Documentum or SharePoint

Eternal question for a large part of my customers.

Recently, this question turned into “Why keep Documentum if I have also SharePoint?”. At least for some.

Really… why keep it? When is Documentum better than SharePoint for an organization? It’s sure they can coexist, but are they both necessary?

I try to answer this without looking at the existing deployment of Documentum in such organization. This can be sometimes easily changed with a flick of a top management decision. Bad experiences can help also :). So let’s look at the future.

Limiting this further, let’s not talk about transactional content management. Let’s do an evaluation more on the so called “Information Worker” area. EMC purists will say “but since you are stripping away such pieces you’re dumbing down Documentum and it’s not fair”. Well, nothing is fair in love and war. And I’m pretty sure that if an organization would have a massive need for a transactional content management scenario it will evaluate it also from EMC side.

So, looking at Information Worker.. what can Documentum bring to the table?

Core DMS stuff… it’s already pervasive. Folders, files, documents, metadata, security, versions, light worklfows… All this is already in SharePoint. Don’t mind the small differences, they don’t count in this war.

Renditions? Yes.. this is a cool thing. but how to turn in into business advantages? The business is paying usually, not IT. So we need to explain this to business. Can’t. So it’s a no use feature for us. Moving on…

Virtual documents? Sorry. The concept is “so 90’s” (to quote some teens). I have yet to see a regular company making use of VDM and loving it. And we can pretty much implement related features in SP 2010, some ootb even.

What’s next.. storage management. Yes. This is really a differentiator. How to explain it to business? Tough… without a clear value proposition/great sales pitch  this is doomed to be just a bullet in a powerpoint slide.

Cool API (DQL/DFC/DFS)? I love them. Business couldn’t care less. Another bullet in my ppt.

xDB. Eh… another very very nice thing. Why should business care? Well.. we need to show a real use case. From their processes… show some ROI… This really needs to be brought forward since it has no match in SharePoint. Could be a winner, but still requires a partner application / specific solution / CEVA.

Ease of installation? Forget it!

Ease of maintenance? Who cares? And anyway, an existing customer would know everything about the ever troublesome Indexing Server/Agent, UCF and  Java Method Server.

Ease of deployment for customizations? Anybody with some multiple attempts to do DAR installations would grin. Show me how to record a custom metadata information in Documentum… sure.. it’s simple, install Composer, put your development hat, tinker in some “show more” menus, do the technical mumbo-jumbo, create the DAR archive (wtf!), go to the production server console (!), install DAR, should work. In SharePoint? Create new list. You see it works. Sure… it’s not the same outcome, but does the business care? Can you explain the differences? Who cares is not “properly” managed?

Plugins? This is good. Could bring you some leverage especially for surfacing / migrating old content from massive legacy repositories.

Aspects / BOF ? Not useful. In business talk, I mean.

Time/cost to develop something new?  Hmm.. come on! How many EMC Documentum knowledgeable people you have in your geographical area? What about Microsoft partners ready for a piece of SharePoint?

User interface? Sure… let’s change Webtop a bit for some users.. Call in the developers 🙂 Why don’t you use CenterStage? Uff… should I really answer this question?

What else? Search? Come on… I’m never sure what results the search will bring to me (remember, I’m taking about customers which already have and experienced Documentum for some years).

Upgrade to major versions? What about all the Webtop customizations I did? Well… you shouldn’t! 🙂

Why should I use Documentum? Only because I can see multiple business applications on it. But do I see them?

still thinking…..