EMC eRoom upgrade eyes enterprise use

EMC has announced Documentum eRoom Enterprise version 7.3, a new version of its collaboration software. The new release includes a number of enhancements that make it easier for managers to oversee multiple projects and let researchers more easily share their work with colleagues.

Lance Shaw, senior product marketing manager at EMC, notes that the enhancements came about from customer feedback. “Many companies moved to eRoom to get away from e-mail as the collaborative environment,” says Shaw. Specifically, rather than reports and files being shared with colleagues via e-mail attachments, companies using eRooms took advantage of the product’s combination of browser-based access (including access control and SSL encryption features) with support for business processes. Companies that moved to eRoom found that “over time [workers] usually got involved with multiple projects,” says Shaw. “From management’s point of view, there was a need for a view across multiple projects.”

For instance, a research manager overseeing a drug’s development might need to gather information about many different aspects in a drug’s discovery process.

From a practical standpoint, this might mean that a manager would need to track various pieces of information contained in numerous eRooms. “Users needed a way to roll this information up,” says Shaw. To accomplish this, EMC added new dashboard capabilities to version 7.3 that allow a user to pick, choose, and display in a single portal-like view the information about projects, events, and tasks contained in multiple eRooms.

With the new dashboard features, a user can point and click on information in various eRooms that he or she wants pulled together into a single view across different projects.

Some existing eRoom users have expressed interested in these new capabilities. “We currently have about 1,700 eRooms that manage large programs such as our internal Global Portal Implementation and assist our scientists in sharing knowledge about new medicines in development,” says Steve Taylor, who works on global information development at AstraZeneca. “With over 64,000 employees worldwide, it is challenging to successfully manage team communication and coordination across different departments on critical projects.” He expects that version 7.3 will make team collaboration simpler and more effective. (Taylor’s comments came in a prepared statement at the time of the version 7.3 announcement.)

Other enhancements in the 7.3 release include instant messaging integration into the eRoom environment and new security features that allow more granular access control to data.

Additionally, EMC has beefed up the integration of eRoom with the EMC Documentum Content Server. For example, information changed in a document stored in a Documentum Content Server can be automatically synched in a folder that notifies project teams of new content. And with eRoom version 7.3, users can access Documentum Enterprise Content Integration Services such as search queries.