Back in 2011, Documentum, still part of EMC, licensed/purchased D2 as the next generation interface to replace Documentum Webtop. While D2 has not been very successful in converting existing Webtop customers for a variety of reasons, there is a large number of clients that had invested in D2 before 2016 when Documentum stopped investing in it to focus on Leap. As part of our 2018 making Documentum better blog series, the next series of posts will look at Documentum D2. Posts will include both how to make Documentum D2 better as well as compare D2 to our OpenContent Management Suite. This post will summarize our high level thoughts on Documentum D2 to kick off the series.
What were the issues with D2?
Many clients chose not to replace Webtop with Documentum D2. In working with our Documentum clients, we’ve noticed that are definitely some consistent issues and client concerns with Documentum D2:
- Cost – For our a number of clients, one of the primary reasons for not moving to Documentum D2 from Webtop was the cost. Many clients bought from an “all you can eat” Documentum buffet as part of enterprise agreement deals prior to the purchase of D2 by Documentum. As a new product rather than an extension of their enterprise agreement, Documentum D2 required an additional purchase. For clients that had already spent a large amount on Documentum and unlike the previous moves to Webtop from other interfaces, Documentum resisted offering clients credits for their previous Webtop purchases. As we pointed out in a post in 2012 , D2 was brought in to give sales something more to sell for clients that have purchased enterprise agreements. While D2 represented a different interface, many clients didn’t think it was substantially better to justify the new purchase and the difficulty of moving their existing deployments.
- Complexity of Deployment and Technical Issues – As discussed in this write up of one D2 customer’s struggles with D2, clients have noticed problems with the overall complexity of installing Documentum D2 as well as technical problems, mostly around stability with one of the technical requirements of Documentum D2, the Java Method Server (JMS).
- Java Applet – consistent with Webtop, D2 also contains a Java applet for uploads and downloads. However, unlike Webtop, Documentum D2 does not require the applet to run. Without the applet, Documentum D2 runs in “thin client” mode and hides features that require it. Some notable features that are not available in thin client mode include: folder import/export, seamless checkout/checkin experience, and compressed uploads/downloads. Given that most clients and modern browsers reject Java applets by default now due to security concerns, our posts here will focus on utilizing Documentum D2 in it’s thin client mode.
- Missing Advanced Features – like Webtop, Documentum D2 is missing many advanced document management features that are requested by many clients such as:
- Combine PDF – combine multiple documents into one PDF
- Split PDF – split a single document into multiple
- Folder Notes – allow users to comment on a case folder
- PDF annotations – allow users to add annotation comments on any document’s PDF rendition
What can make D2 installations better for Consumers?
As discussed earlier in this series, one of the most popular ways to make Documentum deployments better, no matter what front end interface is used, is to get consumer only users out of Documentum all together. TSG will typically recommend for certain engagements that Consumers access content in the repository via an OpenContent Search consumer portal where selected content is published for consumer access. Implementing a consumer portal has a number of benefits over a “one size fits all” Documentum D2 implementation for consumers and authors.
- the consumer portal gives a simpler, more streamlined application for document search and view that can often be deployed with minimal training or risk.
- the consumer portal provides fault-tolerance in the instance when Documentum is not available either for system maintenance, network issues or other reasons.
- putting these users on the consumer portal application frees up user load and bandwidth to improve Documentum D2 performance for the remaining non-consumer users.
- reducing maintenance expense by removing Documentum D2 licenses that had been deployed for consumers.
What can make Documentum D2 better for Authors and Reviewers?
Another way some of our clients have made Documentum D2 better is with PDF Annotations. Given that Documentum’s PDF Annotation Services (PAS) product has been discontinued for some time, many clients have taken advantage of utilizing TSG’s OpenAnnotate product from within Documentum D2. Here’s how it works:
After clicking the Annotate action, the user can annotate the document directly in the web browser:
Another way some clients have been able to improve the Documentum D2 experience is to replace parts of Documentum D2 with OpenContent Search and OpenContent Case. For example, since most user’s find Documentum D2’s Advanced Search too complicated, users can be sent to OpenContent Search instead:
Similarly, in order to utilize OpenContent Case’s advanced case management features, a similar integration is possible when viewing a folder in Documentum D2:
For customers struggling with either Documentum D2 or Webtop and looking for alternatives, we suggest moving to our OpenContent Management Suite (OCMS) as a configurable, streamlined, modern interface that is not tied exclusively tied to an aging Documentum platform. Here’s a high level interface overview video that compares OCMS with Documentum D2:
In the next few posts, look for a deeper dive into a comparison between Docuemntum D2 and the TSG OpenContent Management Suite from both a consumer and contributor perspective. Let us know your thoughts below.