IBM upgrades content management software, plans to add more capabilities

SOMERS, N.Y. -- IBM yesterday announced upgrades of two content management software tools and said it plans to release additional functionality later this year as part of an effort to broaden its support for managing corporate information beyond relational data.

Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's data management division, said she expects sales of software that can be used to manage documents, images and other forms of unstructured information to eventually match, or even surpass, corporate database purchases.

IBM's flagship DB2 database will be used under the hood of the new content management and information-integration technologies that the company is developing, Perna said during a press briefing here. But the DB2 product line now "means much more than the database," she added.

For example, IBM in September shipped Version 8 of its DB2 Content Manager software, which was rewritten from the ground up to improve scalability and add various features, including tighter ties to DB2 and the company's WebSphere Application Server package. Yesterday, IBM said it plans to release a Version 8.2 upgrade of DB2 Content Manager at the end of next month.

Company officials said the new release has built-in integration with customer relationship management (CRM) applications developed by Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc., enabling end users to open customer letters and other documents stored electronically from within the CRM software. Other added capabilities include support for caching content on LANs to speed up access for end users.

IBM also announced Version 2.1 of DB2 Records Manager, a tool for tracking business documents that need to be retained in order to comply with regulatory requirements. The upgrade is the first developed by IBM since it bought the technology by acquiring Ottawa-based Tarian Software Corp. in November. New features include full integration with DB2 databases and DB2 Content Manager, plus a redesigned user interface.

IBM officials said the company plans to add a version of DB2 Content Manager tailored for small and midsize companies by the third quarter. IBM also plans to take in that quarter the initial steps to provide native integration between DB2 Content Manager and the Notes/Domino collaboration tools made by IBM's Lotus Software Group.

In addition, IBM is working to tie DB2 Content Manager to its digital rights management software. The combination would let IT managers enforce data privacy rules and control access to information when documents or other types of business content are sent to external users, said Brett MacIntyre, vice president of content management and information integration at IBM.

David Holland, CIO at Genesys Health System in Flint, Mich., said the planned integration of digital rights management functionality is one of his wish-list items for DB2 Content Manager. Genesys needs to ensure that it meets regulations on the privacy of patient data when it sends medical records to other health care providers, Holland noted.

Genesys, which operates a 412-bed hospital and other medical facilities in the Flint area, uses DB2 Content Manager with electronic medical records software developed by BlueWare Inc. in Cadillac, Mich. The content management system was installed two years ago and cost about $300,000, Holland said, adding that roughly 600,000 new documents are stored in it each month.

In general, Holland applauded IBM's move to integrate DB2 Content Manager with its other products. "I'm not only a Content Manager shop," he said. "I'm also a Tivoli shop and a Notes/Domino shop and WebSphere shop. As all these things come together, it just makes my life easier."

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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