EMC – a new strategy

“Information Intelligence Group”. What’s in a name? For the official vision you can check out Marks’s Blog.

Digging deeper through the statements made at EMC World 2010, one ca read between the lines and, corroborating with what is happening actually in the organization, can see that is a quite clear direction (no matter how fuzzy the term itself is).

Documentum fanboys are now quite stressed.

Until 2003,  Documentum was a very powerful system to manage unstructured content. For those days I can arguably say it was the best of the best. Then EMC acquired it. EMC was a hardware company and knew how to sold boxes+some software. The first message after the acquisition was “One EMC”. I still have a “1” trophy marking the conference on this topic in Vegas.

Regardless, many become worried seeing that Documentum is getting lost in the more storage oriented EMC. Even on the EMC website may years passed by until you could see some significant reference to Documentum or the software area in general. That was not good and Documentum product line lost its edge. Competition got near and surpassed it. People left. Many original founders left. For me it was clear there was a difference in vision between the initial Documentum roadmap and what EMC wanted.

But what did EMC want? For some time that was not clear to me, and I saw the same in the professional blogosphere. It was clear several paths were tried out but many remained stalled (collaboration, information worker, even BPM). EMC tried to get a bigger piece of the pie from the services part, sometimes stepping on partners toes. I wanted to see the EMC services more like a “expert services” team. Customers wanted the same thing. But, this did not happen. Instead, the consulting practice wanted to perform the actual delivery of solutions (more money). How can a consulting practice deliver when the platform needed quite advanced tinkering (including custom code development) in order to match the business needs? And here is how we near to the current strategy.

In my opinion, EMC stopped chasing ghosts and define a place to focus in order to retain and maybe even gain market share. In the currently announced vision (what I’ve read from Pie and others which kindly published notes from EMC World) shows that EMC acknowledges it cannot win on all fronts and will be concentrating on where it thinks it can reap the maximum benefits from the market: application composition, mainly on the case management use case. It’s trying to push forward the idea that solutions will need to be done declaratively, by the consulting force.

While this is a very good idea, it leaves behind things like:

–  Information Worker scenarios (I hated the term, now it’s beginning to grow on me). From my many projects I think about 80% were “information worker” not “case management”/”transactional cm”.

– EMC BPM suite is quite simplistic. It’s small fish comparing with IBM, Metastorm and even Adobe. How will a competition on Case Management look with these ones head to head?

– EMC did not prove until now that it can build software. Taskspace, Ceterstage, DAM are all pointing to different directions and did not prove themselves to be a solid proposition. Now all the money are on TaskSpace (which will suffer a technological overhaul…) Does anyone think that another 1.0 version (although it’s dubbed  2.0) will be good enough and not loose market traction?.

What this strategy does its separate EMC from SharePoint. They don’t collide anymore (good thing!) and could even work together for a while. This is until Microsoft starts taking BPM seriously, and I think they will do. Soon.

So, we’re seeing the Documentum platform slipping below the counter once again and starting to become a small piece of the puzzle. This might be good for EMC but I don’t know how it will be for the existing partners and customers (new ones will come, most likely, anyway). Evolutions of the Content Server itself point us into this direction – it becomes smaller and easier to plug into a bigger picture. It will no longer have a big footprint to make it drive the solution, it will be a component.

Just look at the direction expressed by the existence of DSS and the usage of xDB as replacement for RDBMS. Both  are very, very good things. Which I completely approve and should have been done earlier. But in the new strategy this is just another strong point to support it. Which is good for EMC.

They have just embarked in a new journey and are already executing it for some moths/1 year (I sensed it from the local team). As Mark said: “We are not putting down the base [of core Documentum users], but we have moved on”.

Are we all moving in the same direction? Should we?

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One thought on “EMC – a new strategy

  1. Pingback: Whisper Wisdom » Episode 3: Is Documentum Really falling down? | Wisdom Words of Documentum by docubic.com

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