Back on July 12, X-Hive was acquired by EMC. At the time, I did a quick glance and was a little confused. I started wondering why they made the acquisition. This was worrisome as I hadn’t had that thought in years about any acquisition in the ECM industry. Maybe the new leadership of the Documentum unit didn’t have the same touch as those recently departed. After all, Documentum has traditionally worked with XML better than any of their major competitors. Even after a few weeks, I wasn’t the only one trying to figure this out. This acquisition seemed to be either an admission of weakness or a purely anti-competitive play. Then I learned some more.
What is X-Hive
First, what is X-Hive? It is an XML repository/publishing solution that is best categorized as Component Content Management. It basically makes the creation of technical manuals and other component documents, like those in the publishing world, easier to create and manage. X-Hive’s approach allows for lots of useful tricks, including making personalized publications and manuals for consumers.
Imagine this. I design a Documentum solution and outline which features and components that are going to be used. Custom documentation could be delivered to the client containing only those sections, and sub-sections, that apply to what the client is going to need. They can still have the complete documentation, but they don’t have to wade through it. If they are installed on Solaris, then all the Windows specific sections can be left out.
Fitting X-Hive into Documentum
It is all very interesting, but it isn’t a new story in the Documentum world. Then a couple of people revealed the acquisition out in a new light. What about Web Content Management? Like most WCM applications in an ECM system with no WCM heritage, WCM in Documentum has been adequate, but not cutting edge. Those in the WCM space seem to think that the integration of X-Hive into the Documentum platform can help place the WCM solution back into the leadership role for the technology.
There are challenges. One is getting X-Hive into the Unified Repository that EMC was finally about to achieve with its release of D6. Another is going out and getting the mind share of the WCM user community. WCM and ECM have always had different user communities. EMC needs to make WCM appear to be important and not just a checkbox. The ECM/WCM divide is where the separation between an ECM platform and a Content Management Application is most apparent.