Adobe Systems seems primed to take the Enterprise Content Management business by storm. Their Adobe LiveCycle ES (Enterprise Suite) has just been updated with the content management capabilities of enterprise content management provider Alfresco, helping them deliver to their customers an integrated solution that encompasses data capture, document output, content services and more.
According to Alfresco, this new technology partnership represents a shared vision "for a new class of applications that utilize flexible, open source and Web 2.0 standards that deliver rich and engaging enterprise experiences".
What is Adobe LiveCycle ES?
For those of you who don't know much about Adobe LiveCycle, here's a quick run down. It is productivity software that includes much of the enterprise content management capabilities we often talk about. It includes capabilities such as:
* Document Capture - including Forms, Reader Extensions, Data Services and Barcoded Forms
* Information Assurance - including Rights Management and Digital Signatures
* Document Output - including both PDF Generator and PDF Generator 3D, Output and Production Print
* Process Management - including Process Management and Business Activity Monitoring
* Content Services - including Content Services and Connectors for ECMs Adobe LiveCycle enables you to develop business processes that include a mixture of both printed and electronic communications, including the ability to create rich, interactive web applications.
The suite is based on the J2EE technology platform and leverages Adobe Flex, Flash, PDF and XML, HTML and Ajax, and AIR software to deliver rich user interfaces.
LiveCycle won a Dr. Dobb's Journal Jolt Award in March for Productivity Winner for the Enterprise Tools Category. The Jolt Awards recognize products, book and websites that have "jolted" the industry in the past year. Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (ES) Update 1 The new version of LiveCycle, dubbed Adobe® LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (ES) Update 1 includes a number of enhancements including:
* An integrated Content Services via Aflresco ECM
* A 3D PDF Generator
* Integration of Adobe Flex 3 and Adobe AIR
* Extension of Rights Management to include protection for Office 2007 and PTC Pro/ENGINEER files
Alfresco Content Management for the OEM
Alfresco is one of the most well-known open source enterprise content management providers. They also claim to be the first ECM to OEM their product. It is used by leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Value Added Resellers (VARs).
Alfresco provides the following functionality as an embedded repository for applications:
* Document Management
* Web Content Management
* Records Management
* Image Management
There are a number of reasons why you would choose to embed an ECM like Alfresco into your applications instead of building one from scratch or trying to integrate with one. This would include the time, effort and cost to integrate a full-blown ECM.
Alfresco's selling points include the size of the repository download, a scalable standards-based JSR-170 repository, easy to install and rollout and rapid development with API sets for REST, Web Services, Java and JSR-170.
Of course you also get all the training, product support and marketing benefits of a top ECM.
Adding Alfresco CMS to Adobe LiveCycle
This is not Adobe's first foray into open source. In 2007 they released portions of the Flex SDK under the Mozilla Public License (MPL).
So it should come as no real surprise that when they started thinking about enhancing the Content Services of LiveCycle that they looked to a provider with an open source model. Of course the fact that they are both Java based solutions adhering to open standards didn't hurt either.
The addition of Alfresco ECM as an integrated set of Content Services enables Adobe LiveCycle customers to deeply integrate enterprise content with business processes and applications. Organizations can use the content services to collaborate, create, store, manage and secure content as an integrated part of their complete engagement.
Adobe's senior vice president of the Business Productivity Business unit stated that along with Alfresco's open source model, their ability to support Flex and Web 2.0 technologies were good reasons to choose them. Especially since most Adobe solutions have very rich internet interfaces. "By bringing together our technologies, now our customers can quickly create a business process or application with the LiveCycle technology platform that is deeply integrated with enterprise content."
According to Alfresco CEO John Powell, "Adobe's decision to embed Alfresco in the Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite validates not only Alfresco's momentum but also the acceptance of open source throughout the industry." It also doesn't hurt them to get a foot in the door of the many government and financial organizations that Adobe works with.
While open source is slowly starting to make inroads into the corporate world, a move like this certainly helps Alfresco prove that open source technology is just as good as the proprietary brands.