When you hear a new TLA what is your reaction? Well mine is that I want to know more, so when I received a briefing request from Entropysoft which mentioned the TLA "ECI" I was intrigued. For those of you who have not worked the TLA out it is short for Enterprise Content Integration. Serge Guillerme, Managing Director of Entropysoft, explained to me that they saw the main drivers for the integration of enterprise content as follows, "Organisation have all sorts of content in all sorts of formats and there is a real need to get to grips with what they have. To do this they need to organise and normalise all the different content repositories that exist. Once this done, organisations need to be able to provide unified access to the content from all authorised users both internal and external to the organisation."
Some of you may have read some article of Philip Howard, Bloor's Research Director - Data Management, on Entropysoft (Connecting to Content) in January 2009. But for those of you who did not I will give a little background on the company. Entropysoft was formed about 4 years ago and has its headquarter in Paris, France. 3 years ago the company changed its business model and switched to selling to the OEM market. Guillerme told me that this had resulted in nearly 80% of the revenue coming from the US.
So what do they offer and why should I be interested? Well to answer that question you first need to understand the product architecture. The Entropysoft platform consists of 3 layers:
- Content Connectors: 30 bidirectional connectors available in Java. .Net or as web services to all the major content management systems;
- Content Federation: this has at it heart a content repository that acts like a virtual repository that pulls together all the other content repositories in an organisation
- Content ETL: this manages the transfers between all the applications used by organisation, both from an internal or external viewpoint.
Figure 1: Entropysoft Platform (Source: Entropysoft)
This very open architecture with its simplicity and ease of use is what has attracted a number of software vendors to incorporate Entropysoft as part of their own offerings. Guillerme stated that "Our success is also connector-driven / search market initiated: learn to use one API, use it for 30 different content-centric applications." 2 of the leading European BPMS vendors, namely IDS Scheer and W4 Technologies have done this as well as specialist Image Integration Systems.
So what's new? Well in February 2009, Entropysoft released a new Microsoft SharePoint connector that provides the ability to integrate all types of lists (Calendar, Tasks, Issues, Discussion boards, Contacts, etc.) and offer a read/write feature for them. The new connector provides support for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS 3.0) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007).
As business processes today are more involved with not only structured data stored in databases and accessed through applications like ERP, but also unstructured data in documents of various formats, Entropysoft's OEM approach provides BPMS vendors and other collaboration software vendors with an easy to use solution to the problem. What comes next you may ask? Well, Bloor sees the next thing being the integration of voice and particularly voice transcripts. This is already a major part of logistics and warehouse systems. Could this be on Entropysoft's radar? Guillerme replied, "Our technology is valuable for all content-centric markets and also to make all content exchanges between different companies more fluid; supply chain management, as you suggested, is much more on our radar than voice transcript which is just another document."