In 2012, we have seen an increased number of clients either migrating or evaluating a migration from Documentum to Alfresco. With significant changes in the last two years, we have decided to refresh our postings from 2010 as well as a client interview in 2011 where we presented detail on some of the justification to move from Documentum to Alfresco. This post will present some of the overall reasons why clients are considering moving from Documentum to Alfresco.
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. As presented below, the decision on Documentum versus Alfresco is fairly complex and involves consideration of technical ramificaitons, development effort, software costs, maintenance costs, as well as relationship issues.
Vendor Relationship with Documentum – Engineering Culture to a Sales Culture
Many long-term Documentum clients are upset with their vendor relationship over the past 5+ years. We would summarize that the core of many of the relationship issues has to do with a shift from an Engineering culture to a Sales driven culture at Documentum. Some signs of movement to a Sales driven culture include:
- Aggressive software audit – We first started detailing clients’ issues with software audits back in 2005. Given the changes in pricing model over time, even clients that are vigilant in maintaining the correct licensing can fall-behind and can be subjected to a “gotcha” audit. The focus of the aggressive software audit seems to be more on sales for the quarter than a long-term relationship. Aggressive audits have left some clients looking for alternatives.
- Pricing Model – Somewhat tied to the software audit but the continued use of “named user” pricing can make it difficult to expand the use of Documentum to more users, as well as part-time internal or external users. The sometimes deliberate confusion of the different sales models can be confusing compared to simpler CPU based maintenance only pricing of Alfresco.
- Commitment to Research and Development – in the past few years, the delays in product releases, as well as the outsourcing of core product development, have left users frustrated with the lack of innovation/upgrade for the Documentum product components. Some products, like D2, have been viewed as a sales tool to give sales representatives more to sell to existing customers, rather than improving existing licensed products for clients.
- Consulting Division – Documentum aggressively has moved away from a pure-play software firm to one that looks to maximize revenue/sales from clients by offering consulting solutions, which can sometimes be a mandatory component of using tools like the SharePoint Development Framework. This puts Documentum in competition with their partners while reducing outside innovation and reducing customer choice for integration services.
Alfresco’s engineering focus is very similar to how Documentum was in the 1990’s. Some of our observations on how this impacts the relationship with customers include:
- Research and Development – At their core, Alfresco is an engineering company. Check out their management team to see their focus on CTO, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Architect as huge parts of their management team.
- CPU Pricing for maintenance only – Unlike a software purchase, there is only a commitment for paying maintenance with Alfresco and no software purchase. As John Newton likes to say, “We need to justify our cost to our clients every year”. The motivation of a “book it this quarter” sales push or software audit would destroy the long-term relationship.
- Innovation Partners – Alfresco has no capabilities for consulting and is solely focused on developing innovative partners that extend the platform, rather than competing for consulting sales with partners.
Why not SharePoint?
Two years ago, we struggled with where SharePoint would “fit” in regards to Documentum. One interesting post was about how either Alfresco or SharePoint could be viewed as a disruptor to Documentum.
At the time, we thought a significant reason why SharePoint and Alfresco were gaining ground on the ECM market and Documentum specifically given the push to Commodity Pricing component; the CPU pricing model of Alfresco for maintenance only, or that many organizations already own SharePoint.
Over the last two years, a number of factors has resulted our clients not considering SharePoint as an alternative. It is not so much that SharePoint couldn’t replace Documentum, but more a question of “should it”. Some of these reasons include:
- Collaboration versus Records/Document Management – The collaborative benefits and failure or success of SharePoint can make it difficult for many clients to be able to view it as a “system of record”.
- Reduced Capabilities – Experienced Documentum users just don’t find all the needed functions in SharePoint that are core to their Documentum systems. We have always struggled with SharePoint’s inability to store a PDF rendition, something that Alfresco and Documentum embrace, due to a focus on Microsoft formats. (Just keep it in Word).
- Non-Microsoft Momentum – Success of Open Source, as well as Apple and Google in the consumer market, make it harder and harder to justify a “Microsoft Shop” mentality. Clients like having the flexibility to choose non-Microsoft platforms and formats consistent with a “Bring Your Own Device” trend in consumer/enterprise computing. We see significant innovation in the open source Java world as opposed to the controlled Microsoft development environments.
Based on the points above, we really don’t see any momentum in clients moving from Documentum to SharePoint. This web series will focus on Documentum to Alfresco migration.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting additional comparisons between Documentum and Alfresco including:
- Solutions (Specific on Complaince Solution)
- Maturity of Platforms
- Cost Differences including (Buy or Subscribe)
- Controlled Documents
- Company Visions
- Alfresco as a front-end, Documentum for Archival
- SaaS and the Cloud
- User Interface Options
- Webtop Migration to Alfresco versus Upgrading to D7/D2/XCP
- Development Environment and Philosophy
- Migration Experience
Let us know your thoughts on perspective topics below.