Documentum – Using OpenOverlay to Provide Functionality Not Available in PDF Stamping Services

As readers who use EMC’s Documentum Compliance Manager (DCM) product will know, with the 6.5 release there was an architecture switch in the way dynamic overlays were applied to documents with the introduction of PDF Stamping Services (PSS). Prior to version 6.5, PDF Aqua was integrated into the product and customers used it to design and configure the overlays they needed to appear for documents as they moved through different stages of their lifecycle.  These overlays could range from simple watermarks containing the current document status (e.g., DRAFT, APPROVED), to more advanced overlays including property and other related data of the document in dynamic headers.

In transitioning to PSS, many customers found that while it did provide many of the same capabilities as PDF Aqua there could still be certain scenarios where what was possible in a PDF Aqua overlay was not easy to duplicate in PSS. This post will describe one such situation and how leveraging OpenOverlay allowed the client to maintain their legacy overlay functionality with minimal system changes.

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Documentum Compliance Manager (DCM) 6.5 Upgrade Thoughts

Many Documentum Compliance Manager (DCM) 5.3 users are reaching a decision point on upgrading to DCM 6.5.  The typical driver is primary support for DCM 5.3 expired on 12/31/2009 while DCM 6.5 will be supported until 08/31/2012.  Typically DCM is used by companies operating in regulated industries (ex: pharmaceutical manufacturing) to meet regulatory requirements around managing their documentation (SOPs, Specifications, etc.) electronically.  The product consists of extensions of the current core Documentum client application, originally WorkSpace and currently Webtop, along with other software integrations to provide required features for document control including dynamically applied watermarks (PDFAqua), electronic signatures, security, lifecycle and other additions to the typical Documentum client.  Given reliance on Webtop, some common issues with DCM include:

  • Its tendency to lag behind in release dates compared to the rest of the product stack, evident with the late release of the 6.5 version
  • The general difficulty clients have had in upgrading between major releases.

This post will discuss some of the things to look for when considering the upgrade to 6.5.

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Documentum Migration to Alfresco – Summary of Series Postings

While TSG will continue posting our experience on clients that are moving from Documentum to Alfresco, this will be our last posting for our series over the summer of 2010.  Summaries of the articles are presented below:

  • Documentum Migration to Alfresco – in our first post, we discussed the reasons why clients are choosing to move.  Detailed points included price, upgrade, software audit, open source, extranet, development environment, web content management and available tools.
  • Pricing – This post identified differences in the Documentum and Alfresco pricing model. 
  • User Interface Overview – This post compared interfaces from Documentum and Alfresco.
  • Development Environment – This post discussed the different development environments components including development framework, API Interface, Web Service Interface, Query Interface, Repository Configuration and Development Community.
  • Object Model – This post discussed underlying object model and differences between the two platforms.
  • Document Creation – This post discussed how documents are created and imported into either tool.
  • InputAccel – This post discussed how to use InputAccel with either Documentum or Alfresco.
  • Support – This post discussed support differences and approaches.
  • Document Control – This post went into detail on different components required for Document Control and how to leverage Alfresco.
  • Documentum Webpublisher and Alfresco – With the announcement that Web Publisher is going away, this post addressed how to leverage Alfresco for an Open Source alternative.

 If you liked the series or have other ideas for additional posts, please attach a comment.

Documentum, Document Control and Alfresco

I was talking to a Life Sciences client that was looking to move away from Documentum for Document Control and they were asking the logical question “Why haven’t more companies moved to Alfresco and Open Source?”  For this post, I will try to address some of the reasons as well as present some background on how best practices for Document Control with Alfresco.  From an informal discussion with my peers here at TSG, some of the main reasons include: Continue reading

Documentum OR SharePoint for Complaince? Thoughts on a mixed approach.

I was at a client yesterday that was struggling in regards to a strategy of SharePoint or Documentum for a compliance application.  Complaince is an application that involves control of many documents to insure that the correct approved documents are used at the correct time and can be confirmed during an internal or regulatory audit.  For this client, one user group had already implemented a SharePoint solution, complete with Wiki’s and scanned signature pages while the enterprise standard for ECM is Documentum.   TSG has a long history implementing compliance solutions for multiple clients in regulated industries.  This post will debrief the discussion, present some best practices and highlight a hybrid rather than either/or approach. Continue reading

Documentum and Momentum EMC World 2010 Recap

First off, a couple of clarifications

  1. The Content Management and Archiving (CMA) group of products (that included Documentum, Captiva…) has been changed to the Information Intelligence Group (IIG).   We (TSG) are just going to stick with “Documentum” to keep things simple and relevant to our reader base.  (Plus we save on having to explain the acronyms in every post).
  2. When we refer to Momentum, we are referring to the Documentum track at EMC World.

Some telling stats from Documentum/Momentum Track at EMC World 2010

  • 91 – Total Number of Presentations
  • 27 –  Presentations that referenced DFS, xCP or Case Management
  • 10 – Presentations that referenced Sharepoint
  • 5 – Presentations that referenced CenterStatge
  • 1 – Presentation that referenced “the Cloud”
  • 0 – Presentations that referenced Webtop

Particularly interesting was the first day, Monday, where out of 16 presentations, 7 were focused on xCP not including the Mark Lewis keynote that was heavily focused on Case Management.  We should mention that Webtop was referenced in the roadmap sessions but not in the title or summaries of any presentations.  Also, these are probably a conservative number in regards to the xCP sessions as we didn’t count Captiva or Doc Sciences that will be part of the xCP bundle. 

Quick thoughts

  • While the theme for EMC was “Journey to the Private Cloud”, the theme for Documentum was xCP (combination of BPM, TaskSpace, FormBuilder Tools) for Case Management.  See our post from Day two.
  • Documentum is moving away from the WDK and like tools.  Specifically
    • Webtop/DAMtop/WebPublisher/DCM will be supported for “some” time but Documentum made it clear that they were no longer investing in these products.
    • xCP, currently WDK based, will be moving to DFS with 2.0 slated for release in January.
    • CenterStage is not WDK based but does not have all the functionality of Webtop or a software development kit.  See Day three thoughts.

 xCP – TSG Thoughts

  • Clients should consider xCP for new development as opposed to Webtop or other WDK platforms as Documentum is no longer “investing” in WDK based platforms.
  • Clients should be aware that xCP version 2.0 (presented in the roadmap as Q2 or Q3 2011) which will be based on DFS as this is a substantial re-write of the WDK based product.
  • Clients should review license agreements when upgrading from Webtop to xCP as, in the past, the underlying tools of xCP have required separate licenses.  Clients should also push for how the new xCP bundle will be priced and licensed.
  • Clients should ask Documentum for BPM references and conduct extensive testing of the new release of xCP as the underlying tools (BPM, Forms Builder, TaskSpace) have not been as broadly adopted as Webtop within the Documentum community.

Webtop/DAMtop/DCM –  TSG Thoughts

  • WDK Products will continue to be supported through Documentum 7 (D7).
  • DCM functionality will be included in the DFS layer (electronic signature, watermark…) and there is not a plan for an investment in DCM past 6.5.
  • Clients should factor in reduced support after D7 in their upgrade and migration plans.
  • Clients should consider add-ons that will run outside of Webtop to preserve their investment and user experience.
  • Clients should continue to push Documentum on definition of “support” for Webtop.

CenterStage – TSG Thoughts

  • Centerstage is still lacking document management functionality that Webtop provides (example – full repository browse).  Clients should wait for a software development kit and additional functionality before considering moving Webtop applications to CenterStage.
  • Centerstage should be used for collaboration but still lacks key functionality that eRoom and SharePoint already provide.  (example data tables….)
  • Centerstage has not compared well to SharePoint in regards to user adoption and wealth of add-ons (even from Documentum) in regards to additional functionality.

Sharepoint – TSG Thoughts

  • Documentum has embraced SharePoint offering multiple solutions for SharePoint connectivity.
  • My Documentum for SharePoint should be considered for SharePoint connectivity.
  • Clients should also consider integrated approaches as My Documentum approaches can only be configured OOTB and do not have a software development kit.


Overall, we welcome the Documentum push for Case Management as a we (TSG) have been seeing these types of solutions on Documentum for our financial services clients as well as manufacturing and other clients for years.  What we haven’t seen in our client base is the widespread adoption of BPM/ TaskSpace/ Forms as our clients have often picked other tools and an integrated approach for Case Management.  While the idea of a suite with templates makes good application development sense and from a support perspective,  we (TSG) are somewhat skeptical about whether Documentum can pull it off for their existing Webtop client base but applaud the effort.  Look for future posts in regards to our experience with Case Management and integrated/best of bread approaches in future posts.

In regards to the “death of Webtop” – we are fairly confident that Webtop will be around for another couple of years.  Those that remember Workspace all know how long it took for all clients (although a couple of clients are still using it) to move to the new platforms.

Lastly, given the number of EMC Software Audits and that the 6.6 release of Documentum will include license management, clients should be very upfront with Documentum as it relates to licensing model and if Webtop/DAMtop/DCM licenses will transfer to other products as they plan their upgrades and migration efforts.

Day 2 – EMC World 2010

Case management and xCP is the theme

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I wasn’t quite sure of the theme of this year’s Momentum track at EMC World.  As we get into Day 2, most of us here agree that xCP is the dominant theme tied to Case Management.

Roadmap Updates and EMC Investments

This morning more emerged in regards to details around the roadmap for some of the Information Access suite of products.   Based on our thoughts, we would anticipate the following priorities:

  1. xCP 2.0 (TaskSpace/BPM/Forms) and SAP Integration
  2. FatWire Integration
  3. Centerstage
  4. SharePoint
  5. Media Workspace
  6. My Documentum

The above being said, what’s missing, or what are the items that will not get investment going forward?

  • Webtop – as stated in the Roadmap, Webtop is expected to survive in 6.6, 6.7 and 7 but that ongoing investment is focused on Centerstage.  Releases of Webtop will continue, but will mostly encompass platform certifications and bug fixes.  Quote from the Roadmap presentation focused on Webtop users starting to think about deploying solutions to CenterStage “in about a year”.
  • DAMtop – similar to Webtop – moving to Media Workspace which utilizes an Adobe Flex interface.
  • Web Publisher – again, not going to expect a significant investment as recommending moving to FatWire.  One follow – Interactive Deployment Services (formerly Site Caching Services) will continue to be supported.
  • Documentum Compliance Manager (DCM) – as with Webtop, the focus was moving away from Webtop and DCM.  Many of the capabilities of DCM (example – e-signature) will be moved into Documentum Foundation Services (DFS) Web Services layer available for custom applications.  During the roadmap, the presenter suggested either writing custom applications or moving to EMC CSC/FCG partnership with FCG.
  • WDK – Not really said but we would anticipate with DAMtop, Webtop, Webpublisher going away, WDK will continue to move to more DFS.

But what do I do today?

This is where customers are struggling.  Centerstage is not there yet in regards to a Webtop replacement and has been pretty late in regards to updates. (example – still does not include folder browsing).  xCP 2.0 seems to be the significant release as the 1.5 is still on WDK and moving to DFS.  While we love the concept of Case Management as it relates to what we have been developing for clients with HPI, many clients don’t fit into the Case Management scenario and are concerned about licensing costs as Webtop licenses don’t translate to xCP.

Bottom-line, clients will continue to develop/release Webtop for the next year but should be looking forward to how to implement future releases, whether that turns out to be CenterStage, xCP or other applications.  One helpful post relates to our current clients still on 5.3 and trying to upgrade to 6.5

We recommend clients consider tasks/interfaces linked to Webtop but essentially capable of running outside or tied to other applications.  Search is an excellent example of applications that clients have deployed and easily moved between platforms and applications.

Documentum and SharePoint – Key differences for document control applications

We have recently begun working with a couple of clients on potential migration efforts from Documentum to SharePoint for their document control applications.  In preparing for these efforts, we are in the process of upgrading OpenContent, OpenMigrate and even parts of HPI to run on either SharePoint or Documentum.  For this post, we thought it might benefit those familiar with Documentum to understand the differences for a typical control application.


Documentum users tend to be pretty proficient at using the Documentum search for finding the right information.  In a document control application, a typical search might be “show me all SOPs for any plant that include this equipment number”.  In Documentum, this would be a search on both attributes (SOP doctype, plant) and full text (equipment number) and could either be accomplished with Webtop Search, HPI or another search interface.  For SharePoint, the search is somewhat more difficult for a couple of reasons:

  • SharePoint is divided around “sites” with each site having a library.  In an instance where there are multiple plants, the administrator would have to decide whether to set up an “SOP” site with one library to enable this search (would leave the folder navigation very crowded) or a site per plant with libraries that contain more than just SOPs.  (would force separate searches on each site).
  • SharePoint doesn’t easily provide for cross-library searches with attributes.  Basic search is limited to full text but, like Doucmentum simple search, is just a Google-like full text search with search results.
  • SharePoint advanced search is available and is similar to Webtop search.  Users have to build a query; however, users don’t get pre-populated pick lists like in Webtop.   Also, SharePoint doesn’t natively support the idea of a “contains” search and defaults to an equals or does not equal search, forcing the user to have to type and spell the whole value correctly.  For advanced cross-library searches, all attributes (called properties in SharePoint) from any library are in one giant property pick list and not shared across libraries (doc type for one library would have to be named something different for another library or it would show up twice).
  • SharePoint search results only provide a “Google-like” result list – not the tabular, sortable format that Documentum and HPI users expect.   For example, being able to sort on an attribute column or download search results to Excel is not available in SharePoint.
  • SharePoint does not provide for saved searches like Documentum or HPI.

We are enhancing HPI Search with access to SharePoint via the SOAP APIs.  Like Documentum users, the ability to have a robust, configured search is a common enhancement for document control applications.

Document Retrieval – Support for PDF

As we pointed out in a previous post, Documentum users are used to storing a variety of document formats and doing retrievals, overlays, annotations and other functions on a rendered PDF.  SharePoint “out of the box” doesn’t really support the automatic generation/storage of a PDF rendition or the ability to add overlays for document header/footer/signature page like Documentum users are used to seeing with PDF Aqua or OpenOverlay.  While there is a strong add-on market for SharePoint (we are adding to it as well for this), those evaluating should understand that any rendition would be stored as a separate object in SharePoint and would require some type of training/customization to make sure the PDF rendition was viewed/manipulated for retrieval.

Document Storage and Navigation

Most Documentum users are used to a cabinet/folder metaphor .  For SharePoint, the concept of Site/Library might be somewhat similar.  As already highlighted above, deciding to create and SOP site or a Plant site will be a major decision with impacts through the design of the application.  The difficult part of SharePoint is that within a library, the applications forces “common” property views.  To take advantage of the interface, users need to set up views per document type.  Some other key SharePoint differences:

  • Security – Security can be managed on a document level but, out of the box, the security is  not tied to document status as is typically setup with a Documentum lifecycle and ACL.  For example, with a Documentum lifecycle, you can set up that users cannot update when pending approval, can not edit when approved/effective, but can edit in Draft.  In SharePoint, out of the box users can edit no matter what the document status value.
  • Renditions – as mentioned above, documents appear in their native format without the concept of a PDF rendition.
  • Office Integration – SharePoint has superior Microsoft Office integration to Documentum alternatives.

Workflow Review

Because SharePoint does not support document renditions, SharePoint workflow is more of a check-in/check-out process with track changes on whereas Documentum approvers typically review a PDF rendition and annotate/provide comments.  One concern about using native word tools is that reviewers can be too likely to be word-smithing  throughout  rather than reviewing content.  Also, the check-out lock limits parallel review.   Lastly, the lack of PDF support requires similar functions to insert header/footer into the word document giving the appearance that it might be editable.  We couldn’t get document name, version and status per our testing into the header.

Workflow Approval

The out of the box approval workflow still has check-out enabled.  Users should configure/customize SharePoint to remove that ability.  If users update approved document content after other approvers have finished, the integrity of the approval is lessened.  Editing during the workflow works for document review, but not a true approval process.

Electronic signatures are not supported out of the box.  If you want to capture a user’s signature, you have to insert a signature object into the Word document.  SharePoint does audit and provide adequate reporting status tools.

Final Thoughts

Overall, most Documentum users will see SharePoint as a “light” ECM tool and, from what we have experienced, will be frustrated with certain functionality and how best to incorporate their process for managing controlled documents.  Please add a comment or contact us with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Update 2013 – with SharePoint continuing to fade, we are seeing more and more clients consider Alfresco as a Documentum Alternative – please view solution and related screencams from a recent Alfresco Webinar.