By Simon Hodgson Compaq Computer Corp and Microsoft Corp have combined in a way which threatens to revolutionize the established order in the document management market. Compaq responded to the Microsoft knowledge management strategy launched last week, by announcing that its Work Expeditor will be integrated with Microsoft’s, Outlook, Exchange and SQL Server. The combined […]
By Simon Hodgson
Compaq Computer Corp and Microsoft Corp have combined in a way which threatens to revolutionize the established order in the document management market. Compaq responded to the Microsoft knowledge management strategy launched last week, by announcing that its Work Expeditor will be integrated with Microsoft’s, Outlook, Exchange and SQL Server. The combined package will come to market at approximately $90 per seat, creating a low-end document management price threshold which specialist developers may struggle to match.
The combined offering will square up to both Lotus Notes and Documentum, says Tony Redmond, Compaq’s technical director for architecture and application integration practice. Compaq’s Work Expeditor gives users with Outlook, Exchange and SQL Server several different functions which turn simple messaging into groupware. Check-in check-out lets one person at a time work on a document as if it were a library book. Versioning keeps records of the different stages in a document’s history in case changes are wrong. E-signatures ensure that only authorized users can access or alter files.
Workflow software automates case movement used in areas like the police, where cases are logged and then undergo a distinct process. A security policy enables files, and not just folders, to be encrypted, which would benefit hospitals where a patient’s records might contain confidential case notes as well as treatment instructions, with differing authorization levels.
The final element enables users to customize so that people have the ability to build bespoke applications on top of SQL Server, says Redmond. Work Expeditor is integrated directly into the three Microsoft tools, enhancing their functionality.
The strategic aims of the partnership are two-fold, says Redmond. Firstly, Compaq is trying to leverage off the Microsoft alliance, by targeting the installed base for Exchange, which, Redmond explains, is on an absolute roll. Microsoft sold 4.6 million seats of Exchange last quarter, says Redmond, and the total base is 25 million. The second reason behind the decision is that Compaq is the largest implementor of Microsoft Exchange with 5 million of the 25 million installed. We’re going after the corporate base, says Redmond, giving examples of recent contracts, such as the 100,000 seat deployment at avionics group Lockheed Martin Corp.
Documentum’s UK managing director Ian Howells appears to be unfazed by the announcement, claiming that his company specializes only in the high-end complex application environment, in markets such as pharmaceutical submissions and aircraft manuals. He is confident that the Compaq-Microsoft axis will only touch infrastructure-based document management, rather than the application side where particular expertise is required. What is clear however, is that the new alliance will tighten up the bottom end of the market. Jim Moffat, product marketing team leader for Lotus Notes, says anything Microsoft does provides interesting competition.