Microsoft SharePoint and the CMIS standard

  • 16-Sep-2008

In case you didn't read the blog entry about CMIS by Kas, Microsoft, EMC, and IBM recently announce that they, along with other vendors like Open Text and Alfresco, have submitted a new content integration standard to OASIS. This new standard should enable disparate content management solutions to exchange content in a more standardized way. Presumably, this standard will enable organizations with multiple content repositories manage and present (to various applications) those repositories as a virtual content store.

If history is to teach us anything about Microsoft's behavior, it would seem logical that Redmond will likely release a SharePoint "accelerator" to take advantage of this new standard. As we've pointed out in the SharePoint Report 2008, SharePoint is not particularly well suited for certain content management functions (e.g,. hardcore document management, document imaging, etc). As such, I suspect that Microsoft may take a similar approach with firms like Open Text and EMC as it has with its other partners: continue to build and support SharePoint's core services and let others figure out how to apply those services in given scenarios. As you probably know, both Open Text and EMC today boast about their SharePoint connectors, providing long-term document retention and archiving, while SharePoint continues to act as the dynamic collaborative space to create those documents.

Going forward, with CMIS, this could become more "out of the box" between SharePoint and other tools, as opposed to a varying bevy of 3rd party add-ons. In the long run, it could potentially eliminate companies like Vorsite from the integration space.

Standards being what they are, we'll have to wait and see what actually happens. For CMIS to help with your SharePoint implementation, both Microsoft and the other vendors in question would have to support it in code as well as their press releases. Today, there are no implementations available for any of the products involved. As such, it remains to be seen how much support any of the participating vendors will really provide, let alone their partners or clients. That said, this is an interesting step and could lead to a far more unified content management approach and certainly more traction for SharePoint, since it would no longer be required to "carry" the whole ECM stack.

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