for building competitively critical internet applications – leverage in expertise, financial investment, and data.

The numbers are telling. According to an IDC report Microsoft Office and SharePoint Traction: An Updated Look at Customer Adoption and Future Plans, IDC # 220237, October 2009, of “262 American corporate IT users, just 8% of respondents said they were using SharePoint for their Web sites, compared to 36% using it for internal portals and 51% using it for collaborative team sites.” (the report isn’t free, but ComputerWorld published some of the numbers).

Can Microsoft increase the use of SharePoint for Web sites from 8% to 36% or 51% or more? Whether they can or not, it is too big an opportunity for them to ignore, and you can expect the market for web applications like content management to look a little different as a result. Of course SharePoint won’t be the right solution for every web application, but Microsoft needs scale, not feature or market niche dominance.

There are more pieces to this, especially integration with Office 2010, which will have a major impact on the scale of penetration. We’ll look at that issue in another post.

You can see why SharePoint is a major topic at Gilbane Boston this year. Join us next month to continue the discussion and learn more.

DocPoint Solutions and Atalasoft Team Up on SharePoint Solutions

DocPoint Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Quality Associates, Inc., focused on providing Microsoft SharePoint to organizations that are looking to expand employee collaboration and increase the exchange of information, announced a new reseller relationship with Easthampton, Mass.-based Atalasoft, Inc. This new partnership authorizes DocPoint to distribute, customize, and install Atalasoft’s Vizit SP software. Vizit SP is a solution for viewing, cleaning up, indexing, and annotating documents within the Microsoft SharePoint Server (MOSS). The product is a zero-footprint document viewing system, which means end users can access documents without installing any software or downloading the files to their desktops. To all clients evaluating the Vizit SP software, DocPoint is also authorized to grant unlimited and free use of the Vizit Previewer. This program provides the user with fast on-screen preview images of any document stored within the SharePoint system. http://www.docpointsolutions.com

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