Documentum D2 – Why has it failed to replace Webtop?

In a discussion with a long time Documentum client last week that had evaluated D2, some interesting points were raised as to why D2 has failed to replace Webtop.  This post will summarize those discussions.

Documentum Webtop and D2 – History

Webtop emerged from Documentum in the late 1990’s,early 2000 as a browser based interface iteration of Documentum’s web clients (any remember SmartSpace?).  For many clients, Webtop also replaced the Desktop Client and Workspace, although Workspace was still offered and supported for many years.

D2 was first developed by the French company C6.  Documentum licensed/bought D2 in 2011.  For many clients, it is important to understand some of the announcements Documentum was making before and after the D2 purchase regarding the background on D2 decisions:

Momentum 2011 – Webtop (and Centerstage) going away, clients should migrate to Unified Interface (author note: Unified Interface never released)

Momentum 2012 – D2 Purchased – D2 to replace some Webtop installations

Momentum 2013 – D2 4.1 (rewrite of 3.x) – Webtop still supported but not investing

Momentum 2014 – D2 4.2 – Webtop – not adding new features – not investing in Webtop but will keep up with latest repository versions

Momentum 2015 – Webtop supported for at least another 5 years

Reason #1 – Cost

For our client (and others that we have talked to), one of the primary reasons for not moving to D2 was the cost.  Many clients bought from the “all you can eat” Documentum buffet as part of enterprise agreement deals.  As a new product rather than an extension of their enterprise agreement, D2 would have cost additional dollars.  Unlike the previous moves to Webtop from other interfaces, Documentum has resisted offering clients credits for their previous Webtop purchases.

As we pointed out in a post in 2012 , D2 was brought in to give sales something more to sell for clients that have purchased enterprise agreements.

Reason #2 – Webtop “Good Enough”

Besides pointing to newer technology and a configuration approach, Documentum has struggled to differentiate D2 from Webtop for the normal user.  If you look at some of the comparison videos in the TSG Learning Zone, the interface isn’t that much different.  Many clients see Webtop as “good enough” for what users need to do an have avoided pursuing a new interface.

Reason #3 – Trust and Risk

Long-time Documentum/Webtop clients remember the issues with moving their clients from Documentum/Webtop 5.3 to 6.X.  Many clients look at moving to D2 and worry that:

  1. Need to pay for D2
  2. Need to pay for consulting (Documentum or other) to configure and potentially move the content to a new object model.
  3. Need to retrain users for new interface that is “somewhat better” than Webtop

Clients don’t trust that the move is worth the risk.  Some D2 clients have reported stability issues with D2 due to the high dependence on the Java Method Server (JMS), specialized Documentum Foundation Services (D2FS), and D2 Lockbox security.  Webtop does not depend directly on the JMS or Lockbox security.

Another trust issue of long-time clients can be found in Documentum’s somewhat shaky and inconsistent product management.  As mentioned previously, Documentum can change product mangers often resulting in changes in product direction.  For clients considering the move, trust in regards to investment in D2 is a concern if the product requires a large upgrade in the future.  This concern was voiced with xCP at Momentum 2015 as xCP 1.X users would need to rewrite to take advantage of xCP 2.0.

Reason #4 – Customizations

Many clients have added extensive customizations to Webtop over the years and do not want to repeat that effort going to D2.  While D2 has more configuration options, clients are worried that not all of the functionality they need can be configured with D2.

Reason #5 – 3rd Party Alternatives

For many TSG clients that have augmented or replaced Webtop with tools like HPI or Active Wizard, D2 does not bring added functionality.  Other clients have chosen alternatives including Cara.  In many of these cases, the trust and cost issues with Documentum do not exist with the alternatives.


From our discussions, D2 has failed to replace Webtop for a variety of reasons including:

  • Cost of Purchasing D2
  • Webtop provides “good enough” functionality
  • Trust of Documentum and Risk of the upgrade itself
  • Existing Webtop customizations
  • 3rd Party Alternatives

If you have thoughts you would like to share, please comment below.

3 thoughts on “Documentum D2 – Why has it failed to replace Webtop?

  1. D2 (and xCP for that matter) simply don’t offer enough stability/maturity to replace webtop.
    D2 3.2 “worked” (in IE), then they recode it to make it work in any browser and the result was that D2 4.0 had half the features D3.2 had. And EMC told partners/customers to stay away from coded customizations because it was “a work in progress” and the API could change drastically breaking everything done so far. Tell that to customers that had recently migrated from 5.x… As an additional Documentum client, is a nice solution for new customers or basic deployments, but it simply can’t replace a running heavily customized webtop.

  2. I remember when D2 was bought and the sales-guy pressure to upgrade to D2 (pharma). For us the main roadblock was cost. We were deploying a new solution and there were no dependencies with Webtop, so we were open to deploy D2.

    Our view was that was D2 an evolution of Webtop rather than something that provided us additional functionality (and worth paying).

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