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Analysts admire Alfresco, admonish SharePoint

Thinking about delving into enterprise content management? The analysts of the world have had a few heady opinions to share of late.

London-based Ovum, for instance, has taken a shine to Alfresco. We've covered Alfresco before, but the company has been moving rapidly in some pretty novel directions, Ovum noted.

Most notably, version 2.1 of the eponymously-named software uses the Representational State Transfer (REST), an architecture for transfer data that uses Web protocols. Each piece of content is assigned a globally unique Uniform Resource Locator (URL), or Web address.

"The objective is to position this offering as a Microsoft SharePoint alternative on the basis of its new social computing credentials as well as on its ability to scale better and not to lock vendors into any specific technology,' wrote Laurent Lachal, a senior analyst at Ovum.

This approach has allowed the software to jump ahead of the other ECMs when it comes to working with social media, according to the analyst firm. For instance, the software can allow users to publish content to the Facebook social networking site and to the iGoogle customizable homepage. It also allows users to publish to MediaWiki wiki software, and to popular blogging programs such as TypePad and WordPress.

'Enterprises are interested in all things Web 2.0 at the moment but very few (be they software vendors or users) have actually any clue as to where and how they should tackle this multifaceted beast," Lachal writes.

Alfresco could be used to bridge those worlds.

* * *

While Ovum has praised Alfresco, CMS Watch has disparaged Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, (and not for the first time, either).

We've covered SharePoint before as well, examining how the most recent version might finally have overcome the problems that has plagued the software.

Maybe Microsoft did too good of a job making the software usable. In the content technology analyst firm's recently released report, "ECM Suites Report," SharePoint is chastised for allowing users to run amuck with the software, leading to compliance risks and uncontrolled content.

Evidently large organizations, such as banks and energy companies, have thousands of instances of SharePoint running on their networks, with no controls in place for management oversight.

"CMS Watch finds IT departments enthusiastically promoting SharePoint, since end users and departments can install and run these small repositories themselves," a statement from the analyst firm read. "However in time this comes back to haunt IT, as it leaves the firms open to compliance failure and e-discovery exposures, along with servers and networks running hot hosting mountains of redundant data."

* * *

For those interested in learning more about SharePoint who live in the Washington D.C. area (or "The Capital of Obfuscation" as the Word Nerds podcasters call this fine city), they may want to check out the next meeting of the Maryland ColdFusion User Group, to be held Dec. 11, in Rockville, Md. This meeting will feature a presentation on SharePoint from Ashish Jaiman, a Microsoft architect evangelist.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Dec 07, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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