RealTime IT News

IBM After Content Control

While Oracle , EMC and others have grand content management plans to manage unstructured data, IBM plans to serve notice later this year that it is still the big gorilla in the space.

The Armonk, N.Y., company will release upgrades to both its DB2 Content Manager and DB2 Document Manager around March or April, according to Theresa O'Neil, director of content management, at IBM. The products help companies manage structured and unstructured data, such as e-mail, video and audio files, as well as images, such as X-rays.

DB2 Content Manager 8.3 and DB2 Document Manager 8.3 are the next step along IBM's path of improving the efficiency with which its products process XML.

For example, O'Neil said that a mapping function in Content Manager 8.3 will enable users to map XML files created with a different schema to repositories. This provides administrators with greater flexibility to share information and search across different documents.

This capability, which IBM has code-named Cinnamon, is a small piece of IBM's broad plan for adding unprecedented search perks to its information management software. IBM is also adding native XML to DB2 this year.

The software packages will also feature better workflows for improved collaboration among colleagues and other organizations. Workflows also help enterprises streamline business processes, O'Neil said. Content Manager 8.3 will feature better graphical utilities that help users drag-and-drop content flows across organizations through a central console.

"A lot of customers have multiple content repositories because different departments or work groups may have set up different applications," O'Neil said. "We're looking to bring them all together."

One of the ways IBM is able to do that, O'Neil said, is through its acquisition of Venetica, a content management software company that provides information integration. Venetica allows users to centrally manage documents as if they are from one source.

As for the competition, IBM isn't too concerned about newcomer Oracle, which O'Neil said basically provides document management and records management through its Files 10g product.

IBM provides those capabilities plus Web content management, a big reason IBM will pit its content management portfolio versus anything from EMC and Microsoft, or traditional pure plays like FileNet or Interwoven.

Major customers of Content Manager include the U.S. Army, which is currently taking 100,000 paper forms and automating those on electronic systems with the product. The New York Stock Exchange and CNN also use IBM's Content Manager.

While the company doesn't break out software earnings specific to product groups, O'Neil said IBM's information management software group saw 8 percent growth for the fourth quarter of 2004, with content management specifically growing at a 31 percent clip.

IBM led the market in collaboration and content management software with a 17.9 percent market share in 2003, according to Gartner. Enterprise content management is one of the fastest growing areas of the software sector, with Meta Group expecting it to grow to $9 billion by 2007.