iPhone/iPad and mobile access to ECM

Behold the iPad in All Its Glory
Image via Wikipedia

Inspired by my recent discovery of a Documentum client for iPhone and iPad by Flatiron solutions I wanted to do some research what is going on when it comes to mobile access using iPhone OS for Enterprise Content Management systems. It turned out that there are a few solutions out there but first I would like to dwell a little bit about the rationale for all of this.

First of all we are of course going more and more mobile. Sales of laptop computers are increasing on the expense on stationary ones. Wireless high-speed internet is no longer just available as Airport/WiFi but also as 3G/4G connections using phones and dongles for laptops. Nothing new here. Another recent change is Web 2.0 and it’s workrelated counterpart Enterprise 2.0 which is now gaining a lot of traction among companies and organisations. It is all about capitalized on the Web 2.0 effects but in an Enterprise context. Lower threshold to produce information and even more to particpate with comments and rating based on relationships to people. All this drives consumption of information even more as the distance between producer and consumers is shorter than ever before.

Here comes the new smartphone (basically following the introduction of the iPhone) where it actually makes sense to use that for a number of different tasks which previously was possible but not very pleasant to do. The bigger form factor of the iPad to me opens even more possibilities where mobile access meets E 2.0 based on ECM. Not only does the appliance makes sense to use on the move but it also has really good support for collaboration and sharing on the move.

It seems the open-source community is doing good here. Alfresco is an open-source ECM-system created by the founders of Documentum and Interwoven and there are actually a few solutions for accessing Alfresco on the iPhone. This slide share presentation outlines one solution:

iPhone Integration with Alfresco – Open Source ECM

Another is Freshdoc for the iPhone developed by Zia Consulting. The company also seem to have presented an Fresh Docs for Filenet iPad application at IBM IOD (Information on Demand) Conference in Rome, Italy May 19 – 21. It is open source and can be downloaded at Google Code.
Yet another company that provides iPad access is the open source product Saperion ECM. Open Text Social Media also provides an iPhone App for their platform. Another company that seem to be in the works for an iPhone app is Nuxeo.
Cara for iPhone is also available from Generiscorp – an application that uses CMIS to connect to repositories with CMIS-support which includes both Documentum and Alfresco.
In our application the mobile access is somewhat less importance but the iPad changes that to some degree. Even if you maybe can’t offer mobile over the air acccess enabling users to have large screen multi-touch interfaces like the iPad is of course very interesting. From a Documentum perspective the only thing we have seen in the mobile area from EMC itself is a Blackberry client for Centerstage (check p.22 in the PDF) (there is also a Blackberry client available for IRM). I understand that Blackberry is popular in the US but in terms of being visionary having a nice iPhone OS app is important I think. As I said before there are many similarities between how information is handled in the iPad and how an ECM-system like Documentum handles information. It is all about metadata.

In the light of the fact that Flatiron’s iPhone app iECM so far is not said to be a product for purchase but rather a proof-of-concept I wonder if EMC or some partner would be the best way to provide access to a long-term iPhone OS app for Documentum.

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8 thoughts on “iPhone/iPad and mobile access to ECM

  1. Why is it that all these companies that provide iPhone applications are open-source? Is it something to do with the open-source model or is more that they are all smaller (I think) companies which just happen to be open-source? Just a thought. I’d love to see a Centerstage app for iPhone, even a WebPublisher contributor app for the iPhone. Anyone? maybe I’ll do it myself 🙂

  2. James: Thank you for the info. You will be added to the list of iPhone providers now 🙂

    Robin: I know, that is intereresting. I think it can be both. Small companies have to do something in order to differentiate them from the big players and being quick to adopt new technologies is one way of doing it. The Open Source model probably also means that there is an easy way to just start developing based on inspiration or a specific customer need. However, some of these initiatives may not have a very clear roadmap and may very well never pass more than the initial release. I guess the number of meetings required before a company like EMC commits to iPhone development means that it will take some time…a matter or inertia I guess 🙂

  3. Nice article. You may want to check back with EMC re: the status of the Blackberry app / mobile client for CenterStage 😉

  4. We have provided an iPhone app for the ISIS Papyrus WebArchive for some time now.

    But truly content access is absolutely no big deal. The key is really to provide full case management and process management access for authorized users. As Papyrus supports CMIS (we are a Foundation member of OASIS) our iPhone app can be used to access any CMIS backend. For security reasons the user has to logon and receive a license from our server first.

  5. Just for the record 🙂 our mobile enabler technology provides access to a set of various ECM and DMS vendors using both native connectors as well as CMIS. Also plain browsing of file repositories and webdav sources is supported.

    Logic cartridges (plugins) for notification/subscription, remote swiping, document thinning, search across multiple connectors and OCR is available.

    Currently iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry supported.

    My best

  6. Hi Alexandra,
    We’ve recently released apps for the iPhone and iPad that deliver ECM client functionality – including checkout for offline editing. We currently support SharePoint and eDOCS, but will be rolling out support to other platforms as well. Anybody who might be interested can learn more at our site, or download an evaluation version from the iTunes store – iPad | iPhone



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