Posts tagged "collaboration"

Litera Releases Innova v6.0: Simplifies Document Automation Processes

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Since document content lifecycle management company (DCLM) Litéra (news, site) bought document automation company SoftWise last December, it has been working on developing Innova, SoftWise’s automation platform. After six months work on it version 6.0 has finally been released.

Targeting law firms in particular, Innova streamlines and standardizes document creation and automation and now comes with new features for Microsoft Active Directory configuration as well as new legal modules for 19 more states in the US.

With Innova 6.0 the company aims to simply the platform making it accessible to more users in more enterprises and has done so by delivering a user-friendly macro/template package with an architecture that uses advanced multi-level caching to increase speeds and improve productivity.

Innova Document Automation

Part of the Litéra group of document lifecycle management products, Innova is a document automation platform that streamlines and standardizes document creation and automation.

  • Active Directory Integration: With direct integration into an enterprise Active Directory, enterprises will not have to configure connections to an external personnel database.
  • QuickDoc: Easy change between document types by extraction of data in one document type for use in another. Also includes ability to fill dialog boxes with information from saved documents.
  • Doc ID: Support for multiple versions, or even different document management systems as well as multiple versions of Microsoft Office.
  • Numbering Module: Support for the existing number module with improvements including support for multiple Table of Content(s).

Litéra And SoftWise

Innova became part of the Litéra family of document content lifecycle products following Litéra's acquisition of SoftWise in December 2009.

Like most similar deals the price the company paid was not released, but at the time the company said Innova would add feature-rich document creation, template management and numbering to some of the components in Litera’s DCLM suite.

For its part, Litéra’s DCLM software suite enables users to create, collaborate, compare and cleanse documents as they move through the document lifecycle.

Litéra, which works principally with corporations and law firms, said the acquisition was prompted by the need to provide standardized document creation and process automation using a single interface.

Mindjet Deal Navigator Visualizes Salesforce.com Data

When productivity solution provider Mindjet mixed its business with Salesforce.com, out came a visually stimulating SaaS application. Mindjet Deal Navigator helps sales teams “win faster” by using graphics to maximize investment in Salesforce.com. 

Something To Look At

In order to win, Mindjet says you need to know your customer’s organization and all the people involved in a purchase decision. This is where Mindjet Deal Navigator comes in. The tool organizes and displays the necessary information for evaluating a deal status by automatically creating editable account maps within Salesforce.com.

Here’s an example:

Mindjet_Deal_Navigator_1.JPGMindjet Deal Navigator Account Status

These account maps work to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page when it comes to opportunities. Users can narrow things down by identifying contant roles such as “champion” and “evaluator”, as well as indicate a contact’s disposition toward the deal in question by using preference flags and icons.

With a Purpose

With these maps, users of Mindjet Deal Navigator can: 

  • See at a glance whether you have all the information to plan your sales strategy
  • Avoid manually creating and updating the charts needed for sales opportunity assessment
  • Map out next steps using filters and visual cues that highlight the most relevant contacts
  • Identify potential roadblocks before issues arise using comments
  • Use a consistent format to simplify management account reviews
  • Update, edit, and incorporate feedback on the fly, with all changes automatically saved into salesforce.com and shown in the chart

“Salespeople want simple tools to help them win more and win faster,” said Scott Raskin, CEO of Mindjet. “Mindjet Deal Navigator provides exactly that by leveraging Mindjet’s information visualization technology to instantly create graphical maps and organization charts of accounts, helping the sales team to visualize opportunities and focus on the right strategy to close business faster.

Seeing is Believing 

As visualization tools climb the popularity ladder in the enterprise, Mindjet is working hard to secure their spot as a leader. Their primary tool, MindManager, is at the forefront. Like Mindjet Deal Navigator, MindManager gathers all the information a user is working with and spits it out in graphical format.  

Earlier this month Mindjet positioned this tool as a solution to SharePoint shortcomings by consolidating user information. The tool boasts productivity without sacrificing your sharing or collaboration capabilities—something we think most people are looking for in this To Be or Not To Be Like Facebook era. 

Intrigued? Check out more info about their Salesforce.com activities here.

Novell Rivals Google with Real-time Enterprise Collaboration

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Betting that Google Wave would've fared better had it been released for business folk rather than consumers, an enterprise software company called Novell recently announced their own real-time collaboration mashup platform. Because it uses the Wave Federation Protocol, Novell Pulse is essentially Google Wave with a greater emphasis on security and management.

In a Nutshell…

Novell's angle is serious. "We include features that the business consumers want, but also the security and controls the enterprise demands," said Ken Muir, CTO for Novell WorkGroup.

Those features include:

  • Security: Provisioning, sign-on and permissions leverage enterprise identity and access management systems, directory servers and audit tools to integrate with established processes, keep data safe and support compliance requirements.
  • Real-time collaboration: Collaborative editing and document sharing enables users to get work done with other users in real-time, from co-editable online documents to the ability to share and comment on traditional office documents in real time.
  • Unified Inbox: A single interface allows users to see, sort and filter all their personal and professional content from various social messaging services, email, Wave, etc. all in one place.
  • Enterprise social messaging: Social Blog allows users to share, follow and comment on topics and ideas.
  • Real-time awareness and chat: Allows users to know exactly when their colleagues are available via people, group and message activity monitoring

“Novell Pulse is the first enterprise class, real-time collaboration platform that unites communication, authoring and social messaging tools. Novell Pulse helps drive enterprise productivity and innovation by making it easier to communicate digitally, generate ideas and share information,” said the Novell team in a recent statement.

Don't Call it Wave

Who knows what upcoming versions of Wave will include (Google is scheduled to release a business-y version the the collaboration platform later this year), but for now, it looks like Novell is attempting to fill in the Google gaps. In addition to being able to collaborate with Wave users and offering what Wave is known for, Pulse provides social-networking features like profiles as well as the option install the tool locally. Local installations do not rely on Google for any of these features

Moreover, the security features are a big deal, and certainly a must for any enterprise customer.

Jeremiah Owyang, Dan Rasmus to Keynote #GilbaneSF

The registration for Gilbane San Francisco Conference is in full swing. For those of you coming out to the event, don’t miss the keynote sessions presented by visionaries Jeremiah Owyang and Dan Rasmus.

 

Keynote Sessions

If you’re not following Owyang on Twitter (@jowyang), drop everything right this minute and go follow the guy. At Gilbane SF, Owyang will talk about customer engagement and collaboration in the workplace.

As an analyst at Altimeter Group (and formerly at Forrester), Owyang brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. “If you want to know how companies are actually using social and web tools to engage with customers, Jeremiah is the go-to guy,” promises Gilbane SF.

Dan Rasmus (@DanielWRasmus), a known strategist (self-proclaimed futurist) and author, really knows the knowledge worker in and out based on his experience as an analyst, consultant and a former director of business insights for Microsoft.

Rasmus is scheduled to shed light on how collaboration in the workplace is evolving in cross-border, cross-culture environments and how to design efficient and comfortable workplace experiences.

Industry Analyst Debate: What's Real, What's Hype and What's Coming

Yes again, expect a debate by industry analysts from different walks of web content management life about critical content and information technologies or strategies. This session’s panelists include Frank Gilbane, president, Gilbane Group; Rob Koplowitz, principal analyst, Forrester; Hadley Reynolds, research director, Search & Digital Marketplace Technologies, IDC; Tony Byrne, founder, The Real Story Group & CMS Watch; Scott Liewehr, senior consultant, Web Content Management, Gilbane Group.

Reminders

  • What: Gilbane SF with 4 tracks and more than 40 sessions
  • When: May 18-20, 2010
  • Where: The Westin Market Hotel in San Francisco
  • Why: ‘Cos it rocks
  • Registration
  • Conference schedule
  • Pre-conference workshops
  • Twitter: @gilbanesf and hashtag #gilbanesf
SMB Tech-Roll up: Facebook extends SMB reach, Microsoft Shifting SMB Strategy?

This week, Facebook takes more SMBs into more advertising markets in more cities, while HyperOffice finally releases its “no geek required” suite of collaboration tools for business users.

 

SMBs Target More Cities With Facebook

Facebook (news, site) has just announced the expansion of its advertising program that will enable SMBs  not only to target more cities and towns across the US and outside, but will also enable them to target audiences more accurately.

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Facebook: targeting more cities and more markets for SMBs

In the latest move to expand its performance advertising program, Facebook is offering what it says is “thousands” of new cities in its self-serve advertising tool. Typically, Facebook isn’t giving a full list of which cities have been added, but you can check out the cities in a given area by signing up.

Guesstimates around the web at the beginning of this year put Facebook 2009 revenues at between US$ 600 – US$ 700 million, indicating the value ‘local’ advertising has for the the company.

By expanding the number of targetable cities though, it should be able to increase that figure dramatically as well as give SMBs access to towns and cities that they have not be able to access to date.

HyperOffice Releases Collaboration Suite

You may remember just before Christmas that HyperOffice (news, site) announced that it had issued a beta of a completely new AJAX version of its collaboration suite for SMBs. At the time the company said it gave users a whole new bunch of tools that provide a viable alternative to other collaboration suites from the likes of Google Apps to Zoho.

Well that release has just come out of beta and is available for current and business customers of HyperOffice, with a more generally available solution for home users available soon.

And one thing you can’t say about HyperOffice is that they’re being modest about what they think they’ve achieved. They describe it as a “re-invigorated, super-charged, eye-candy, ease-enhanced . . .new version [that] brings a gorgeous re-done interface, new features, more robust existing features, and scores of subtle changes and enhancements across the suite.”

At the time of the beta release of this “no geeks required collaboration suite” (the marketing is so good we just had to repeat it!) they outlined some of the things we could expect. These included:

  • Online database
  • Centralized online project management
  • Secure online document management
  • Outlook synchronization
  • Secure email hosting mobile suite

If you’re interested you can check it out on their website.

Dell Simplifies SMB Data Backup

Dell (news, site) and Symantec (news, site) have announced they are collaborating to help SMBs protect increasing amounts of business-critical data by introducing a new disk-based backup and recovery solution.

Entitled the PowerVault DL2100 and powered by Symantec Backup Exec 2010, it enables users to deploy and manage backup and recovery tasks, and reduce backup costs compared to tape-based solutions.

According to figures that came with the announcement, the average SMB has experienced three outages within the past 12 months, with the leading causes being virus or hacker attacks, power outages or natural disasters. But only 23 percent of SMBs back up daily and an average SMB backs up only 60 percent of their company and customer data.

The solution also integrates with new archive options for Windows file systems andExchange environments allowing SMBs to more efficiently manage their data lifecycles by setting automated retention periods to migrate older, less critical data over time to less expensive storage environments.

You can find out more about this on either companies’ websites.

Microsoft Drops SMB-market server

Microsoft  has announced that it is dropping its Essential Business Server(EBS) on June 30, a server designed specifically for the SMB and mid-market segment.

With support for up to 300 users, EBS filled a gap that had existed in Microsoft's SMB product portfolio, but the uptake on it wasn’t high enough to justify its use.

Microsoft said the decision was made because mid-size businesses are increasingly using management, virtualization and cloud computing to cut costs and boost efficiency. Because these features are already part of Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft System Center and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), EBS has become redundant.

Microsoft insists that it's "fully committed" to SMBs, while a spokesperson said the decision "represents a natural market shift in midsize business' preferences toward creating their own IT solutions."

Idea2 launches cloud CRM

Cloud-based CRM solutions provider Idea2 has announced the general availability of its cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for SMBs.

The company said Idea2 CRM solves implementation challenges such as technology isolation, lack of executive visibility and poor user adoption.

It organizes and synchronizes CRM with additional data assets such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Finance to create a unified customer view.

It offers users:

  • a unified view of all information and interactions related to a customer in a 'social CRM' format
  • a role-specific interface
  • an information dashboard
  • integrated customer support that extends online.

No pricing details have been disclosed.

Banks Need More Security

New research shows that cybercriminals are hacking into the online bank accounts of SMBs at an unprecedented rate but banks are still failing to take proactive steps to protect them.

Carried out by the Ponemon Institute and Guardian Analytics across 500 executives and owners of SMBs in the U.S the figures show:

  • 55% of businesses reported experiencing fraud with 58% enabled by online banking activities.
  • 80% of banks failed to catch fraud before funds were transferred.
  • In 87% of fraud attacks, the bank was unable to fully recover assets.
  • 57% of businesses were not compensated by their banks.

The report concludes that banks need to evolve their definition of reasonable security and proactively invest in technology to better protect their online banking customers.

At present, U.S. law allow banks to place the burden on business owners for keeping assets managed via online banking secure.

Enterprise 2.0 Roll-up: Google’s Marketplace Puts Everything in the Cloud

So, the announement of the Google Marketplace was a pretty big deal, wouldn’t you say?

The excitement revolving around the new development goes to show how ready and willing most of us are to pack up and move to the cloud, and the Google brand is obviously going to play a major part in getting us there. 

 

The Future of Productivity is Sky High

“The future of productivity applications is in the cloud,” wrote Ellen Petry Leanse, Google Enterprise marketing specialist. We’re inclined to agree, and here is a list of some of our favorites that’ve already made their way there with the release of Google Marketplace:

Zoho

Ah, our valiant little productivity suite friends. They work so hard in the shadow of Google, and now we predict they’ll get some serious play by using the search giant to promote their tools.

In fact, Zoho has two offerings in Google Apps Marketplace: Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects. Both tools allow users to plug Google Apps into the Zoho CRM or Zoho Projects system.


Box.net

Box.net offers a content management application for Google Docs that allows users to access and integrate their Google files directly within the Box.net ecosystem.

In plain English, that means you can create a Google Doc as a file type within Box.net and then utilize the collaboration tools of both platforms. Moreover, you can access and manipulate your Box content directly from within Gmail and Google Calendar (some smell a SharePoint replacement).

 

Aviary

Aviary offers web-based image editing tools as well as vector graphics and audio editing. Its integration into Google Apps means users can create graphics that can then be accessed by Google Sites, Google Docs, etc. Also, it adds functionality that Google hasn't previously seen—unlike Box.net and Zoho—although, we've yet to hear about Google's plans for therecently acquired and semi-similar service called Picnik.


 This is, of course, only the beginning. But it's also a really exciting beginning—for users, developers and companies alike. 

Microblogging is Cool Again

For a second, talking about microblogging was kinda…meh. But thanks to interest within the enterprise—among other areas—a bit of a resurgence is happening. Yammer's getting mega-funded, Google Buzz is making both good and bad headlines, and Twitter is making its way to corporate land, although not with text and display ads in tow.

"…people are witnessing accidents, organizing events, sharing links, breaking news, reporting stuff their dad says, and so much more," noted Twitter's co-founder, Biz Stone.

Integration is Everywhere

Google isn't the only one interested in integration. Inmagic recently showed Microsoft some love by announcing a new version of Presto, a social knowledge network solution that integrates tightly with SharePoint (and frankly, in the wake of Google's marketplace-shaped bomb, Microsoft could use the love). 

Some of Presto 3.3's improvements are:  

  • Profile customization and personalization, and making the People content type searchable
  • Improved RSS feeds such as customizable display
  • Federated search adapters can be created to access external content sources
  • Cloning of Home Pages allows administrators to easily manage a SKN and users

Come Out and Play

Check out some upcoming enterprise 2.0 events and get your hands dirty:

O'Reilly Where 2.0

"Now in its sixth year, the Where 2.0 Conference is where the grassroots and leading edge developers building location-aware technology intersect with the businesses and entrepreneurs seeking out location apps, platforms, and hardware to gain a competitive edge. In the O'Reilly conference tradition, Where 2.0 presents leading trends rather than chasing them."

Cloud Expo 2010

"Delegates will leave Cloud Expo with dramatically increased understanding the entire scope of the entire cloud computing spectrum from storage to security."

SharePoint.org Conference 2010

"SharePoint Conference .Org 2010 is the only SharePoint Conference to attend this spring! Attend sessions, workshops, and classes taught by some of the world's foremost experts on the SharePoint platform including premiere consultants, speakers, and Microsoft SharePoint MVPs."

Virtual Moment Rebrands as WebDAM, Focuses on DAM

Maybe it’s because of the growing popularity of SaaS, but Virtual Moment, LLC has announced that it is changing its ‘Doing Business As. . ‘(DBA) name from Spitfire Photo Pro to WebDAM, and said it will concentrate its resources on SaaS digital asset management (DAM).

 

As a completely hosted web-based DAM company, WebDAM offers its flagship product as hosted digital media management with full support — including storage, managing archiving, searching and retrieving functions to enterprises, as well as full collaboration capabilities.

Only two years old, the company said that the name change reflects its decision to concentrate on building the WebDAM brand, as well as a move from digital photo management into fully fledged digital asset management to the exclusion of everything else.

None of their existing customers, which include Stanford University, Inter-American Development Bank, or the Sodexo Corporation, will be affected by the move. New customers will all come in under the new brand and domain name.

They also say that the rebranding will be accompanied by a complete reorganization of resources that will enable development teams to create new products at a faster rate than previously.

What is WebDAM?

Let’s have a quick look at what they are offering. WebDAM is a web-based, hosted digital asset and image management product designed to give users access to web tools that will centralize, manage and distribute image files throughout an enterprise.

At the moment, the company concentrates on five main product areas. These include:

1. Centralized Database

All digital assets will be kept in the same area of the company’s centralized database that will enable users upload or access their assets from any browser and at any time of the day.

2. Online Collaboration Tools

Images and assets can be shared across an enterprise using distribution features that include lightboxes, high-res image download tools and email. Online reporting tools also gives users access to download reports with full tracking and defined access privileges

3. Search

Image retrieval based on automatic meta-tagging, using the companies new image searchtechnology which includes captioning abilities. Images can also be tagged using custom fields specified by company, division or department needs.

4. Brand application

Webcam feature comes with the ability to extend a company’s brand identify across entire image galleries with the help of technicians that ensure the brand is standardized across all your assets.

5. eCommerce

If required, users can also deploy an eCommerce add-on to create an integrated shopping cart directly from your online database. Users can set their own pricing and usage rules and dictate how orders are filled.

WebDAM is designed for organizations of all sizes with pricing based on disk space and user requirements.

5 Things to Consider when Integrating your Content Management System and Portal

Portals and content management systems are widely used in organizations today. For many, the desire to integrate them into a single collaborative environment is critical. But there's a lot to think about before moving forward. In this article we cover the basic considerations for integrating a CMS into an enterprise portal.

A Use Case for Integration

Collaboration is no longer just a buzz word; it is now an enterprise need. Some enterprises have already started seeing the benefits of collaborative work environments. They know that content management plays a very important and crucial role in building a successful collaboration environment by improving processes, increasing employee efficiency and productivity, and lowering costs.

A typical business use case around how content lifecycle plays a role in a collaboration environment would be:

  • A user logs in enterprise one stop portal
  • They create and manage content (check-in, check-out, update metadata, tag)
  • They then share the same content via Wikis, Blogs, Message Boards, Discussion Forums, etc…
  • In some cases they may submit content for formal review and approval via some workflow
  • They may also comment and/or rate other content
  • When they have finished, they log out of the portal

Today almost every Content Management System offers its own user interface that integrates content management and community/collaboration features. WebTop, damTop and CenterStage are examples of collaborative tools for EMC Documentum; Alfresco Share an example for Alfresco.

While these may be feature rich interfaces, an enterprise may not want to add another collaboration tool outside of their portal for managing content. The challenge then becomes how to enable content management capabilities via a one stop enterprise portal.

Integrating a CMS repository with a portal solution provides the following benefits:

  • Create, manage and most importantly collaborate on content within and across the community from a single stop enterprise portal enabling collaboration across the organization.
  • Effectively utilize social collaboration tools — wikis, blogs, message boards — from the portal framework by attaching content that is already created and managed within the CMS Repository.
  • Take advantage of better governance, security and compliance policies (retention etc) for their content. People and communities can collaborate and share content based on standard rules .
There are several key architecture and design decisions that need to be evaluated to come up with a robust integration solution between your content management system and your portal:
  1. Define the business specific coarse-grained CMS service to be consumed by portal service
  2. Evaluate and decide on the technology option to implement and host the CMS service
  3. Evaluate and decide on the technology option for writing portlets for content management
  4. Decide the option/strategy on SSO (Single Sign-on)/Authentication from the Portal to the CMS
  5. Define the strategy for Community, security/authorization management

1. Define the business specific coarse-grained service to be consumed by portal layer

Almost all Content Management providers expose their services as web services that can be consumed from any client application (like a portal). But these services tend to be atomic in nature with the lowest granularity. As a result, business specific custom reusable composite services may need to be designed that will call these atomic services.
 
PortalCMS_ESB.jpg

2. Evaluate & decide on the technology option to implement & host the CMS service

There are multiple technology options to implement the CMS Service:

CMIS

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is a technical specification for integrating with a ECM (Enterprise Content Management) repository via Web Services. It is a language-independent, repository-independent API for content management. The objective of the CMIS standard is to define a common content management web services interface that can be implemented by a content repository vendor, enabling service interoperability across repositories through standard SOAP and Restful Bindings.

This might be the best option to go with for implementing the common reusable services for any portal or third party integration. The back-end repository can be changed at any time without design and code rework on the front-end system.

CMIS Version 1.0 is just out for public review. Though the vendors have started building their CMIS implementations based on the draft spec, it may not be mature enough and production ready very soon. However, enterprises can start using vendor provided draft implementations for non-critical business applications.

It is important to note that CMIS will enable only standard content management capability. Most content management systems have more rich functionality; functionality that, if required by the enterprise, will require additional custom development.

SOAP

Most Content Management Vendors expose repository capabilities as standard SOAP-based Web Services. This might be another good choice to use as integration strategy. The downfall is that the enterprise will be locked down to a specific vendor.

REST

Some vendors also provide the repository capabilities as REST services. REST is lightweight and simple to use. However, sometimes it is not a good idea to send large amounts of data/content via uri. Like other REST Services, transaction and security management might be harder for a large enterprise implementation. And once again, the enterprise will be locked down to a specific vendor. 

The OOTB/Custom services can be deployed in standard Application Server Container (like JBoss, Oracle, WebSphere, Tomcat, etc…) or any Enterprise Service Bus. Services can be made available via a standard SOA (service oriented architecture) registry taking advantage the company’s existing standard SOA governance model.

The appropriate Web Service client must be generated from the service WSDL via JAX-WS or Axis, or some other tool. This would be consumed from Portlet Service.

Portal_CMS_ServiceBus.jpg

3. Evaluate & decide on the technology option for writing the content management portlet

A Portlet Action and Service needs to be designed to call the underlying CMIS, CMS Web Service or REST service. In many cases an enterprise may already have a portal platform, so content management features will need to be enabled for that portal.

Here are a couple of ways to do this:

Vendor Supplier Portlets

Some CMS vendors provide a JSR portlet, but it may or may not match what the enterprise is looking for from a collaboration perspective. It’s not as simple as taking the vendor provided portlet and dropping it into the portal platform. Aside from usability and functionality, authentication, security, transaction and other features need to be aligned with enterprise’s strategy. In most cases some work need to be done.

Write Your Own

An enterprise can decide to go ahead and write its own portlet to meet the business need. There are multiple choices to write a portlet :

  • Pure JSR 168/286 Portlet (with JSR Tags)
  • Struts Portlet (JSR 168/286 compliant)
  • Struts Portlet using Container Provider/Vendor API
  • JSF Portlet (JSR 168/286 compliant)
  • JSF Portlet using container Provider/Vendor API)

The JSF or Struts framework have their own strengths. You should design and develop JSR compliant portlets. The portlets should not be tied with the CMS vendor’s specific APIs so you don't loose portability. Pure JSR portlets might be the best choice, but JSR Complaint Struts portlets or JSR compliant JSF Portlets might be used as well.

Portal_CMS_AppServices.jpg

4. Decide the strategy on SSO/Authentication from Portal to CMS

User sessions need to be created in the CMS repository to do any kind of CMS related operation. If the portal solution is already integrated with an SSO infrastructure (OAM, Netegrity, etc…), this will be easier to do. The SSO Provider can generate the token, and that token can be passed and used to create a session for CMS related operations. A plug-in may need to be written in the content management system to authenticate the SSO token (if a plug-in is not already available for the specific SSO provider).

If the portal solution is not integrated with an SSO Provider, the named user Authentication approach can be followed. A generic userid/password combination is stored in the service code and the CMS session can be established using this generic id when required. This generic user is going to run all the services on behalf of other users. The SAML standard also can be used to establish a CMS session.

Portal_CMS_UseCase.jpg

 

5. Find the strategy on Community, security/authorization management

There are portal solutions — such as Liferay — available today that come with built in community concepts. Also any enterprise can build community capabilities within the enterprise portal. And most content management system also offer collaboration services and features. There are a few choices available to bridge the gap:

  • Have the portal be the single source of truth for community. So the community and its governance, security, creation, modification and deletion capabilities would be propagated to the CMS real time via the portal.
  • In cases where the portal will not be the single point of entry for the content management system, community capabilities and security would also need to be created and managed in the CMS. In that event, portal community and security information will need to be brought in sync.

Conclusion

Integrating a content management system with an enterprise portal solution is not trivial as it involves integration between different products. But a successful integration backed by a solid business goal and technical architecture can bring the business value right way and improve the overall organization performance many fold.

 

About the Author

Palash Ghosh is a BEA Certified Enterprise Architect, IBM Cerified OOAD & SOA Soln Designer and has more than 11 years of software architecting, designing, management experience working with the global fortune 100 companies focusing on providing business and technology solutions across diverse range of technologies. He is currently leading multiple initiative(s) in ECM, Portal, Collaboration & SOA/BPM space for fortune 100 Companies. His current interests include SOA, cloud computing.

SeeUnity: Sync MS SharePoint and Enterprise CMS

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SeeUnity, a company made up of enterprise content integration fankids, has just released Synchronize Express. The tool allows users to shift back and forth from SharePoint to external Enterprise CMS repositories.

Synchronize Express pairs SharePoint folders with their corresponding folders in external repositories (ECM systems, line business apps, file shares, etc.). This connection makes it so that when content is placed in a source folder, it is automatically copied into the corresponding destination folder as well. Moreover, any changes made to files in the source folder will be automatically made in the corresponding destination folder.

Note: Content can be synced from SharePoint out to an ECM system, or from an ECM system out to SharePoint.

This handy tool is designed to improve performance, provider read and write access to duplicated files (while protecting master versions), inspire sharing, and archive and portect SharePoint content as ECM document of record.

Product Highlights

Here’s a quick rundown of the features:

  • Mapping tools to easily define rules
  • Bi-directional content transfer
  • Cross folder copying or synchronization
  • Inheritable metadata and security
  • Conversion to PDF (publishing from ECM to SharePoint)
  • Transfers files and folders
  • Monitoring tools audit processing

"Synchronize Express delivers a new type of content integration for SharePoint," says Brant Henne, Marketing Director for SeeUnity. "Customers have requested an agile, cost-optimized solution for moving content between SharePoint and external content management systems. Synchronize Express provides this ability – with a product that installs in minutes and requires no specialized user training."

Synchronization is The Business

Synchronization is getting a lot of attention as of late. Google, for example, just announced free recovery and backup for Google Apps, thanks to Synchronous Replication. Like Synchronize Express, the tool works by replicating data, but in this instance every action taken in Google Apps gets stuck into two data centers at once. This way, if there's a data center outage or loss, users won't have to worry about losing data, or even noticing the glitch. 

Care to utilize synchronization for your SharePoint needs? Head over to SeeUnity's official site.

Mindjet Increases SharePoint Productivity with Visualization Tool

SharePoint is a good productivity tool, but it has its disadvantages. Partners, like Mindjet make it their business to resolve those disadvantages through integrated tools like MindManager for SharePoint.

Another Way to Look at Information

Mindjet is a provider of information visualization tools, the most well known one being their MindManager solution. MindManager is a tool that lets you see, in graphical format, all the information you are working in. It's a high level view with the ability to dig down into details where required.

CMSWire spoke with Felicity Wohltman, VP of Product Development and Michael Deutch, Director of Product Development for Mindjet to get a bird's eye view of this new SharePoint tool and how it can resolve some of SharePoint's shortcomings.

Resolving SharePoint Shortcomings

What exactly is Mindjet trying to help with here? One of the primary uses of SharePoint is to manage documents and lists of information. This information can be related to projects, departments or other group — or individually — focused work.

Often a user works within many different projects or team sites at the same time. But to get to the information they need to do their jobs, they have to go to different areas — team sites, document libraries, lists — and often need to click around a lot. When they do this, they are loosing focus of where they are in relation to other work they are doing.

Mindjet is attempting to resolve this issue with MindManager for SharePoint. They are providing SharePoint users with a big picture view of the work they are doing, while retaining the ability to manage the details.

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MindManager for SharePoint - MyDashboard

Oh the Things You Can Do

Now it looks pretty interesting doesn't it? You get the functionality of SharePoint through a MindManager view that lets you see all your information in a visual format. You can then dig down into the details of your work, while still retaining that larger, overarching view.

Click on a specific piece of information in your mindmap and you can immediately update SharePoint via a built-in browser view. MindManager for SharePoint respects both SharePoint workflow and permissions, so you never get access to information you aren't allowed to see.

There are a few ways you can map your SharePoint information:

  • View everything in a SharePoint team site or set of lists
  • View all information assigned to you — tasks, documents, etc…
  • View all information assigned to your team members — a manager feature

You also aren't limited to the default view of your information. You can sort, filter and update information that includes documents, list items like tasks and issues, calendar items, images and more. Included is the ability to add your own personal notes and comments to each piece of information. This information isn't added to SharePoint, but is retained in the mind map — kind of like your own notebook or to-do list notes.

It's also not a one time view of your information — it is automatically refreshed so you can be sure you always have the most update to date view.

SiteMaps and Searching

A couple of other features of MindManager for SharePoint are sitemaps and search. MindManager provides the ability to create a sitemap, showing you a real-time visualization of everything in your SharePoint environment, including the details.

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MindManager For SharePoint - SiteMap

You can also search for content in SharePoint using keywords. The search can work across all SharePoint sites, providing a map of the results within MindManager.

And of course Outlook and Office integration comes with MindManager for SharePoint. Create project plans for Project 2007, export your work to MS Word or create PowerPoint presentations.

Hosted, Offline, Multi-Environment

MindManager for SharePoint works with any SharePoint 2007 implementation - whether it's on-premise or hosted. Which means you can use it for SharePoint Online. As long as you have the security rights to connect, you can access your SharePoint environment.

You can also work offline with your mindmap, keeping your view of information, making any notes/comments to the mindmap for your own personal use. When you come back online, you can resync with the most updated view of the information and make any changes you need to.

Keep in mind that there is no auto-sync, so you can't make changes to SharePoint information offline, just view it.

And there is a really nice feature for those of you who may work within more than one SharePoint environment — maybe your project team site for an internally project and a partner team site inside an extranet environment. You aren't limited to creating a mind map for each SharePoint environment, you can mix them all into a single view.

Business Application Visualizations

Mindjet is seeing a whole new way to use their tools via business applications. Mind map can be useful in a variety of business applications, letting you view your information in a different way. MindMap for SharePoint is Mindjet's first implementation, but not their last.

MindManager for SharePoint is currently a desktop application that connects to SharePoint 2007 using Microsoft's WSS (Windows SharePoint Services) API via web services. But this is only the first SharePoint product. They are also planning a web-based version that will work within SharePoint. Something to look forward to.

MindManager for SharePoint is available today for US$ 499 in English, German and French. There is a trial version available and some tutorials online that you help you understand how to use it.