Friday, October 31, 2008

ECM Plug-ins and Integrations Popular at Educause 2008

For once, a fall conference in Orlando didn’t include 90% humidity and matching temperatures, The unseasonably cool weather made it easy to get between hotels and the convention center, where the activity level was definitely creating some heat! Sure, there was talk of budget challenges, but most of the IT Execs I had a chance to chat with seemed eager to learn about new solutions that could help them combat rising costs and improve services across their campuses.

There seemed to be plenty of interest in the latest academic learning solutions, judging from the consistent crowds over at the Blackboard booth trying out the new Bb 9 Suite. I also listened to a growing number of conversations related to back-office automation. A couple administrators I spoke with said they almost welcomed the tough economy because it was finally forcing their institutions to take a serious look at the business processes in search of improved efficiencies. As one executive said to me “unlike banks or other commercial organizations, we haven’t experienced the same pressures to update how we manage the “business side” of education”.

This might explain the considerable interest we heard regarding ECM plug-ins and integrations this year. Scanning solutions designed to integrate physical document processing into electronic workflows captured a lot of attention. Outlook plug-ins intended to more closely tie administrative activities with content repositories were also popular. The overall interest in administrative solutions might even indicate that institutions are recognizing they can leverage their experience with academic content management across other parts of the enterprise, just like other businesses.

The excitement around integrating other business processes with a common content repository wasn’t limited to administration either. Interest in multiple learning management system integrations including Blackboard, Moodle and Sakai continued. However, the ECM integration that most attendees seemed to be talking about was a Zimlet. In both the Xythos booth and Yahoo’s Zimbra booth activity around the Zimlet demo’s was quite busy. Perhaps the potential benefits of ECM and email integration can be even greater when the process is accomplished using 100% Web 2.0 technologies instead of just thick clients.

I even learned about a real-time (synchronous) collaboration tool called Dimdim that employs the same Zimlet type of integration and would appear to be an ideal complement to asynchronous collaboration tools like ECM and email. What each of these products have in common is embedded support for open technology standards including flexible and open API’s. This might explain the enthusiastic response their integrations were receiving at Educause. I was already hearing attendees talking out loud about how they could create their own mashups using them in their portals and elsewhere.

We’ll post recording’s of more of the presentations and activities from Educause 2008 shortly on Xythos.com. In the meantime check out educause site to learn more about what happened at this year’s event.

2 comments:

chadmany2k said...

The best outlook plugin i've used so far is Outlook Track-It. Do you have any blogs on this? I'm trying to find out if there are any more tips on it. So far, it's amazing. Has a followup email reminder..

chadmany2k said...

The best outlook plugin i've used so far is Outlook Track-It. Do you have any blogs on this? I'm trying to find out if there are any more tips on it. So far, it's amazing. Has a followup email reminder..