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IBM Pushes Quickr in ECM Space

ORLANDO, Fla. -- IBM is planning to release a new product it hopes will push the competition in the enterprise content management (ECM) space.

The software, Quickr will allow users to access information buried in different content repositories through a single interface via connectors appearing in the task bars of running applications. For instance, a drop-down in the Microsoft Office toolbar will let users check documents in or out of their ECM systems.

This includes rival ECM systems like EMC's  Documentum, Open Text and Microsoft's  Sharepoint as well as FileNet, which IBM acquiredin August.

The application will also let customers e-mail a link to a given document, which not only addresses version-control issues, but helps reduce mailbox clutter by eliminating the need for cumbersome attachments.

Quickr will come in two flavors: a personal edition in which customers can store documents that can either be private public, and a standard edition intended for team collaboration.

Marc Pagnier, senior product manager of team collaboration software at IBM, said the idea is to offer customers the flexibility of working with the products they already have. "We want to provide a user interface that doesn't care where the repository is," he told internetnews.com.

David Kajmo, senior product manager for IBM workplace managed client, said the goals of the product are accessing content as needed in the context of business processes, allowing customers to find, analyze and share content to allow for better decision-making, support distributed environments and help customers meet regulatory compliance requirements.

"That's the 'motherhood and apple pie' of IBM's content management strategy," he said. The company will introduce three options for ECM in the second half of the year.

CommonStore will allow customers to archive e-mail, apply document retention rules and incorporate them into their business processes. It will introduce FileNet P8 for business process management and compliance needs, and CM OnDemand for report management.

Forrester analyst Matt Brown told internetnews.com that IBM needed something to compete with Microsoft SharePoint and that Quickr is the answer.

Karen Hobert, an analyst with the Burton Group, noted that content management has become a hot topic among corporate executives lately, and particularly since last year's e-discovery rules came into effect.

Hobert told internetnews.com that companies running a Microsoft environment may find it cheaper to stick with Sharepoint, but that Quickr offers a compelling alternative.

Quickr will ship in the first half of the year; the personal edition will be offered at no charge to all Lotus and Domino customers under maintenance, and the standard edition will also be free to current Quickplace customers.

IBM has not revealed pricing for new customers of the standard edition.