Documentum Top Tips for 2012

One of our more popular posts has been our “Top Tips for Documentum” last posted in 2010.  For this post, we will update the tips as well as add some best practices as clients prep for 2012 planning.

Key Theme for 2012 – Consumerization of IT

For long-time readers, this site has always talked about differentiating consumers from authors regarding desired access to Documentum.  The Consumerization of IT trend focuses on empowered users wanting more out of IT (and their document management systems) based on their experience outside of work with a variety of different devices without any support from IT.  In 2012, this trend will influence IT and Documentum infrastructure in three key ways:

  • First, it will fuel the corporate use and support of mobile devices.
  • Second, it will require more intuitive interfaces that reduce or eliminate user training.
  • Finally, it will empower users giving them a choice to influence technology decisions.

We are advising clients to focus on this trend in 2012 and to get in front of the trend with increased and simplified access to Documentum and related technologies rather than waiting and risking user frustration.  Subthemes include:

  • Mobile – Tied to Consumerization, there will be a huge increase in the use of tablets (iPad) and Smartphones (iPhone, Android…).  Traditional Documentum knowledge workers will push their companies to embrace solutions and interfaces for a variety of platforms.
  • ECM as a commodity – The continued trend by SharePoint, Open Source and other less-expensive ECM solutions will continue to push traditional vendors like EMC Documentum to deliver more cost-effective solutions focused on consumers.
  • The Consumer Driven Cloud – We would expect consumers to pick platforms and solutions (like Dropbox,, iCloud, Google Docs…) without expecting any kind of support from their traditional infrastructure team.   The best example of consumerization of IT is SalesForce where a business user with a credit card can sign up and leverage the solution without IT involvement.

Top Documentum Tips for 2012

Our top tips for Documentum users 2012 include:

1)       Be Prepared for Mobile – Consumerization of IT means that users will bring in all sorts of devices to use at work.  Whether officially supported or not, we have been in multiple client meetings where users are “surprising” IT with how innovative they can be at doing traditional PC activities on their mobile devices.  IT should plan on getting in front of mobile use of Documentum.  See TSG’s thoughts and demo in regards to mobile.  Like its competitors, Documentum has also released an iPad client.

2)      Cloud for Collaboration, Internal Systems for Records – We predict cloud solutions will continue to be a dominant driver of reducing IT spending but we haven’t seen any clients trust their business records to the cloud yet.  Looking forward, we expect users  to leverage the cloud for collaboration, replacing other single-purpose internal  collaboration systems such as Eroom, Centerstage, SharePoint, Notes or other IT supported systems.  Cloud based alternatives like Google Docs, Dropbox, Gmail, iCloud, and are driven by the consumerization trend giving users compelling and quick alternatives to internally hosted collaboration systems.  We expect that IT’s ability to steer users to one collaboration platform will have mixed results  and suggest instead that IT allow collaboration to progress freely but put the documents in a Documentum system when documents they become records.

3)      Be Prepared for SharePoint….but it will fade for Documentum clients in 2012 –  Since SharePoint 2010, we have seen clients look more and more at SharePoint as a replacement for Documentum.  We thought 2011 would be a big year to move but, for the bulk of the Documentum clients we talk to, SharePoint has been seen as an integration point rather than replacement for Documentum.  As we mentioned in a previous posts, Collaboration is easy while Document Management is hard.  Most clients are sticking with their Documentum infrastructure for the hard stuff.  See our thoughts and whitepaper on Documentum and SharePoint search alternatives.

4)      Consumer versus Author – One of the better analogies for understanding the consumization of IT and documents is that authors will want to still create documents on their PC’s (cook) , but consumers  would like to browse (snack) on their PC/tablet/phone or other mobile devices.  Whether on a PC or mobile device, separating the author interface from a simple search/retrieval/approve interface has consistently been a big win for Documentum users.  See our related posts on how to make a consumer successful with Documentum, specifically for search and retrieval.

5)      Customization is not always bad – Too often, we run into clients with a zero customization philosophy.  IT needs to understand that, with the consumerization trend, users want to leverage document management without training or a very complex process.  Customization or configuration that reduces training and errors will be received by consumers much better than complex procedures for simple document tasks (approve a document, initiate a workflow).

6)      Embrace Open Source to Augment Documentum and Reduce Costs – Whether Linux, Tomcat, iText, Lucene or any of the offerings from TSG, more and more clients are adding or replacing different components of Documentum with Open Source solutions to add capabilities and reduce costs consistent with the trend of ECM as a commodity.  With the release of xPlore, Documentum has embraced Lucene for full-text search and clients continue to look for alternatives for standard functionality like PDF Renditions, Annotation, Scanning and other complimentary products that could be leveraged to drive down the cost of their Documentum infrastructure.

7)      Begin Phasing Down WDK Development – One of the key highlights of EMC World for the last two years, for those looking for it, was that Documentum is “no longer going to invest in Webtop” and other WDK solutions. This is not saying that WDK (or the DFC) is going away, just that users should consider developing outside of the WDK if they want their changes to live on in a non-WDK world.  In developing non-WDK solutions with an eye toward IT consistency as well as consumer interfaces, we would recommend investing in SOA architectures as an alternative.

Continued Documentum Best Practices

Originally the items below were included in top tips but, in reviewing the article, we thought a section on best practices made sense as these are not as tied to the 2012 trends.

1)      Cache those Consumers for Business Continuity – We have been recommending for years that clients consider a “Web Cache” approach to allow consumers to view approved content outside of Documentum. Business continuity, performance (of both and Documentum contributors), ease of use, as well as license considerations all come into play. (see our whitepaper as well as post on building a consumer interface in Documentum).

2)      Understand your User Accounts – Administrators should be actively monitoring licenses and user accounts. If you haven’t been through a Documentum Software Audit, chances are you will be soon. Clients need to proactively monitor their licenses and leverage this knowledge to defend their usage of Documentum to EMC (including sales reps).

3)      Keep it Simple – The biggest barrier to user acceptance of Documentum has always been end-user difficulty in understanding a complex interface. Look for opportunities to simplify the interface as well as reduce the number of user decisions particularly for form and workflow.


When planning for Documentum in 2012, we recommend embracing the “Consumerization of IT” trend. Clients should understand how the trend is driving their users to look for mobile, cloud and simpler solutions.  IT in 2012 should look to get in front of this trend rather than waiting until users become frustrated with their responsiveness.

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