Open source ties content management with BPM

Intranet developer focuses on value-adding software, not infrastructure

Feature requests from users has seen a small open source content management system for intranets evolve into a modular business process management tool which its makers claim is unique among enterprise software.

Melbourne-based Internet Vision Technologies (IVT) will release version 4 of SiteBuilder next month, which is built with the open source Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) stack.

IVT managing director Jonathan Oxer said SiteBuilder's success in the intranet space is due to its ability to tie in content management and BPM.

"A good example of that is with compensation claims management company Elumina," Oxer said. "This business provides case management which is a complex process. It acts on behalf of large companies to make sure payments are being made and necessary records are being kept."

Because of varying legislation, Oxer said the process is complex requiring IVT to create a Web-based case management system with SiteBuilder to allow staff to use the intranet as a work-flow system.

Oxer said SiteBuilder began as a CMS for public-facing Web sites, but as administration tools were developed, customers became more interested in the back end than the front end.

"There was a gap in the market for integration of CMS and BPM," Oxer said. "Customers started using user management systems as a contact database for their business and we built CMS functionality around it. From that it grew into adding in more business process functionality and that's where the majority of our effort has been for the past few years."

Other SiteBuilder users include Siemens Australia, Victoria University, and the Public Relations Institute.

The deployment platform for SiteBuilder is open source, which Oxer says has allowed IVT to focus on the value-add component on top without worrying about licensing fees for the underlying platform.

"And we have good visibility of platform so we can customize it," he said.

SiteBuilder itself is not open source, but Oxer believes it is "inevitable" that it will be.

"It's something we keep coming back to. There are questions over the revenue model and whether we will be undercutting our own revenue by doing so," he said. "There will still be a lot of revenue to be made and customers already see it as paying for the service not a licence fee - which is tiny compared to big enterprise software vendors."

Oxer said there will be benefits to releasing SiteBuilder's source code, but IVT needs to make sure the decision is right and everything is in place as "you can't put the genie back in the bottle".

"The major advantage of open source for the local ICT industry is it allows local companies to compete by having direct access to underlying technologies necessary to build services on top of that technology," he said.

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