At the EMC Federal Government Forum, we were treated to a surprise, the overview of a new SharePoint/Documentum integration. Slated to be released shortly, it appears to replicate the features of the existing SharePoint products. The difference is that the Documentum Connector for MOSS 2007 is based upon DFS and Web Services and is customizable. This means that what you see is what you start with, not what you get.
Simple, Thought Not Impressive
This session was presented by David Gwyn and Mike Mohen, of EMC’s consulting services. That fact alone basically told me that this product evolved out of a series of consulting engagements. The presentation started with the standard spiel of why SharePoint is spinning out of control and needs ECM. While always overstated by ECM vendors, it is a valid point.
They did share my favorite Andrew Chapman quote about the requirements that they receive, Just make SharePoint and Documentum work together. They didn’t describe it as as a problem, but as a challenge. If that is your goal for the integration, then you need to actually define what you are trying to accomplish. Requirements are not a bad thing.
They then went into basic features and a recorded demo. From this we saw four basic capabilities in this offering:
- Web Parts Library
- Integrated Archive Support
- Shortcut Support
- Common Services
Some nice features is that the product, DCTM 4 MOSS, is 64-bit compatible and the Web Parts are theoretically 400% faster than the current Web Parts offered by Documentum. They use a Web Services layer utilizing DFS and SFX (which I need to explore in more detail) which would lead to faster performance. DCTM 4 MOSS appear to be deployed as a set of Web Services Extensions in the SharePoint Solution Framework.
Overall, it was a nice looking product, especially for a 1.0 release. The Web Parts seem fully functional, but not very pretty. It had a definite SharePoint look-and-feel (part of the problem), but you could tell that a user interface professional hadn’t take a go at it yet. Many of the partners have prettier versions, which they should as they have probably spent more time with them.
Patience is Still a Virtue
After seeing this presentation, I saw Andrew Chapman post an entry on his blog that started with the statement, I’m working on some innovative and groundbreaking stuff at work right now which is really interesting but I’m not in a position to share it just yet. I sent him a message if he was referring to this little tool. He chuckled and said that he was talking about something else and that I would like what he was working upon.
There are two product groups that I have interacted with over the years at EMC that I like and respect very much. To be fair, there are many that I have had only limited exposure to over time, so I don’t want to knock them, but these teams have been exceptional. One team is the collaboration product team, originally the eRoom team. Last winter they told me that I would like what was coming and they took some time to talk to me about it. That effort resulted in Magellan (now CenterStage).
I must say am pretty pleased with that effort so far. Now that Andrew has told me similar things about his team’s efforts, I am excited. I’ve known Andrew for years and when you dissect his wonderfully quirky sense of humor, you get solid insight and honest facts. Now if only I knew time frames.
I guess we shall have to remain patient.
In the meantime, the Documentum Connector for MOSS 2007 appears to be an improvement on what is currently offered, not to mention a mouthful to say. It has a better architecture, extensibility, and features than the current products. It didn’t appear to have any large-scale archiving functions, but what it offers to the user appears much better than what was out there before.
Oh yeah, and you can make it pretty and customize it as needed. The jury is out until it is released, but I’ll tell you right now, I’m clearing space in my lab to play with it.