Documentum – EMC World 2015 – Recap – Cadence Improvements with new repository on the “Horizon”

Last week wrapped up Momentum 2015, the Documentum User Group conference component of EMC World.  We have been posting on our attendance throughout the week.  This post will present our final thoughts.

Recap of 2015 Momentum Postings

Rohit Ghai and Project Horizon

This EMC World marked the first under Rohit Ghai as the new president of the newly named Enterprise Content Division (ECD) of EMC that includes Documentum.  Rohit takes over from Rick Devenuti.  Some thoughts on Rohit’s new role:

  • Energy – Rohit is more engaging and energetic than Rick. Many of us thought Rick, a Microsoft veteran, tended come off as slightly stiff compared to Silcon Valley veterans.  Rohit, a 6 year veteran with Documentum/ECD and previous experience with Symantec and Computer Associates, comes off as more passionate about Enterprise Content Management and the divisions plans.
  • Technical – Rohit presents an understanding of the vision with passion. See our thoughts during the “Meet the Executives” post where Rohit led the majority of the responses and was passionate about the future of Project Horizon.
  • His Team – we were impressed with the product managers and others on his team.

You can watch Rohit’s Keynote online.  Rohit focused on the future of ECD and introduced Project Horizon.  Last year, Rick’s Keynote focused on a “Bridge to the Third Platform” with an ECM cloud component that could serve as an Application Platform as a Service (APaas).  That vision has shifted (as has other ECM vendors in regards to the cloud) as ECD is still providing a platform but sees their role as providing solutions on that platform.  From a release before the keynote:

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 Foundry, foundation services that any of these applications and services can use.  Bridge capability in a pseudo public cloud (not multi-tenant).

Project Horizon includes four parts:

  • Tiles
  • Pivotal and Cloud Foundry
  • Bridge
  • Solutions

See Press Release for more detail.

TSG Thoughts – Project Horizon – xDB and EMC

In last year’s Momentum 2014 Recap, we had hinted that we were surprised that there was no Documentum 8 on the Roadmap (not there this year as well).  In a later post, we surmised the difficulty ECD would have making a significant investment in the repository given position within EMC and the need for ECD to remain profitable.   Project Horizon represents that investment done with a “as funded” approach where ECD gradually builds out the system rather than release a brand new Documentum 8.  Some components to Project Horizon that fit a Documentum 8 scenario include:

  • New Database – While Documentum is celebrating its 25th birthday, the underlying components haven’t changed much.  As one billion object client mentioned in the Meet the Executives discussion, “Isn’t there a better way than one gigantic database?”    ECD has been building the new database component of an ECM repository with the xDB XML Database portion of the Xhive purchase in 2008.  During the conference, the phrase “reduce cost of ownership” was often voiced.  By providing the database component (and eliminating the DBA role), ECD can save money while providing a more modern architecture.
  • REST and DQL – When removing the DB component, the ability to remove the reliance on the Documentum API (DFC) and DQL with a more modern RESTful Web Services.

Our understanding is the development effort has been ongoing for roughly the last four years with resources from the Xhive purchase as well as other Documentum veterans.  We would surmise that the initial development effort was focused on a Documentum 8 and has added Pivotal and Cloud Foundry to be in line with EMC.  The release of InfoArchive and Supplier Portal last year as a initial product on the new architecture has allowed ECD to test the architecture with large amounts of storage along with a simplified REST access and new content model.  InfoArchive also allowed for a new revenue stream to justify additional R&D spending on Project Horizon.

EMC as a company plays a major role in Project Horizon as the vision includes two major successes from EMC, Pivotal and Cloud Foundry.

The vision focuses on a cloud first component as well as a later on premise option.  It was difficult to determine how Pivotal or Cloud Foundry add value (or complexity) to the on premise component.  During other discussions, the ideas of other EMC components including RSA and storage components (Viper) were mentioned.

New is easy, Bridge and Solutions are Hard

Building out the new architecture with new applications is a good first step for Project Horizon.  The difficult component of Project Horizon will be the bridge for existing D2 and xCP applications (Webtop is not included).  Also, providing support for solutions, like Life Sciences, that have been constructed on D2 will be considerably more difficult than building solutions like the Supplier Portal on the new architecture.  D2 runs on the underlying Documentum Foundation Services (DFS).  While we don’t have access to the current Project Horizon RESTful web services layer, we would anticipate that it is more generic than DFS as xDB can’t support DQL or other specific Documentum access methods.

When TSG first began building OpenContent 8 years ago, one major hurdle was getting Documentum developers to think about ECM in general rather than leverage Documentum proprietary components like DQL or r_object_id.  For us, the goal was to build a web service layer that could work on Documentum but also easily work on Alfresco, Hadoop, Solr or any other repository necessary for our clients.

Without access to the specific REST Project Horizon calls to compare against DFS, it is impossible to understand the complexity of the capabilities of “the Bridge” component of Project Horizon.  We would guess that the bridge, like other keynote concepts mentioned in the past, is more Powerpoint concept than reality at the present time.  We are taking a wait and see approach, as it was mentioned that Life Sciences would be the first to test the bridge capability.

What about Solutions and Documentum Consulting?

One of the major points the last two years was an emphasis on solutions.  As we pointed out in our preparation post, customers should be wary to differentiate between products (D2, xCP) and Solutions (Life Sciences, Energy, Engineering, Healthcare).   Products are software from ECD that can be purchased and maintained.  Solutions are consulting offerings that include products.  For example, the Life Sciences solution includes D2.

Back at EMC World 2012 and EMC World 2013, ECD (IIG at the time) began prioritizing solutions.  Initial discussed in 2013, these solutions included Energy and Engineering, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Public Sector and Financial Services.  The two most successful solutions are Asset Operations (for Energy and Engineering) and Life Sciences.  In the last 3 years, ECD has made major purchases to pursue solutions including:

  • 2013 Purchase of Sitrof – Consulting firm specializing in Life Sciences. The Sitrof add approximately 50 consultants.
  • 2012 Purchase of Trinity – Consulting firm specializing in Utilities. The Trinity purchase came with products as well as a small number of consultants.

We attended the Life Sciences Solution Roadmap and were very impressed.  Clearly the addition of life science expertise from CSC and other companies has helped define the D2 solution and product roadmap. Other solutions have not had the same impact as they seem to have been more cobbled together (example Utilities) with purchased or consulting offerings.

Overall we noticed a definite reduction in consulting presentations compared with years past.  Given conflicts with Roadmap discussions, we didn’t attend many of the other solutions demos.

As a brand, Documentum consulting has had some successes and failures.  As we have mentioned in other posts, the focus on selling products AND consulting has hurt Documentum’s partner ecosystem of partners as many have left or reduced their involvement with Documentum due to competition.  Some examples:

  • CSC – Formerly was the defacto choice for replacement of DCM in Life Sciences. Documentum reentering life sciences has severely affected the partnership with CSC.  While CSC was an overall EMC World Sponsor, it did not have a presence at Momentum.
  • Paragon – A former Documentum “Partner of the Year”, Paragon did not actively participate in Momentum. Outside discussion mentioned that they are aligned with Veeva.
  • Generis/Cara – Also a former partner. With success of Cara as a Webtop/DCM/D2 alternative, Generis (like TSG and our products) was removed from the partner program.

Rohit’s presentation as well as other discussions seemed to indicate more a focus on partners (to help build out Project Horizon Solutions).  With rumors of a new sales infrastructure and people, it will be a wait and see to determine if Documentum becomes more partner friendly.

Documentum Roadmap

Most of our attendance focused on the overall product roadmap  – see our review Overall ECD Product Vision and Roadmap.  Some summary points:

  • Project Horizon – already mentioned above. Wait and see how many solutions/bridge come in the next year.
  • Captiva – New REST services and Web Based Client.
  • Documentum Platform – Mostly security enhancements with 7.2. Still no 8 as that is probably in project horizon.
  • Records Management – updated email format and infrastructure improvements.
  • D2 – 4.5 being released. Annotation/Collaboration was interesting – look for a post shortly as TSG tests it.  Most changes included adding new functionality (Virtual Documents) as well as an enhanced interface.
  • xCP – Most updates focused on usability.
  • Webtop (and eRoom) – will be supported for at least another 5 years.

Overall the roadmap for most products has slipped a quarter or two but we were overall impressed with the Product Managers and their focus on incremental improvements.  The cadence of consistent releases and roadmap forecasts only out a year or so  continues to add consistency year to year.

Alignment with TSG Products

One thing we try to do in every Recap is restate for our clients how our Open Source products align with the overall Documentum initiatives.

  • OpenContent – Project Horizon – OpenContent is our web service layer to allow our applications to talk to Documentum. Since the xHive purchase, we have thought that Documentum might upgrade the repository.  We would anticipate that when the new services are released, we will move OpenContent to support the new repository.  We are taking a “wait and see” in regards to the cloud and solution offering.
  • OpenAnnotate – Lots of traction with end of life for PDF Annotation Services and Brava purchase by OpenText. We currently support Webtop, FirstDoc, Cara and will be soon be supporting D2.  If you are interested in us supporting xCP, please get in touch.
  • HPI – we continue to see a need for a product that does some of the configurable things that D2 does but provides custom capabilities like xCP.
  • Active Wizard  – not much this year on Workflow. Lots of success with our new HTML5 approach for form and Workflow.
  • OpenMigrate – continues to have a ton of traction for Documentum customers to migrate between repositories or products.

Summary

The Enterprise Content Division (ECD – formerly the Information Intelligence Group (IIG) that includes Documentum) has a new name and leader in Rohit Ghai and has added new faces throughout the organization.  We have seen significant investments in the Documentum Roadmap, Life Sciences Solution as well as new initiatives including Project Horizon.

Overall, we would say that Momentum was consistent with 2014 in that small steps forward for the product portfolio seemed to be the core of the message.  The new announcement was Project Horizon that looked to leverage the EMC relationship with ties to Pivotal and Cloud Foundry along with a new repository based on xDB.  We wouldn’t predict it would affect current Documentum users for quite some time given funding, effort and stabilization requirements.  Part of Project Horizon included a bridge for existing Documentum clients (D2 and xCP).  We are taking a wait and see approach as this would be a large undertaking.

For current customers, good takeaways included:

  • Webtop – supported for at least another 5 years – updated releases every year for browser support.
  • Roadmaps – for all products going out one year with small incremental improvements.
  • Energetic Leader and Product Managers – Saw great synergy between Rohit’s presentations as well as the follow-up presentations by the Product Managers.

We hear rumors that much of the sales resources are changing and throughout the conference.  We have to take a wait and see approach for how this affects the long-term relationships with Documentum clients in 2015.

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