Instant Insight

March 21, 2005




Unified Content Management: EMC Introduces Next-Generation Content Platform, Documentum 5.3

Today EMC through its Documentum subsidiary introduced its next-generation content management offering, Documentum 5.3. This new generation of Documentum unifies process, content, and repository services through a single comprehensive unified service architecture. In addition, the company announced over fifty new products, designed specifically around the architecture. The latest offering also emphasizes improvements in user interfaces, ease of use, and infrastructure enhancement such as security and failover capabilities.

Documentum 5.3 features a variety of new and updated service functionality including:

    Federated Search Services: Single-point user access for all content searches across Documentum and other heterogeneous repositories residing either within or outside the enterprise, including content in third-party systems from FileNet, Open Text, and SAP.

    Content Transformation Services: A wizard-based tool to transform desktop documents, images, audio, and video into compatible content types.

    Documentum Outlook Client: The Microsoft Outlook client enables users to access the full range of Documentum functionality directly within Outlook. Users can save email and attachments in the Documentum repository, with the same look and feel of Outlook folders.

    Collaboration Services: The collaboration tools enable user teams access to all created services and contextual information. The services include team rooms that facilitate secure discussions, notes, and contextual folders.

    Business Process Management: BPM tools enable the rapid design and configuration of business processes through the Business Process Manager, Business Process Engine, Business Process Services, and Documentum Process Connectors. All of these allow Documentum BPM to integrate with third-party products such as rules engines, simulation tools, auditing, analytics, and reporting tools.

    Retention Policy Services (RPS): RPS functions at the repository level across all content types to apply and enforce document retention and disposition policies without user intervention. RPS allows the creation of simple or sophisticated retention polices that incorporate events, multiple phases, authorities, and disposition pre-conditions that are automatically applied to all stored repository content.

    Trusted Content Services: These services deliver a common security model and unified audit trail across all applications using the Documentum Platform, and enforce access control based on logical combination of multiple access rules. The services also feature digital shredding to dispose of information and ensure that it can not be retrieved from storage media once disposed of.



In the past Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has had different meanings depending on the organization and context of ECM within it. ECM has also embodied a plethora of different vendor-point products such as digital asset management, web content management, or document management, in combination with inhouse IT implementations. Typically, this included offerings from multiple vendors, with little or no integration between the applications. Further BPM, collaboration tools, and repositories followed the same pattern, with integration of overall content minimal and process-specific. In short, enterprise content and process resided in isolated silos that came under pressure to be integrated due to regulatory, compliance, cost, and competitive issues.

We have witnessed a host of mergers and acquisitions in response to these various issues that have attempted to address the piecemeal nature of the ECM market. Last year saw consolidation in content management with Ixos, Artesia, Tower, Optika, Green Pasture, and Intraspect all coming under the control of larger enterprise content management vendors. Despite this consolidation, enterprises are still facing the same integration challenges and vendors, for the most part, are still identified with the same fragmented market segments they have always occupied.

With this announcement, Documentum has taken a major step forward in helping enterprise remedy the content, process, and repository dilemma by unifying the functionalities under the Documentum service architecture with open API’s for the integration of third-party products. Each component of this announcement has a discrete value proposition. Federated search allows heterogeneous information from different sources to be incorporated as one, content transformations allows different information to be consolidated as single content to meet current business demands, and the Outlook client enables users throughout an enterprise to benefit from the ECM technology. Increasingly there is an intersection and dependence of collaboration, structured business processes, and transaction processing systems that collaboration services and BPM seek to enable. Likewise, trusted content and retention policy services can help enterprises meet compliance and security demands, enable ILM, and reduce costs. The components of this new generation Documentum offer benefits, but we believe the benefit of the whole maybe greater than the sum of the parts.

Overall we believe this announcement is a positive one for Documentum and its customers that may also press competitors to deliver their own unification efforts. Current Documentum customers will likely find much to be pleased with in this announcement but potential customers in smaller and mid-sized enterprises may find it still too fuzzy, abstract, and academic. Unified content, process, and repository represent an undertaking that is complex, expensive to implement, and can be overkill for some enterprises. From our vantage point, there is still much to do in this regard, and it remains an opportunity for vendors such as Documentum to address in future releases. In today’s competitive climate businesses want solutions to business problems, and this offering certainly provides the base technologies to achieve this. Perhaps of greater importance, however, is the service, education, and consulting to help customers connect with this technology and realize their business goals, which product-only offerings cannot — by definition — supply. Documentum 5.3 is a large and complex announcement, so perhaps Documentum chooses to introduce such service offerings at a later date. To our way of thinking, Documentum should take the opportunity to clarify its roadmap in this regard, sooner rather than later. This could provide Document an important selling tool for broadening its installed customer base, particularly with smaller enterprises.



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