EMC Unveils Content Management, Collaboration Services Roadmap

EMC is expanding its Documentum content management platform with a number of additions and enhancements over the next 12 months to emphasize ease-of-use, collaboration, and social networking. Many of these changes will be available in the SaaS model.

Mark Lewis, president of the Content Management and Archiving Division of the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant, unveiled parts of the Documentum roadmap on Tuesday to a gathering of press and analysts at the EMC World conference, held this week in Las Vegas.

EMC, which has about 3,000 employees, including 1,200 R&D engineers focused on such technologies as enterprise search, content management, and automated archiving, is enhancing its content management and archiving in four solution areas.

The company acquired Documentum for $1.7 billion in late 2003.

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The first is transactional content management, which includes applications to optimize business policies around content-centric tasks such as insurance claims, financial transactions, and order processing where data is capture, processed, routed, and delivered to where it is needed, Lewis said.

"We're the only supplier in the industry with an end-to-end solution," he said.

Sometime during the third quarter of this year, EMC plans to introduce advanced form capturing capabilities, with the ability to get more and more information from forms.

The quarter will also see a new, easier-to-use user interface for its Documentum TaskSpace 6.5 application, which is an interface for quickly retrieving documents and performing high-volume transaction processing. Also new during the quarter will be additional integration of EMC's Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) application with Documentum.

EMC plans to unveil a new generation of its Captiva document capture platform in the fourth quarter of this year. Known internally as Project Athena, the new version will feature tighter interoperability with Documentum, Lewis said.

EMC acquired Captiva for $275 million in late 2005.

The company plans to tighten the relationship between these varied applications with an integrated transactional content management platform by year-end, Lewis said.

The second primary solution area is information compliance, which Lewis said includes discovery and e-discovery technology to archive and search for data according to corporate policies.

This part of the content management business is heavily involved in privacy issues, the importance of which grows along with the growth a company's data, Lewis said. "We want people to make money, but also to stay out of jail," he said. "This is the 'stay out of jail' piece."

Next: More Products Coming This Year

During the third quarter, EMC plans to release the base offering of a new application, Documentum Archive, which handles records management and archiving as a single platform. Lewis said. EMC also plans to unveil Federated Retention Services, an application which corporations can use to set data retention policies.

By year end, Lewis said to expect a new application code-named Project Janus, which provides archiving and discovery for emails. Unlike EMC EmailXtender, which is a stand-along email archiving application, Project Janus provides an email archiving connection to the Documentum platform, Lewis said.

The third solution area is knowledge worker focus, which EMC plans to address in the third quarter with Project Magellan, a new on-line collaboration application.

Whitney Tidmarsh, vice president of strategic marketing for EMC software, said that Project Magellan will be aimed at companies who are finding that more and more of their collaboration is done on a global basis and by mobile workers.

Tidmarsh also said that it includes many elements of social networking. "I'm not sure how productive social networking is yet, but it's how the next generation of workers are collaborating," she said.

Tidmarsh demonstrated a beta version of Project Magellan, showing full support for blogs, wikis, and tagging, as well as such features as mashups and folksonomy to let employees know where their colleagues are located. The application will be able to be accessed on mobile devices such as Trios and Blackberries, she said.

Lewis said the beta version of Project Magellan Essentials client is expected to be available in the third quarter, with the production version expected to ship early next year. For users of Documentum and its content repository, Project Magellan will be available free of charge, he said.

EMC also plans to introduce MyDocumentum, a technology for off-line access to a corporate data archive via mobile devices, in the third quarter, Lewis said.

During the fourth quarter of this year, EMC plans to release a Microsoft Outlook client for Documentum to allow users to access archived data without leaving Outlook, Lewis said.

The fourth solution area is interactive content management, focusing on managing content, personalizing and finding content, and publishing it so it can be accessed from any device from an iPhone to a PC, Lewis said.

Towards that end, Tidmarsh demonstrated a beta of Media Workspace, which allows corporate users such as marketing collateral developers to access image thumbnails, pick some as favorites, organize them in folders, and add connotations. The application also provides chat capabilities to teams of employees, who can also do side-by-side comparisons of different versions of images.

Media Workspace is slated to be available during the third quarter, as is a new web page builder called Web Publisher, Lewis said.

Early next year, EMC also plans to release a new version of its Digital Access Manager (DAM) that uses technology from its acquisition in 2000 of video broadcasting software developer Avalon to handle the movement of large files such as movies across the Internet, Lewis said.

Going forward, Lewis said that EMC plans to build the consumer experience inside the corporate firewall. Everything will be contextual, with the ability to search for information and pull it together as needed.

Most of these new application will be integrated with Documentum for enterprise users, Lewis said. However, EMC recognizes that, while small and midsize businesses require many of these new capabilities, they seldom can purchase Documentum. For that reason, EMC will provide many of these applications as a portal to Documentum as a service.

"XML and SaaS (software as a service) will be an integral part of all these moves," he said. "We can use XML to share content as a service. We have to treat information management and content management as a service within a group of services."

Solution providers who normally do not work with Documentum will be able to provide these services to their clients by working with third party providers of hosted Documentum services, Lewis said.