Context Media links distributed content

With the amount of digital content proliferating, businesses may find themselves saddled with multiple content management systems and no easy way to link those repositories together to provide companywide access to information.

In most cases, companies that need to aggregate content among disparate document management, digital asset management and content management applications have had to scrap some of their systems and standardize on a single one or spend time and money to integrate the systems, analyst say.

Context Media Inc. says it has a better answer. The software maker earlier this month released the latest version of its Interchange Suite, which the company says enables businesses to provide a single view into their content without interfering with existing content management practices.

Interchange Suite uses XML-based Web services to create a virtual repository within an organization, giving users access to information no matter where it is housed or how it is stored, says Dan Harple, chairman and CEO of Context Media. In addition, users can continue to create and manage content within the systems they have grown accustomed to using.

"For large enterprises, it's very rare for a company to have standardized on one system, so they have isolated pockets of content, or silos, around the enterprise. Because these systems have proprietary workflows built in, it locks out the general user from accessing that content," Harple says. "Our system creates a window into all those silos and gives what we call a unified content view that allows you to browse content across the enterprise."

Interchange Suite 3.0 is composed of three software applications that use XML-based Web services to hook into existing application environments:

-- Interchange Content Server, the core application for content management that categorizes and manages content for retrieval.

-- Interchange Integration Console, which searches for content through disparate content repositories and then uses Simple Object Access Protocol and other XML-based Web services protocols to create a single view into that content. It uses adapters to hook into various content repositories, such as Documentum, Harple says.

-- Interchange Distribution Console, enables the use of business rules to ensure the right content gets to the right people and auditing features to track content use.

The three components can be deployed together or run separately, depending on business needs, Harple says.

Analysts say businesses can expect to see other vendors roll capabilities to provide access to disparate content repositories.

"The problem is that there are repositories all over the place in a company and they all contain useful information and most of the time it doesn't make sense to replace those repositories with new ones," says Frank Gilbane, editor of The Gilbane Report on content management. "People are spending lots of money building custom solutions, building APIs or hiring systems integrators to accomplish this. The whole process needs to be made easier and less costly. Next generation content management companies - and Context Media is one of them - are making things easier."

Interchange Suite runs on Sun Solaris, Linux and Microsoft Windows 2000. It supports application servers from BEA, iPlanet, JBoss, Oracle, and IBM, and hooks into ODBC and JDBC compliant databases.

A typical deployment of all three components of Interchange Suite starts around $140,000, Harple says.

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