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Will CMIS Kill the Content Connector Industry?

No one will argue that we need technologies and solutions that help us pull together and share content and information from the various content repositories we have in our organizations today. Gone are the days of single repositories for everything. That's why companies are diving deep into the content connector market to provide solutions to integrate content between repositories.

That's also why CMIS is such a desired specification for the enterprise content management market. But will this new spec, expected to be out late spring for a public review, be the demise of the content connector market?

CMIS vs Content Connectors

The Content Connector market is a booming business considering the number of organizations who have more than one content repository solution in house. The proliferation of SharePoint implementations alone, along with more robust enterprise level content management systems in a single organization demonstrate that organizations need to ensure their information can be easily exchanged between their systems.

Content Connectors help you expose the information in your ECM systems to third-party applications. In some cases they are bi-directional, meaning you can retrieve and send content to the ECM the connector interacts with. In other cases, connectors are built to work between two specific solutions (as is the case with the Mainsoft SharePoint Federator for Lotus Notes).

With the reality of a public review of CMIS, the new content management interoperability specification, coming soon you have to wonder if vendors like EntropySoft and Vorsite, who specialize in the development of content connectors, are worried about their business.

We asked EntropySoft's Marketing Manager, Serge Guillerme if there was actually cause for concern. He told us that CMIS is a strong validation of their business focus for the last 4 years and is simply another sign of the market need for content integration technologies.

"Even if CMIS is still in the defining stages, we believe that its existence and the important interest generated by its inception is a market-wide validation of EntropySoft’s technological choices on connectivity and interoperability."

Guillerme indicated that the CMIS specification is very similar to their own API. This will make it easier for EntropySoft to implement the spec into their product roadmap. We asked what that roadmap for CMIS connectors was, but they said they'd have to kill us if we knew, so we can't share that information with you. What's important to note is that they are thinking about it and actively working on it.

CMIS Covers the Basics of Interoperability

CMIS is a much more generic specification however, trying to focus on the basic interoperability needs of the majority of organizations. So while it may be the most appropriate solution in many cases, there will still be the need for specialized connectors.

Guillerme agrees saying that "…many of our clients need technological solutions that have to answer very complex functional and technical constraints. EntropySoft therefore offers a very wide scope of features which are specifically designed according to each relevant market."

Content connector vendors will, as EntropySoft clearly indicates, have to provide some solutions that follow the CMIS specification. But where they are likely to make their money, is still in the specialized solutions that require much more integration or functionality.

Also, remember that CMIS is really about document management. It doesn't cover Records Management or Web Content Management. And these also require content integration capabilities.

While the big ECMs like IBM, Alfresco, Microsoft and EMC demonstrate how CMIS works to integrate their content management systems with each other (and others), we wait to see how these other specialized connector vendors integrate the specification into their offerings.

All in One Place, A List of Content Connectors

CMSWire has brought you numerous announcements of new content connectors for a variety of enterprise content management systems. Here we list some of these for a quick review:

 

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