Enterprise Content Management Connectors for SharePoint

 

The client is a leader in search-based information integration, offering a number of products and solutions for empowering enterprise search based on Microsoft SharePoint platform. The client was looking for an offshore development partner with Enterprise Content Management experience to set up and operate a dedicated development team to work on a set of modules and products from the client portfolio. The dedicated offshore team was to function as a transparent extension of the USA team.

Several vendors were considered and evaluated, and Softarea was selected to start with a pilot project. After several months of the pilot phase, the dedicated team was formed by Softarea and has been operating for more than a year now. The offshore team consists of software developers, quality assurance engineers and a dedicated project manager coordinating the efforts.

The team’s first project was to develop a number of connectors to integrate SharePoint Search and FAST Search with numerous available Enterprise Content Management systems to provide knowledge workers  with unified access to information stored in distributed environments. Information provided by connectors is indexed using customized SharePoint indexing jobs to create a single federated source of enterprise-wide data. The federated index is used as the basis for creating “search-based applications” which are custom search-centric applications extending user experience with information served from the index based on the current application context.

The following connectors are currently implemented: Documentum, LiveLink, IBM Connections, IBM ContentManager, Microsoft CRM, IBM WebSphere, SharePoint Online, SAP, Microsoft Exchange, etc. The total number of connectors implemented by now is more than 20.

At the moment the team is working on other products from the client portfolio.

The most challenging task was setting up a proper development process based on Agile methodology and addressing problems associated with distributed teams and dynamic nature of the products. After some experimenting a process was established that borrows basic principles from Scrum and is extended to support distributed teams. The process is dynamic and is still subject to changes and adjustments.

Technologies:  C#, ADO.NET, web services, WCF, LINQ, LAPI, DFC. Number of ECM-specific APIs and technologies.