CMIS – what are the adoption plans for 2011?

Genesis launched a survey,in 2010, to determine the CMIS Adoption Plans 2011. In this post, I examine the results of the survey and make a few observations.

CMIS Adoption Plans 2011

I’ve been following the CMIS protocol from when it was a “cool idea” till when it became a ratified protocol and have been seriously wondering what impact it would have on the ECM world (click here for an earlier post).

there needs to be application vendor adoption to really create impact.


A Short Survey on CMS and CMIS

I’m not sure how scientific Generis’ survey was or how many companies were surveyed. And the resulting whitepaper is…I have to say it…ugly.

In any case here is a summary of their findings:

  • Most of the companies that responded to the survey use multiple Content Management Systems
  • 26% of the respondents are looking at moving to a common platform, while 52% have no plans, and will keep the systems they have
  • 40% are planning a new system, and 43% are planning system upgrades. Just under 40% are planning content migration. (Note – each respondent may be planning more than one project next year).
  • CMIS doesn’t seem to play a big part in the projects.
  • 87% state that Usability and UI are critical, while 75% consider Richness of Functionality as a High requirement.

You can read more about the survey here in Generis’ “Content Management Plans for 2011 – A Short Survey on CMS and CMIS“

What does this all mean?

What does this all mean? Well, based on Generis’ survey, it seems that CMIS will not be pushed by the users in 2011.

However, other bloggers have also made comments on the future of CMIS in 2011. Laurence Hart predicted at the end of 2009 that 2010 would not be the year of CMIS. In his predictions, he quoted Lee Dallas who said, “there needs to be application vendor adoption to really create impact.” True! Especially looking at the survey results from Generis.

Will it happen?

So will a vendor step up and “force” the others to follow suit? Many vendors have already put into place CMIS functionality (either in the form of a server, or a client). Microsoft introduced in it SharePoint 2007 (administration pack), and it is included as out-of-the-box in SharePoint 2010. Drupal have been busy. As has Alfresco. IBM (FileNet) introduced support for CMIS in V5.0 of the FileNet Content Manager. EMC promises CMIS support in Documentum 6.7.

It seems that each ECM vendor has been quietly toiling away to support CMIS.

But to what end? Is it a case of “Field of Dreams”, where (to paraphrase) “It has to be built before they come”.


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The true value of CMIS

In this post, I delve into the true value that CMIS will dish up to the ECM world.

Improve Interoperability

John Newton has written a blog called “Irrational Exuberance on CMIS?

In it he describes how he…

“… believes CMIS can transform the ECM industry, allow for significant growth and spawn whole new companies and markets.”

John was on the CMIS panel at AIIM and relates how others on the panel didn’t have the same enthusiasm for CMIS as he did.

(Before I go any further -if your asking “What the heck is CMIS?”, I recommend you click on this link and read what Wikipedia have to say about it.)

True Value of CMIS

I agree with John’s comment in his post – CMIS isn’t going to expose all the functionality of the various ECM systems, but it will improve interoperability, and this will be BIG.

A document management’s repository will now be accessible. Not only through the client for the specific enterprise content management system, but also from other enterprise content management systems.

Is there a hidden agenda?

This is great news! I am really stoked about this. I think that it has great advantages. 

However, the cynical part of me looks at this, and thinks “Hmm..”. Why? 

Because the cynical part of me understands that Microsoft was one of the first companies involved in the CMIS initiative. 

And if you were trying to sell a wonderful new system such as SharePoint, one of the biggest hurdles for companies will be the fact that a lot of companies will have many, many documents stored in costly, established ECMS.

The fact is – SharePoint is a great application. It provides a wonderfully customizable, familiar user interface, and is great for collaboration. It is also quite good at being an ECM system (with SharePoint 2010 starting to show some real teeth), but companies are unable to just dump their existing ECMS (which usually meets the particular requirements of the business grandly) and switch to a new Microsoft product. There is usually too much tied up in licence costs, as well as processes, and the cost of a migration is something that cannot be taken on without a great deal of planning, and soul-searching.

However, if there was a way that SharePoint could “easily” talk with the existing ECM in a friendly way, it suddenly becomes a lot more attractive. A SharePoint interface could be created that allows users to work in a way that is familiar while connecting to content stored in the existing, built-for-purpose ECM system. The value of Microsoft’s application has increased.

And further to this, with CMIS, there is the opportunity for new applications that can take advantage of the ability to interoperate with multiple disparate Enterprise Content Management system.

This means that the repository will no longer be the silo.

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  • CMIS is here … but where?
  • AIIM’s CMIS Product Guide!!!
  • Latest CMIS survey from Generis
  • CMIS – what are the adoption plans for 2011?

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