Alfresco to stretch ECM to social computing

Alfresco to stretch ECM to social computing

Alfresco is set to upgrade its enterprise content management tool

Enterprise content management (ECM) could be set for some big changes when open-source firm Alfresco later this month releases an upgrade that will integrate with social computing tools such as blogs, wikis and social networks to change the way firms organise and syndicate their content.

Alfresco caused a stir last month by integrating with Facebook but with version 2.9, available in the next two weeks, the company will go much further with integrations for the iGoogle portal, MediaWiki, multiple social networks including Google’s Open Social framework, instant messaging and Adobe’s Flex 2 development tools for creating highly graphical and interactive interfaces.

“We’re on the verge of a massive change in enterprise computing and a lot of it has to do with social computing,” said John Newton, Alfresco chief technology officer. “At the moment, content management is used by maybe 10 per cent of the organisation but as that becomes 70 to 80 per cent, it has to change.”

The changes will come in Alfresco’s 2.9 release that is due for availability this month but other ECM vendors are thought to be also tapping capabilities in social computing for upcoming releases.

The move could also step up the profile of open-source firms in ECM. However, some firms say that parts of the UK remain a challenge.

“What’s interesting about open-source software in the UK public sector is that you need to get on the Office of Government Commerce’s Catalyst catalogue and getting in there is not an easy process,” said Steve Raby, sales director of French open-source ECM firm Nuxeo.

Mike Davis, senior analyst at research firm Ovum, said, “What open source lacks is credible deployment … big corporations or government departments do not want the risk of the vendor not being around in 10 years’ time, particularly if they are doing contract work or managed services. The one open source vendor out there which could pose a challenge and be disruptive is Alfresco.”