For this post, we will be talking with the Project Manager from a customer that recently moved from Documentum to Alfresco. In order to avoid having to get corporate approval, the client has asked not be identified for this post. The interview was conducted for a half hour on September 30, 2011.
Can you give us a background of your application and size of your ECM system?
We have about 5 million very secure contract related documents in the system. For our business, we need to capture credentials including SSN/Address and other mortgage related documentation. All of this documentation needs to be very tightly controlled.
What driving factors decide to move from Documentum to Alfresco?
We were having some issues with the current Documentum environment in regards to stability. While we tried to figure it out, it seemed like restarting was always the issue. We got to the point when the system seemed to go down every other day. As we looked to expand the system, we were concerned that our lack of Documentum stability to be an issue. In trying to resolve the issue, we were being pushed to upgrade. Since we were going to go through the upgrade regardless, we thought we might want to look at other options.
We also were predicting upcoming licensing issues as we rolled the system out to more users. While we were never audited by Documentum, we got the impression that we were going to run into license issues given how we wanted to continue our use of a CPU based license rather than a named-user license model.
Alfresco was much easier than Documentum in terms of CPU based pricing, actually only for support, as well as just our development options. We tended to treat Documentum’s back-end as a “black box” that we could not extend. Given that Alfresco is Open Source, we found it easy to extend both the front-end and back-end while supporting a CPU based pricing model. We were able to build our own simple user interface without any pricing issues.
Besides Alfresco, did you look at other ECM Packages? Why did you pick Alfresco over those solutions?
We do have SharePoint in house but use it for more traditional collaboration that storage of our confidential records. We were very concerned about being stuck in a Windows world in regards to upgrades and our security needs. We started looking at Alfresco in 2006, but thought they were too “bleeding edge” at the time. In doing our evaluation in 2010, we felt that Alfresco was now very stable, both from a company and technology perspective, and felt very comfortable with that choice as an alternative to Documentum or SharePoint.
What’s been the biggest difference between Documentum and Alfresco?
As mentioned before, CPU based pricing and overall cost was a factor, although not a driving factor. The ability to expand the use of the system to a large organization without worrying about additional user licensing has helped us quickly roll out solutions to business groups.
Have you noticed any performance differences?
Since the Documentum box was not that stable, it is hard to say. Our new systems are on new boxes and are performing great with more documents and applications but I don’t think that is specifically due to the software solution.
How did you learn about Technology Services Group (TSG)?
As part of our move from Documentum to Alfresco, we needed a migration tool. We leverage OpenMigrate from TSG. Currently, we just downloaded the software from the internet and used for the initial migration and some subsequent migrations without any assistance from TSG. We have recently had discussions with TSG in regards to some of our Alfresco to Alfresco migrations.
If you were to advise Documentum customers on anything you learned, what would it be?
We were looking for a cost-effective alternative to Documentum consistent with our Java skills. If you are looking for a stable, extensible, flexible and reliable platform, you really should look at Alfresco. One issue we had was not so much a technical issues as much as a perception issue was Open Source. Some of our business users equated open source with risky. Alfresco was great about correcting that perception as they control all of their source code. We have found that, since we can view the code itself, all of their code has been top-notch and reliable.