Earlier this month ImageSource hosted our annual ECM conference Nexus. I had the chance to meet with many of our customers and have some really great conversations. Many of these folks are running IPM 10g as a core component of their enterprise and since that product is being end of life’d they are taking a long hard look at their installations. Everyone wanted to know what options they had and to talk about the best way for them to move forward. The 11g version of IPM was frequently a core topic of conversation and everybody wanted to hear how to get from here to there.
This turns out to be a hard question to answer! There is no single bullet-proof solution that you can just pull the trigger on and have everything completed. (Sorry, we’re still working on the ILINX® Magic Wand) Depending on your environment and your goals there are different considerations. Let’s take a look at a few common scenarios
IPM 10g, Imaging Only
So in your environment you’re using IPM to store and retrieve images. You’re not using workflow, you don’t have many complex integrations, IPM is basically acting solely as a repository. You are in a great position for an upgrade to IPM 11g. Unlike folks with workflows and complex integrations there is a clear and defined upgrade path for an Imaging-only IPM 10g system. Oracle provides a migration tool that performs the actual transfer of documents (with annotations!) from 10g to 11g. The upgrade is mostly a matter of setting the applications and searches up in 11g and letting this tool move the content over.
IPM 10g, Process
Your environment utilizes workflows to streamline your business processes. All your content can be moved over no problem as described previously in the Imaging-only section but what about all these workflows? Sadly there is no way to directly move these from 10g to 11g. 11g workflows utilizes technologies like BPM and BPEL which are architecturally far-removed from the Process engine in 10g.
Not all is lost however. While not being built on the same technology, there is a strong mapping between the older 10g workflow and 11g workflow (especially when using BPM). The workflows won’t have to be redesigned just reimplemented. Much of the work in creating workflow is capturing the business process in the first place, implementing the design is in many ways easier. Plus, this is a great time to take a look at your workflows and see which ones you are still using and which ones could do with some updates. IPM 11g offers much more advanced workflow functionality and this is also the perfect time to add modern workflow features into your own workflows.
I’ve talked a great deal at Nexus and with customers about the benefits of 11g workflow. If you’d like to learn more leave a comment or email me and we can talk about some of the features that can really add alot of value to your workflow business process.
Migration to Another Platform
Lastly since the switch to 11g is more of a migration rather than an upgrade now is a time to consider implementing other systems. Many of our current IPM 10g customers are looking at a product of ours called ILINX Content Store as a replacement option. IPM 11g is really geared towards the enterprise and everything from server hardware to licensing is based on that assumption. But if you are using IPM 10g at a departmental level, or just as an imaging repository 11g is in many ways overkill for your needs.
ILINX Content Store is focused on easy and effective content management with strong Microsoft Windows integration. It’s built on modern technologies and encapsulates our years of experience in the ECM space to provide an intuitive, easy to use and administer solution. It is a natural replacement for an imaging only IPM 10g system and most end-users find Content Store’s user experience easier and just as powerful.
If you’re using a lot of workflow though your options drift back towards the enterprise. Many of our customers are making Sharepoint a core component of their workflow strategy. We are also exploring IBM’s P8 family of products (which live in their FileNet umbrella).
These three scenarios are the ones that I see come up again and again. But every environment is different. Your needs and requirements are going to be different. If you have further questions I encourage you to leave a comment or email me and we can have a great discussion about where you are today and where you want to be.