Category Archives for "Microsoft"

SharePoint for the Enterprise

Microsoft has created a major presence in the enterprise content management arena with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.  Is SharePoint best suited to serve as a single ECM solution for the Enterprise?  The real question is what does it take to have a successful SharePoint implementation.  From my perspective, here are the things one should consider:

  • Implementations must be carefully planned. Incorrect installations lead to a lot more time and money spent later on down the road to fix the problem. Where are the cost savings then?
  • Tame the data chaos by defining document libraries based on content types. Be sure to not use a one solution fits all approach when defining metadata and requirements.
  • Administration is critical from an IT perspective in terms of its support, maintenance, and updates.
  • Have a roadmap, design documents, and a detailed project plan that defines roles and responsibilities, along with a risk assessment.  Don’t try to do it all at once and make sure everyone knows the plan and the timelines.

Organizations such as ImageSource are using SharePoint for managing active electronic content and supporting collaboration.  SharePoint can be easily used as a bolt on to existing ECM systems like Oracle IPM (Imaging and Business Process Management).

The value of implementing a duo like this increases exponentially with the ability to store fixed paper based content with in the Oracle IPM content repository and to leverage the SharePoint repository for your active electronic content and team collaboration portals.

Jon Sutherland
Sr. Systems EngineerImageSource, Inc.

Monitoring Server Performance

Does your ECM server seem to have performance related issues?  Are requests to your ECM software taking longer than normal?  If so then you may have a few choices:

  • You can always add some extra physical ram, this may help but may not get you to the root of the problem.
  • You could maybe add a processor or two and hope for the best, or you can figure out why your ECM server is running so slowly.

There are several different things that can cause ECM system performance degradation.  In this article we will explain how you can use Performance Monitor aka “PerfMon” a Microsoft Windows built in diagnostic tool to help determine the cause of your ECM server’s bottle neck.

As with any other diagnostic tool Performance Monitor is a running process and like any other process, Performance Monitor may consume things like CPU cycles, system memory, and potentially hard disk resources.  This will slightly lower the amount of available system resources reported by Performance Monitor then when performance monitor is not running.  Even with that Performance Monitor is still accurate enough that it can be used to help IT staff determine system bottle necks that are causing performance related issues.Continue reading

Leveraging ECM Software APIs

System Engineers must to be able to choose from a menu of technologies in order to solve ECM business problems. While ECM software vendors often strive to provide a complete set of tools for any anticipated business challenge, in reality, technology advances almost always outpace product release cycles.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and many other similar, and often interoperable, technologies have and are being developed in an effort to provide the ability to glue disparate systems together using  published, standards-based mechanisms. While extremely useful, these technologies suffer from some of the same issues as vendor software such versioning, bloat, vendor specificity, and so on.

As an engineer in the field, it’s critical to choose best-of-breed products that solve a core purpose extremely well, then extend the product with other current technologies until a complete solution emerges. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), whether COM, Web Service, or something else is what makes this extensibility possible. The most useful ECM products provide rich APIs and callable interfaces.

I’m currently finishing a project that uses Oracle’s Imaging and Process Management (OIPM) product. The customer’s version of OIPM targets Microsoft Visual Basic 6 .dlls for custom scripts, and Microsoft .NET 1.1 framework for web development. However, I wanted to target the 2.0 .NET framework for the process scripts, and the 3.5 SP1 framework for the web interface. The web interface solution in particular takes advantage of LINQ, XML data stores, implicitly typed variables, jQuery, and AJAX.

Fortunately, OIPM, while using a fairly old COM-based codebase itself, provides mechanisms that allow an engineer to retain the proven usefulness of OIPM image storage and workflow, but extend to .NET managed code for scripts and web development. The sum of the parts becomes a much more useful solution then if all development was restricted to a closed ECM system that did not provide APIs or was completely COM based.

If you wish to dig deeper, or need a solution, ImageSource  provides training, custom development, and field services for many of the popular ECM products.

Clint Lewis
Senior Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

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