I look at the numbers. I know that I get a bump in readership just by using the workword SharePoint. It also happens to be a vital issue to the Documentum world. Aside from the future of CenterStage vs. SharePoint, which is a non-starter until we see a non-beta CenterStage, there is this simple fact. People are adopting SharePoint and are looking for help more and more often. This can be in the way of services, but can also be from and enhanced architecture created with the help of Documentum.
Well, we’ve been patient, and Andrew has begun to share some of his thinking with us. Andrew Chapman is a great person and lets his sense of humor show in his blog. If you don’t find it funny, you are doomed in the ECM world. If there is any field that requires a sense of humor, it is ECM.
A Long Term Strategy
It has been said here, and elsewhere, that for the ECM vendors to survive SharePoint, they can’t just offer architectural support. They need to offer value that transcends performance and scalability. Microsoft will eventually solve the problem and then what will the vendors do to coexist? Well, last week Andrew started talking about the additional value that can be gained from combining SharePoint and an ECM system.
Andrew framed it fairly well. While I don’t think he place enough emphasis on the workflow and lifecycle benefits of placing content in an underlying system, he does get several benefits across:
- Hierarchical Storage Management: Store it cheaply when it is old and on expensive, fast performing, storage when it is young. That simplifies it, but that is the gist.
- eDiscovery: Fancy word for the intersection of retention and search. Okay, there is a little more than that, but it is something that resonates with businesses and that can lead to real ROI.
- Performance: Hey, while you gain all of these benefits, things will happen to start working faster now, not with the next two or three releases of SQL Server and/or SharePoint.
The performance goes from being the reason to a beneficial side effect. That is a GREAT approach. That puts things into the terms of an arms race that ECM vendors might possibly win.
Let us not forget, this solution should be transparent to the user, or as Andrew put it, non-invasive.
What is Coming?
If you have read Andrew’s blog in the past, just reading the entry will give you a good idea. The goal is to provide ECM functionality transparently to the user. He mentions a few technologies and will be debating the merits of them in future posts.
I’ve actually talked to Andrew about the future about a month ago. While I can’t share anything specific, aside from telling you to read his posts and apply some brain power, I can tell you that it is very exciting. I am excited, as are a couple of others in my organization that will remain nameless to protect them from the inquisition. If you want to know, keep reading Andrew’s blog and then do some research of your own.
I will say that the plans do not eliminate the need for the slew of products that are out there, both EMC and partner products. Those are still complementary. This approach just answers almost all of my challenges to the SharePoint products that I put to him at EMC World. That is quite a feat as I can be quite annoying with questions about security and transparency.
I am forecasting good things in the upcoming future for those that use both Documentum and SharePoint. Sooner would be better than later, but sometimes predicting software development is imprecise at best.
Time for some more patience.