In talking with a new client last week, the client asked “Why do you do Open Source software for Documentum, a commercial software package?” As the only long-term Documentum partner to offer all of our software as Open Source, we get that question often. I thought I would use this entry to explain our strategy and how our clients affect our software development efforts.
Form and Workflow Extensions – the beginning of our Open Source Efforts
In 2001, we began creating what eventually became the Active Wizard as part of our effort for a large pharmaceutical client surrounding change requests for Documentum. After a successful POC for the client and production implementation for a print vendor, we were happy to have the Active Wizard certified as one of the charter members of what was then the “Designed for Documentum” program. Our initial pricing for the Active Wizard was “enterprise class” (read that as expensive). Over the next four years, our focus moved from commercial sold/purchased software to 100% open source based on a number of factors:
- Open Source Movement – Whether Linux, Apache Tomcat or other widely available Open Source software, we began to see clients embracing the concept of quality free code as good if not better than purchased software for the same function.
- Software Sales – Over the last 10 years, we have noticed more and more aggressive sales techniques from software sales representatives. Our consulting sale, always based on trust first, conflicted with software sales and client expectations based on client experience dealing with aggressive software sales reps. Open Source allowed us to break out of the model of typical software sales reps and enhance our consulting brand by providing quality software for free without the heavy handed sales approach.
- Alfresco – We began working more and more with Alfresco for internal and client efforts and were impressed with the model and quality of the software. We have based our Open Source model on Alfresco (we own all the code) to ensure a quality and well-tested product.
Client Driven software development
Another question we will typically hear is “How do you determine what functionality is included and how to enhance your products”. The answer is that our clients really determine how our software evolves – some examples
- Active Wizard – as mentioned above, Active Wizard was developed from a pharmaceutical client POC and publishing client production install. Active Wizard has been successfully installed for Pharma, Utility, Publishing, Financial, Delivery and other major customers in different industries. Additional enhancements are added per clients including a new flex interface (add link).
- OpenMigrate – developed from multiple client migration efforts that needed high-performance and a multi-threaded solution based on failures from other purchased products. OpenMigratre is our most often downloaded product has been implemented at a wide variety of clients both for the Documentum 6.5 upgrade as well as ongoing migrations.
- HPI and OpenContent – developed initial as Web Services for Documentum 5.2.5, a real estate firm enhanced OpenContent for .Net Web Services (we support Java as well) and an insurance firm extended the interface for non-Webtop solutions.
- OpenOverlay – based on clients needs for a server based Open Source solution for PDF manipulation replacing PDF Aqua. Implemented for multiple clients.
- OpenDashboard – based on clients needs to manage multiple repositories.
Like the Active Wizard that began life as a POC, TSG dedicates some internal efforts on non-client solutions based on our involvement with different tools and overall client needs. Things that we have invested and released recently include:
- Flex Viewer for Documentum – Based on multiple clients desire to better control viewing/printing/annotating with an Open Source viewer.
- CenterStage Integration – example of how to link components to CenterStage based on our involvement in the CenterStage Beta program.
If you have thoughts on other points – please drop us a line here.