Announced on September 12th, OpenText is purchasing the assets of the Enterprise Content Division of EMC (that includes Documentum among other products). For more thoughts, see our Detailed Analysis and Predictions. While predictions around the web vary on the future of the combined offerings, one common, very valid concern based on OpenText’s history, is: what should I do to reduce my risk of OpenText just treating my Documentum maintenance payments as a revenue stream without reinvesting in the product? This post will present some of our thoughts on what clients are doing to reduce their risk.
Documentum Risk Reduction #1 – Reduce Reliance on the Documentum Interfaces
One major concern of Documentum customers have had, both before and especially after the OpenText purchase, is continued reliance on Documentum interfaces. Running through the interfaces:
- Webtop – the old standard and still the most popular interface for Documentum. Many clients bought huge numbers of Webtop seats when upgrading to Documentum 5.2.5 or 5.3 around 2005-2006. Other interfaces have arrived but, given the client’s customizations to Webtop and Documentum’s requirement to purchase new interfaces, clients have not been anxious to change from Webtop. The last major upgrade to Webtop was 2010-ish.
- xCP – Back in 2009, Documentum was going through an “x” naming standard. xCP 1.0 was seen as a development platform/case management development tool. Despite having some interesting capabilities, xCP has never been well adopted. Recently, the release of xCP 2.0 forced clients to rewrite anything done with xCP 1.0. Requiring an additional license did not help with xCP’s adoption with a minimal user base.
- D2 – Purchased by Documentum in 2012, D2 could be seen as the replacement for Webtop but, based on Documentum’s desire to sell it as a new product, it has never reached the success of Webtop. See our other thoughts in regards to “Why D2 never replaced Webtop” as well as some concerns about the architecture (and Java Method Server) itself.
- Project Horizon – The new interfaces unveiled this year at EMC world. With the release in the summer, these new interfaces were to represent the new future of Documentum. Will OpenText continue to develop and enhance the interfaces when they currently do not add to revenue? Will customers buy the new interface?
As we discussed from EMC World 2016, with the exception of Project Horizon, the roadmap for Documentum interfaces has been just stability releases with no expected major capabilities added except for Project Horizon.
Some examples of alternative interfaces that continue to evolve include:
- Custom Developed – We still see many customers that have chosen to “roll their own” when it comes to Documentum interfaces. The more successful clients have combined Documentum development efforts with other web development to create some pretty innovative interfaces while being able to support updates and changes to the interface.
- Other Vendors – While not a huge ecosystem, we have seen clients choose Cara from Generis or FirstDoc from CSC as two of the more popular alternative interfaces to Documentum. Cara focuses on providing a D2/Webtop replacement with FirstDoc focused on Life Sciences. Cara also plays mostly in Life Sciences.
- TSG products – 90% of our Documentum clients use at least one of our Visible Source products to replace or augment Documentum interfaces. For most of our clients, we provide our products at no charge as part of a consulting agreement. Download our whitepaper for building a consumer interface to see how HPI compares to Webtop. Alternative interfaces provide cost savings as well as flexibility that out of date Documentum interfaces do not.
Documentum Risk Reduction #2 – Reduce Reliance on the Documentum repository by Caching Consumers
Tightly tied to the reduction of reliance of Documentum interfaces, many Documentum customers have pursued an approach that allows for consumers to access content outside of Documentum itself. We started implementing this approach in 2005 as part of a large migration effort for a life sciences firm to have documents temporarily available during the Documentum upgrade. Our users, impressed by the user interface and speed, demanded we build out a production version of the cache that is still in use today.
A publishing approach to a cache (typically all open source to reduce additional software purchases) helps reduce reliance on the Documentum repository for the majority of document requests. The cached approach has many other benefits including business continuity, reduced maintenance as well as performance.
Additional benefits include publishing more than just Documentum content to the cache for a more robust enterprise search.
Documentum Risk Reduction #3 – Reduce Reliance on non-core Documentum products.
During the OpenText briefing call, multiple products in the Documentum family were not mentioned and not presented on the roadmap. There is a high risk that these products will be “orphaned” where OpenText continues to charge maintenance without any investment. Clients should look for alternative products that provide for additional capabilities as well as a more maintainable product. Some examples:
- PDF Annotation Services (PAS) – Documentum announced end of life for PAS back in 2014. TSG has had huge success during the past couple years replacing PAS – a costly, client side too,l with the HTML5 browser-based OpenAnnotate. Clients have embraced our ability to upgrade “in place” with no need to change the annotation files since we are compatible with PAS from a document repository as well as sticking to the XFDF PDF Annotation Standard. Clients have embraced our additional capabilities including “google doc” like concurrent annotations as well as indexing mode, video annotations, document redaction, and version comparison with Workshare Compare.
- Document Transformation Services (DTS) and Documentum Advanced Document Transformation Servcies – With the rollout of Documentum 7.1, Documentum switched PDF Transformation infrastructure from Adlib to a new vendor as a repackaged product, Content Transformation Services (CTS). We were hoping that Adlib would come back as customers with CTS have not be very satisfied. More on this in later posts, but we have been recommending Adlib Advanced Rendering as a best of breed alternative for years. Now that DTS and ADTS are reaching end of life, we would recommend even stronger clients consider Adlib. Expect OpenText to start pushing Blazon as another alternative.
- Captiva InputAccel – Definitely a product that has not kept up with other technology. We have been replacing InputAccel with Ephesoft, a modern open source based tool with enhanced metadata capture capabilities. Ephesoft is a great example of a small focused company that continues to innovate on their core product as InputAccel ages with no innovation.
- Documentum Workflow/BPM – never a great tool, TSG has been actively replacing for clients for some time with open source Activiti as well as our form and workflow tool, ActiveWizard.
- Document Sciences – Clients that have committed to Document Sciences are concerned about it’s future and are also looking at other alternatives.
- Documentum Connectors (SharePoint, My Documentum for Outlook, My Documentum for Desktop) are all things that, from the EMC World roadmap review, are just “supported”. Expect minimal additions or updates.
Other products (Documentum Intelligence Services, eRoom, WebPublisher) have long been abandoned by Documentum and we are amazed when helping clients review their maintenance agreements to see that they are still paying maintenance for products that are unused and clearly no longer supported.
Documentum Risk Reduction #4 – Reduce reliance on Documentum only software and services
When looking at both products and services, clients should consider companies that can offer more than just connectivity to Documentum. The ability of the consultants and products to run on Documentum but position the client to move to other repositories reduces the risk of a proprietary “Documentum only” investment and better positions the client for leveraging the software and services on new, modern repositories in the future.
As it relates to Documentum consulting, these consultants are typically only recommending Documentum products and integrations when other alternatives are available increasing their client’s risk as Documentum transitions to OpenText. Clients are also concerned that, with the Documentum purchase by OpenText, many of the consultants and consultant-ware solutions from Documentum (example Life Sciences) will lose key resources as part of the transition. Also, as we mentioned in our Detailed Analysis and Predictions, we (and we hear OpenText) are estimating a loss of 50% or more of the Documentum people as part of the transition. For consultants that can easily find employment elsewhere, will they stay at OpenText?
At TSG, we have positioned all our products to support Documentum, Alfresco or Hadoop and will continue to invest in additional repositories as we see them as viable and within our client’s interest. For other products (FileNet, Stellant, OpenText….) we will continue to provide OpenMigrate as a tool to assist our clients in moving to newer repositories.
Documentum clients have a legitimate concern that OpenText will treat them as a maintenance revenue stream and not invest in the product. Clients should look to de-risk their current Documentum environments by:
- Reduce reliance on Documentum interfaces
- Reduce reliance on the Documentum repository by caching consumers
- Reduce reliance on non-core Documentum products
- Reduce reliance on Documentum only products and services
Let us know additional thoughts or ideas when it comes to reducing the risk of Documentum.