Documentum – EMC World 2015 – Rohit Ghai President EMC Enterprise Content Division – What’s Next

The Keynote is always the real beginning of the Momentum conference.  Rohit Ghai is the new leader of the renamed Enterprise Content Division (formerly Information Intelligence Group) that includes Documentum.  This post will share our thoughts about the keynote.

Keynote History

One great thing about the keynote is that it is typically posted online.  See the keynote on your own below:

Before diving into our thoughts on the 2015 keynote, it might be worthwhile to review our thoughts from previous years and see how things have evolved when looking back.

Keynote 2011 and Recap – Rick Devenuti was new and the theme was really a smorgasbord including:

  • Webtop – not investing but will be supporting.
  • New UI – this was pre D2 purchase – Universal Web Interface targeted for 2012
  • Alliances included discussion of Cisco Quad (social), for mobile/SAAS/Cloud

Notes – this was the “swing for the fences” product plan.  New UI was scrapped with D2 purchase. dropped as Syncplicity was purchased, Cisco was never a real thing.  For the Webtop users, this was the beginning of the rumor mill of “how much time does Webtop have left?”  This week in ask the executives they said at least another 4 years for Webtop.

Keynote 2012 and Recap – Theme was end user solutions with consulting.  Some key points included:

  • D2 4.0 Announced
  • Documentum Mobile 1.2
  • Life Sciences and other consulting solutions
  • Syncplicity Purchase

Notes – Mostly on track and realistic.  Mobile hasn’t done much but D2 and solutions continue to evolve but with ECD consulting.

Keynote 2013 and Recap – Theme was migration.  Some key points included:

  • DEMA – Documentum Enterprise Migration Appliance introduced as a product
  • Productized Solutions – Included Energy and Engineering, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Public Sector and Financial Services

Notes – DEMA doesn’t seem to be emphasized as much this year.  Migration Center is actually a sponsor with a handout in the materials.

Keynote 2014 and Recap – Theme was the “Bridge to the Third Platform” .  Some of the key points included:

  • InfoArchive as a Product
  • ApaaS – Application Platform as a Service – as an infrastructure item for SaaS (Software as a service).
  • Mid Market Solutions – available on demand
  • Mobile – both Capture via Captiva as well as Mobile Access
  • Syncplicity

Notes- See below as ApaaS is included in Product Horizon.  No real progress on Mid-Market solutions or Mobile.  Continue push with Syncplicity.  InfoArchive continues to be viewed as the rising star.

Keynote 2015 – Project Horizon

First off, we loved Rohit’s energy and sense of humor.  Rohit begins his keynote with a background on the new digital future and the role of content.  In his quest for “What’s Next”, we would say that Rohit continued on the 2014 “Bridge to the Third Platform” by announcing Project Horizon.

When asked in a Meet the Executives session later, Rohit described Project Horizon as:

The underlying platform of an ECM repository that is being built out in micro services architecture.  We needed to decide between being a platform or a solution company.  Project Horizon offers a combination of an application and a service with many services aggregated together.  Platform will be constructed as applications and services with the ability of solutions built on top to weave together the solutions.  Foundational capability with Cloud Foundery, foundation services that any of these applications and services can use.  Bridge capability in a pseudo public cloud (not multi-tenant).

Rohit also loves the phrase “glorious future”.

In a PR release with Real Story Group the morning before the keynote, some points about Project Horizon included:

  • Multi-Tenant
  • Mobile First
  • Cloud First
  • Micro Services
  • Devops and Agile ready

Other points included as “use what you need” and “pay for only what you use” as well as a bridge architecture to allow users to continue to use xCP or D2 applications on the new platform.  Like APaaS from last year, focus of solution was to leverage EMC’s Pivotal.

Heavy Lifting component of Keynote

Other announcements that we will look for more detail later included:

  • Syncplicity – Microsoft Outlook Integration
  • Documentum 7.2 – Most secure release ever – Encryption capabilities – Protect from Administrators. See previous post on Documentum Roadmap.
  • Documentum D2 4.5 – End user productivity and global deployments
  • xCP 2.2 – Developer Productivity. See post on xCP Roadmap.
  • Captiva 7.5 – Distributed capture and Cloud Readiness
  • Asset Operations Mobile 1.1 – Mobile experience for energy and energy – Digital first – Mobile First – End user expectations.
  • Spring data for Documentum – Plan to open source in 2015. Connector for Documentum within Spring world.  Cloud Foundery
  • InfoArchive – Leave no application data behind. 2 integrates with EMC Big Data Foundation, Compliance Data Lake, Clinical Archiving

Summary – Overall Thoughts

The most difficult part of evaluating a keynote is separating the fluff from reality.  Over the last two years, we have seen ECD/Documentum make minor improvements and stick to their product plans.

As we mentioned last year regarding our thoughts on Documentum 8, many view ECD as a cash cow within the EMC ecosystem.  While investments can be made, the challenges for Rohit with a big initiative like Project Horizon approach include:

  • Funding – Big things require big funding. We heard “Bridge to the Third Platform” and APaaS in 2014.  How much funding was dedicated in 2014 and how much will be to Project Horizon in 2015?  Does EMC want to provide the funding?  Does ECD, a cash cow, want to sacrifice Net Income for the investment?
  • Revenue – Can you build something that has a revenue stream that is potentially years away? Most of the big announcements in the past (D2, Syncplicity, InfoArchive) have resulted in something more immediate for sales reps to sell.
  • Engineering – Can engineering prioritize the right resources and funding versus other items? Does engineering have the right skills in a highly competitive environment?
  • Clients – Would new clients pick Documentum (xCP or D2?) versus other cloud vendors and solutions? Do existing clients want Project Horizon (and what would they pay for it)?

Lots of challenges but we applaud Rohit’s initial keynote as a bold initiative.  Legacy firms struggle with the “Innovator’s  Dilemma”  in that it is difficult to do new, innovative things that disrupt their existing revenues.  ECD has been successful with some innovative revenue generating items things like Syncplicity, InfoArchive and D2 but both D2 and Syncplicity were bought, not built.

Our initial thoughts from talking with multiple experienced attendees was that Project Horizon has more of a 2011 feel when Documentum announced multiple items that struggled to come to fruition.  While we are somewhat skeptical on the probabilities of success, we will withhold judgement until we see some of the early solutions, Life Sciences was mentioned, running on the new architecture this year.

Let us know your thoughts below: