In this difficult economic environment, many clients are scrutinizing every bill to look for ways to reduce costs. A client called me the other day in reviewing their current maintenance agreement with Documentum/EMC. As with most clients, Documentum maintenance was 19% of the purchase price. My clients rather leading question was:
“Given that Documentum has announced that they are not investing in WDK based solutions like Webtop and DCM, should I continue paying maintenance on these products as I know there will not be new functionality in the future?”
While we (TSG) are very convinced that Webtop will not be going away soon, the question as to what the maintenance buys in the future is in doubt.
To properly answer the question of continuing maintenance/support, clients need to understand what maintenance/support does.
- Standard Support provides assistance with installation and operation of Documentum products and assistance with behavior with product specifications.
- Maintenance provides customers with updates and upgrades to Documentum products they license.
Support and Maintenance cost 18-19% of the purchase price and are billed annually. If clients don’t pay maintenance on a product, the client will not have the ability to upgrade to the newest releases. In some cases clients will have to either rebuy the software or pay all back-maintenance costs. Support is slightly different discussion as the client will not be able to access Documentum support for questions and assistance with that product.
Traditionally, Documentum has allowed line items to be dropped from the maintenance contract. Other vendors, Oracle for one, will sometimes not allow line items to be dropped.
Why is WDK a different decision this year?
Typically TSG’s response to the maintenance discussion is:
1) Stop paying maintenance for products you don’t use. Often additional products like iTeam (anyone remember that?), BPM, CIS, Documentum Client for Outlook or other products are added to a large purchase as extras to allow the client to experiment with those products. We typically tell clients that haven’t deployed these solutions after a couple of years to remove those products from the maintenance agreement as the likelihood of deployment is remote.
2) Pay for maintenance for products you use regularly to provide access to support and future upgrades.
The current concern with WDK applications is that, while clients use them regularly and might need support, there will be no future upgrade based on Documentum’s decision not to invest in these solutions in the future. Some significant points include:
- most of our clients leverage support from Documentum for content server related issues and rarely need support for client products.
- some clients that have stabilized in the 5.3 environments and are not planning on upgrading to 6.5 clients, they are either not getting support from Documentum or paying for extended support.
Strategies going forward
TSG would recommend the following strategies going forward for Documentum clients with WDK applications.
1) Talk to your Sales Representative – To date, we have not heard consistently where the upgrade path for Webtop clients leads in regards to xCP or CenterStage. Your sales representative can communicate (in writing) what your future upgrade purchases involve.
2) Keep paying server maintenance – Support and upgrades are very much required for any production Documentum server component.
3) Consider dropping support for Webtop/DCM clients if you are not planning to upgrade.
4) Consider switching your maintenance from Webtop to Custom Client or other tools if allowed by your sales rep.
If your Documentum purchase pre-dates 2003 and you purchased “Foundation Seats” – keep paying maintenance on the Foundation seats. Foundation seats include the client, server, Webtop any Custom Client for that particular (named) user. While Documentum doesn’t sell Foundation seats any more, the ability to maintain all three of these components plus the custom client is, as one ex-Sales rep mentioned to me, “gold”.