EMC Corp. is mixing Facebook-like functionality and features into the newest version of its Documentum enterprise content management product suite.
The Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage company said its goal with Documentum 6.5 was to bring the usability of today’s most popular consumer tools to enterprise content management. Documentum Centerstage Essentials, one of the new products featured in the release, is a social collaboration tool that allows for shared team workspaces, guided search and other content management services.
“It’s geared toward the knowledge worker that needs a collaboration tool when working on presentations and documents,” Andrea Leggett, senior product marketing manager at EMC, said. “They need to route things around, get approvals, get comments, start discussions and collaboration, not only with internal peers, but also with external partners.”
Continuing on the theme of bringing Web 2.0-based elements into the corporate environment, EMC also unveiled its Documentum Media WorkSpace tool. The “rich-media” interface allows users to find, compare, markup and share video files and images.
“Not only can we do relevance rankings on images or video just like you’d have on Amazon.com when looking through their products, but we can also allow you to search by those conditions,” Leggett said.
The Media WorkSpace tool is similar in nature to technology offered by Toronto-based Octopz Inc., which gives users the ability to synchronously view and markup a variety of digital media documents such as video, images, animations and 3-D models. The Web-based software – which even allows users to place comments on a single video frame – runs in a Flash-enabled browser and allows for collaboration via built-in text, voice and video chat.
Gregory Kosinski, director of product marketing at EMC, said the fact that Media WorkSpace is fully integrated into its Documentum platform gives it a strong edge versus other standalone media collaboration tools. He said the tool is more focused on larger enterprises that need to manage a range of content to support their media assets as opposed to the creative professional.
“Our products are more focused on bigger enterprises, like a consumer goods company for example,” Kosinski said. “They might have a larger creative staff and they’re managing not just images, but lots of other information about new products that they might be launching. They have to manage the label, the collateral that goes out with it, and the advertising campaign.”
IDC Canada analyst Vinay Nair said whether or not companies look at the smaller solutions will depend on how much risk they are willing to take.
“Early adopters are the ones that are out there experimenting and they don’t require that 100 per cent functionality baked into the product,” Nair, a research manager for enterprise applications at the Canadian consultancy, said. “They are willing to play around with it, customize it and integrate it to make it better. These companies are the ones that tend to move toward the smaller, niche players.”
The more conservative organizations, he added, are usually slower on the adoption lifecycle of emerging technologies and don’t want to take the risk to experiment with them.
Other Web 2.0 focused products in EMC’s content management suite include My Documentum, a lightweight client that integrates to the desktop to provide users online and offline access to documents; and Web Publisher Page Builder, a Flex-based Web authoring tool aimed at non-technical business users.
Nair said the trend to include Web 2.0 functionality into enterprise management technologies will only continue to increase in the coming years. One of the biggest challenges that companies are looking to address, he said, is how to manage and secure user-generated content in the enterprise. Nair said IT managers need to ensure they have the controls in place so sensitive data is not leaving the organization and social collaboration remains constructive.
“A lot of companies in Canada are saying that ‘we don’t mind bringing this into the enterprise to increase productivity and enhance customer relationships, but it’s too much of a risk to take from a security point-of-view,’” he said. “This was a hurdle to adoption in the past for larger enterprises, but now more vendors are starting to recognizing these hurdles and taking steps to allow customers to migrate their risks.”
Nair cited IBM’s Lotus Connections offering, a collaboration suite that includes elements of content management, as another example in the space.
Another upgrade to Documentum is its enhanced XML capabilities with Documentum XML Store – a tool used to create, manage, access and archive XML alongside other enterprise content.
“The XML native database allows us to be able to handle semi-structured content, which we think is really going to give us a lot of value in the Web 2.0 world, where users expect content to be automatically delivered, combined and repurposed as digital mashups to suit the personalized content in which they work,” EMC’s Leggett said.
As for what enterprises might expect to pay for the enterprise content management suite, EMC’s Kosinski said a low-end installation geared toward several hundred users might cost $200,000 to $250,000 with larger implementations ranging much higher. The platform should be available later this year.