Posts Tagged ‘ECM Stack’

Clearview ECM 5.0 is here!

November 4, 2008

Clearview Software—the leading provider of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions that complement and extend Microsoft technologies including SharePoint—proudly announces the release of Clearview ECM 5.0, bringing to market their new Business Process Management module as well as intelligent indexing and index validation, external data access, compatibility with Kofax 8.0, and more.

The fully-integrated Business Process Management module (workflow) reduces implementation costs while automating content-centric processes to improve user productivity, information sharing, and collaboration of documents in Clearview and SharePoint. Information workers can manage and monitor workflow activity from the intuitive Clearview Client, which was inspired by the Fluent User Interface in Microsoft Office 2007.

“Organizations will be able to leverage the tremendous efficiencies provided by a solution built on a content-centric business process management product,” says Clearview Channel Services Manager Daniel Mayernik. “The Clearview 5.0 Ultimate Edition delivers the unique advantage of content-centric business process management—the content that drives business processes. Clearview provides built-in support for content events, enabling new content added to any of the Clearview Virtual ECM Domain repositories to trigger a new workflow or complete a current workflow, based on an organization’s unique business rules and policies.”

With Clearview EMC 5.0, no data is left behind. Upgraded to 62-bit, Clearview continues to extend enterprise-class content management capabilities to SharePoint and can also connect to external data sources such as an ODBC database or flat file for quick look-ups of data throughout the enterprise. Document Management Customers will also find that the new compatibility with Kofax 8.0 enables rapid document class synchronization.

Image Access Corporation Joins Clearview Authorized Partner Network

September 26, 2008

Clearview Software-known as a market leader for its fresh, new approach to Enterprise Content Management (ECM)-announces the addition of Image Access Corporation to the Clearview Authorized Partner Network. Under the terms of the partnership agreement, Image Access Corporation, which has provided document image capture, workflow, and storage solutions for more than 20 years, has incorporated Clearview into their solution portfolio as a premiere Content Management solution provider.

“We are excited that Image Access Corporation joined the Clearview Authorized Partner Network,” said Steven Leichtman, senior vice president of Clearview Software. “The combination of their extensive ECM experience and the robust nature of Clearview ECM will provide their customers with a powerful solution to meet business requirements today and well into the future.”

With the advanced ECM functionality of Clearview, organizations can intelligently store and manage their business information, files, and documents. Together with Image Access Corporation, Clearview will continue to leverage document management to eliminate storage issues and assist organizations with their audit and compliance efforts to ensure proper archival of critical business information.

“With the progression of SharePoint in the ECM market, we feel that Clearview sees the big picture, and provides a product that truly elaborates on the characteristics of historical document management services, and exploits its ability to live and breathe as a natural part of the SharePoint ecosystem,” said Image Access President, John Cassidy.

“Image Access has been providing document imaging and content management solutions for over 20 years. Our ability to respond to market demands with solutions around SharePoint, allows us to position Clearview in a way that can add value to the untapped potential in every organization’s document-centric processes.”

Clearview Announces Release of Clearview™ 4.1 ECM Suite

June 24, 2008

Clearview Software, the premier innovators of contemporary Microsoft® SharePoint® based Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions designed exclusively for Microsoft technology environments, today announced the release of ClearviewTM 4.1, an update to the popular next-generation Clearview ECM software suite.

Available today to customers and partners around the world, Clearview 4.1 represents significant enhancements and new features designed for the emerging requirements of business organizations and the general ECM market. Clearview 4.1 incorporates enhancements such as expanded support for highly complex SharePoint implementation configurations, a new AJAX/ASP.NET based web browser client, and a new Microsoft Office Suite plug-in – all delivering deeper integration of Clearview Content Services with Office 2003 and Office 2007 user experiences.

“We chose Clearview based upon its cutting-edge approach to ECM along with how seamlessly it fits into our Microsoft-technology infrastructure,” said David Mansfield, Executive Vice President and CFO of The Provident Bank, an independent community bank headquartered in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

“Our information workers love the simplicity of the Clearview user interfaces. Even our external auditors have commented that it’s the best system that they have ever used.”

Clearview’s ECM innovation emphasis continues to be centered on the value-add extension Clearview brings to the SharePoint-based ECM market. According to Kyle McNabb, Principal Analyst and Research Director at Forrester Research in the November 2007 The Forrester WaveTM: Enterprise Content Management Suites, Q4 2007, “SharePoint is an especially good fit for (ECM) buyers who: 1) Choose Microsoft to address their collaboration needs; 2) Will look elsewhere for transactional content-centric support; and 3) Want to leverage their investments in Microsoft.”

Clearview has introduced a fresh approach to ECM that uniquely leverages the native ECM capabilities of SharePoint as core components of the Clearview suite architecture. By extending SharePoint with transactional document imaging, report management (COLD), and business process management, Clearview delivers enterprise-class ECM functionality that rivals legacy ECM products. Furthermore, the Office 2007 user experience provided throughout the Clearview client interface provides information workers with a familiar Microsoft experience designed to promote ease-of-use and rapid adoption of ECM on every worker desktop.

The Value of SharePoint-based ECM Solutions

January 2, 2008

2007 has been recorded and archived into our history books. In the technology sector, it was quite a year and no recent activity has generated the relevant phenomenon that Microsoft® SharePoint® has created within the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) segment of the software market.

While virtually every ECM vendor with some market presence or name recognition has announced their “integration” with SharePoint, there have been few to adopt SharePoint as a cornerstone of their ECM platform. With SharePoint’s rich and deep inventory of ECM functionality designed to meet the business needs of the masses, customers seeking out and evaluating SharePoint-based ECM solutions will clearly become a pervasive business trend in 2008 – and beyond.

Attractive Cost Promotes Widespread User Adoption
One clearly compelling interest in SharePoint for ECM deployments is the perceived attractive cost model. While there is still some confusion about SharePoint being “free” (Windows SharePoint Services is incorporated into the licensing of Windows Server 2008), even the more costly Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) creates a very wide price differential between it and traditional ECM product license costs. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that license is only one part of the total cost of ownership – the services required to create an ECM solution from scratch on top of the SharePoint base platform can be sizable given that it is a platform and not an “out-of-the-box” ECM solution.

Next-generation SharePoint-based ECM solutions provide organizations with similar license and associated services costs savings over traditional ECM products, while providing rich and valuable extended functionality for enterprise-class associated content services on top of the SharePoint platform. With these new and attractive license and pricing models, companies can now afford to adopt ECM across the entirety of the business enterprise.

Extend SharePoint to Complete the “ECM Stack”
Even with rich and deep functionality, one could easily view SharePoint’s ECM capabilities to be centered around Microsoft-generated content since SharePoint provides excellent Document Management, Forms Management, Web Content Management, and Email Management services. Yet core ECM transactional content functionality such as Document Scanning and Imaging, Report Management, and Enterprise-class Business Process Management (BPM) are not provided natively within SharePoint today. Microsoft very publicly directs customers to leverage Partner built solutions to deliver specific ECM components such as Document Imaging to fill any functional disparity.

Modern SharePoint-based ECM solutions take this one step further by providing a comprehensive and highly-unified ECM suite built upon SharePoint that delivers complete ECM functionality and management (also known as the “ECM stack”) for all forms of business content. SharePoint-based ECM suites further extend SharePoint’s native ECM attributes with rich, enterprise-class features like Advanced Content Lifecycles, Unified Policy Administration, Central Audit Logging and Reporting, and Intelligent Content Organization – all features normally associated with much more costly ECM solutions.

The Perfect Fit within the IT Infrastructure and the Desktop
True SharePoint-based suites provide a most compelling case for the appropriate and sound fit within the modern business IT environment. With Microsoft’s substantial presence on corporate desktops and inside the IT infrastructure, it is easily understandable why the utilization of SharePoint functionality for ECM solutions is attractive to Microsoft-centric organizations.

User Adoption via the Familiar Microsoft User Experience
While cost can be a limiting factor to broad organizational adoption of legacy ECM solutions, the usability or classic “ease-of-use” has caused many ECM deployments to fail. This is attributed to the complexity and cumbersome nature of legacy ECM systems not being designed for the modern information worker (end user). With Microsoft Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007, Microsoft has delivered rich ECM functionality seamlessly woven into the fabric of Microsoft’s desktop applications. These capabilities along with future Microsoft ECM functionalities embedded into the desktop will undoubtedly become the de facto standard for content and collaborative ECM process functions. This will drive a significant and painful divide between the organic functionality historically developed by legacy ECM vendors and the new Microsoft-associated standards for ECM functionality being continually introduced onto the desktop.

By leveraging contemporary SharePoint-based ECM suites, the familiar Microsoft interface and user experience is carried elegantly from the authoring applications and information worker applications, and will continue throughout the associated content lifecycle within the ECM content application itself. The Microsoft familiar experience and associated intuitive interface promote rapid user acceptance and broaden the successful adoption and deployment rates that can be experienced around the ECM suite implementation.

The New Wave of SharePoint-based ECM: Beyond “Integration”
Responding to the tidal wave of interest around SharePoint within the ECM software community, legacy ECM vendors quickly introduced their SharePoint integration. Virtually every integration announcement has been a “co-existence” approach that does not provide incremental value or aggregate business enhancement to maintain the continued usage of a legacy ECM product.

SharePoint-based ECM solutions extend native SharePoint functionality with the added value of transactional Document Imaging, Report Management, and BPM, along with enterprise-class Unified Policies and Content Services rivaling the older and costly, yet recognizable names in the ECM industry. They also deliver Microsoft-only functional experiences around native SharePoint capabilities such as Document Management, Forms Management, Email Management and Web Content Management – with enterprise-wide standard functionality and consistency. There is little doubt that SharePoint will raise the bar for the ECM community and it will raise the associated value that consumer organizations will reap from emerging SharePoint-based ECM suites.

The savvy IT executive or business manager who explores SharePoint-based suites for ECM strategies will find that they can achieve enhanced business content control and management, broaden user adoption across the enterprise, and enjoy higher, longer-lasting returns on their ECM investments. This can all be achieved while minimizing the impact on both the information worker desktop as well as the internal IT operational infrastructure. This is the value that users of SharePoint-based ECM suites will experience in 2008 – and well into the future.

Andrews Crosby & Associates, Ltd. Selects Clearview as Enterprise Content Management Partner

October 30, 2007

Clearview Software, the premier innovators of contemporary Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions designed exclusively for Microsoft® technology environments, is pleased to announce that Andrews Crosby & Associates, Ltd., a consulting firm specializing in the development of innovative enterprise-wide Business Process Management (BPM) solutions, have selected Clearview as their ECM partner solution and have joined the Clearview Global Select Partner Program.

Under this partnership, Andrews Crosby & Associates will be trained and certified to sell the Clearview solution, which will enable Clearview to leverage the expertise and strong relationships of Andrews Crosby & Associates in diverse markets, such as legal and healthcare. With the addition of Clearview, Andrews Crosby & Associates brings to their portfolio a fresh, new ECM solution that encapsulates Microsoft® SharePoint®, while addressing many of the advanced ECM functional requirements of their customers and their market.

“We chose to partner with Clearview and market their ECM product because it meets our customers’ demand for an innovative and easy to use ECM solution,” said Jack Hodys, Vice President of Consulting Services for Andrews Crosby & Associates.

“The functionality of the Clearview IRISS Desktop Gadget is one of the main reasons we chose Clearview. We are amazed with the IRISS and its ability to improve productivity by providing our customers quick, on-demand access to content from their line of business and desktop applications.”

“Clearview is pleased to welcome Andrews Crosby & Associates into the Clearview Global Select Partner Program,” said Steve Leichtman, Senior Vice President of Sales for Clearview Software. “The expertise and business application knowledge that Andrews Crosby & Associates brings to their market is highly regarded and Clearview is proud to have our ECM platform selected for their customers.”

Clearview is the first “next-generation” ECM solution that has been designed to bring a fresh, new approach to how organizations implement and use content. Built 100% from the ground up on .NET and exclusively for the Microsoft technology platform, Clearview uniquely encapsulates Microsoft SharePoint as a core component of the Clearview ECM architecture and delivers enterprise-class, rich ECM functionality that extends the ECM components of the SharePoint platform.

Defining ECM and where SharePoint® Fits

August 1, 2007

In my last column, I discussed some of the news hype along with the positive effects and potential impacts on the ECM industry that has or will come about with Microsoft’s recent Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) introduction.

Since the last column, Microsoft has announced that SharePoint has generated $800 million in revenue and is projecting a whopping $1 billion impact in 2008.

If this doesn’t spell “g-a-m-e c-h-a-n-g-i-n-g” then I am not sure what it takes to get folks to realize it really IS a whole, new ballgame – for customers, for vendors, and for the broader ECM industry.

Now one of the biggest challenges that has come about from the hype and the huge Microsoft marketing blitz around SharePoint and ECM has been defining “what is SharePoint?” or maybe more importantly “what isn’t SharePoint?” when it comes to describing an ECM solution. In our discussion today, we’re going to review this question and help readers understand, with the aid of some newly crafted Microsoft positioning, exactly where SharePoint fits within an ECM strategy.

To begin: let’s first define ECM or “Enterprise Content Management.” Well, on second thought, that itself could take another two or three month’s worth of columns to cover in its entirety. Let me better narrow my focus to illustrate how most of the industry uses the term “ECM” and what we mean by an ECM solution.

Enterprise Content Management as a term (most credit Documentum for its origination and definition) is not illustrative of the market segment to which solutions are offered (e.g. enterprise, mid-market, small to medium businesses, etc.). Rather, ECM describes a suite that is capable of managing literally all types of business content and the associated technologies and functionality needed to support the capture, storage, management, protection, and delivery of the business content. This seems to fall in line with the usage of the “enterprise” classification, even Microsoft is using this to describe richer functional editions of SQL 2005 and SharePoint itself.

So what are the required functions and technologies of true Enterprise Content Management solutions? Gartner, Forrester, and other analyst groups are now defining specific guidelines in order for a vendor to be able to include their product suite in the ECM category. These guidelines suggest that a vendor must deliver five or six portions of what we call the “ECM stack” in order to be truly categorized and recognized as an ECM provider. One of the reasons for this is that many vendors that provided isolated components of the stack were calling themselves ECM vendors. This is one of the mistakes the AIIM/ECM community has made for years – confusion in posturing and definitions. In response, the analysts have tightened up in order to mitigate some of this confusion.

The “ECM stack” is loosely defined, but most vendors would acknowledge that it is comprised of a majority of the following core technology functions:
a. Document Imaging (including Capture/Scan technologies)
b. Document Management
c. Enterprise Report Management (COLD)
d. Web Content Management
e. Email Management
f. Forms Management
g. Records Management and Retention Services
h. Workflow & Business Process Management (BPM)

Some vendors might also include Digital Asset Management as a component of the stack, and there may still be others I’ve neglected here. But for our purposes, and for defining SharePoint’s position within the ECM category, we’ll limit our stack to the above list.

In my previous column, I mentioned that one of the issues when Microsoft first began messaging and positioning SharePoint within this market was that the usage of the term “ECM” was a little loose and invoked broader functional attributes than what SharePoint could really support or offer out
of the box. This confusion extended around the market from customers, to industry analysts, through resellers and vendors – and perhaps right on into Microsoft internally. Many actually thought SharePoint could be a full spectrum, head-on alternative to the broader and richer ECM suites offered by industry icons like EMC Documentum, IBM, OpenText, and others. However, after further due diligence, it was discovered that while SharePoint’s functionality is rich and quite impressive on many fronts, it is not a full ECM suite or end-to-end “stack” solution; rather, it offers a portion or contribution toward a complete ECM solution.

Now some may not agree with this next statement, but I think many will agree that eventually Microsoft “gets it right.” And to their credit, they have worked closely with various ECM industry analysts, vendors, and other interested constituents to refine their positioning (as most vendors do over the life of their solutions and products). I think many in the industry will be quite pleased with the outcome as this refined and narrowed focus for the strengths of SharePoint is presented to the market.

Essentially, Microsoft has most recently referred to SharePoint’s key functionalities as “ECM Sub- Capabilities.” This messaging highlights that there are key attributes or components of the broader ECM stack that SharePoint fulfills quite nicely – and others that it currently does not speak to. Below is
an excerpt from a recent slide deck presented by Microsoft personnel to illustrate this new positioning.

Sub-Capabilities of SharePoint

Sub-Capabilities of SharePoint

This slide clearly highlights the strengths and rich functionality that SharePoint provides with the latest release. As you can note, Microsoft highlights four key areas:
a. Document Management
b. Records Management (we believe this also includes Email Management)
c. Forms
d. Web Content Management

Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t other capabilities that SharePoint can fulfill – especially with partner-provided solutions that round out the stack. But let’s save that discussion for another month’s topic… So the best way to think of SharePoint based upon this messaging today is that it truly does provide some great “sub-capabilities” or portions of the broader ECM stack. But today it cannot be seen or classified as a full ECM solution on its own without the complement of partner provided components and solutions.