Documentum and Momentum EMC World 2011 – Recap

With the conference officially ending Thursday, this post will summarize our posts for the week along with our overall thoughts. 

Overall Thoughts – Good progress but still “Wait and See”

Last year’s theme was all about xCP and Case Management (see 2010 recap post), this year we would have to say the theme was “new user” and continued emphasis on the cloud.  Case Management is still in the background but not as big of a push as in 2010.  Some quick thoughts:

  • IIG has an ambitious plan around the Unified Web Interface, Cloud and Mobile clients.
  • IIG announced partnerships with Box.net for an “extended enterprise” collaboration offering
  • IIG announced partnership with Cisco for a collaboration approach with a social twist

(I stole some of Ahson’s comments from a previous post for the alliance descriptions).  The above three items will play out over the next six months.  More detail below on the Unified Web Interface and some of the challenges in regards to meeting a second half of 2012 date.  

Subtle items that we were happy to hear included:

  • IIG introduced a new pricing model late last year and some positive signs were “under the covers” at this years EMC World (free iPad application as an example) that pricing will be more customer friendly.
  • Licensing from some previous purchases will be extended to new clients.

Positive Movement

Rick Devenuti (see keynote post) and his management team – including Jeetu Patel, have made a difference and it is obvious with the product roadmap.  At Momentum Europe, Rick mentioned a focus on customer satisfaction.  Some of the improvements related to customer satisfaction we noted at EMC World 2012 included: 

  • Current 6.7 Performance and Quality releases are great – exactly the kind of upgrade to be embraced by current client base.
  • The continuing support of Webtop is a new announcement (last year’s message was to move to either CenterStage or xCP by now) and will be positively embraced by users. 
  • A  free and open-sourced iPad application is a great sign.  Users have been frustrated with a complicated and constantly changing pricing model that results in unforeseen additional client licenses. 
  • In discussion surrounding the Unified Web Interface roadmap, EMC committed to licenses from Webtop or CenterStage clients being able to transfer to the new interface.  There was concern that additional licenses would have to be purchased.

Continued swinging for the fence

One troublesome concern about IIG (Documentum Group) of EMC is that they continue to want to be the next big thing or buzzword and can lose focus on day to day activities.  In talking with other attendees we thought the analogy was that they wanted to swing for home runs (and risk a ton of strike outs) rather settling for singles.  Strategy and Vision tends to push for a big market push/sale through alliance or new user base.  The 2010 push were

  • the push for Case Management/xCP – Financial Services targeted market
  • Proposed rewrite of xCP on DFS rather than WDK
  • Alliance with SAP to develop insurance solutions

While xCP has been somewhat successful (mostly Government and Financial Services), the xCP/DFS development and SAP alliance seem to have been quickly abandoned.  This year’s alliance and “home run swings” include

  • CISCO for social based “Cases” on Cisco Quad product
  • Box.Net for mobile/SAAS/Cloud
  • VCUBE Product offering for on Demand cloud based computing that will include selected IIG products
  • Completely redone Unified Web Client in 2012 that will be built on a newly (4 weeks ago) identified RESTful API leveraging the DFC, Application Builder framework focused on configurable components, leverage Spring/ExtJS and will be a foundation/interface replacement for current Webtop, CenterStage and xCP clients/development environments and might eventually support mobile as a web based solution and have cloud capabilities. 

(That last point was exceedingly difficult to compose and keep to one bullet point but it seems accurate).  Clients tend to want to see more singles in the enhancements of existing products and addressing of critical concerns for non-glamorous items like email archiving and retention policy services that don’t necessarily lead to new markets or get internal developers and architects excited.   While we are excited about all of the above announcements, we would be somewhat skeptical that they all would have made significant progress by next year’s Momentum.  Users should try to get involved in early adopter programs to determine early success to adjust timing.

Challenges going forward – Sales

We think the challenge going forward for IIG/Documentum will be how product development is funded given potential ties to sales.  Some points of how the different announcements affect sales:

  • iPad application will be free – no impact on sales.
  • Box.net is a “freemium” service focused on small sales to start – clients would play with it on their own before tying to back-end Documentum.  We would expect that ties to Documentum would be consistent with Enterprise software purchases – will low-end payers (like Box.net credit card customers) pay for high-end Documnentum products and licenses?  Some concern also about a long or slow sales cycle.
  • VCUBE – on demand – one very good point in Tuesday’s Paul Maritz keynote about Cloud computing was the internal IT focus of  “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it” that would require some type of event to take place (outage, budget push…) to move internal items to the Cloud.  It would be difficult to see how that might fit in a quarterly focused sales push.  Also, difficult to see how the sales representatives  used to percentage commission on software sales would be compensated based on activity pricing associated with the Cloud. 
  • Unified Web Interface – as mentioned earlier, existing clients will be able to update Webtop or CenterStage to the new user interface.  This will have no affect on sales to existing licensed customers.
  • Cisco Quad – We really don’t see how a sales rep would sell this to the current user base.

EMC typically has some fairly aggressive sales goals.  Funding all of the above development work without sales support might prove difficult.  While we would expect that Box, VCUBE and CISCO might drive sales, we would expect a longer sales cycle than traditional Documentum components.

Partly Cloudy

Documentum/IIG did make more progress this year in regards to identifying a strategy for the cloud and how their products would fulfill that strategy.  Differentiating between a “hosted in the cloud” and a true SAAS (software as a services) model may prove difficult.  Some interesting thoughts we shared with others at the conference:

  • VCUBE represents the “hosted” model.  Software as a service will not be addressed until later client interfaces.
  • Successful Cloud companies (SalesForce comes to mind, could also say Box.net) have been constructed from the ground up to run in a different technical and business environment.  Traditional enterprise software vendors have been successful in the hosted space (think Microsoft and SharePoint).  IIG is pursuing the hosted model first while software is updated to address the SAAS model.
  • The SAAS model has a different buyer and pricing model than Enterprise software.  Getting existing IIG sales aligned or an alternative approach of leveraging EMC Hardware sales to sell Cloud offerings would be a requirement.

Following the thought that the Cloud will be disruptive to Documentum’s current technology and business model, Documentum is focusing on a new offering to combat this disruptive potential change.  New Management and Vision is a good step to reach the goals but IIG will need patience as this is a long-term goal.

TSG Product Direction Alignment

We always look for EMC World announcements to shape our own open source product strategy in regards to Documentum.  For example, we were caught off-guard when we started the Designed for Documentum program with our Active Wizard forms product only to learn that EMC’s Forms product was being developed as part of the TaskSpace offering.  Given the current announcements by Documentum, we feel pretty aligned this year.  Some examples:

  • OpenContent Web Services – We have been focused on our own open source web services layer (SOAP based like DFS) for 5 years.  Similar to the REST API, OpenContent is wrapped around the the DFC.  We played with some RESTful services of part of OpenContent and use REST services prevalently within our Alfresco practice.
  • High Performance Interface  – Configurable framework built on Spring (ours is all open source) – built on our OpenContent web services layer.
  • OpenAnnotate  – Spring – Web Based open source built on a JavaScript Engine Layer (we picked JQuery and Dojo rather than ExtJS).
  • SharePoint Integration  – Lots of offerings around SharePoint connectivity.  All of ours are Open Source built on OpenContent.

Other Random Thoughts

While readers can glance through the previous posts for additional detail on roadmaps and detailed thoughts, it is after midnight and Ellen and I are loopy from too much Vegas, thought we would add some random thoughts to illicit some fun comments from participants.  Feel feel free to comment below if you have anything fun to add.

  • While we got plenty of “Cloud” at Momentum, we didn’t see much Big Data
  • IIG will have not one or two but three web services offerings – continued support for DFS and CMIS and adding a new REST API.  See Web Services post for more detail.
  • Roadmap sessions were packed, other sessions tended to be more empty.
  • Lots of cameras in the Roadmap sessions – EMC should just start handing out those slides already!!!!
  • We continue to love the “Momentum Lounge”
  • Fancy applications that are named simply the “The iPad Application” and won’t be available until the summer are really just demos for keynotes
  • Demoing the CISCO Quad application and then saying “starts a case in Documentum with xCP” is not a Cisco/xCP combined demo
  • Jeetu – leave Jack from Discover alone!!!!  He sat up front to see better, not to be picked on.
  • Where have all the vendors gone?  Momentum stalwarts like Glemser, Gimmal, Crown Partners, Blue Fish and Flatiron were nowhere to be found in the expo. 
  • Linda from Delta – Can’t be a Hawks fan when they are winning and not a fan when they are losing – Go Bulls!!!!
  • Lastly, was Erin Riley from BeachStreet a registered attendee or has she changed her name to “Tom”

Please free to add other comments below.  All posts for EMC included below for reference.

Reference Posts

EMC World – 2011 – Day One – Morning Highlights – Web Services

EMC World – Delta Airlines using Documentum across a Global Organization

EMC World 2011 – Day 1 Afternoon Sessions – Architecture and Product Roadmap

EMC World 2011 – Day 2 – Jeetu Patel – Keynote

EMC World 2011 – Day 3 – IIG Cleint/UI Framework Strategy and Roadmap – Jeetu Patel and Rohit Ghai

EMC World 2011 – Day 3 – ECM STrategy and Roadmap – 2011/2012 – Mark Arbour

15 thoughts on “Documentum and Momentum EMC World 2011 – Recap

  1. Seems like EMC is betting their future by introducing a whole lot of new products and not building enough support structure around it.

    EMC Documentum Server, Clients and its architecture is not open Source and it takes quite a big learning curve to understand it. Companies have invested a lot in their IT department to build talent to customize and keep running these products. The current work-force of people supporting the EMC products have acquired their knowledge through years of experience in customizing and maintaining their products.

    If EMC thinks that they make up some fancy names and release whole new set of products without building a healthy pool of Developers, Administrators who would adopt the change, this is a big disaster in terms of their Road map strategy.

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