2010 seems to be the year many of our Documentum clients are deciding (or considering) to migrate to Alfresco. For this post, we will try to address the reasons leading to this trend. This will be the first of several posts on the subject with follow-up posts providing more technical, application and industry examples.
First a Disclaimer
Before diving into the topic, we should state that this post is not written as a “Why everyone should migrate from Documentum to Alfresco” but more of a description of why some clients are moving or considering the move. TSG, was an active Documentum partner from 1996 through 2010, and is still very committed to the Documentum platform and our solutions running on both Documentum and Alfresco. We continue to be impressed with our engineering contacts at Documentum and their client support, through EMC World/Momentum and the User Groups. As presented below, the decision on Documentum versus Alfresco is fairly complex and involves consideration of technical, development, software costs, maintenance costs as well as just relationship issues. Every Documentum user needs to understand that Alfresco is not necessarily better than Documentum, just different.
Why are Companies considering migrating this year and not last year?
When asked, many of the responses from our Documentum clients fall into the following categories:
1) Cost – Given the economic downturn, many clients are looking for ways to reduce cost, including maintenance costs associated with Documentum. Alfresco’s model of CPU support without a purchase price provides for cost savings particularly for Documentum clients with a large number of Documentum Users with Content Server and Application Seats.
2) Upgrade – Many clients are still weighing the decision to upgrade legacy Documentum applications to the new 6.5 or 6.6 version. In looking at the upgrade costs, both in level of effort and ongoing software license and maintenance costs, some clients are making the decision to just move to Alfresco for the same upgrade effort/cost.
3) Software Audit – As we have pointed out in previous posts, Documentum has been increasingly aggressive in software compliance. While we (TSG) agree that clients should be paying their fair share, having the client respond to auditor requests and then getting presented with fairly aggressive bill can be a relationship breaker. Clients frustrated with the process have been looking for other alternatives.
4) Open Source – Also somewhat tied to the economic downturn, it seems that more and more organizations are embracing open source as a way to reduce costs but also improve functionality. We at TSG have seen a considerably larger acceptance of open source products in our discussions with corporate purchasing and legal groups.
5) ExtraNet – As we have mentioned in previous posts, many clients are extending ECM to external users. Alfresco, with a CPU based model, is comparatively easy to extend beyond the organization from a cost and licensing perspective. Documentum, with a user based pricing model is not.
6) Development Environments – As we posted after EMC World, Documentum is not investing in WDK Solutions (Webtop, WebPublisher…) and will be putting their efforts into either a much delayed CenterStage or a soon to be rewritten xCP. Documentum Clients are somewhat skeptical of the “next” Documentum development environment and can more easily embrace an open source platform like Alfresco. The Alfresco platform is developer friendly with complete access to all source code, and has contributed their Surf Platform to Spring Source.
7) Web Content Management – Those clients that have developed on Web Publisher are also frustrated not only with the lack of development of the platform but also the effort to move to Fatwire or another solution. Clients are considering open source alternatives like Alfresco more and more.
8) Available Tools – Of specific interest to our (TSG) clients, all of the TSG tools (OpenContent, HPI, OpenMigrate, Open Scan and soon Active Wizard) support both Alfresco and Documentum. For clients that have embraced an open Web Services approach like OpenContent, the effort to move applications from Documentum to Alfresco is considerably reduced.
Why Alfresco and not SharePoint?
Most clients would acknowledge that SharePoint is the 800 pound gorilla when considering Documentum alternatives and some of our clients are pursuing a SharePoint direction. We have addressed some of the SharePoint thoughts in previous posts . For Documentum users, some of the advantages of Alfresco include:
1) Infrastructure – Documentum clients are used to UNIX, Linux, Oracle and many other non-Microsoft backend components. Alfresco supports their existing infrastructure while providing other, open source (MySQL) alternatives.
2) Development Environment – Most Documentum users are used to Java and have resources capable of modifying Alfresco or Documentum to fit their users’ needs.
3) Cost – The overall cost of SharePoint can be hidden in the “Well, we already have it” – particularly when extended to external users, costs from SharePoint can escalate.
Look for future posts on the migration of Documentum to Alfresco including: