Open source company Alfresco has launched a new version of its eponymous content management system and has integrated Lotus with the product.

Alfresco Enterprise Edition 3.2 includes several new features including the ability to handle multi-tenancy, rendering it suitable for deployment in cloud-computing environments and a records-management facility. The integration with Lotus is an early use of the soon-to-be ratified CMIS standard

CMIS, which offers standardised web services interface for sharing content across multiple CMS platforms, has been endorsed by a variety of software vendors including Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Alfresco.

John Powell. Alfresco's CEO said that the availability of CMIS was a huge help to the companyin meeting the needs of its Lotus customers. " From a Lotus perspective - the way they connect to Alfresco is the same as they connect to other software. From our perspective we didn't have to do a whole load of engineering. Without the existence of CMIS, it would have been a major development to integrate Lotus>"

There was an imperative to incorporate the needs of Lotus users. Powell said the company had signed up "significant numbers of Lotus users in 2009. They wanted Alfresco to manage compliance and workflow and were interested in CMIS. We had a word with the guy in IBM and used that to make Lotus connect quicker."

Powell said that the use of CMIS gave the company a significant advantage when it came to offering document management services. "Using CMIS, we're able to be genuine alternative to Sharepoint - and considerably cheaper. CMIS has just added another dimension: a good comparison is with your car. It's like only being able to fit it with Pirelli, with CMIS you can have your choice of tyre."

The new version of Enterprise Edition offers customers a number of different options said Powell. "The addition of multi-tenancy came about because a specific customer wanted it but Powell said that it would offer plenty of scope to customers. "Multi-tenancy is a cornerstone. We're only enterprise content management vendor who has this," he claimed. "We're seeing a lot of interesting services from people using Enterprise Edition. We know of one retailer who is enabling its customers to buy product around cloud services.The new version of the software also contains a record management feature to allow the company to conform to all the latest compliance requirements.

Powell said that the open source model has helped the company strengthen its products. "We get feedback all the time on the way to strengthen and deploy the product." He said that the company was looking to improve its web content management module as well as improving the product's application capabilities."