This entry was written by Lee Smith. Lee works in the Information Management team within Technology Services in Capgemini UK, helping organizations to bring order to their unstructured content.
Last week in Athens over a 1000 IT professionals assembled in the Greek capital of Athens for the annual Momentum conference, the primary event for the Content Management and Archiving (CM&A) division of EMC. The theme for this year was ‘Inspired by the past…Primed for the future’, a not too subtle link to the venue for the conference. The ECM marketplace, where the EMC CM&A products primarily reside, is a one which has undergone a lot of change in the recent past with a number of mergers and acquisitions as well as the growth of open source products and also the rise of SharePoint. EMC themselves have made a number of acquisitions themselves, most recently Kazeon to complete their eDiscovery and Information Governance suite.
So what does this all mean for EMC? Well the CM&A division are now going to organize themselves around three key groups:
- Information Governance
- Information Access
Of the three I see Process as being the one which can lead EMC to success, with Governance not being far behind. Why?
Information Access – The mission for this group is about making sure organizations and users have the right tools to get access to their content, easily and securely. Of the three groups I believe this one will be impacted most by SharePoint 2010. Organizations will become less likely to look to another product to manage their documents when SharePoint can be considered good enough. When it comes to collaboration SharePoint is strong, no doubt about that, yes it has flaws but it is a product which does a job well. At Momentum 2008 EMC’s message was all about Centerstage; this year I did not get much of a feel for that (although I did spend more time on xCP, xCelerated Composition Platform, sessions). I suspect it will be a hard sell to push this as a Collaboration play within an organization who are remotely interested in SharePoint.
Information Governance – This group will focus on Compliance, and making sure that organizations are capturing, managing, storing and disposing of content correctly. The acquisition of Kazeon could be key to the success of this group. EMC can now deliver a compelling message about managing records in-situ, finding information to assist in meeting compliance needs and also about moving information to the appropriate storage tier. eDiscovery has been banded around in the market a lot in recent years but I see this becoming more and more prevalent as organizations begin to act on the risk threats they perceive.
Process – This group will look at how organizations can introduce process efficiencies in those areas where unstructured content is prevalent. The group will be very focused on business solutions and a number of xCP frameworks will be developed which will focus on some typical business needs including Grants Management, Claims Management and Investigative Case Management. As I said above, this one caught my eye the most. I went into the conference unconvinced about xCP. Thus far this product, released this year, has not shown itself to be more than a collection and a re-branding of existing products. However the ambitions which EMC have for this could really start to drive some opportunities.
So why should we get excited by xCP? There are a number of reasons:
- By moving the xCP platform onto the Centerstage paradigm it will enable more composite solutions to be built as this is much more aligned with Portals. From personal experience the ability to show Documentum information/content alongside other important information is something customers do wish for and the solution until now has been to bespoke this using a Portal solution or something similar.
- By improving some of the underlying architecture to support things such as relational objects and by introducing a number of accelerators EMC will reduce the time and complexity in building applications. ECM products are renowned for being difficult and costly to implement, these steps will make developing these applications so much easier and instead allow us as SI’s to focus on the business value of the solution rather than how we relate a vehicle to a claim.
- Partner engagement was a key message. Through their Partner ecosystem EMC will look to create some solution frameworks. These solution frameworks will enable businesses to see more readily what benefits can be accrued from EMC systems and possibly integrating them into line of business applications.
- Single IDE. For anyone who develops Documentum applications now they will be familiar with the plethora of tools which are available to build applications, it is not uncommon for a developer to have Compose, Forms Builder, Process Builder and Tasksspace itself open at any one time. The goal of a single IDE will again reduce complexity and cost to implement.
Overall it was an interesting conference, EMC do need to execute on their strategy and do so in a timely fashion. Once the xCP platform is available we will see an increase in the number of business propositions which can be derived from their suite of products. As one presenter said, the days of someone buying a content platform are over, it is now time to sell business solutions.