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IBM Casts Broader Net For Files

IBM  released the latest edition of its FileNet enterprise content management (ECM) platform four months after it purchased the company to recapture the lead in the ECM space from EMC .

Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM Software Group, introduced IBM FileNet P8 4.0 during a conference call celebrating the one-year anniversary of the company's information on-demand strategy.

For Big Blue, this initiative entails helping corporate customers grapple with the explosion in information, which is derived from occurrences, such as mergers and acquisitions, globalization and risk-and-compliance issues.

"By 2010, the number of codified information will double every 11 hours," Mills said.

"Now, whether it's 11 or 24 I'm not sure, but the point is that it's a lot of information that's arriving on everyone's doorstep very, very quickly. How you sift it, sort it, organize it and get value from it to make better decisions is the challenge."

IBM hopes FileNet P8 4.0 will alleviate pains associated with the information glut.

Boasting 75 or so enhancements from the last FileNet version, IBM FileNet P8 4.0 is designed to help businesses automatically access and manage corporate computer files, tasks that business experts consider essential to help corporations accommodate the stringent demands of compliance requirements, such as HIPAA and SEC 17a-4.

IBM FileNet P8 4.0 features the unified metadata and catalog model from both IBM and FileNet, including a J2EE content engine for managing complex documents and facilitating the authoring, translation, review and publishing processes. The engine runs on Windows, AIX, Solaris, HP-UX and Linux and supports DB2, SQL Server and Oracle.

Also, FileNet P8 4.0 now supports Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), a graphical notation standard used to document and describe business processes.

The software also supports FileNet's compliance offerings, which include FileNet Records Manager, FileNet Email Manager and FileNet Records Crawler. The new software also provides Content Federation Services for third-party repositories.

An IBM announcement wouldn't seem complete without news about IBM's consulting or services groups.

Mills said more than 1,000 IBM Global Business Services (GBS) professionals will provide content management consulting services to FileNet P8 4.0 customers.

Mills, who said digital information will double every 11 hours by 2010, also introduced a new Web 2.0 interface for its Content Manager OnDemand offering.

The interface, designed with the white-hot AJAX technology, lets users business users grab reports, statements, e-mails, and check images through any Web browser.

The conference call was a follow-up to the company's New York event from last February, when it vowed to spend $1 billion over five years to help companies grapple with the explosion in information in corporate repositories.

This strategy served IBM well in 2006; Mills said the company posted $18.2 billion in software revenues last year, an 8 percent increase from 2005 that accounted for 40 percent of IBM's overall profit. Specifically, Mills cited a 14 percent overall growth in IBM's information management software offerings.

"We had a strong year clearly," Mills said. "In what is a single-digit growth rate industry IBM software did very well."

In ECM competition, buying FileNet helped IBM leapfrog past EMC, which purchased Documentum and Captiva to invade the ECM space.

While EMC's buys helped it post $362 million in revenues through 2005, IBM's purchase of FileNet propelled it to $584 million in revenues, IDC said.

Open Text bought Hummingbird, and Oracle is buying Stellent, leaving Interwoven and Vignette as two of the last pure plays.