Alfresco and Adobe Work Together Again Alfresco Software, creator of the open source Alfresco ECM system, has announced that Adobe Systems has implemented Alfresco's ECM capabilities into the Acrobat.com website. The system will now maintain hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of documents that can be uploaded, shared, converted and collaborated. This marks a giant step forward for Alfresco and all of the open source development community.

Adobe and Alfresco Integrate for Acrobat.com

Adobe and Alfresco recently announced integration between Adobe LiveCycle ES and the Alfresco ECM. Considering that both companies were already familiar with each other, it makes sense that Acrobat.com would receive some lovin' from Alfresco as well.

What is Acrobat.com?

Adobe Acrobat should be a familiar name to anyone who has viewed a PDF using Adobe Reader (formally Acrobat Reader) or used Adobe's products to create or convert PDF files. As the popularity of software-as-a-service solutions increase, Adobe creating an online version of their Acrobat products was just bound to happen. The work from Adobe has resulted in Acrobat.com, which was introduced in June 2008. The Acrobat.com suite is a culmination of several different products and services: * Adobe Buzzword: A Web-based word processor that allows users to collaborate and share documents for comment, review and export. * ConnectNow: A personal Web conferencing solution that allows users to partake in desktop sharing, video and voice conferencing, and integrated chat. * Create PDF: A service that allows users to convert documents to PDF files. * Share: A solution for sharing your files with others without having to send them through e-mail. * My Files: A centralized area for managing, filtering and accessing documents stored on a user's Acrobat.com account.

The Alfresco Approach to ECM

For those of you that don't know, Alfresco combines several different functions of an ECM into a single package: * Document Management * Web Content Management * Records Management * Image Management * Collaboration Alfresco is one of the most well-known open source enterprise content management providers. The company offers solutions to entities that need to manage and collaborate through a shared file drive interface.

Alfresco was the Obvious Choice

Adobe had a problem — the company needed a product that could scale well, support millions of users, store terabytes of data, run parallel with multiple machines, be upgraded while running and allow users to collaborate. Alfresco was the solution. After discussing their moves and showing Adobe a prototype in San Jose, Calif. around 6 months ago, both companies agreed to move forward with putting the site into production. Erik Larson, director of marketing and production management for Acrobat.com, believed that Alfresco would provide Acrobat.com with a solid content management foundation that would allow users to engage in Web-based document management and collaboration services.

The New Backbone to Acrobat.com

As can be currently seen on Acrobat.com, the beta release of the site is functional. Behind the scenes, Alfresco is working its magic. Alfresco's CEO John Powell was delighted to extend the partnership with Adobe and to integrate the Alfresco ECM into the pipeline. Acrobat.com Screenshot
The Acrobat.com Beta
"This was a major undertaking," said Dr. Ian Howells, CMO of Alfresco, while talking with CMSWire about the Alfresco-Adobe deal. "This was a step forward to the consumerization of content management." Mr. Howells' confidence in Alfresco's progress was clearly obvious during the conversation. He continued to tell CMSWire that the resulting product was more than satisfactory. When summarizing Alfresco's and Adobe's efforts, Mr. Howells stated that the hard work resulted in "a great consumerized rich internet application that everyone could use." He was also very impressed with the work that Adobe put into the project. While the most difficult work is completed, the relationship between Alfresco and Adobe could possibly expand in the future as Adobe makes significant strides in its software-as-a-service developments.

What's Next for Alfresco?

The growth in popularity of open source ECM solutions was already impressive, but Adobe's trust in Alfresco with its document management and collaboration while in such a critical and data-filled user environment shows that what Alfresco has accomplished took a lot of hard work. Alfresco has come a long way — the company's quickly garnered success has lead to a bright future with a spectacular past. Mr. Howells recalled that they were aiming for 10,000 downloads within the first month of releasing Alfresco, but the company instead ended up with over 100,000. When asked about the future of Alfresco, Mr. Howells confidently stated that he expects Alfresco to go to mass market. He also pointed out that he believes that enterprise content management is far too expensive and complex for most people to use and open source developers will be producing the next generation of content management systems. With the constant growth in demand for content and document management on many various sizes of businesses, Alfresco is in a great position to further expand their customer base by offering one of the best and well-known alternatives to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. With the introduction of Alfresco Labs v3, Alfresco believes they have the first fully-compatible open source SharePoint repository. Is it possible that an open source ECM provider can take down SharePoint and pave the way for open source content management solutions in the enterprise? Anyone interested in trying out Acrobat.com can check out the live beta. Likewise, those interested can read more about Alfresco on their official site.