ECM vendors are not ready for SOA, say analysts

ECM vendors are not ready for SOA, say analysts

Analyst firm says that SOAs are not viable until proper security solutions are in place

Content management and web analytics analyst firm CMS Watch has said that enterprise content management (ECM) vendors have not yet developed the security capabilities that are needed in service oriented architectures (SOA).

CMS Watch based this theory on a survey that was conducted with 30 ECM vendors.

The report’s lead analyst, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, said “Separating out the SOA hype from the ECM reality remains difficult, as vendors have aggressively positioned their products as SOA-ready – while most are not.”

Pelz-Sharpe said the problem older vendors have, who have been around in the ECM market a long time, is that they are application centric. “As long as you are inside the application everything works fine but as soon as you come out, it doesn’t work anymore,” said Pelz-Sharpe, adding, “SOA is all about working in a common frame-work.”

He added that although the vendors are trying hard to catch up and change, “Many have not re-architected their products from a set of discreet applications.”

For the newer vendors entering the ECM space, such as Alfresco, Nuxeo and Oracle, the problem is more to do with standards. “One of the problems is that the ECM industry doesn’t have its act together,” said Pelz-Sharpe. “If one of the firms supports a security standard, they are not sure if anyone else will.”

ECM vendors are also un-prepared for SOA because they fall short in web service description language (WSDL). “The process behind allowing services to talk and understand each other is not done in an elegant way and this causes problems in security,” Pelz-Sharpe said. “The WSDL code often shares too much information with the other system and this is potentially security fraud.”

Pelz-Sharpe also advised firms to integrate their ECM system with their business process management (BPM) systems. “At the moment firms have to take information out of the ECM system, transport it to where it needs to be de livered and then put it back in a secure manner. This means a lack of efficiency.”

When it came to discussing innovation in the ECM arena, Pelz-Sharpe said firms should not automatically look to North American vendors as their first choice. He pointed to the innovation accomplished by Indian vendor Newgen. “It has the resources and skills to develop quickly and I’ve been watching their product change quickly and move faster than a lot of their competitors.”

Singapore based Infogrid was also given recognition by Pelz-Sharpe for its ECM out-of-a-box solution.

“We are plagued sometimes by the big vendors always trying to do enterprise 2.0 but in the East, they have practical systems that work—they are not only just following fashion,” Pelz-Sharpe said. “The Indian outsourcing tradition brings discipline in following standards and ensuring everything is built in an open way,” he added.