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Open Text adds IM to content management

The new instant messaging system automatically records and catalogs data and is aimed at industries in which communication is heavily regulated.

Content management software specialist Open Text announced Wednesday that it plans to add instant messaging functions to its main product.

Livelink Instant Messenger, set for release Monday, will work with Livelink, Open Text's content management and collaboration system for storing and accessing corporate documents on a central server.

The new IM system can automatically record and catalog communications, Open Text said in a statement, making it particularly useful for industries in which communication is heavily regulated.

Open Text CEO Tom Jenkins told CNET recently that growing regulatory and legal pressure for routine preservation and cataloging of documents--from instant messages to legal briefs--is the main force behind dramatic growth in the enterprise content management market.

"You have to make a leap of faith to put everything on the server...and regulatory compliances force you to make that leap of faith," he said. "The only way you can make the guarantees you need to is by having a system."

Livelink Instant Messenger also uses secure socket layers encryption to secure IM traffic both inside and outside the corporate firewall, making it more appropriate than commercial IM services for communication of sensitive data.

"Managers in large companies are using IM offerings that are available widely to consumers," Anik Ganguly, executive vice president of products at Open Text, said in a statement. "These solutions offer neither security, nor the ability to retain information for compliance purposes, and that presents a major risk for customers."

Open Text and other leading content management companies have been scrambling to expand their core products over the past few years, inspiring a wave of acquisitions. Open Text last year bought portal specialist Corechange and content management rival Ixos. Around the same time, rival Interwoven snapped up collaboration software specialist iManage, and industry leader Documentum was bought up by storage giant EMC.

Jenkins said he expects the consolidation trend to continue, as businesses focus on top-tier vendors. "Naturally, if you're putting in a system that will last 10 years, they want to make sure you're still going to be around at the end of that time," he said.