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Content Repository Report

Survey Summary

Survey Results for the Survey Concerning Standards for Enterprise Content Management
Author: Pascal Schrafl Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Multimedia Web: Email:

1. Note to the Reader 2. Executive Summary 3. Survey Results 3.1. Usage of Content Management Systems . . . . . . . . 3.2. Number of Content Management Systems . . . . . . . 3.3. Solutions to Interoperability Issues . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4. Important Functions of Content Management Systems 3.5. Standards in General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.6. Importance of Java in the Enterprise Application Field 3.7. API vs. Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.8. JSR-170 vs. iECM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Conclusion A. List of Abbreviations B. Copyright 1 2 3 3 3 4 5 7 8 9 9 12 13 14

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1. Note to the Reader
Dear IT Decision-Maker, This is a summary of the IT survey questionnaire you answered on the Internet sometime during the first three weeks of March 2007. We are grateful for your participation. The survey was one of three research tools used to evaluate the options available to IT decisionmakers for the purpose of managing the digital content that seems to be exploding in volume for all of our enterprises. A special focus of the study was what is called unstructured content, such as documents, reports, graphics, and website pages, which does not lend itself to being kept in databases. It is this unstructured content that is growing exponentially. What options are currently available to IT decision-makers for handling this type of content? What parameters for handling it are important to you as a decision-maker? How important are platforms, languages, licensing fees, and standards? Another focus of the research has to do with accessing the various systems holding information in proprietary formats. How much of a problem is this for you? What options are you aware of for dealing with it? How would you evaluate these various options? Another of the research tools we used for this study was an in-depth review of the information available on the five primary contenders for addressing these problems. Essential information was extracted and organized for comparison purposes for 1. Database Abstraction Layers 2. WebDAV 3. JSR-170 (Java Content Repository API) 4. Web Services 5. SOA and iECM Our third approach was to do an in-depth interview with David N¨scheler, the leader of u the JSR-170 initiative (and CTO of Day Software AG in Basel), to gain his perspective on the various options. Mr. N¨scheler gave us an objective and impartial overview, and u made predictions concerning roadblocks for the SOA and iECM standards process that have already come dramatically true. Our intent with this research is to provide you, as an IT decision-maker, with all of the perspectives and information you will need to make informed choices concerning content management systems in the foreseeable future. The full report, which will be released in November 2007, is available for a very reasonable cost. You can place your reservation using the online reservation form on the Content Repository Report Website at Here then is the summary of findings from the Internet survey. Thank you again for your participation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at With best regards, Pascal Schrafl


2. Executive Summary
The results of the survey, conducted during March of 2007, highlight that IT decision-makers would most like to adopt standards if they are open and under free licensing. The standardization process itself is perceived as an important factor in the acceptance of the standard; and open, public and free standardization processes are preferred. Supporting the need for standards is the fact that CMS clients with more than six CMS applications are trying to keep the number of CMS vendors low, in order to achieve interoperability by either using custom connectors or purchasing different CMS applications from the same vendor, hoping to reduce the lack of interoperability by supporting proprietary standards. That this tactic is only a temporary solution is shown by the fact that the vast majority of respondents would prefer to use non-proprietary standards, if they are available. Surprising is the result that the management of structured data is perceived as the most important function of a CMS application, which can lead to the conclusion that IT decisionmakers perhaps see no way at present to effectively store or manage unstructured data in a standardized manner. The Java programming language is perceived as an important player in the enterprise application field and its platform independence is an important factor in selecting Java. In general, the programming language is not regarded as important for a standard, as long as there are many implementations of the standard in different programming languages. The broad support of standards by many different applications is rated as important, and can be seen as an important factor in preferring older, but well established and supported standards, as is the case with WebDAV. New standards are partially favored, as they are more up-to-date, a trend that would speak against relying solely on WebDAV. A negative influence on the decision concerning WebDAV is the fact that IT decision-makers appear to believe that their programmers would have better success with an API standard than with a protocol standard, which requires more programming skills and a deeper knowledge of the internal commands of the protocol, as there is no API layer to capsulate and abstract the protocol layer from the programmer. There was a statistically nonsignificant preference for iECM/SOA over JCR, which we will explore in the following summary, but the preference must be regarded as provisional, since the iECM/SOA standard has not yet reached the draft state.


3. Survey Results
The purpose of the survey was to ascertain how IT decision-makers value content management standards in general and how they would compare particular standards, such as JCR, WebDAV and iECM. David N¨scheler, one of the key figures in the CMS standardization process, u says that no research has yet been done in comparing IT decision-maker attitudes towards JCR, WebDAV, and iECM. This survey is therefore the first of its kind. As participants in the survey, you are the first group to learn the results.

3.1. Usage of Content Management Systems
The initial questions collected basic information about the systems already in place: 1. Does your organization have a content management system? 2. How many different applications from the content management systems field does your organization have? 3. How many vendors do you have for your different content related applications? The number of content management systems is addressed in question 1. As apparent in Figure 1, 58% of the respondents have several systems in use, 33% have one system, only 3% have no CMS system at all, and 6% are planning a CMS system. Therefore, 91% of the respondents have at least one CMS system currently in use.
2.7% 6.3% Several CMS-Systems One CMS-System 57.7% No CMS-System Planning a CMS-System


Figure 1: Percentage values of the number CMS systems in use. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 111, Missing: 1. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007

3.2. Number of Content Management Systems
The next two questions (Questions 2 and 3) assess the number of CMS applications and the number of CMS application vendors.


Analyzing the results presented in Figure 2, it appears astonishing that there are more vendors in the first two categories (one CMS application/one vendor and two to five CMS applications and the same range of vendors) than there are in companies with more than five applications.
70 60 50 Percent 40 30 20 10 0 1 2-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 Number of Applications / Vendors > 20 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Applications Vendors

Figure 2: Percentage values of CMS applications vs. CMS vendors. Total respondents: 94, Valid: 94, Missing: 0. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007 It appears that organizations with 1-5 CMS applications prefer to have about the same number of vendors for their applications, whereas organizations with 6 or more applications prefer to minimize the number of vendors. This conclusion may be consistent with the exponential growth of connectors or APIs necessary to combine different systems. It also appears that interoperability among systems becomes a critical concern after about five systems are in place, with the result that companies then tend to greatly reduce the number of vendors with which they do CMS business. But is this the preferred solution to the problem of interoperability, or merely a stopgap measure? Question 5 sought to find the answer.

3.3. Solutions to Interoperability Issues
5. Please rank the following solutions to achieve interoperability between content management systems by priority: • Use content management systems from one vendor only. • Use a custom connector for every individual content management system that needs to be connected. • Prefer content management systems that have adopted standards for interoperability. As evident in Figure 3, as a group you prefer the support of standards for interoperability, as 80% ranked this solution with the highest priority. 53% of the participants rank the use of


custom connectors as the second best solution, and in the third and last position, with 47%, is the tactic of purchasing all systems from a single vendor.
90 80 70 60 Percent 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 Ranking 3 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Prefer CMS-Applications that support Standards for Interoperability Purchase all CMS-Applications from only one vendor Custom Connector

Figure 3: Ranking of solutions to overcome the lack of interoperability. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 112, Missing: 0. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007 This leads to the conclusion that IT decision-makers would prefer CMS applications that support standards for interoperability over implementing custom connectors or even purchasing their CMS applications from only one vendor. CMS clients appear to have found a temporary solution by reducing the number of CMS vendors, but would prefer standards for addressing the interoperability issue.

3.4. Important Functions of Content Management Systems
A second major objective of the survey was to determine whether CMS is more important for unstructured information (documents, web pages, e-mails, etc.) than for structured data such as financial data and similar database-type information. Surprisingly, it was not. The management of structured data is already solved by using ERP systems, but according to many experts, only 10% to 20% of an organization’s data is structured, whereas 80% to 90% of the data is of the unstructured type, and needs to be managed in a different way from structured data, by using ECM systems. As many organizations are doubling their unstructured data every two months, the management of unstructured data should have the highest priority in an organization and should reflect itself in being the most important feature of a CMS application, especially as in many industries, ERP systems have become standard practice and the management of structured data has become routine. 4. Please rank the following characteristics of a content management system by importance: • Content Management Systems must be able to manage structured data. • Content Management Systems must be able to manage unstructured data. • Exchanging data between different content management systems must be supported. • Legacy systems must be integrated.


• Interoperability between different content management systems must be supported. • Being able to use data from different content management systems must be supported.
60 50 40 Percent 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 Ranking
Manage Structured Data Manage Unstructured Data Support for Data Exchange between different CMS-Applications Integration of Legacy Systems Support Interoperability Support usage of Data from different CMS-Systems

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 4 5 6

Figure 4: Ranking of the most important features of a CMS application. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 112, Missing: 0. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007 Figure 4 reveals that the most important feature of a CMS application is the management of structured data (52%). The second most important feature is the management of unstructured data (33%). Third place goes to supporting data exchange between different CMS applications (28%), and the fourth most important features are integrating legacy systems and supporting interoperability, both ranked in the same position (28%). The least important feature is support for using data from different data sources (30%). In contrast to expectation, respondents viewed the most important use of their CMS systems not as the management of unstructured data but the management of structured data, a functionality which, according to many ECM experts, should be already delivered by databases and ERP systems. Nevertheless, the management of unstructured data ranks in the second position, appearing to be important to IT decision-makers. A second anomaly is the low ranking of support for data exchange and the support for using data from different systems. The suggestion that a primary value of ECM is the aggregation of data from different systems to broaden the organization’s knowledge base (unlocking the enterprise content by breaking out of so-called content silos) can only be partially verified, as this does not seem to be one of the most important functions attributed to a CMS system, at least at this point in time. It appears, then, that the management of structured data is regarded by participating IT decision-makers as the most important function of their CMS systems. This result may be interpreted in a couple of ways. First, IT decision-makers may perceive the management of structured data as more important than the management of unstructured data because the


CMS applications in use in their organizations only work with structured data, as databases are used to store the content. Alternatively, there could be a knowledge gap between the aims of CMS vendors and CMS clients, which would be need to overcome by better communicating the benefits of managing unstructured data.

3.5. Standards in General
Returning to the question of standards, IT decision-makers clearly favor open free standards above all others (Question 6). Concerning the standardization process (Question 7), a free and open process, involving all parties and allowing public access to the standardization documents is preferred. Neither the JCP process nor the iECM process is completely open, but this seems to be an important factor for IT decision-makers and should be considered by the specification leads. Question 6, for example, asked you to: Rank the following characteristics of standards according to your preference. • Proprietary standards. • Open standards without license fees. • Open standards with Reasonable and Non Discriminatory Licensing (RAND) fees. • Standards requiring license fees.
90 80 70 60 Percent 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 Ranking 3 4 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Standards requiring License Fees Open Standards with RAND License Open Standards without License Fees Proprietary Standards

Figure 5: Frequency expressed in percentage values of four different standards and license schemes. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 112, Missing: 0. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007 Figure 5 presents the frequency of the four rankings of the different standards and licensing schemes. Clearly visible with 80% is the open and license-free standards scheme. The second most preferred is open standards with reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) licensing (71%). The last two positions are not as evident as the previous two, but standards requiring license fees and proprietary standards are the least preferred by participating IT decisionmakers.


3.6. Importance of Java in the Enterprise Application Field
We turn next to the question of individual standards, beginning with JCR. Question 8 asked you to rate certain statements about Java as a programming language and its importance in the enterprise application field. Figure 6 below graphs the frequency of the answers, and highlights that the Java programming language has a strong acceptance in the field of enterprise applications (30% absolutely agree, 47% agree, for a total of 77%). While there was a firm conviction that a standard completely restricted to Java would not succeed, especially according to respondents whose organizations use other programming languages, the JCR standard has already been ported to many other programming languages. Also, more than half of the IT decision-makers do not perceive the programming language of a standard as important, so long as the standard is implemented in many different languages. Figure 6 also displays that Java seems to be an important programming language in the enterprise application field, as other programming languages do not find a high acceptance in the Content Management field.
50 45 40 35 Percent 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Absolutely agree Partly agree Agree Disagree Totally disagree 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Programming language of a standard is not important, so long as there are many implementations in different programming languages Java is not important, as we use other programming languages Java is important, as it offers platform independence A Java-only standard cannot prevail, as it is tied to the programming language

Figure 6: Percentage values of the importance of the Java programming language in the Enterprise Application field. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 112, Missing: 0. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007 To conclude our findings in this area, the results clearly show that Java is an important player in the field of enterprise applications, as it offers platform-independence. Neither the Java-supporters nor the supporters of other programming languages appear to care much about the programming language of a standard, as long as there are many implementations of the standard in different programming languages, so that the standard can be used within their own organization.


3.7. API vs. Protocols
A related question was raised concerning how much difference you as IT decision-makers perceive between protocols and APIs. The reason for this question (see question 9) is that some experts in the field perceive application programming interfaces (such as JSR-170) to be stronger or easier to work with than protocols (such as WebDAV). As it turns out, the final numbers showed only a very weak agreement (see Figure 7). Further statistical analysis, however, revealed that there were actually two sets of much stronger preferences at work, offsetting each other: one group that prefers APIs and another that prefers protocols. To a certain extent, these preferences correlated with favoring older, well-established standards (such as the WebDAV protocol) on the one hand, and favoring newer standards (such as the JCR API) on the other.
60 50 40 Percent 30 20 10 0 Absolutely agree Agree 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Partly agree Disagree Totally disagree Programmers only use APIs Programmers use the protocol Programmers use the API WebDAV is supported by many applications and should therefore be preferred Older, established standards should be preferred as their implementation is more mature New standards should be preferred, as they are up to date

Figure 7: Percentage values for APIs vs. Protocols and new standards vs. older, established standards. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 112, Missing: 0. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007 A second important tendency can be spotted, as the broad support of a standard by many applications seems to be an important factor in favoring a standard. This result is especially important as it leads to the conclusion that the JSR-170 committee must promote their standard and seek to have it supported by many applications, which in fact has happened. For iECM, the other primary contender for ECM standard, this may be a major obstacle, as the iECM committee, after more than two years of development time, has currently no implementation at all.

3.8. JSR-170 vs. iECM
The next question of the survey asked you to evaluate several statements concerning the two primary candidates for a new Content Management standard: JCR and iECM. The full report provides detailed reasoning, but in brief, the other three original candidates were either demoted or combined. First, DBALs were eliminated because database systems are poorly suited for handling unstructured content such as documents and web pages. WebDAV is a very good adjunct to either JCR or iECM for Content Management, but was not


designed to convert all of an enterprise’s content from largely unavailable to readily accessible. WebDAV was designed rather to handle individual documents on an as-needed basis. Web Services, which are as compatible with JCR as with iECM, do not by themselves offer a unified approach to content management. Instead, Web Services would be utilized by Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) in order to access content from different systems. The SOA concept, which is very popular right now, is the primary toolkit of iECM. This leaves us with JCR and iECM as the primary contenders, and the process of elimination just described provided the backdrop for asking you to evaluate several statements concerning these two finalists. While no strong preference appeared for either of these two standards, there was a slight preference for SOA-based standards due to their language independence and the ability to use the standard with service-enabled applications. Part of this preference may derive from the fact that API standards involve programming, while SOA is being promoted as a technology that involves minimal or no programming. Statistical analysis showed that four of the responses best capture the very slight tendency in favor of iECM/SOA. These four statements are: 1. A standard based on a service-oriented architecture can be used by all applications that are service-enabled. 2. A standard should not depend on a programming language. 3. Standards based on a service-oriented architecture should be favored above all other standards. 4. The top-down approach of a service-oriented architecture is to be favored above the bottom-up approach of an API. The above mentioned four items were combined into a new synthetic variable, called pro iECM and were tested against the pro JCR items, leading to the slightly positive tendency towards iECM as evident in Figure 8 below. The mean value of 2.42 for the pro iECM variable is marked in yellow. As smaller numbers represent a higher level of agreement, the slight trend towards iECM is visible.


18 16 14 12 Frequency 10 8 6 4 2 0 1,00 1,25 1,50 1,75 2,00 2,25 2,50 2,75 3,00 3,25 3,50 3,75 4,00 4,25 4,50

18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Figure 8: Histogram of the pro iECM variable. Mean: 2,4196. As smaller numbers represent a higher level of agreement, the slight trend towards iECM is visible. Total respondents: 112, Valid: 84, Missing: 28. Source: Pascal Schrafl, 2007


4. Conclusion
This report would be incomplete if we did not mention something not known by anyone at the time of the survey, which is that the standards process for iECM/SOA has stalled. The group’s deliberations have since been suspended, apparently because of the extreme difficulty of determining a viable standard in this complex area. The suspension effectively leaves JCR (as JSR-170 and its later version, JSR-283) as the only currently viable standard for delivering on the promise of Content Management, which is to make unstructured content as manageable and useful as structured database content is today.


A. List of Abbreviations
API CMS DAV DBAL ECM ERP iECM JCP JCR JSR SOA WebDAV Application Programming Interface Content Management System Distributed Authoring and Versioning Database Abstraction Layer Enterprise Content Management Enterprise Resource Planning Interoperable ECM Standard Java Community Process Java Content Repository Java Specification Request Service-Oriented Architectures Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning


B. Copyright
Copyright c 2007 by Pascal Schrafl. All rights reserved. This document, Results of the Internet Survey of IT Decision-makers, is copyrighted by the author, Pascal Schrafl of Maur, Switzerland. The recipient of this special report may download, copy, or print the contents for personal use, provided that the recipient observes all copyright restrictions. Except for personal use, no copying, storage, redistribution, selling, broadcasting, circulating, commercial exploit or publication of this document, in part or in whole, is permitted without the express written consent of the author, Pascal Schrafl. In no event will the author or other persons transmitting the information of research reports be liable to you or anyone else for any consequential, incidential, special or indirect damages (including, but not limited to, lost profits, trading losses, and damages that may result from the use of the information or the research reports or from inconvenience, delay or loss of use of information or research reports or for omissions or inaccuracies in the information or the research reports) even if advised the possibility of such damages and, as a condition to accessing such information or research reports, you expressly waive any claim you may have against the author or any other person with respect to any information or research report. There is no warranty of merchantability, no warranty of fitness for a particular use, and no warranty of non-infringement. There is no warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the information of the research reports. The author may be contacted by email at The Content Repository Report website can be found at