At least one of IBM's New Year's resolutions is to improve its content management strategy and products in 2003.
Looking ahead to the coming year, Big Blue plans to bolster its R&D by 25 percent, nearly double its content management sales force, and more tightly integrate its related products, officials said.
"This is an important focus area for IBM," said Brett MacIntyre, vice president of content and information integration software group within IBM. "We consider this to be a hot area, a growth area, and one where we expect growth to continue."
MacIntyre declined to put a dollar amount on the R&D that IBM is putting toward content management; but between sales, marketing, and development, there are approximately 1,000 people at IBM working on it.
The existing and new R&D efforts will go toward, among other things, a new version of Content Manager due out in the first half of 2003. Big Blue plans to enhance its Content Manager software with faster replication as well as faster search and loads. These capabilities will enable users to more quickly pull data from sources and search it and to reach unstructured data more rapidly.
As enterprises begin to face up to challenges associated with bringing together unstructured content from a variety of distributed sources, bolstered replication and search capabilities will be welcome enhancements, according to Stephen O'Grady, analyst at research firm RedMonk.
"I think IBM has recognized that in the heterogeneous networks they are dealing with, the strategy of having everything in one place in one database is really not the reality of what they are seeing," O'Grady said. "Enterprises have a ton of content in a lot of different places strung out over the network. In that respect, IBM's efforts in replication and search are very likely to be well received."
Also to increase the effectiveness of Content Manager, IBM is more tightly integrating the product with its EMMS records management product, WebSphere application server stack, and the DB2 database.
To increase the functionality of its content management products, the company also is enhancing the content publishing capabilities and DRM (digital rights management) features.
Of course, IBM is also addressing the requisite reliability and stability improvements, in this case working to accommodate more users.
The sum of all these new parts, IBM said, is to increase the usefulness of data and worker productivity by making information easier to find.
"The average worker spends 40 percent of their time looking for information, and if you have 100 places to look it is a lot more wasteful than if you have 10 places to look," MacIntyre said.
With such integration, IBM aims to achieve greater cost reduction than point solutions and help customers increase revenue, MacIntyre added.