I recently dissected a “comparison” between Documentum and SharePoint. Karma was paying attention and I found myself performing a comparison of CenterStage and SharePoint for one of my long-time eRoom customers last week.
Setting the Stage
A little background. This client has had eRoom Enterprise since 2004. There has been some isolated success in some pockets of the organization, but not everywhere. The initial champions left during the deployment and there was no real concerted push to use the system afterwards. It had grown slowly over time, but hadn’t become a must-use system for many.
Recent leadership has emerged that has said that they need a system to function as the go-to collaborative platform. After some quick thinking, they narrowed it down to SharePoint and CenterStage Pro.
CenterStage was an option because their eRoom licenses would convert cleanly, leaving them money for other items. EMC has promised to provide a migration tool which would diminish the migration costs. With their Content Server already at 6.5, they even have most of the platform setup and ready to go.
SharePoint is under consideration because, well, its SharePoint. People have used it and liked it. There would be a lot more up-front costs, but if it can deliver a better solution, it might be worth it.
I was asked to come into the office to present a demo of CenterStage to their executives. While I did hold a slim hope for providing services down the road, regardless of their decision, I really did it because the system owner and I had been through a lot over the past six years. As I changed companies over the years, he always called me for assistance. I was more than willing to do this favor for him.
After setting up CenterStage on my laptop, no Internet connection at the demo location, I launched right into the demo. I flew through the features fairly quickly.
Then the fun began.
Where are the databases/lists? Next version this summer. Calendars? Soon. Polls? Eventually. Will it still synch with my Outlook calendar? EMC has promised functional equivalency between eRoom and CenterStage, but I couldn’t say for sure if it was in the next release.
They asked if it remembered what I was doing. I went to a page, opened a different browser and it took me to that same page. They asked if it worked in Firefox and Chrome. I quickly pointed out that I had done the demos in both of those browsers.
Is it 508 Compliant? Did I mention that this is a government client? It is not a small issue. I know other clients that would move now if the answer was Yes.
At the end of it, they all agreed that CenterStage would work once databases were moved over. They all agreed that they could at least wait to see what the next release held.
Next Steps for EMC
They need to release a solid update this summer. I figure they have only a few months after SharePoint 2010’s release before all of that eRoom maintenance revenue starts to file out of the coffers.
I was chatting with a few people last year talking about CenterStage. They said that it was too late, but I disagreed. There was still time. If the goal was to provide a solid interface and not directly compete with SharePoint, there was still time.
Well, that time is almost gone. Everyday that goes by, eRoom customers leave. SharePoint 2010 is coming out during EMC World. Probably a coincidence because I can’t imagine they view EMC as a competitor to worry about.
Only a few minutes left on the clock. Will EMC get it out the door? Will it actually work or will they have to rush it to finish it in time? That would actually be worse.