Its been over eight years since EMC chose to acquire Documentum. Many Documentum old-timers thought that this was a sad day in history. I feel that if EMC did not acquire Documentum, Oracle or IBM would have. I am personally glad that I am not working for Larry or Big Blue. I am not dwelling on “what-if” situations, but instead I want to review has happened this past year and what I hope will happen in 2011.
Here are some 2010 achievements for IIG (Information Intelligence Group):
- Release of xPlore – xPlore is EMC’s version of Index Server. Given that Microsoft now owns FAST and that FAST was a beast to configure and maintain, it was key to EMC to develop their own full text search engine. While they were doing this, they also designed it to use xDB (EMC’s xml database) and be able to be virtualized. Both of these contribute to significant performance improvements.
- Release of TaskSpace 6.6 – There were some other features that were added to core 6.6 Documentum product line, but most of the fixes and enhancements were focused on improving the performance of TaskSpace. If you have complex forms with over dozen data sources, you should definitely upgrade to 6.6.
- Release of xCP 1.5 Developer Edition (along with 1.5 xCP Information Center) – xCP Developer Edition is an all in one install of Content Server, a relational database management system, a full-text indexing system, and complete case management applications in a single package. This simplifies the complexity in installing the various products across multiple servers. Information Center is a new web-based documentation system that enables you to navigate through available documentation and supports full-text searches, allowing you to quickly find information across the documentation set.
- Creation of xCelerator xChange and significant contribution by non-EMC members – xCelerator xChange is provides a means for the xCP community to share their own xCelerators with each other in an open source fashion. The goal is to promote the sharing of sample solutions to further reduce xCP implementation time.
While these were decent accomplishments for 2010, there were some issues that have not been addressed (for several years now) and I hope EMC will seriously consider addressing these issues for 2011. I strongly believe that if the following issues are addressed, IIG will be in a position to regain some of the market that it has been slowly losing over the years to Microsoft and open source vendors:
- Provide a virtual appliance for the Documentum stack – EMC owns 80% of VMware and with the introduction of xPlore, the entire Documentum stack can now be virtualized. Lets skip the step of downloading and installing the developer edition and just create a virtual appliance that developers AND customers can download.
- Provide ability for partners (eg systems integrators) to submit support tickets and enhancement requests – Currently, only customers who have valid support contract can submit trouble tickets and enhancement requests. What EMC Support and Product Teams are missing out is that partners often working on pre-sales demos, uncover bugs or missing features that would help EMC win against other vendors. There is no mechanisms for partners to submit tickets if they are not working with an existing customer.
- Develop a software as a service licensing model (SaaS) – this is probably the most controversial issue that has been talked about for several years. I was personally involved in a RFP two years ago where a client stated that Documentum had all the features they were looking for, except they were not in the financial situation to pay all the upfront costs of the license. They were willing to sign a long term commitment from a SaaS perspective, but EMC did not have one at that time. I always thought that the reluctance of developing SaaS licensing model was a corporate decision given that NLR (new license revenue) has been the standard in reporting growth of software company (or division). However, recently I was talking to EMC sales rep and asked him if there was an update on the whole SaaS licensing discussion. He was very upfront and said that if EMC switched over to SaaS model, he would quit. This caught me by surprise, since this person has been with EMC for many years. He saw the bewilderment in my eyes and simply responded – “I get comp’d by amount of new licenses sold.” Since SaaS model would not bring in a lot of money upfront, it makes sense that sales compensation for SaaS would be significantly lower based as compared to NLR. Laurence Hart has a good blog entry on challenges of sales commission model. I do not have much faith that EMC will come to some resolution on this given that the EMC sales folks hate to talk about this even if potential customers ask for it.
If EMC can address #1 and #2 this year, I will be delighted. If #3 gets addressed in 2011, I will be ecstatic. I come across too many proposals that ask for subscription licensing model and my only response to this is that EMC licensing typically does not work that way. For once, I would love Documentum’s feature to shine through and not get eliminated simply by costs.
CTO & Principal Architect