Objective puts government collaboration into the cloud

Objective CEO Tony Walls believes his company has got the drop on global ECM vendors with the announcement of a new cloud platform for government inter-agency collaboration, to be launched in 2012 as Objective Connect.

In his opening address to the annual Objective user conference in Sydney, Walls said the new platform was the fruit of $A50 million invested in R& D over the past 5 years and a defining moment in the future of the Australian company.

When the new service is launched in early 2012, users of Objective’s latest release Version 8.1 ECM platform will be able to set up a Dropbox-style file-sharing locations by simply hitting a new “Share” button in the Objective ECM interface (see screengrab).



External parties will receive an email invite to visit a URL where they can view, edit or contribute documents. If they are a HP TRIM user, a folder will automatically be created and able to be viewed via the TRIM interface.

Objective Connect will initially provide for connections between Objective ECM, HP TRIM, SharePoint and OS file systems.

All shared documents will be hosted in Objective’s encrypted private cloud platform, built on the foundations acquired with the 2009 purchase of UK company Limehouse Software.

Pricing of Objective Connect has not been announced but Walls said it was planned to be “relatively inexpensive”.

“Most of our customers have a SharePoint deployment and we do not see SharePoint as a competitor,”said Walls. “It is a collaboration tool and is usually used for individual projects.”

In discussions with government clients in Australia/NZ, the UK, Asia and the US, Walls said there was an increasing frustration that the only way that users can do this at present is via Web 2.0 services such as Dropbox and YouSendIt.

“Objective Connect will provide a secure, accountable and auditable alternative.”

External collaborators will be identified by their individual email addresses, so as not to overload the Objective user’s  local Active Directory.

“Objective Connect sees us address a long term challenge for modern government: to deliver the benefits of information sharing and process governance across agency boundaries, where currently, at best, it is only available within individual agencies,” said Walls

The need for sharing information between agencies has become critical to public servants, leading to an explosion in the use of emails, thumb drives, DVDs and to some extent generic online file sharing tools. The discovery of "lost" public sector information in the public domain, or worse on public transport, is almost no longer newsworthy.

“The culture of government has evolved in response to initiatives to share information. Government is also responding to directives that demand greater transparency of processes and accountability. Objective Connect delivers secure inter-agency information sharing and process management and is at the core of our vision for a smarter government,” Walls continued.

“Our technology strategy with Objective Connect is simple. We are delivering lightweight but highly secure, cloud facilitated integration between the managed content stores of any government agency rather than promoting an impossible whole-of-government approach.

“Objective Connect complements and builds upon Objective’s existing family of cloud-based products, Objective uEngage and Objective uCreate, used by more than 250 public sector organisations around the globe,” Walls said.

Objective Connect will also address the challenge of developing workflows and processes across different government departments and agencies, as well as enterprise search and FOI.