EMC Documentum: A Brief on Its Content Management Offerings in 2012

The EMC Documentum family of products covers a range of content management, case management, and governance applications, and plays to current shifts across the information management landscape. In this report, TEC's director of knowledge services Josh Chalifour looks at the directions in which EMC is focusing its products and services, and how that relates to requirements you may have for your content management initiatives.
EMC is developing its products and services to play to current shifts across the information management landscape. The EMC Documentum family of products covers a range of content management, case management, and governance applications. In this report, I’ll look at the directions in which EMC is focusing its products and services, and how that relates to requirements you may have for your content management initiatives. I’ll also touch on some of the company’s upcoming initiatives for 2012. 

EMC’s present strategies keep the vendor worthy of evaluation by those companies looking for industry-vertical solutions, a comprehensive content asset control methodology, or a solution that takes current workforce trends in mobile accessibility and cloud-oriented platforms into consideration.

To begin, let’s look at the following chart that provides a high-level view of Technology Evaluation Centers’ (TEC’s) model of research on enterprise content management (ECM) systems and the functionality supported by EMC’s Documentum family. Organizations with an exhaustive set of requirements will need to consider solutions replete with features, such as the Documentum products. The functionality provided by the Documentum family of ECM solutions can be examined in depth in our IM&C Evaluation Center. Review TEC’s evaluation criteria using the online software comparison system, TEC Advisor.

 

Looking beyond content management functionality, EMC's attention to what it calls “the new user” primarily covers three roles: the developer, the cloud architect, and the data scientist. These roles are all part of the company’s product strategies, as EMC recognizes that technology trends and attendant business shifts require changes in how individuals in these roles perform their work.

When EMC references “the new user,” it’s referring to how employees increasingly use their own mobile devices to accomplish their work tasks or otherwise transact their business activities—it’s thinking about the challenges of engaging with computing devices with multiple form factors. To this end, EMC is steering its product development toward user requirements for finding information regardless of location (in office or outside the office firewall) or the type of device being used. EMC has already developed iOS5 clients (e.g., iPad and iPhone), which support sign-off, approvals, and other content management or workflow functionality, besides simply viewing documents. The company stated that it plans to support other devices, such as Android, in the future. These mobile clients are an important part of the Documentum information rights management strategy, which I’ll cover later in this report.

EMC has been developing its systems to favor configuration over customization. In part, this recognizes users’ needs for simple interfaces to complete their work. By providing administrators configuration controls in its new Documentum D2 interface, EMC aims to reduce the time organizations spend developing customized interfaces for their users. Administrators use D2’s grid of checkboxes to set properties, which control rules for creating or manipulating documents, security, workflow, and other characteristics of how people use the system. Of course, having this kind of administrative interface is not exactly a new concept in the market, but EMC offers a lot of granularity, and judging by responses to the D2 announcement, it’s a welcome improvement.

EMC has also been thinking about the impact of cloud-based services on an organization’s IT infrastructure and what that means for the way IT personnel do their jobs. Early in 2012, the company released EMC On-Demand, its hybrid cloud deployment model. An EMC client can use the products on premise or switch to an on-demand, hosted version managed by IIG (EMC’s division, which handles the company’s products and services for content management and storage) called vCube. The vCube environment is preconfigured for development, testing, and production, and provides the functionality (including security features) typical of the on-premise versions of EMC’s products (Captiva for content capture, Documentum for core content management, and Document Sciences for customer communications; xCP for case management is slated for inclusion toward end of 2012). The appeal of this solution (similarly to the cloud positioning that most software vendors present these days) is that IT can offload a lot of its support calls, upgrades, and patch maintenance to the IIG experts.

Now let’s look at what EMC is doing in the areas of case management, Web experience and content management, and finally governance. I’ll dwell a bit longer on governance, as EMC is articulating an extensive governance strategy, which has implications for all other information management areas.

Case Management

Case processing crosses industries. Although organizations each have their own particular methods for transacting their operations, common requirements do exist. EMC’s case management layer, Documentum xCP, includes application design tools, business process management, and analytics. Documentum xCP integrates with other enterprise applications that clients may already have in place. For example, customer relationship management (CRM) systems or back-end systems of record such as e-mail, so that organizations can manage these other forms of unstructured content in accord with their content policies.

Nowadays, customers commonly expect to have Web-based self-service functionality available as they engage with businesses. EMC, however, thinks businesses have struggled to put requirements together and build applications that support processes for making self-service processes work well. The vendor positions its case management solution to orchestrate business processes, facilitate data interchange, enable collaboration with coworkers, ensure policy is carried out, send customer correspondence, and support users properly.

The capabilities of the EMC solution are nicely illustrated in the example of mortgage loan processing. Using the design tools of xCP, a company’s business analysts can configure business processes, define the application user experience for the mortgage processors and underwriters, and exchange data between the bank’s relevant systems of record—in a relatively painless manner. The system must keep the mortgage applicant informed with personalized messages and feedback, automatically triggered by xCP and based on predefined conditions being met, and must help the mortgage agent keep track of the status of the application. In addition, throughout the process, the system must record content resulting from the collaboration between people for compliance and audit purposes.

A valuable aspect of case processing is the collection and use of analytics data. The information recorded during case processing can be used to gain insight into what is working well or not so well with customers, and which business processes need improvement.

Web Experience Management

EMC Documentum provides fundamental Web content management (WCM) and publishing capabilities. For organizations that need more comprehensive Web content and experience management (WCM and Web experience management [WEM]) capabilities (e.g., analytics, personalization and targeting, social media, and multi-channel delivery), EMC has partnered with SDL Tridion.

This partnership ought to be particularly appealing to organizations using Documentum Content Server as their core repository and that want to take advantage of current WEM trends, such as intelligent profiling of site visitors and dynamically presenting content to suit these visitors’ interests and their browsers’ capabilities (whether on mobile devices or not).

With this approach, the publishing mechanism is available through the SDL user interface (UI) and the core repository is Documentum Content Server. An organization can see its Documentum repository within SDL’s interface and select and use the assets as it normally would. TEC includes data on SDL Tridion’s features and functions in our IM&C Evaluation Center.

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