Saturday, November 10, 2012

EMC releases ECM product upgrades: Will it help the slubering Documentum market?

EMC has recently announced new releases of Documentum and Captiva products at its annual customer and partner conference Momentum Vienna 2012. This is possibly the most fitting reply by EMC IIG to Oracle's accusations of 'Documentum' not being innovative in Oct 2011 (refer to Oracle's webinar and Jeetu Patel's blog).

Without naming anyone, Rohit Ghai, VP & GM IIG Product group has hit back at Oracle in his technical keynote address by saying that while EMC has successfully provided integrated solution portfolio by launching Documentum 7, Captiva 7, xCP 2.0, D2 4.0 and Document Sciences 4.5, other vendors are busy doing acquisitions and not able to provide integrated solutions to customers.

The partner and customer community has welcomed EMC's continued commitment for investing into its information intelligence suite of products and has weakened the rumors of a possible sell-off of a slumbering business unit.

While a great product is maturing further technically, there are still concerns though which have not been addressed in IIG president Rick's keynote address as to how are they going to address the problem of slumbering Documentum sales and address the concerns of its near-frustrated partner community.

EMC OnDemand might be a good news for the customer community which can help reduce the TCO and deployment time, but there is no word on its competition with on-premises solutions offered by partners, since my assumption is that OnDemand will be offered directly by EMC sales folks or EMC will share little incentive with partners for selling OnDemand solutions. Read on for quick summary of new releases and some more thoughts.


Documentum 7: EMC claims this release will allows customers to realize faster time to value on their ECM investments, 10x faster deployments, up to 8X better price to performance and the Best ECM platform for private cloud. Further improves security through FIPS 140-2 Level 1 compliance and 128-bit AES encryption. Finally a new xCelerated Management System (xMS) technology with advanced capabilities to simplify and accelerate the deployment of Documentum into VMware-based private-cloud environments to get rid of complex deployment process.

EMC claims Documentum 7 can deliver up to 50% lower CPU utilization over the previous version, utilize up to 55% less memory at scale, and can offer an up to 6x improvement in user load – all with up to 3-5x improvement in end-user response time, which is good news for customers since this has been one of biggest complaint that Documentum is very resource intensive and needs more hardware compare to its competitor products.

Missing: Quite surprisingly though, there is no mention of the RESTful services support in D7 which had limited release with D6.7. Also there is no word on the NGIS-Next Generation Information Server, something that the developer community might be looking forward for.

xCP 2.0: EMC's case management platform/BPM platform has evolved a lot in last couple of years. Since the whole notion of content centric application is fading and the customers are demanding for solutions to their problem rather than buying a product or a platform, EMC seems to be listening. In xCP 2.0, EMC claims to provide industry’s first unified solution design tool for increased agility and up to 50% faster time to value to build advanced, innovative business process automation solutions across multiple industries.

By bringing together content, process and business analytics, xCP 2.0 embeds Big Data within business processes and provides insight to drive better decisions and outcomes.

Missing: The new design tool and a fully-customizable UI means the time for much-hyped Taskspace is over and there doesn't seem to be a migration tool/upgrade path from Taskspace to the new xCP 2.0 UI. This can be a real shock to many customers, who have built critical business application on the top of Taskspace. They need to spent additional efforts and money to re-develop the application, if they wish to upgrade to xCP 2.0.

Captiva 7: This new release provides advanced capabilities for intelligent enterprise capture, business productivity and improved organizational agility. Captiva 7.0 introduces new features, including the Captiva Designer, Captiva Desktop and significant improvements to Captiva Advanced Recognition.

For organizations with global operations, Captiva 7.0 supports multilingual content, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Production Auto-learning (PAL) feature is filed for patent, good news for EMC investors. WYSIWYS (Snippet functionality for indexing) is good news for end-users/indexing operators.

Missing: During my discussion with Rohit Ghai, VP & GM EMC IIG Product group sometime back, he mentioned that Captiva 7 might not require an RDBMS to run, just like Captiva 5.3 used to store the data in flat files. I think EMC was planning to embed xDB engine in Captiva 7 to store settings data and indexing values, since Captiva doesn't really store huge amount of data and a lightweight XML database would be good enough to cater to the need. This can provide real cost benefit to customers by reducing the need of Microsoft SQL Server licenses and simplify the deployment process. But I didn't come across information about that expected change in the product release summary or in Rohit Ghai's technical keynote address. Arabic language support is also missing disappointing its large MEA user-base.

Few more items where there are less talks:
  1. What is the future of MyDocumentum Suite (Connectors for Outlook, SharePoint, Desktop and Offline)? My sources confirm that this product family might be discontinued and EMC Consulting will release substitute products starting with SDF (SharePoint - Documentum framework).
  2. No discussion on eRoom or Centerstage: Is EMC shunning the collaboration strategy or are they only relying on D2?
  3. Webtop has certainly had its life, time to move on. No mention of Webtop in any key session, though EMC is expected to release a service pack in Q3 2013 to provide latest browser and OS support. Means customers can choose to stay on to Webtop atleast for next couple of years and get support from EMC.

Rick made a clever move by acquiring Syncplicity and by embedding Big Data analytics in xCP 2.0. By doing this he ensured IIG is aligned well with overall EMC direction, which is Cloud and Big Data and possibly gave more time to IIG to survive with EMC, though he might get criticized for not strengthening the collaboration and WCM offerings of Documentum.

Overall there was lots of excitement for customers and developers in this launch, but there was less food for partner community, which continues to face competition from IBM, Oracle, OpenText, Alfresco and more disappointingly from EMC IIG consulting team itself.

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

3 comments:

  1. From whatever I have seen being in EAP, its going to be a big big deal to have any migration tool od technology from xcp 1 to 2, except for may be the process definitions. Its a ground up change with no common ground.

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    Replies
    1. Mohamed, do you think its a good strategy by EMC to keep changing the technology so frequently?

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  2. In response to Captiva 7 and a required DB, it is not required, but optional. I've seen both installs, so I can confirm that. I agree it should have been noted in the release, but perhaps it was too technical for the brief.

    For xCP 2.0, it indeed is almost a brand new application. I was involved in 1.x attempted implementation and the barriers to that implementation (forms adapters, lack of web service integration in the UI) are all gone with the introduction of stateless processes (now enabled in the UI, not just process builder), removal of SDTs and more. EMC has moved away from the legacy 10+ year old WDK platform to more current technologies, and I think net new customers will appreciate it, and partners with 1.x solutions are as well as they can now really promote their product once it's ported over.

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