When considering access to enterprise content, it is important to remember that most, if not all enterprises prefer to keep their business information behind firewall, on-premises. This means when required, cloud applications should find means to securely & easily access the enterprise content that could be hosted by multiple vendors. In this two-part blog series, I would like to bring out the essence of how Content Management Interoperable Services (CMIS) open standards helps bring transparency to access content irrespective of the vendor and also (in the second part of the blog series) leverage Cloud Integration platform IBM App Connect, to securely and easily route the enterprise content to public cloud applications.
What is Enterprise Content Repository?
In short, an Enterprise Content Repository is a store that holds business information that is used by various stakeholders within the enterprise like business users to perform 'work' and customers (end-users). It’s definitely a very broad concept and often difficult to have a unified software object structure to cater to all sorts of 'business work domains' like insurance, government, banking etc., therefore different vendor implementations of the software architectures have evolved - IBM ECM, Microsoft SharePoint, OpenText etc.,
There isn't any industry standard, but the strategies, methods and tools used to handle the enterprise content are referred as Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and multiple vendors implementations of the software architectures evolved in silos.
History and Significance of CMIS standards in an enterprise
As businesses started becoming global enterprises, the complexity increased, and no single vendor could satisfy the requirements to capture, store, process and deliver enterprise content. So, the need to interoperate across repositories gained precedence and all the major vendors under the leadership of AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) initiated the CMIS open standards. Currently, CMIS Open Standards are managed by OASIS (Advanced Open Standards for Information Society)
All ECM vendors that comply with CMIS standards have adopted a common 'Domain Model' to store all aspects of enterprise content and 'Bindings' that allows external applications to manipulate the content stored in the repository. There are three bindings that are defined by the standards - WSDL & SOAP, AtomPub and finally JSON based called Browser binding. Therefore, any application leveraging Apache Chemistry CMIS libraries could seamlessly connect to ECM repositories (irrespective of the vendor) that are CMIS specification complaint.
Also, in 2016, European Union (EU) parliament passed a law that made CMIS a government standard, meaning across EU any ECM system for government use must be CMIS open standards compliant.
Therefore, the value of using Open CMIS compliant ECM repositories is, the customers and external application developers need not master repository specific APIs and knowledge base to manage their content. The same client application that worked with one repository could also work with another as the CMIS abstraction layer would take care of doing the heavy lifting for the specific repository. In conjunction with this, IBM App Connect provides the facility to easily integrate applications across cloud and on-prem. So, building hybrid cloud scenarios with public cloud applications accessing on-prem multi-vendor ECM repository’s content would be seamlessly possible.
• EU Govt. decision on CMIS: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1527577709551&uri=CELEX:32016D1765
• OASIS CMIS http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.1/CMIS-v1.1.html
• Apache Chemistry https://chemistry.apache.org/
Seamlessly Accessing On-premise Enterprise Content from the Cloud - Part 2 follows...