Why We Need to Make Cloud Computing Easy

An article authored by Mark Lewis, chief strategy officer of the Information Infrastructure Products Business at EMC, talks about a technology free cloud. Mark puts things into perspective on why we need to make cloud computing easy and not simply view it as a technology platform.

Here’s a link to the Forbes article.


Extending Your SharePoint Environment

Today, EMC announced the latest round of solutions that enable customers to further leverage and extend their Microsoft SharePoint environments. The latest solutions bridge the gap between Documentum and SharePoint for content control and an integrated user experience, EMC SourceOne eDiscovery for direct management of SharePoint repositories to conduct legal discovery searches and execute legal holds within the repository, and finally EMC Captiva for capturing and delivering information into SharePoint. With this latest round up of solutions, EMC provides customers several ways to extend their SharePoint environments to meet their content management requirements. For the latest release, you can go here:


Intelligent Capture, More Than Just Scanning

Document capture is not a new concept, but using capture with SharePoint might not be something all organizations have considered. SharePoint has typically been more around collaboration and not seen so much as a document management system. The key to know is scanning software and intelligent capture, are not one of the same. Yes, it is all about turning paper into digital information but that is just the basics.

Simple scanning applications are designed to turn a piece of paper into digital content and allow users to manually index a couple fields so that it can be properly indexed in a SharePoint repository. Now that may be good enough for some, but what the EMC Captiva for SharePoint solution can provide is real automation. By that I mean automatically identifying document (no pre-sorting), recognizing the data, validations like database lookups and pre-fill of fields, and finally delivering the captured information into a SharePoint Server. This is important in the case where capture volumes warrant ways to automate manual task like indexing, or the variety of documents being captured need to be intelligently identified and logically grouped before exporting into SharePoint.

Doing more with Information Captured

Information captured from a document is certainly used to index a document in SharePoint, but there is more you can do with EMC Captiva and SharePoint.  For example, Captiva is often used for line of business applications where the data and documents drive a particular process. Accounts payable, claims, and loan processing are just a few examples. In that type of application the data being captured can be exported as XML and integrated with Microsoft InfoPath forms that are part of a review and approval process. Once in SharePoint, users can open an InfoPath form that contains the data captured and exported from Captiva, along with the image. Simple routing and approval of these forms can take place from within SharePoint.

Controlling and Accessing Content

For those companies who would like to use Documentum and SharePoint together getting the benefits of both worlds, EMC Documentum Repository Services for SharePoint can automatically redirect content normally destined for SharePoint Server’s Microsoft SQL Server repository and send it to a Documentum repository for content aggregation and compliance with zero impact on end-users. What this means is that it addresses operational issues by reducing the amount of content destined for SQL Server, addresses compliance issues by storing SharePoint content in a single repository of record allowing for common policy enforcement across systems, and lastly supports the re-purposing and re-use of content stored in the Documentum repository.

Now you’re likely wondering, do my users have different user experiences now that I’m using Documentum and SharePoint together? The answer is the user experience is absolutely seamless.  EMC My Documentum for Microsoft SharePoint provides direct access to the Documentum Content Server natively through the SharePoint user interface. That means content that is stored in Documentum can be accessed via a SharePoint Web Part and can include Documentum functionality like document lifecycles and renditions, as well as Documentum advanced search capabilities. Companies who want to use SharePoint and need it to integrate with their corporate Documentum ECM backbone will find this latest set of solutions the right fit.

A Need to Discover

One final solution EMC announced is EMC SourceOne eDiscovery for SharePoint. This solution comes from EMC’s acquisition of Kazeon, and provides direct management of SharePoint repositories to conduct legal discovery searches, execute legal holds within the repository and deliver robust repository analysis and review capabilities.

With SharePoint server deployments being used across an enterprise, you probably see where utilizing this type of index and collection of content could be a powerful tool when there is a need to analyze and review specific content pertinent to a specific case or investigation.

What Next?

If you plan to attend the Microsoft SharePoint conference this week, I encourage you to stop by the EMC booth and take a look at the latest set of solutions. See for yourself the commitment EMC and Microsoft are making to deepen product interoperability in the area of enterprise content management (ECM).

Capture Webcast Series: Captiva Intelligent Capture Release

I just finished up a two-part Webcast series in which we discussed the latest advancements of the EMC Captiva “intelligent capture” solution. If you missed the release announcement, EMC announced the latest Captiva InputAccel and Dispatcher releases on November 19th.

Joining me on part one of the Webcast series was Omri Duek from InfoTrends, who provided an analyst perspective on how capture has evolved over the years from simply digitizing information to fully utilizing captured information within line of business processes and enterprise applications. This can be attributed to the maturity of the capture technology around data recognition (reading information from documents), and the advances with intelligently identifying a wide range of documents (not just structured forms like a tax form or new account application, but all the less structured documents).

A key trend Omri highlighted is the shift from centralized capture to distributed capture, which is being driven by organizations wanting to leverage capture in a front office setting to further cut processing time and drive down cost. If you have remote employees who are mailing documents from branch offices to a central site where an individual(s) then opens the mail, preps the documents, and scans the documents, then pushing capture to the forefront is worth considering since there are significant business benefits that can be measured (reduced shipping cost, access to information, paper storage, etc).

With that said, distributed capture is not necessarily replacing centralized high volume batch capture, rather a “hybrid” approach is often necessary to address the various capture requirements.

Another area Omri hit on was around a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and leveraging capture as a service so that it can becomes an interactive process with other enterprise applications. New in the Captiva InputAccel 6 is exposing capture processes as services, where InputAccel receives a request, creates a batch based on the document images it ingest, and processes them according to the defined capture process. One could also use the InputAccel Web Services functionality to make a request to an external service that could handle anything from validating data, performing recognition (outside of InputAccel), and more. This should prove very useful to IT developers that want to provide a tighter “handshake” between capture and other business applications.

If you’re looking to see a live demonstration of the Captiva InputAccel 6 release, then you’ll want to check out part two of the webcast series. Dennis Demott, EMC Senior Systems Engineer, gives a nice overview of the latest release showing the new scan and index client interfaces, and the new administration console that delivers several key advancements including security roles, advance batch searches, and reporting. If you’d like to get the full InfoTrends analysis on this release, here’s a link to register and download the report – InfoTrends Analysis: InputAccel 6: Intelligent Capture for the Enterprise.

With that said, I’ll follow up with additional postings around the latest Captiva release, including the new advancements around leveraging capture as a service. Stay tuned for more…