Three reasons to list CMIS in your Document Management RFP

  • 3-Dec-2009

First off let me state boldly and clearly CMIS is an important document management (a.k.a., ECM) standard, the most important standard. But if your world is solely one of HTML and CSS then you can stop reading right here...

CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Standard) was recently ratified by OASIS and is already appearing in many RFPs. Nevertheless, it is a little misunderstood by some, and at times gets overlooked or misplaced. So here are three concise and valid reasons for putting CMIS on your list of RFP requirements.

1) If you have legacy document repositories, add CMIS to your list of requirements.

Almost every large organization has a collection of legacy DM and ECM repositories, closing those down or migrating content out of them can be tortuous and expensive, sometimes near impossible. Building a CMIS interface and federating access and viewing (no matter how basic) may well be your best option.

2) If the system you buy  has a CMIS API, then you go some way to avoiding vendor lock-in at a future point.

CMIS in and off itself cannot resolve all the issues of vendor lock tricks, but its a great step in the right direction.

3) (And don't underestimate the value of this one) You demonstrate to the vendors on your shortlist your intentions and industry savvy.

When a vendor sees a specification or standard such as CMIS or XAM on an RFP they know you have done your homework, they know you are aware that committing to a vendors proprietary system can be difficult and costly, and that you intend to do what you can to mitigate against that risk.

Let's be clear about this, CMIS is important for the sole fact that it is simple (today) and should actually work. It does have the support of all the major vendors in the sector, but their enthusiasm can wane at the drop of a hat. Particularly as CMIS is a standard that empowers buyers and users of the technology, but not the vendors so much -- so the only way to ensure its success is for buyers to demand compliance from product vendors.

We work with buyers and users of document management and ECM technology every day. We help them construct RFPs, we shortlist and hand-hold our advisory clients and subscribers all the way from initial strategy through to the conclusion of the selection process. Our world is not one of expensive dinners at the vendors' expense and optimistic market forecasting.  It is a world spent at the coalface. The global organizations we are working with are dealing with the dull and grinding issues that relate to legacy, integration, migration, and implementation.  For them, CMIS is no silver bullet, but it's far better than nothing. And nothing is exactly what we had prior to CMIS.