EMC and Documentum exchange vows

One customer is calling storage solutions maker EMC Corp.’s acquisition of content management software company Documentum Inc. a “marriage made in heaven” – at least for his company’s needs.

Bob Terdeman, vice-president and chief information architect for Rogers Communications Inc. in Toronto, said his firm is already a customer of both Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC and Documentum of Pleasanton, Calif. Another division, Rogers Medical Intelligence Solutions (RMIS) in New York City, has been using an EMC/Documentum solution for over a year to store and manage its core collateral information.

“We obtain abstracts of information from medical presentations around world,” Terdeman explained. “Sometimes they’re forwarded as paper, sometimes they’re filed electronically.

“We index and analyse them for our customers.” The solution allows Rogers to “take different forms of data, put (them) into a single format and make it easy to retrieve.”

One thing Documentum’s content management technology brings to the table is that “the underpinnings are XML compliant,” Terdeman explained. Traditionally, documents have been stored on network drives, which makes it difficult to search them. But with XML capabilities, “you can store things for textual content, and then you can search content across divisions and business units to find things of interest.”

The integration work between EMC and Documentum is “trivial,” he said. “EMC has provided a plug-in module which allows (its products) to talk directly to Documentum.”

Terdeman said the success Rogers has had so far with the EMC/Documentum combination may lead to future projects that use the same solution. For example, the firm has been considering how to repurpose some of its media content – not only print, but potentially audio and video content as well. That’s where EMC’s storage products would be useful, Terdeman said.

He added that the opportunity to get both storage and content management solutions from one vendor is also appealing.

“Broadcast takes up a lot of capacity in conventional storage,” Terdeman explained, adding that Centera, EMC’s content-address storage (CAS) solution, is designed to handle any form of media that falls under the “fixed content” category – any unchanging digital assets that the company wants to retain for active reference and long-term value.

Terdeman said Rogers might also look at another project in the customer service arena which would make both individual and general information available faster and easier to Canadian customers.

“Most CIOs don’t want multiple vendors – they want fewer, better vendors…with services. Otherwise, the integration problem is (their) problem.”

For EMC to expand its offerings through the addition of content management solutions does not come as a surprise to industry experts. According to Nick Wilkoff, senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, acquiring Documentum will give EMC a set of solutions that the company can provide on top of its original storage data infrastructure, which will better enable EMC to compete against the likes of IBM Corp.

“This is allowing EMC to really go head to head with IBM,” Wilkoff said, explaining that Big Blue has invested a lot of resources into its own content management strategy, which is in full swing after acquiring Tarian Software Inc. last year.

Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst with Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Storage Group, said Documentum fits nicely into EMC’s Lifecycle Management strategy, essentially managing audit trails of documents from the cradle to the grave.

But, Forrester’s Wilkoff expressed concern regarding Documentum’s historically aggressive acquisition strategy. The company acquired four companies in the last two years with two significant purchases within the last nine months – eRoom Technology Inc., and TrueArc.

“It is still a challenge on its own integrating all of those acquisitions,” Wilkoff said. “This adds one more layer of complexity. There is a lot to put together here from a business and techno-logy standpoint.”

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