Documentum after Momentum2010

Informed Group notebook

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Documentum is with xCP and their case management proposition still a very valuable visioner in the market. Although companies like Gartner keep comparing them in vision with products like Oracle and SharePoint, the vision of EMC on ECM and where it should end up is still unique in the market. That does not mean that the product is perfect (not by far), but the choices they are making still shows a lot of potential to remain in the leading position. For years we all know that the main performance issues within all ECM products is the limitation of a RDBMS to work with the needed join/union of repeating properties, security demands and user roles. So the technical decision of EMC to go for an xml database is not only daring but also the best and most valuable idea seen so far.

The power of EMC to last year change their focus to full case management solutions is still right on the spot. The power and acceptance of web services within the whole solution stack makes it finally possible to easily create full business process support solutions. In the past this always was a nice vision, but only when the complete stack of solutions within an organization supports such a vision is it possible to get a good ROI with this. The business process support with their new and complete business process activity template is the far best compared to all others I know. This makes bmp finally really possible and it probably means that I’m going to lose my java skills as programming is most of the time not necessary anymore.

On the flip side, Documentum is still, struggling with its user interface. As TaskSpace and the possibility to use forms for all information screens is a great way forward, the interface still has a long way to go before it is range of the Sharepoint2010 experience (and everybody is going to compare to this new standard). The decision of EMC to move away from their WDK is daring as this will cost a lot of their clients’ money to redo all of their expensive customizations, but it was the only one possible. The new CenterStage look and feel is promising, but they cannot wait too long to release it as the current TaskSpace interface is not of this century. I only hope they finally get their testing in order, if they release this new interface it should work without to much hassle.

With the introduction of D6 I wrote a piece where I expressed my worries about the decision to put all customizations in Eclipse. For us technical geeks this might be great, but when your vision is on minimizing coding this was a strange decision. Luckily they listen (but probably not to me) and now are going to move all configurations to the web-interface. This will make it for more functional consultants possible to do a lot of customizations themself. I never will believe that it is possible for a business consultant or anyone without any real good understanding of the Documentum solution stack to make a good working Documentum solution, but it demo’s great 🙂

To change the interfacing to the desktop and MS-Office was also needed, but who made this happen, i don’t know? The current solution is not even basic and the usability is doubtful. Office workers who work with controlled/ managed documents will never ever accept this way of working and will do everything to avoid using it (and their the file share will kick in again). The interface to the desktop and MS Office should work with the same flexibility and ease of configuration as TaskSpace or any other interface of Documentum.

The decision to make Jeroen van Rotterdam their chief architect is great, his daring vision of the new ECM world is exceptional unique and will keep Documentum probably way on top for the next couple of years. (as long as they’re not sold to Oracle, quote from Jeroen at Momentum)

And then there is the cloud. As our expert mister PIE firmly mentioned in his blogs Documentum had, up until now, no clear answer to the cloud and even the private and public cloud vision of its mother EMC.

At Momentum suddenly the cloud is hot even within Documentum. Again I think it shows the strength of Documentum to be open and honest about it. Documentum and the cloud is possible but the solution is not fully cloud ready yet. Jeroen van Rotterdam had in his speech a clear and good path to how and where Documentum will be in the next couple of years and how they are going to fill in their cloud concepts. Documentum is not afraid to tell that they are still missing some pieces of the puzzle. (Licensing being one of them although the new bundled approach makes it all a lot easier).

All in all Momentum 2010 was a great conference and I my opinion about Documentum is still clear: it will not change your live and it has still some strange flaws but it is one of the best solution if you want to control and manage your enterprise documents.

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