Microsoft is working with third-party vendors to bolster Windows NT, the SQL Server database, and Exchange Server as foundations for future knowledge management solutions.
FileNet, a former Unix-based document management vendor that recently delivered its Panagon line on NT, will deliver integrated server products later this year that will leverage NT 5.0 Server and SQL 7.0 when they arrive in late 1998 or early 1999, says Lee Roberts, president and COO of FileNet.
"FileNet will be a great flagship application for SQL 7," says Charles Stevens, Microsoft vice president for the newly formed application developers customer unit. Microsoft hopes to show that SQL Server 7.0 is highly scaleable for both structured and non-structured data, Stevens added.
Furthermore, FileNet will integrate with Exchange Server so the messaging and groupware platform can become a "locus for documents used for collaborative computing," Roberts says.
Exchange will work with FileNet products so multimedia content can be accessed via the FileNet document management repository and be "richly stored and searched" using groups of Exchange servers on NT across an enterprise, Stevens says.
Microsoft's relationship with FileNet is "unique, given the scale and ability to handle these highly structured documents well," Stevens says.
In addition to FileNet, Microsoft is teaming with other vendors to create a platform for knowledge management.
WorkFlow for NT 3.2 from Eastman Software, for example, will be integrated into next-generation Exchange Server to add workflow capabilities via the Outlook client.
"It will be structured or unstructured data, with workflow wrapped around that," says Roberts of the Microsoft, FileNet, and Eastman amalgamation.
In addition to teaming up with Microsoft in platform integration, marketing, and sales, FileNet will increase the number of engineers working in the Seattle area from 70 to 350 over the next year or two, Roberts says.
"The goal is to accelerate this [document management] category and reach more customers," Roberts says. "We see [the work with Microsoft platforms] as integrated document management, which is a foundation for knowledge management ... and is a key category for client/server and intranets."
FileNet Corp., in Costa Mesa, Calif., is at http://www.filenet.com. Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., is at http://www.microsoft.com. Eastman Software Inc., in Billerica, Mass., is at http://www.eastmansoftware.com.