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IBM Puts More Content in Content Management

IBM officials announced Wednesday a raft of new products to bolster its content management portfolio, tailoring its software to companies large and small.

The software giant is bolstering its content management software to address the many changes that have happened in the past year to corporate America, most of them revolving around the legal requirements now mandated by law.

Scandals that shook Wall Street, from Enron to WorldCom, prompted the most notable law: the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002, which effectively requires companies to document everything -- from internal emails between co-workers to memos to corporate documents.

IBM's move comes at an interesting time as the content management space has been the target of significant consolidation in the last week. EMC moved to acquire Documentum last week while Open Text bid for Ixos Software Tuesday.

EMC's move, a first for that company and a large piece of its puzzle to blend storage with content management to manage the entire lifecyle of that information, was seen as a direct threat to IBM.

Meanwhile, IBM has been building up its Express product line of software geared towards small- to medium-sized businesses for the past year. Unfortunately, companies like IBM, SAP and Oracle have had a tough time cracking into the market.

The biggest part of the problem, according to Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at RedMonk, was these software giants providing watered-down software.

"What has happened in the past is that vendors would take their product, strip out 90 percent of the features, slap different tag on it and try to sell it to medium business," he said. "That just doesn't work because the programs are still very hard to install and these medium businesses don't have the resources like an enterprise company."

What IBM has done with its Express line is set a list of requirements for enterprise-geared software -- in this case its DB2 Content Manager -- to get scaled down to the medium business.

In the case of Content Manager Express, according to Jeff Schick, IBM content management division director of worldwide sales, it meant making the installation process easier while still keeping a majority of the software inside.

"What we were looking at was easier installation, fewer CDs and lower admin costs," he said, "because it does not have the full-blown hierarchical storage management as part of the overall management solution set, and there's some basic differences in the way the system stores objects versus the full-blown CM product."

IBM plans to sell the CM Express server for $9,375 and $1,063 per concurrent user, plus 12 months of maintenance.

Enterprise CM enhancements also include:

  • In a nod to the growing popularity of Linux, IBM also announced the launch of its enterprise CM product on the Red Hat, SuSE and United Linux platforms. Price is $29,000 per server and $2,500 per concurrent user.
  • The CM Adapter for WebSphere Business Integrator lets users re-use, rather than re-create, content on the intranet or over the Internet.
  • IBM updated its Records Manager with the release of version 3, as well as usability with Lotus Domino, SAP and Exchange servers. Price: $29,000 per server, with individual user price dependent on platform.