TSG talked with a 20+ year Documentum client yesterday about the future of Documentum. Like many Documentum customers, the client had postponed any decision about future plans for their system until there was a clear understanding of what OpenText would do with Documentum. With OpenText Enterprise World complete, this post will present our TSG thoughts on making future decisions about Documentum with an 80’s Clash theme – Should I stay or should I go?
Documentum Customer – If I go, there will be trouble
The majority of long-time Documentum customers, while far from thrilled with Documentum over the last 10+ years, have stayed on Documentum due to the perceived trouble of leaving. Stay reasons typically include:
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – Building and moving content, integrations and processes built on Documentum can be a costly and difficult process. Client’s desire to move to a new platform (or often even upgrade their existing platform) can be difficult, expensive and not always justified. Most of the Documentum customers we talk to are still on Webtop, an interface that was introduced years ago and hasn’t been invested in significantly for over a decade.
- It’s already paid for – Moving to a Documentum replacement product (or Documentum interface, or any part of the Documentum infrastructure) would require additional funds and ongoing maintenance. In a “do more with less” environment for clients, the desire to move or upgrade existing software and infrastructure faces difficult budgeting and purchase decisions.
- A lack of easy alternatives – Moving from Documentum to something new requires explaining to upper management why another vendor is better than Documentum. We have been posting that newer alternatives like Alfresco can provide attractive alternatives to Documentum, Gartner and other analysts continue to promote bigger is better when it comes to ECM alternatives. (or are they biased?) Is moving from Documentum to an even older OpenText or IBM/FileNet platform really an alternative and worth the trouble?
In a risk-adverse environment, the easy decision is to stay with Documentum and optimistically hope that OpenText reignites growth within the Documentum platform.
Documentum Customer– and If I stay it will be double
Back in 2015 when we began posting actively that Documentum should be sold (given the Dell purchase of EMC), we mentioned three specific things that a buyer would need to bring to the Documentum customer base for the purchase to be good thing for Documentum customers:
- Documentum engineering and consulting would need to survive the layoffs and the next six+ months in limbo as they await a buyer. (note: This was before the OpenText purchase was announced as EMC had announced Documentum was for sale without having a buyer).
- The buyer would have to want to invest in Documentum’s future rather than just milk the existing revenue stream.
- The buyer would need to bring others positives (existing clients, funding, technology) to Documentum to continue to evolve the product.
Given six months after the OpenText Purchase of Documentum was finalized, here are our thoughts on OpenText and their results versus these three goals:
- Keeping engineering and consulting – From talking to multiple ex-Documentum employees, while there was a slow trickle of people leaving after the deal closed 6 months ago, 2 months ago there was a “bloodbath” at ECD where ECD was cut by OpenText to the bone across all areas particularly focused on long-time Documentum resources. We would imagine that InfoArchive and Leap would be better protected but, for long-time Documentum customers, the cuts and attrition directly affect OpenText’s ability to invest in the core components of Documentum.
- Invest in Documentum – From our keynote review of OpenText Enterprise World 2017, we couldn’t find any evidence that OpenText would be investing in Documentum (or even the OpenText repository) but was focused on other initiatives around Analytics and Cloud. Without the resources with Documentum skills, how can OpenText invest? We would anticipate that any “investment” is really to upsell opportunities like a shared interface or add-ons. Word on the street is that Content Transformation Services will be replaced (again) by Blazon with possibly the same fate for InputAccel.
- Bring other positives – We initially thought OpenText had potential to be a good purchaser based on a knowledge of ECM, leverage a similar sales staff and other good ECM skills. Based on the keynote and feedback from customers, unless there is an interest in the additional OpenText products, OpenText’s plethora of products are a detriment to Documentum customers, particularly when it comes to the cloud and partnering with Cloud infrastructure leaders like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Given the above, it isn’t hard to predict that staying over the long-term will be more risky (double) than leaving to a more modern platform. To address the biggest reasons typically people stay:
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – True but, for many clients, if it does break,can it be fixed? Particularly if the development was done by employees or Documentum consultants that are no longer available? Also, what is the definition of broken – can an bad interface continue to work but no longer serve its core purpose well?
- It’s already paid for – yes but at 25% maintenance, it gets repurchased every 4 years and that doesn’t include some of the other expensive software and hardware components in the stack.
- A lack of easy alternatives – As an Alfresco partner, we struggle when clients say “but Gartner says bigger is better”. We don’t agree and have had multiple customers that have benefited from a Documentum migration to Alfresco. Alfresco is 10 years old, profitable with both Documentum and OpenText roots and solely focused on ECM, how can that not be an easy alternative?
Documentum Customer – So you gotta let me know, should I cool it or should I blow?
In a presentation earlier in the year, OpenText presented to Documentum clients, one slide said:
Your (Documentum) investment is safe. OpenText will protect Documentum Customers’ investment with innovation and continued full support for both Documentum and OpenText Content Suite. Current roadmaps and commitments remain stable and will be delivered
For those that follow this blog post, TSG had mentioned a CMSWire report over a year ago that EMC wasn’t investing in Documentum and was focused on Leap as yet another new interface (to add to Webtop, D2 and xCP). We would predict that OpenText will continue with that roadmap or additional interfaces that “add” additional revenue streams.
Given that the Documentum purchase was very much for the customers and the maintenance revenue stream, OpenText is never going to say that Documentum is not supported or would force a migration. While actions speak loader than words, we would recommend Documentum customers watch the OpenText keynote to determine how many words relate to Documentum before deciding whether they should “cool it or should I blow”.
Let us know your thoughts below: