We just finished a new 6.6 Documentum install for a client and ran into something slightly unusual. During the installation, we were not able to install a workflow template from an existing archive, a routine install activity. In the past, we could always move workflow templates between repositories using Application Builder and Installer and create new templates with Workflow Manager. While Documentum Application Builder and Application Installer became unsupported with the release of Documentum 6.0, Composer was introduced as a replacement. Up until recently, Composer supported the archival and deployment of workflow templates. Most of our Documentum clients were surprised to learn that the 6.6 release of Composer does not allow workflow templates to be archived without having Process Engine, a component of the Business Process Manager (BPM) suite, installed in the repository. This post will discuss this issue, as well as our thoughts on possible future Documentum licensing around workflow tools.
For those familiar with Documentum, workflow was something that has always existed within Documentum as part of the client interfaces (SmartSpace, WorkSpace, Webtop….). Workflow relies on certain unique Documentum objects, including dm_process and dm_workflow. Users had the basic ability to:
1) create a workflow template with Workflow Manager (using DA, Webtop, or the stand-alone client packaged with Composer)
2) pick the template when initiating a workflow
3) inbox, approve, reject, delegate…
4) port workflow templates between repositories using Application Builder/Installer or Composer
With a new Documentum 6.6 installation, clients can still perform functions 1, 2, and 3 but need to have BPM components installed in the repository in order to perform 4. While difficult to find, a stand-alone version of Workflow Manager (similar to the version that was formerly packaged with the Application Builder suite) is packaged with Composer. User documentation states that, “Workflow Manager is only bundled but not integrated with Composer.” Workflow Manager is also still included as a plugin that can be launched in Documentum Administrator (DA) and Webtop. Workflow Manager takes care of creating and editing workflow templates, but provides no way to archive a template and install it into a different repository.
The real challenge with our workflow implementation came when we tried to move workflow templates between development, staging, and production repositories. Templates were successfully created in the development repository using the bundled Workflow Manager, however, the templates could not be added to an archive (DAR) and installed in another repository. Previous versions of Composer, up through 6.5 SP2, allowed workflow templates to be imported, however, when using the latest release of Composer 6.6, we received an error message stating that the operation could not be performed because Process Engine, a component of BPM, was not installed in the repository.
Our client logged the following ticket with Documentum:
“Outside of Composer, is there any other way to install or create a new workflow template in Content Server 6.6 without Business Process Manager (BPM)?”
and the response was,
“Unfortunately, BPM is required when you install the DAR on the target repository, even if you are not planning to modify the workflow.”
With the addition of TaskSpace/Forms Builder/BPM suite (now part of the xCP bundle), the following BPM products augmented Documentum Workflow for a more robust solution:
- Process Builder (New Designer and similar to Workflow Builder)
- Forms Builder
- Business Activity Monitor
- Advanced Process Engine
- and other tools….
Future Licensing Issue
The question our team raised was, “While we understand that the 6.6 release will have more built-in licensing requirements, why would basic Documentum workflow creation and archiving only be part of the BPM licensing?” Our guess would be that, as Documentum moves away from Webtop to xCP and CenterStage, the “included” version of Documentum Workflow might not be available for existing customers since:
1) xCP only works with the BPM purchase as part of a suite
2) CenterStage doesn’t have workflow yet
We would think that as long as Webtop and other interfaces are supported, the free version of Documentum workflow should continue to be supported. For new clients, we would expect that a BPM purchase would be part of their Documentum bundled solution.
For our client, since the underlying workflow object and components exist in the repository without installing BPM, we were able to create our workflow templates via Java code rather than having to use Workflow Manager or Process Builder. This process was repeatable across multiple repositories, eliminating the need to archive the workflow templates. Clients upgrading to Content Server 6.6 from previous versions should understand that they will not be able to move their existing templates into new repositories unless they upgrade in place. They would have to recreate the templates using Workflow Manager.
Another work around option would be to use a previous release of Documentum Composer (6.5 SP2) to archive and deploy workflow templates. This version of Composer does not have the BPM dependency. Beware, though, that there have been numerous changes to Composer between versions 6.5 SP2 and 6.6, so it’s not recommended to use the older version for more than just moving the templates.
For TSG, many of our clients leverage the “free” version of workflow as part of their current Webtop installation, DCM, or our Active Wizard suite. In building in our workflow solution, we were really trying to augment Documentum workflow with additional functionality for dynamic forms and workflow. For clients that have built similar solutions to augment Webtop or build their own workflows, TSG would recommend:
- Confirm with Documentum Sales Representative that this solution is still supported with plans to support in the future.
- Consider moving to full BPM suite or BPM alternative. TSG is moving to support Documentum Workflow, BPM as well as JPBM/Apache Activity for open source alternatives.