With one or two weeks to go until the Documentum/ECD purchase by OpenText closes, Rohit Ghai, CEO of ECD announced yesterday (via a tweet – what’s with that?) that he would be staying with Dell rather than travel with the rest of the Documentum team to OpenText.
Back when the purchase was announced, in our Documentum sold to OpenText – Detailed thoughts and Analysis post, we had expressed a concern that
With the Dell deal complete (and EMC options vested), the ability of OpenText, an old school non-Silicon Valley company without a “new-tech” brand, to hold on to Documentum consultants and engineers will be difficult. The next 90 to 120 days of quiet time awaiting regulatory approval will not help given a hot technology and consulting market, particularly in San Francisco. We would anticipate a large amount of turnover (50%) and OpenText is probably anticipating it as well.
In the end, Rohit, the head of ECD, decided to stay at Dell and move to RSA rather than move to a role at OpenText. A couple of thoughts:
- It isn’t that surprising that Rohit would pursue the opening at RSA within Dell rather than accept a lesser role with OpenText.
- As we expressed above, security is pretty hot right now. With Rohit’s former experience at Symantec, you can’t blame him from a career standpoint.
- For some weird reason, the purchase of Documentum seems to lead to a career in security. Rohit’s predecessor’s predecessor from a Documentum perspective, Dave DeWalt, left to join McAffee after the purchase of Documentum by EMC. DeWalt left McAffee after it’s purchase by Intel to found FireEye.
Predictions – What does Rohit’s departure mean?
With both Rohit as well as former CTO Jeroen van Rotterdam (left for Citrix) leaving before the merger closes, some thoughts going forward:
- Leap/Project Horizon is Dead – It is difficult to see these products survive the incubation stage with OpenText. With the leaders gone, it would be a challenge for those that remain to continue the development as well as OpenText fund it without any revenue stream to help cover the costs.
- How many other engineers will be leaving? – As with DeWalt, both Rohit and Jeroen were respected leaders. They will take people with them as DeWalt did. If not leaving with Rohit, plenty of other opportunities exist in San Francisco for good engineers.
- How many consultants will leave? – While not really engineering, many of the Documentum solutions were developed by the consulting organization. With engineers leaving, will the consultants follow? Will OpenText be able to sell Documentum consulting solutions without a solid team of consultants?
Predictions – is it the end of Documentum?
While it does signal the end of Rohit’s vision of Project Horizon back from 2015, it by no means signals the end of Documentum. Back in 2015, Project Horizon was to include a new repository – a grand goal. That goal evolved to a lesser goal in 2016 to Leap – more of a connectivity to the existing Documentum repositories. As we have reported numerous times, Documentum wasn’t really investing in the core product, something that many Documentum customers didn’t seem to mind as stability was a welcome change from the chaos that previous upgrades (think 5.25 to 5.3 to 6.0 caused).
OpenText is buying Documentum for their revenues and product base, not Project Horizon or Leap. How they manage it over the next 6 months will be more telling to the future of Documentum than any particular employee departure, including Rohit.