One of my favorite Documentum bloggers outside of yours truly, Johnny Gee, has been blogging of late on SharePoint and Documentum. He ran a three part series comparing the two. Yesterday, he posted an entry comparing SharePoint and eRoom. This was even commented upon by an Enterprise Architect blog that I regularly read by James McGovern. I read the entry, and it has drawn an interesting, and very dead-on, observation. The latest post has a very decided pro-eRoom stance. In Johnny’s defense, he was just posting some observations from a reader and not taking credit. One the other hand, it is a very biased view of the world.
First, let me say that I do not have the depth of knowledge to take up SharePoint’s defense in detail. I am also not as inclined to do so being a little pro-EMC. However, I will make two statements about eRoom and SharePoint:
SharePoint has a wide variety of customization options available. Mind you, this can be a fault as a common complaint of SharePoint is the amount of customization work that must be done to make it truly usable. Having done a lot of customizations in eRoom and sharing stories with some SharePoint developers, SharePoint is more flexible. I personally think this may be an even competition on this point, but without more experience on MOSS 2007, I am keeping an open mind.
SharePoint is better integrated with Documentum’s Content Server then eRoom. I will defend that statement with my last breath. The current eRoom’s capability to utilize Content Server is woeful at best. For two years, every time I have discussed tightening that integration, I have gotten “D6” as my response. Well, in D6 almost all of the eRoom features will be deployed in the “Collaborative Edition” release (not sure I like that interface, but until I can play with it, I’ll reserve comment). However, that will not be eRoom. The next eRoom will be released Spring of 2008. This will be .NET based and be built on the Documentum Foundation Services (DFS). Meanwhile, with the release of D6 SP1 in the Winter, Content Services for SharePoint will be available and built on DFS. However, this isn’t a major extension of functionality as many of the features of that release are ALREADY AVAILABLE. The current product is a collection of proprietary Web Parts. D6 SP1 brings extensibility, openness, and greater use of UCF for fast content delivery, which means utilization of BOCS and ACS.
Oh, did I mention that when you access the Content Server from within SharePoint, it looks like SharePoint, but that when you do it in eRoom, it actually opens another window with a session into the Content Server’s Webtop interface? This can all be customized or changed, but out of the box, SharePoint and Content Server do a LOT more. I haven’t even mentioned archiving items from SharePoint into the Content Server. Don’t try this with eRoom. (Note, no stand-alone eRoom on .NET until at least Fall 2008.)
I think I can sum it all up as follows: eRoom is a better out-of-the-box Collaboration tool. However, when you need real meat on the bones to handle the ECM challenges of the day, SharePoint with the Content Server behind it is way ahead. This is going to gradually change over the next year, but as it stands now, eRoom is behind the eight ball.