IBM software boosts info on demand

Web 2.0 server client to help customers access digital information, which in 2010 is expected to double every 11 hours.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read
IBM has introduced a Web 2.0 software client to its back-end content servers, part of its efforts to capitalize on the growing sprawl of digital information.

The computing giant on Tuesday hosted a telephone press conference to present the Web-based client software and an update to its FileNet content management server, which it gained through its acquisition of FileNet last year.

Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM Software, said the company is investing in information management technology in response to an "explosion" of content in the form of digital documents, forms and multimedia.

According to an IBM study, by 2010, the amount of digital information in the world will double every 11 hours.

The new Web client will help customers like New York utility Consolidated Edison, which is in the process of digitizing large amounts of data, from training information to millions of drawings necessary for construction, a representative explained during the media call.

"One of the big things we're trying to do now is to push it out to the field--we have to get past bricks and mortars," said Franklin Alvarez, manager of computer applications, construction services at Consolidated Edison. "Our goal is to have ConEdison employees in the field with automation at their fingertips so people can make better decisions."

IBM's approach to managing sprawling information is to have technology that can "federate" content sources, Mills said. That is, rather than centralize information, IBM's software is designed to function with disparate content servers in different locations, he said.

To access that information, IBM on Tuesday released what it called a "Web 2.0 interface" designed to be the preferred front end of IBM's content management servers, Mills said. The software is based on Eclipse open-source technology--already used in IBM's Lotus software--and can run on different desktop operating systems.

"It's a highly flexible and universal client, in that it can provide easy access to any form and can be adapted to a wide range of repository connections," he said.

The client software can support Ajax programming, which means people can build interactive Web pages to access back-end systems.

IBM also announced the release of FileNet P8 version 4. The update to the FileNet content management system adds support for Java server standards and is better connected with IBM's other middleware software, Mills said.

Aided by its acquisition of FileNet, IBM's information management business grew revenue by 14 percent last year, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company said.