Revisiting the Content Management Frontier

Scene from the movie Alive, dead bodies in the snowTwo years ago, a journal was discovered while excavating in the Trough of Disillusionment of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. The journal told a story of fear, distrust, and desperation.

Today another tome was discovered. Written hastily in the margins of an IDOL manual was the following text. It is estimated that this was written two days after the conclusion of the previously discovered journal (which you should read 1st). The author is unknown.

The Aftermath

I am writing this huddled under the equipment of those who have gone missing. The last few days had been tense but calm. This did not prepare any of us for what was to happen this morning.

Yesterday had been fairly peaceful. IBM was finally climbing up the slope to freedom using a rope that appeared to be tied to Box. I’m not sure if Box has captured IBM or IBM has captured Box. Both seem determined to reach the upper plateau and were working together to escape.

Today that plan looks better than ever. We all woke-up to discover that OpenText had taken down Recommind. At first we were relieved it wasn’t us that had become next . It had been a few days since OpenText had last fed and we were all becoming worried. Little did we know.

Before we knew it, OpenText was consuming the few parts of Autonomy with meat on its bones. HP was clearly trying to escape the trough by discarding the last remaining shreds of ECM. HP was last seen fleeing down the valley, throwing the ECM scraps that OpenText didn’t claim to MicroFocus.

Why MicroFocus wants to join this hellish landscape is anyone’s guess.

EMC was just rescued. Dell swooped in to scoop them to safety. This had been apparent since yesterday but everyone was interested how it was going to work with Documentum still firmly attached to EMC. Then, out of nowhere, EMC kicked Documentum towards OpenText, who without pausing to finish consuming Autonomy, leapt and took down Documentum with one gigantic bite.

At that moment, everyone scattered. I managed to grab a few supplies from Autonomy while OpenText was distracted by the death throws of Documentum. I’m not sure how much longer any of us have got before we either starve to death or are consumed.

Alfresco and Nuxeo both look like they are making a move to climb up the slope but I’m not sure they have time. Documentum had been working on a plan to escape for years. It finally looked like they had the needed equipment but then OpenText happened.

OpenText always happens.

I am writing this so future generations can learn from our mistakes. Do whatever it takes to escape up the slope and find productivity. They say it’s on the plateau but I suspect I’ll never know as it is hidden by the clouds.

I have to go now. Night is falling and I’m afraid that come sunrise, OpenText will be ready to feed again. What OpenText will do to survive once we are all either dead or escaped up to the plateau is anyone’s guess.

Pray for us.

Saying Goodbye to Documentum

One year ago, when Dell announced it was buying EMC, I wrote,

If you see Open Text or CA buy the ECD, start lighting the funeral pyres because Documentum would be officially brain dead and waiting for the machines to be turned off.

Well, it happened. OpenText acquired Documentum. This brings to end the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) wars that began almost 20 years ago. Back then, the leaders were FileNet, Documentum, Oracle, and OpenText. FileNet is buried at IBM who is flirting with Box. Oracle is struggling to reestablish itself after bringing on former Documentum leaders but they are fading away.

This morning, OpenText announced their acquisition of Documentum. I was hesitant to predict that OpenText was going to buy Documentum. It was the obvious prediction and I knew that it would be a chunk of change. $1.62 billion was the final price which covers the $600 million OpenText raised in May and another billion of debt commitment provided by Barclays for this transaction.

I suspect that nobody else was willing to pay EMC that much.

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Dell, EMC, and Poor Documentum

Even with our fights, I never wanted it to come to thisI haven’t blogged in a while for various reasons that I won’t get into in this post but recent news demands that I share some thoughts. It seems that barring a better offer, Dell is going to buy EMC for a LOT of money.

Now the numbers don’t really matter to me as I don’t hold stock in any of the players except perhaps in some retirement mutual fund to which I never really pay attention. What I care about is the fate of the Enterprise Content Division (ECD), the home of Documentum.

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Reports from the Content Management Frontier

The following are excerpts from an explorer hiking the Gartner Hype Cycle for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies.

Day 1, Reached the Peak

Today we finally reached the Peak of Inflated Expectations. The view is simply amazing. This technology is going to revolutionize everything. Everyone is excited and  teaming up with their friends. Documentum just got some great new equipment from EMC. I suspect that those two will be very happy together for a long time.

Life is good.

Day 2, Getting Crowded

Apparently everyone is excited and more and more people are joining us on the Peak. While the view is still lovely, they ground is starting to get muddy from all the people trampling everywhere.

Stellent showed up with their new pal Oracle. Everyone thinks they are a bunch of posers but they are mostly keeping quiet because Oracle has a bit of a temper.

There seems to be a new noise. I’m going to go check it out.

Day 4, Ooops

That noise from the other day? That was the beginning of an avalanche that carried the entire group off of the Peak. According to our maps we are in the Trough of Disillusionment. It is hard to validate because nobody can get a clear signal anymore. It is a bit gloomy but some people seem to think we can get out.

OMG! Open Text ate Hummingbird while we were sleeping! They must be panicking already.

Tensions are very high.

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EMC’s Faulty Perception of Content Management

How I Met Your Mother Spit TakeWhile at the Monktoberfest last week, I had the luck to run into some people from EMC.  Not just any folk from EMC, they were from “core”, the storage side of the business. After convincing them that I knew enough about EMC to have a real conversation, we discussed Documentum and the Information Intelligence Group (IIG) where Documentum sits.

The talk quickly turned to why Documentum did not live up to the potential they had when EMC acquired them. While I have many opinions, I thought I’d get their opinion. It was a little surprising.

They didn’t adopt Virtual fast enough.

There have been a lot of missteps over the years, but that wasn’t one of them. I was selling Documentum during the rise of VMWare and I can state this for a fact, I NEVER lost a deal because Documentum didn’t support virtual machines.

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Moving from Expert to Evangelist and Back

Clarence the AngelIt has been an interesting few years. As I approach the 7th anniversary of this blog, I was prodded to look at my journey by Gina Minks. She wrote a post about how to take advantage of experts and evangelists without them turning into obnoxious tools. (Her words were not as kind) She was asking as much as sharing.

This is a tough one. As you become recognized as an expert, it is a little intoxicating. You want to keep the recognition while still maintaining the credibility that got you there. Opportunities come along and you have to decide which ones will let you keep your soul and which ones will require you to cross that line that Gina was warning about.

Let’s start with my journey as a point of reference.

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