Open Text offers Livelink for Web 2.0 realm

Open Text Corp. on Monday announced Livelink Enterprise Content Management Extended Collaboration, which is designed to let employees create groups, wikis, blogs, forums and other collaboration sites on the public Internet and their corporate intranets.

The software, scheduled for release in May, is designed to let employees capture project information, working both with colleagues, customers and partners.

“You’re going to see more of this from the large enterprise vendors in the content collaboration space as they realize that larger enterprises are starting to get interested in more Web 2.0 collaboration and content technologies,” said Timothy Hickernell, associate senior research analyst for London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

Workers can also create communities by using the tools in Livelink ECM to create blogs and forums, as well as instant messaging.

“It assumes that the people are working in tight project teams or are trying to extract best practices from various communities,” said Bill Forquer, executive vice-president, ECM business development at Waterloo, Ont.-based Open Text. “Let’s say you’re a large organization and everyone’s working on a project basis, and you have electrical engineers inside each one of those projects. Well, all of those electrical engineers need to be able to share their best practices but they’re actually working on individual projects, so this is the kind of tool that allows you to be able to support your project-based work but at the same time be able to take a different view and perspective and share best practices across those projects.” Large companies are looking for collaboration software that caters both to teams working on projects, and communities of employees working on different teams, Hickernell said.

“They’ve split out the concept of teamplaces and workplaces from communities,” he said. “That really is an important distinction that we work with our clients frequently with, and that the new emerging vendors in this space are not really addressing. There is a difference between how teams behave and operate and how communities behave and operate.”

Although Open Text is not the first vendor to release software designed for Web. 2.0 applications, most of the early vendors are new to the market, Hickernell added.

“The market is still being led primarily by small emerging vendors and larger companies continue to see risk from that,” Hickernell said.

Livelink ECM Extended Collaboration works with other Open Text Livelink tools, and operates on Windows and Unix operating systems, Forquer said. Pricing depends on the number of users and which features are chosen, but it would range from $100,000 to $1 million, he added.

The software includes built-in wizards to create communities, newsletters and other communications tools.

“What we want to provide is more of a basket of capabilities that individual project owners can decide and configure quickly on their own, just with mouse clicks,” Forquer said. “Do you want to bring forward a blog? A wiki? An events calendar? A forum? How much moderation do you need in the forum? Do you let just anyone post anything without any moderation or are you actually going to turn on some moderation so you let the post go through some sort of filter?”

Livelink ECM Extended Collaboration also supports project management.

“It’s not just supporting working on your time, logging your task or estimating the time to completion,” Forquer said. “This is about the work project and work practice of the team. The team has a mission that you’re trying to carry out. All of the elements of that – the meetings, the notes from those meetings, issued that get raised in those meetings, the tasks that get assigned, the key milestones and due dates, it’s much larger than just assigning tasks. It’s really, how can you enable and support the entire workings of the team?”

Livelink ECM Extended Collaboration is part of Open Text’s Enterprise 2.0 strategy, which will entail more products in the future.

“This is going to influence and strongly impact our product direction for the next couple of years.” Forquer said. “We see ourselves heavily emphasizing personalization, so creating a far more personalized experience for the end user, not a one size fits all.”