BPM and ECM Intersecting?

Leonor Ciarlone from the Gilbane Group has a good post on “The ECM and BPM Intersection”. Her comment:

I am positive that this is not a “never the twain shall meet” situation when it comes to content strategies and ECM technologies. Process and content are siblings; it is only a matter of time before many of the isolated technologies that support both will merge in a more tangible manner than simple workflow.

Made me think…The mature ECM suites all have document centric workflow as a core capability. More of the larger ECM vendors are expanding this functionality to include full fledged BPM as defined by the Gartner research report “Business Process Management: Preparing for the Process-Managed Organization” last year.

BPM is a management practice that provides for governance of a process environment toward the goal of improving agility and operational performance. BPM is a structured approach employing methods, policies, metrics, management practices and software tools to manage and continuously optimize an organization’s activities and processes.

I think this intersection is already happening and is being fueled by three things:

  1. The move to open XML file formats like Open Document Format and the alternative from Microsoft, Open XML File Format
  2. Web Services being embraced by not only by customers but being supported by the major ECM vendors
  3. The growing buzz, hype, and popularity around BPM and the fact this BPM market is heating up

The ECM vendors do not want to be left behind and see the “ECM Lite” or core content management services being provided by Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft (oh yeah, and Alfresco for Open Source) being combined with stand alone mature and functionally rich BPM suites to replace the “single belly button” ECM value proposition.

I think the acquisition of ProActivity by EMC can be looked at two ways: First, not really an intersection but maybe EMC Software Division recognized that the current “BPM” capability in Documentum was not up to snuff and needed a boost; or could it be that like Oracle (The Oracle Buying Spree), they see the smaller companies out there with specific technical capabilities and niche set of customers an annoyance as well as opportunity and they find it easy to just gobble them up and remove the unnecessary competition and add another capability to the toolbox.

What do you think?

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Dabbling With ECM in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

One of the Blogs I read regularly is Patrick Tisseghem's Blog [MVP SharePoint]. Patrick always has informative posts about how to leverage Office & SharePoint for building business solutions. I really like the fact that although he is making a living as a Microsoft Partner he freely shares his knowledge and insight with others.

He beat me to the punch and broke the following:

"Another thing, Microsoft released the Enterprise Content Management Starter Kit. This is an excellent set of ECM feature extension code samples, supplemental developer white papers, and Microsoft® Visual Studio® project templates for workflow in Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 (Beta 2 version)."

But hey, he is currently in Singapore conducting some training for Microsoft and has a 12 hour head start!

Anyway, the ECM Starter Kit provides some useful tools for exploring the ECM capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

The Enterprise Content Management Starter Kit (Beta 2) is a preliminary release for solution providers, independent software vendors, value-added resellers, and other developers to learn about how to extend the new ECM features and platform in Office SharePoint Server 2007. It contains the following:

White Papers

  • 2007 Office System Digital Signatures Developers Guide
  • 2007 Office System Encryption Developers Guide
  • Information Rights Management – Pluggable Rights Management, Technical Overview

Code Sample Projects
Content Processing

  • Term Replacement Document Inspector Module
  • Document Converters (server-side custom property remover, docm-to-docx converter)

Records Management and Policy

  • De-Duplication Router
  • Document Integrity Verifier
  • Records Repository Web Service Console Application
  • Search, Collect, and Hold Tool


  • Custom ECM Activities
  • Hello World Sequential Workflow
  • State Based Approval Workflow
  • Modification Workflow
  • Replication and Contact Selector Workflow
  • Collect Feedback Workflow
  • Multi-Stage Workflow
  • Server-side Collect Signatures Workflow

Visual Studio Project Templates for SharePoint Workflow

  • SharePoint Sequential Workflow Library
  • SharePoint State Machine Workflow Library

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