Open Text readies Livelink ECM 10

ECM vendor plans to further integrate its products with apps from Oracle, Microsoft, SAP

Amid the ongoing consolidation in the enterprise content management (ECM) software market, Canadian player Open Text hopes to remain both an independent entity and relevant by tightening its partnerships with vendors that provide more base-level ECM.

Open Text, in Waterloo, Ontario, is aligning itself ever closer with Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Over the course of this week at its LiveLinkUp 2006 annual user conference in Phoenix, the ECM vendor will make announcements centered on further integrating its Livelink products with enterprise and desktop applications from those partners.

In particular, Open Text on Monday took the wraps off the next major release of its ECM software, Livelink ECM 10. The company is releasing some components of the product now with a full-blown version of the software to ship in the first half of next year, according to Kirk Roberts, executive vice president of products, solutions and marketing at Open Text.

New features in the upcoming release include the ability to make its easier to institute content retention across a customer's IT systems and to manage content stored in applications from Microsoft, SAP and Oracle as well as that contained in Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and its Outlook e-mail software. Users will also be able to access business data that resides in ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems through Microsoft's Outlook, Roberts said.

Open Text will make Web services APIs (application programming interfaces) for its Livelink enterprise library and content services available to encourage its customers and partners to both integrate Livelink ECM 10 with third-party applications and customize the software.

The vendor will also provide a sneak peek at BI (business intelligence) functionality it gained through the acquisition of Hummingbird in October. Open Text has integrated the BI capabilities including enhanced reporting and dashboard features into its Livelink ECM -- Internal Controls governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software. The combined offering should debut early next year, Roberts said.

Open Text bought ECM rival Hummingbird of Toronto for $489 million, prevailing over an earlier lower bid for the company from Symphony Technology Group. Open Text wasn't the only company making acquisitive ECM moves this year, with IBM buying FileNet for $1.6 billion and Oracle recently announcing plans to pick up Stellent for around $440 million.

Last week, in the course of reporting its first-quarter fiscal 2007 results, Open Text said it was in the process of laying off about 15 percent of its 3,500-strong work force and closing or consolidating 38 facilities. The vendor hopes to complete the bulk of the integration of Hummingbird by Dec. 31. So far, Open Text has integrated its Web content management offering with Hummingbird's RedDot software with a combined product due to appear in the first quarter of next year.

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