Alfresco and Adobe announced a new partnership in which Adobe will embed Alfresco’s ECM in its LiveCycle ES. This will create an offering that provides a more complete solution integrating Content Management with Document Composition (or Document Output Management), something about which I have written before. EMC’s acquisition late last year of Document Sciences’ xPression was another news that brought the two – ECM and Document Composition together.
This announcement though is an OEM deal. Here’s a nice post by Alan on what it means and what could be the future of this deal 🙂
There are lots of use cases where such an integration could be very useful, especially for customers of Adobe. When one creates a dynamic document using a product like this, one needs to manage both the raw data as well as output documents. So there are aspects like workflows, library services, metadata, search, version management, storage and archival. So if you are an insurance company that generates insurance policies or a Telecom provider that generates electronic bills, you need to be able to manage these and this is where a CMS is required. Most Document Composition products lack these features and hence often integrate with ECM products.
Apart from this, LiveCycle did not have a robust rules engine which is a essential requirement to dynamically generate documents based on certain rules. It can now use Alfresco’s rules engine (Alfresco rules or the bundled Jboss).
Alfresco will also probably get a nice flex based front end which can also take advantage of its features (tagging, web scripts, blogs) and provide more compelling offering to build web 2.0 applications. But that again would be useful more for Adobe’s customers.