Mergers and acquisitions are all too common, as are company reorganizations. SharePoint is an increasingly popular repository option. The increasingly common end result: More and more enterprises have important content in at least two incompatible content management systems, and most users cannot access all the systems. Even if you know what’s on the “other” system, getting there is usually a hassle. You can put in a service desk request for an account, get trained, and remember each system’s idiosyncrasies every time you log on. Or you can ask someone on the other system to export and give you whatever you need. That will get you the content but none of the rich metadata that each system maintains with the content.
So is there another option? Common sense would say that you need a bridge of some sort. The problem with content bridges is the incompatibilities between the two systems. Previous attempts at repository bridge-building have yielded “bridges to nowhere,” and like that famous Alaskan project, they don’t get built. Once- hopeful acronyms litter the bridge on-ramps—e.g., ODMA, linking desktop applications with repositories; and AIIM’s iECM, promising interoperable enterprise content management.
I know what you’re thinking: “Great, there’s another content management standard coming.” Yes, but unlike the others, this proposed standard was written by three very large content management vendors and is supported by a surprising number of others. The standard, called the “Content Management Interoperability Services Standard” or CMIS (pronounced “Sea Miss”), was developed and released by IBM, EMC, and Microsoft in September 2008. After demonstrating prototypes based on the draft standard, it was handed over to OASIS, a trusted standards body, for review and vendor comment. As of this writing in late November, OASIS announced it had formed a technical committee to advance CMIS as a solution for sharing information across protocols “in vendor-neutral formats, among document systems, publishers and repositories, within and between companies.” The scope of the CMIS bridge is intentionally modest to ensure its success. Features common to all systems are supported. Folders, for example, are universal in all systems and, thus, CMIS supports folders. Every system supports versioning, and so does CMIS