The Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) has been around for over three years. This past summer, version 1.1 of the standard was released. During its existence, I have heard several questions from organizations all over the world.

    • What is CMIS?
    • Why should I care?
    • Is anyone actually using it?

CMIS is a standard to allow anyone to use a common framework and set of APIs to access any content repository supporting the standard. It defines common Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) functionality on both the content and metadata levels.  It supports custom content types, versions, and other core content CMISmanagement concepts. Version 1.1 added support for some basic records management features and an additional interface layer (the JSON browser binding).

CMIS supports the features necessary to build a content management solution, not simply a minimal level of features.

Why should anyone care?

I wrote about the three fundamental CMIS use cases back when the standard was first introduced. Like any standard, it lets organizations leverage different content management systems without having to use multiple interface layers.

CMIS is strongly supported by a large number of vendors in the industry. At Alfresco, we believe that CMIS, and other open standards, are the best way for organizations to integrate systems into their infrastructure. It prevents organizations starting over when new technology components are introduced. Alfresco supports the CMIS br

owser binding introduced in version 1.1 and are working to make sure that we not only support all the features of CMIS, but that we work with OASIS to improve the standard as lessons from both our own and our client’s projects are gathered.

To put it quite simply, CMIS lets you readily access and leverage content in both new and legacy systems without all that messy mucky around with migrations or outdated API layers.

The question remains, is anyone using CMIS?

Cheryl McKinnon over at Forrester Research, Inc. recently tackled that question in a February, 2014 research report, Mobilize, Monetize, And Harvest Enterprise Content With Interoperability Standards. The report found that organizations are starting to use CMIS to great benefit. There were several great examples of organizations leveraging CMIS as a strategic benefit.

  • A U.S. Department of Defense agency switched to Alfresco, and was able to leverage Apache Chemistry’s OpenCMIS to connect to their legacy application in order to access content, and they can now build applications accessing multiple repositories quickly.
  • SAP used CMIS to create a mobile application to collect content from 15 content sources including Alfresco, OpenText, SAP Knowledge Management, and SharePoint. CMIS allowed SAP to use a mobile friendly API to provide content from any CMIS compliant content management system customers have in their infrastructure.
  • ADP wanted to create the ADP Document Cloud as part of their extensive HR cloud services. They decided to look for a provider that could not only scale, but could be accessed through CMIS. This would allow them the flexibility to change content providers if their requirements changed without having to change their customer-facing application. They chose Alfresco due to our CMIS implementation’s maturity and our commitment to the evolution of CMIS.

Interested in learning more about how organizations are using CMIS? You can download the complimentary Forrester report, courtesy of Alfresco.

Take some time, read it, and start thinking about how you can start reaping the benefits of CMIS.

About the author

Laurence Hart

Laurence Hart is a proven leader in Content and Information Management who brings nearly two decades of experience solving the challenges companies face as they implement and deploy content solutions. As the Content Management Strategist at Alfresco, Laurence works with organizations to help them evaluate their strategy as it relates to their Content Management efforts.

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