As evidenced during EMC World and at our clients, the decision to upgrade to Documentum 6.5 has proven itself more difficult than previous upgrade decisions. While the back-end migration can be fairly straightforward, most users are struggling with the cost, effort and risk of upgrading the front-end Webtop application. As one client put it:
“I feel like I am paying 100K in development and testing to give the users essentially the same system”
Other factors that tie into a difficult Webtop decision include:
• Fresh scars from the difficulty and cost of upgrading Webtop applications from 5.1 to 5.2.5 to 5.3
• Customized WDK code for attribute, search and workflow that either:
– Isn’t supported in the new environment
– Has to be redeveloped
– Was developed by resources or consultants no longer with the company
• Retraining and new testing/validation expense
• Risk in regards to performance and stability
• Risk in regards to having to having redo again for Webtop 7.x
• Risk in long-term Documentum decision regarding WDK given recent announcements in regards to Flex and DFS.
While IT would like to upgrade to the latest addition in regards to support requirements, more and more users are asking for the existing systems to remain intact and pay additional support to insure stability and a better ROI.
A recent trend this year is to develop enhancements to existing 5.2.5 and 5.3 environments to make them more easily upgradable. Our client experience has included:
• A pharmaceutical that added a third party access application as a Web Services configured solution based on “off the shelf” open source outside of webtop but capable of supporting both 5.3 and 6.5.
• A client replacing standard Webtop Search and Retrieval with open source to make the search interface compatible with Webtop 5.3, Webtop 6.5 as well as a cached business continuity repository.
• A utility client developing a configurable workflow application based on open source initially on 5.2.5 and then migrating to 6.0 and skipping the cost, risk and effort to move to the 5.3 platform.
In all of the above examples, business users received benefits (improved functionality, better interfaces, performance, business continuity) while IT gradually updated the application to be in a better position to move to Webtop 6.x and beyond.
Please see our post on upgrading WDK applications and Webtop customizations for additional information.