EMC ups the stakes with Documentum 6

Everyone loves a contest, especially when the total prize money adds up to US$100,000. What makes this one all the more interesting is that it shines the spotlight back on the folks handing out the dough: EMC and Documentum 6 (D6).

D6 is EMC’s Web services-based API, designed to simplify development and integration within a service oriented architecture (SOA). This represents a significant redesign that jettisons “Documentum-speak” and embraces a vendor-neutral framework.

EMC says these changes mean developers with no Documentum experience can build content management applications quickly and easily. How fast? You’ve got until Sept. 28 to get it done and pick up the first prize of US$50,000. EMC is also scheduled to host a Web conference about D6 on Wednesday.

Melissa Webster, IDC’s leader of content and digital media technologies research, says that the contest accomplishes a number of things for EMC.

“It gets people’s attention; it gives them a new crop of interesting demos to tour and show off the APIs’ functionality; and it positions EMC in a developer-friendly light,” Webster says.

It’s easy to see why EMC might want the attention. In the past year the market has seen some big changes. Microsoft is out with new records and content management products, and Oracle bought Stellent. The biggest impact, however, might have come with IBM’s purchase of FileNet and its rollout of FileNet P8 4.0, which supports open standards and uses IBM’s federated architecture. IBM has 1,200 engineers in its electronic content management (ECM) development organization.

“All three of those big platform vendors are in the space,” says Webster. “In one year ECM has seen a sudden jump with investments from vendors with database, middleware, and portal capabilities.”

EMC’s senior marketing manager for content management and archiving, Karin Ondricek, is well aware of these changes.

“There has been a huge shift in market,” says Ondricek. “We went from 10 years of discrete vendors with point solutions, and then moved to suites of content management apps. Now there is a third generation governed by IT infrastructure powerhouses.”

The logic behind this stems from the inefficiencies, both from cost and knowledge base perspectives, that end users had when supporting multiple vendors. ECM is now shifting into the infrastructure and becoming part of an enterprise standard, with products such as D6, for example, offering SOA capabilities like remote caching. Bridges between enterprise software and ECM mean the applications have to be standards-based, which also then opens them up to a wider partner community.

“We have a massive number of partners and developers that are working with tools,” says Ondricek. “It’s all part of earning trust and respect for the enterprise standard.” Which brings us back to the contest.

Participants will be using Documentum Composer, a set of configuration tools that reduces the need for coding and that relies heavily on reusable elements. The software will be made available on a pre-configured VMware image.

“There is now a clear, plain text for creating objects,” Ondricek says. “Developers who are not document experts can immediately become productive.”

And maybe richer, too.

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