AnnoDoc for Documentum – End of Service/Support – OpenAnnotate as a Replacement

Similar to Documentum’s PDF Annotation Services End of Service/Support, CSC’s AnnoDoc team has announced that their Annotation tool for Documentum will be moving to unsupported as of July 2016. As a strategic partner with CSC, TSG is currently working with a multiple AnnoDoc clients to deploy TSG’s OpenAnnotate as a more robust, supported and lower cost replacement. This post will present how to migrate from an AnnoDoc environment to OpenAnnotate.

OpenAnnotate has been our most requested and successful new product over the last year.  OpenAnnotate was first released in 2010 as a drop-in replacement for Documentum’s “PDF Annotation Services”.  OpenAnnotate has substantial advantages over traditional annotation tools including:

  • OpenAnnotate is 100% browser-based rather than requiring an installation and/or plug-in on every client machine.
  • OpenAnnotate fully supports the Adobe annotation standard XFDF providing for a standards rather than a proprietary approach.
  • OpenAnnotate has additional functions including Collaboration Mode, Content Redaction, and Heads Up Indexing have made OpenAnnotate a more full-featured tool than just annotating PDFs in Acrobat.

Big Bang Migration vs Rolling Migration

In many ways, CSC’s AnnoDoc Annotation tool is very similar to Documentum’s PDF Annotation Services in that it stored all annotation objects in Documentum as related dm_note objects in the repository, the same structure that OpenAnnotate relies on.  Unlike Documentum’s PDF Annotation services, AnnoDoc leverages an older standard for annotations, FDF, requiring all annotations to be updated to XFDF for use with OpenAnnotate.

Rather than advising clients on a risky “big bang” migration to switch all of the existing FDF annotations to XFDF annotations, TSG has developed and is recommending a “rolling migration” that only converts the legacy annotation objects at the time that they are viewed. This approach negates the big, expensive IT project to migrate everything over into a new format and a new system.  By leveraging the existing OpenAnnotate codebase, we were able to convert the legacy FDF annotations to the new XFDF format at the time that a document with legacy annotations was loaded in the OpenAnnotate interface. Then, when the user saves their annotations on a legacy annotated documents, the annotations are saved in the new format. This rolling migration simplifies the go-live process and allows for ‘legacy’ documents to be used in the new system without a time consuming and risky migration process.

Some of the other benefits to leveraging this approach:

  • Keeps the annotations in the existing infrastructure rather than requiring new hardware to be purchased
  • Existing annotations aren’t migrated unnecessarily if a user never views the document
  • No downtime or cutover weekend stress that the migration won’t be finished in time for the business on Monday morning

OpenAnnotate has a connector for Webtop and CSC FirstDoc already in production at many clients, so the transition for end users is seamless. As we posted here, often no new training is required for end users to start using the new tool. Once the updated configuration for FirstDoc has been deployed, users will be able to choose the “Comment” action and continue to annotate documents in the new OpenAnnotate web interface.

Let us know your thoughts, or contact TSG to talk about moving your AnnoDoc deployment to OpenAnnotate.

Excerpt from the letter sent to AnnoDoc clients:

Formal Notice of Ending of Support and Maintenance for the CSC AnnoDoc Software Product

Dear Customer,

This letter is a formal notification that CSC will cease support and maintenance for its AnnoDoc software product (the “Software”), effective July 15, 2016 (the “End Date”). CSC has not made the decision to end support and maintenance for the Software lightly.  Using CSC’s standard Offering Lifecycle Management (OLM) process, CSC had concluded that the Software is in the latter stages of its lifecycle, and, therefore, CSC has decided to discontinue support as of the End Date.

Until the End Date, CSC shall provide support and maintenance in line with current support obligations. Please note, however, that no further requests for development will be considered.

As part of the retirement plan we have been working with our industry partners to identify a suitable replacement for the Software and are suggesting either Brava!, from OpenText, or OpenAnnotate, from Technology Services Group, as possible replacement software products. We have an active partnership with OpenText and Technology Services Group and would welcome an opportunity to assist you in assessing the suitability of their products as a replacement solution and any planning associated with such transition.