Documentum (http://www.documentum.com), a division of EMC Corp. (http://www.emc.com), announced its new Enterprise Content Integration (ECI) Services, which offers federated searching and a single view of diverse enterprise content. The addition of ECI lets Documentum expand to accessing enterprise content beyond the Documentum Enterprise Content Management (ECM) repository, encompassing structured and unstructured information from multiple internal and external sources and in multiple languages, with one query. ECI is based on technology from EMC's acquisition of the askOnce business unit from Xerox Corp. in March 2004 and is a key part of Documentum's "Virtual Repository" strategy that enables customers to discover and manage unstructured content wherever it resides.
Documentum has been selling the original product from askOnce (not integrated). What it is announcing now is the first release of the product under the Documentum brand, integrated with the Documentum ECM platform. Documentum ECI Services can be used in conjunction with the Documentum ECM platform, with other content management products, or as a stand-alone tool.
"EMC Documentum ECI Services addresses the most time-consuming problems that employees face each day—finding, gathering, and sharing needed information, when it is stored in multiple formats, locations, and languages," said Dave DeWalt, executive vice president of EMC Software and president of Documentum and LEGATO. "Documentum ECI Services can significantly boost employee productivity by streamlining lengthy research and delivering information in a consistent, organized format, making it a powerful tool for global information discovery and knowledge sharing."
Through a single sign-on and customizable interface, Documentum ECI Services enables access to heterogeneous content—from enterprise applications, databases, content management systems, and groupware to Internet sources (such as Web search engines), industry-specific databases, local archives, government portals, and syndicated content providers. An adapter framework includes hundreds of prepackaged adapters for various content sources (including LexisNexis, Factiva, Dialog, Hoover's, PubMed, and many others). The product can access structured data using an ODBC adapter (as well as a specialized Oracle adapter). Additional adapters easily can be built, in many cases without any coding. Cross-lingual search capabilities give users access to global information sources, regardless of language.
The askOnce technology was created and developed at the Xerox Research Centre Europe (XRCE) located in Grenoble, France. XRCE, one of the Xerox Innovation Group's five worldwide research centers, is known for its work in linguistic science.
Some of the important features of Documentum ECI Services include:
- Federated discovery: Search technology leverages local indexes and search capabilities.
- Intelligent query conversion: The query language used by ECI Services does not have to be supported by the information sources. ECI Services adapts the query and performs post-filtering to compensate and retrieve the best match.
- Metadata extraction: ECI Services automatically mines and extracts metadata from the content source and normalizes the metadata to enable sophisticated analysis of the results.
- Dynamic Linguistic Contextual (DLC) Clustering: Search results are dynamically grouped by topic.
- Filtering: If the same content is retrieved from different repositories, ECI Services provides a filter to avoid content duplicates while combining metadata from all sources.
- Content abstracts: Key sentences are extracted from retrieved documents.
- Personalized relevancy ranking: Users can rank the applicability of results, and the product automatically adjusts subsequent searches for more precise results.
- Content monitoring: E-mail alerts based on stored queries.
According to Lubor Ptacek, director of product marketing, ECI Services provides the "first steppingstone" of the company's strategy. He stated, "Virtual repository is the ultimate vision." He said ECI moves customers toward a virtual repository "by focusing on discovery and access for content located outside the Documentum repository."
The piece yet to be added is the ability to manage the content in the other repositories. Connie Moore, vice president at Forrester Research, thinks ECIS is an appealing product and of value to the Documentum customer and prospect base. She explained: "The biggest drawback of the Documentum product is that it is not bidirectional (in other words you can get content out of the system, but you can't update content in the systems). So it really is for content aggregation. Documentum does not plan to add bidirectional access (which would really be needed in order to have virtual repositories) for the next 12 months."
Content integration is a pressing need, stated Moore, in a 2004 report entitled The Content Integration Imperative. According to a Forrester study, 43 percent of respondents used more than five unstructured content repositories across the enterprise, and, of those, 25 percent had more than 15. Moore wrote: "By implementing enterprise content integration (ECI) software, organizations can access content in heterogeneous and legacy repositories without being forced to undergo expensive custom integration or costly and time-consuming migration efforts. While content repositories can be integrated on a point-to-point basis through systems integration or accessed through portals using aggregation and/or federated search, a content integration layer linking virtual repositories bidirectionally is the best approach and will dominate the content integration landscape."
Vendors offering ECI products include Venetica, WindFire Technology, and Context Media. An ECM vendor that provides bidirectional ECI is Vignette.
If you want more information, EMC is hosting an online seminar to introduce Documentum ECI Services. The 1-hour seminar will take place on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004, at 10:00 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST. To register, visit: http://www.documentum.com/events.