Wednesday Sep 28, 2011

Enterprise Content Management: SharePoint vs. WebCenter

You’ve heard of SharePoint, and you may have tried to use it to share content. But if you’re looking to deploy a comprehensive enterprise content management strategy for your entire company – especially if you have many organizations spread across the globe – is SharePoint really the right answer?

Today, we’re interviewing Jason Lamon, Senior Marketing Associate at Fishbowl Solutions. With over 11 years of experience in the content management industry, Jason has helped hundreds of customers develop their content management strategy, many of which have had to rationalize their use of SharePoint. Read on to hear his insight and enterprise content management strategies.

Q: What are the top five thing people should look for in an enterprise content management system?

A: Most enterprise content management systems include standard, out-of-the-box features such as check-in and check-out, versioning, and workflow. However, if you peel back the functionality layers a little further you will find that comprehensive enterprise content management capabilities are harder to come by. These capabilities include records management, digital asset management (conversions and renditions), and document imaging (document capture, forms recognition, etc.). The top 5 things organizations should consider when evaluating an enterprise content management system are:

  • Governance – manage and control access to business critical information from a central content repository
  • Scalability – easily scale (without much administration) to the growing content demands faced by organizations
  • Comprehensive – supports all content use cases (document capture and imaging, renditions and conversions, records management, etc.)
  • Integrated – provide in-context content management capabilities within other enterprise systems (enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management – for example)
  • Admin Champion – This may seem obvious, but this has been a major issue with SharePoint deployments – no oversight or accountability. Before deploying an ECM system, organizations need to identify the key person or persons that will be responsible for sustaining and expanding the system taking into consideration file naming conventions, metadata, and security.

Q: When working with customers on deploying enterprise content management solutions, do they have existing solutions or are they looking for a new enterprise content management system?

A: Every customer we work with is storing content somewhere – there’s content in applications, file systems, work groups, SharePoint, Documentum, WebCenter, etc. However, most of these solutions lead to silos of content within the enterprise. Oracle WebCenter is unique because it provides a single scalable enterprise repository that enables de-duplication and searching across all content. Unless you have a platform like WebCenter, content cannot be shared effectively across the organization while staying in synch. On the flip side, we see a lot of customers struggling with SharePoint. It’s something the organization has access to, and they store content in it. It develops into silos of content, is not integrated with enterprise applications out of the box, and the silos often go dormant, leaving incorrect information throughout the enterprise.

Q: So, what’s on the mind of the IT team at companies today that have deployed SharePoint?

A: Most organizations that are using SharePoint for document management did not make the strategic decision to do so. Instead, SharePoint was typically part of their licensing, and since they had it and paid for it, they started using it. So from an IT perspective, they didn’t have much control or planning around how it would be used and by which groups of people. This fact alone has led to SharePoint being used across organizations with sites popping up everywhere while governance is almost non-existent. So, IT teams are really struggling with balancing users’ needs for workgroup collaboration, with the IT problem of having silos of content everywhere. As a result, IT teams need to put in place a content management strategy that utilizes and maintains one repository for all enterprise content.

Q: How do you recommend companies move towards one repository for all enterprise content?

A: Well, for starters, you need to invest in an ECM system that gets rid of silos. Oracle WebCenter is a great example of this as it provides the ability to search not only all the content in WebCenter, it can enable searching of other systems as well.

Q: So if a customer already has SharePoint, how can people align their SharePoint implementations with a comprehensive ECM solution like Oracle WebCenter?

A: Industry statistics suggest that around 70% of organizations have more than one ECM system, and 50% have more than three. The objective should be to synchronize all content into one ECM system that can then integrate with all the places that people need content (including business processes and enterprise applications). This ensures the content is not duplicated and that it is available where it is needed. To simplify the integration of SharePoint content into Oracle WebCenter, Fishbowl Solutions offers a SharePoint Connector. It integrates Microsoft SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter so that any content that is added, edited or saved to a new or existing SharePoint site is automatically stored in Oracle WebCenter instead of disparate Microsoft SQL Servers. WebCenter has the scalability to handle the content, while providing strong governance from an easily discoverable repository. If the content needs to be integrated to backend applications, this is easily achieved with the many out-of-the-box connectors provided by Oracle WebCenter. Users continue to use SharePoint for work-in-progress collaboration, while increasing enterprise content control, governance, and scalability through Oracle WebCenter.

Q: How are people using the Fishbowl Solutions SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content and what have the results been?

A: Fishbowl’s SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content is highly configurable. Organizations can configure it per SharePoint document library and select documents to be stored in Oracle WebCenter Content by library, folder location, file size or extension. These configuration options make it easy for organizations to deploy the connector yet make it transparent to the end user. Thus far, deploying organizations have used the connector to bridge project management, digital assets for websites, and even engineering drawings from SharePoint to Oracle WebCenter Content.

By integrating SharePoint content into Oracle WebCenter, our customers now have a comprehensive and scalable enterprise wide content management system where governance can be enforced. Additionally, they’ve rationalized the content silos they previously had, and now have the added benefit of being able to easily integrate the content users are collaborating on back into their backend applications.

Q: It sounds like the Fishbowl Solutions’ SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content is an efficient way for SharePoint users to integrate with Oracle WebCenter and start taking advantage of the many benefits this user engagement platform has to offer. How can people find out more about your connector?

A: Yes, our connector is a great way to integrate SharePoint content with WebCenter. In fact, Fishbowl Solutions’ SharePoint Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content has achieved Oracle Validated Integration. For more information please visit the Fishbowl Solutions Website. You can also visit us next week at Oracle OpenWorld in booth #1943 Moscone South.

Thanks Jason. For more information about Oracle WebCenter, visit http://www.oracle.com/moveoff/sharepoint

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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