IBM issues new version of Content Manager

IBM Corp. detailed new versions of its content management and records management software on Tuesday during a press event at its US corporate headquarters. Company officials also used the occasion to discuss how it is working to broaden the reach of DB2 branding from just a database to an information integration infrastructure.

The latest iteration of IBM DB2 Content Manager, Version 8.2, adds new features such as LAN caching, resource management replication, and out-of-the-box integration with Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc. applications. Furthermore, this version includes tighter integration with other IBM products, namely WebSphere Portal portlets and content publishing, and the most recent edition of the DB2 database.

Moving forward, IBM plans to support more enterprise applications, according to Brett MacIntyre, vice president of content management and information integration at IBM.

"You'll see SAP [integration]. You'll see us do a whole raft of them," MacIntyre said.

Big Blue also upgraded its DB2 Records Manager. Version 2.1 includes support for DB2 UDB, an improved administrative client, as well as enhanced physical records management with a dashboard for physical records and streamlined work processes. IBM also bolstered the API in Records Manager to make it easier for partners to integrate.

The new products fit into a broader strategy within IBM to transform its DB2 brand, typically associated with the DB2 relational database, into an information integration stack, said Janet Perna, IBM's general manager of data management solutions.

"DB2 means much more than the database. It really is about this infrastructure," Perna said, explaining that the purpose of the infrastructure is to enable integration as well as better equipping customers to manage a variety of data types. The vision, she added, is not about peddling a database, but about selling the entire infrastructure.

To that end, IBM has taken the whole data management sales force and trained it to sell the information integration infrastructure, meaning there are more than 2,000 sales people now concentrating on it, whereas last year the company had roughly 250 people selling Content Manager.

During the event, IBM brought a customer out to demonstrate the advantages of using Content Manager. Genesys Health Systems, a hospital in the Flint, Mich. , area, is using the software in conjunction with a health care-specific application from BlueWave to give its doctors better access to patient information.

The hospital is using Content Manager as a repository for data from more than twenty clinical systems, according to Dave Holland, vice president and CIO at Genesys.

"The whole project was under US$300,000, so based on what I spend on other projects it's virtually a drop in the bucket," Holland said.

Although the hospital did not run an ROI analysis on Content Manager, Holland explained that Genesys has saved "a ton of money" by reducing the number of faxes it sends to doctors, lowering printing costs, and because doctors have access to patient information faster than they did in an entirely paper-based system, there are fewer instances of duplicate testing, which means that patients get out of the hospital sooner.

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