Is End-to-End Management in Sight?
Now that the big systems vendors are participating more in CM, better end-to-end management seems closer in sight. "What [IT managers] are really looking for is the ability to administer and monitor the entire system," affirms O'Grady.
Microsoft first stepped into CM several years ago with a .NET server dubbed the Windows Content Management Server. "Through the Jupiter effort, Microsoft is now integrating Content Management Server with DSI for centralized management," O'Grady points out. Microsoft's CM roster includes companies such as Volvo Car Corporation, Royal Canadian Mint, and the State of California Department of General Services.
Sun, for its part, unveiled its first CM initiative just last month. Sun's Sarkar describes the new iForce Content Network as "a small subset of Sun's much broader iForce network." Sun's initial set of thirty CM partners includes well known names like Xerox, Documentum, FileNET, Interwoven, Vignette, and FatWire. Aside from gaining early access to Sun technologies, members can take part in iForce Solutions Centers and go-to-market programs.
When a CM system is well crafted, end users find the advantages almost impossible to escape. "I use The Wellness Connection almost every day now. I can access it from anywhere. I can see multiple charts for a patient, including the previous visits," attests Dr. Clark Headrick, a physician at Genesys.
"Because there is immediate accessibility, I don't have to try to locate the chart on the floor if it is not in medical records, which often used to happen. I have more rapid access to reports such as lab and radiology. In addition, it assists us in our billing process, making it faster," the doctor continues.
End users typically don't even see the underlying intricacies. Tulane's accounts payable system, for example, features a user interface that's been customized to be particularly user-friendly. Underneath the covers, though, DocuShare has been integrated with Cofax. In the future, the university plans to integrate Oracle Financials with the accounting application. Meanwhile, Tulane's medical archiving system is being kept offline for compliance with new HIPAA regulations.
CM-hosted Services -- An Alternative
Hosted services constitute one big alternative to commercially packaged CM systems. Hosted services can be particularly useful to smaller organizations in vertical industries with very specialized content needs, such as health services.
Victory Springs Senior Health Associates has decided to go to market with its Smart E-records, a patient record management system first created for in-house use. In building the system, Victory Springs integrated Lotus Domino with a number of third-party tools and resources, including a PDF integration utility from ITM Associates and ElderPort, a Web-based portal for seniors and their families. The health care provider has already signed its first customer -- a doctor's office -- for its new hosted service, says Victory Springs' Mike Torppey.
Other hosted service providers, such as Akamai, specialize in providing streaming video management services to companies that don't have that sort of high-end expertise on hand in-house.
Many CM-hosted services are more generic. For instance, CrownPeak Advantage CMS serves users that include Consumer Review and the State of Virginia. Atomz Publish, another CM-hosted service, counts New Line Cinema and the San Francisco Ballet among its customers.