IBM expands content offerings

IBM Corp. has announced upgrades of two content management tools and said it will ship additional features later this year as part of an effort to broaden its support for managing corporate information other than relational data.

Janet Perna, general manager of IBM’s data management division, said at a briefing here that the company’s flagship DB2 database is being used under the hood of the content management technologies. But the DB2 product line now “means much more than the database,” she added.

For example, IBM in September shipped Version 8 of its DB2 Content Manager package, which was rewritten from the ground up to improve scalability and add features such as tighter ties to DB2 and to the company’s WebSphere Application Server software. This week, IBM said it plans to release another upgrade of DB2 Content Manager in late April.

Version 8.2 has built-in integration with customer relationship management (CRM) applications from Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc. That will let end users open documents and other types of nonrelational data from within the CRM software, said Brett MacIntyre, vice president of content management and information integration at IBM.

The company also announced an upgrade of DB2 Records Manager, which tracks documents that need to be retained to comply with regulatory requirements. The upgrade is IBM’s first since it bought the technology by acquiring Ottawa-based Tarian Software Corp. in November.

IBM said it plans to add a version of DB2 Content Manager for small and midsize companies by the third quarter. In the same time frame, the vendor plans to take initial steps to provide native integration with its Notes/Domino collaboration tools. Also, IBM is tying DB2 Content Manager to its digital rights management software, letting users enforce data privacy rules and control access to information when documents are sent beyond the users’ own networks.

David Holland, CIO at Genesys Health System in Flint, Mich., said digital rights management will help Genesys ensure that it meets regulations governing the privacy of patient data when it sends medical records to other health care providers.

Genesys uses DB2 Content Manager with electronic medical records software developed by BlueWare Inc. in Cadillac, Mich. Some 600,000 documents are added to the system each month, Holland said.

IBM’s moves to integrate DB2 Content Manager with its other products are also helpful, Holland said.

“I’m not only a Content Manager shop,” he noted. “I’m also a Tivoli shop and a Notes/Domino shop and a WebSphere shop. As all these things come together, it just makes my life easier.”