Oracle IPM 11g Released!
For those of you who have not heard Oracle has released the next generation of their Enterprise Content Management Software, Imaging and Process Management (IPM) 11g. This version is the first major step that Oracle has taken to tightly integrate the product into Oracle’s overall software architecture…IPM 11g has been completely overhauled to be part of the Fusion Middleware (FMW) tech stack. From the ECM perspective, Oracle now has a complete seamlessly integrated end to end offering that includes the storage repository, document management, business process management, library services, web publishing, records management, reporting/monitoring and application integration. This creates many advantages for customers that use or plan to use other Oracle products in their workplace, as well as, integrating and leveraging existing investments in non-Oracle software.
I have been working as a Systems Engineer and Project Manager with the IPM software base for over 8 years, through the Stellent IBPM acquisition, all the way back to the Optika Acorde and eMedia days. A couple major differences in implementing the latest Oracle 11g version are the requirements for Oracle Universal Content Management (UCM) for the storage repository and Oracle WebLogic Server for the application/web server. I look at both of these requirements in a positive light. UCM and WebLogic Server are powerful robust products that provide standard approaches to managing content storage and applications, respectively, from the FMW perspective. With that said, if you do not have experience with either UCM or WebLogic, you will need to get up to speed with them to succeed in an IPM implementation. Neither of these products can be installed through the “Next, Next, Next, Finished!” approach, so careful upfront planning and architecting is required to ensure a successful implementation.
Let’s talk about the new user interface a little bit. Oracle has followed suit with the rest of the major players in the ECM world by creating a complete web based interface for performing all administrative and end user functions. This makes administration duties of the system much easier than in past versions that require administration to be done through the “thick” client. Also, by moving to the WebLogic Server the full featured web interface is now much more browser agnostic than in the past. The image viewer comes in two flavors that support over 400 file formats; a zero footprint view only version and the a re-written java applet that allows for full annotations, annotation security, and server based conversion/rendering for access speed. The following are a couple of screen captures of the user interface from IPM 11g:
The Client Interface
The Zero Footprint Viewer
Lastly, I would like to touch on a feature that is often overlooked when implementing ECM solutions, application integration. Oracle has done a great job in IPM 11g to provide some powerful capabilities for leveraging investments into Oracle and non-Oracle applications through integration. For a process where users are assigning metadata to a record in their business application, through application integration this data can be pushed to and associated with the document stored in IPM 11g. Another example of integration would be the image enablement of a business application. In this case a user could be accessing records in their ERP system a hotkey, menu item, or button in the application screen can retrieve and display the document from IPM without the user ever having to leave their business application. These capabilities can create significant efficiencies in an organization through increased user productivity, the reduction of training and the simplification of support and administration.
All in all I see the changes that Oracle made in IPM 11g as great additions to an already strong platform. Oracle has a product that not only adheres to their architecture model, but also will provide many benefits to the customers that use it. Stay tuned to this blog for more information related to our experiences with Oracle IPM 11g.Ryan Keller Project Manager ImageSource, Inc.
The easiest way I can think of would be to use the IPM URL Tools, in particular the Viewer tool for this case. The SOA/BPEL process could construct the URL to the image to be viewed and then launch the user’s web browser going to that link. Assuming the user’s browser has been configured for SSO and IPM/Weblogic itself is configured for SSO the user will transparently login to IPM if their session is expired and the document will be displayed.
There isn’t much programmatic access to the IPM Applet Viewer itself as far as I can find so far. If just displaying the image is all that’s required (rather than adding annotations etc) you could always use the IPM web service (WSDL) front ends to pull the image data directly from IPM and put it onto an ADF form.
Let me know if I need to clarify anything.