As information kept flowing to us Documentum partners, my understanding of the acquisition kept changing - or broadening - until the realisation finally sat its ground and from this point, I would like to share two things.
Many (read: most) of our customers are Documentum users. Some have even been users since started from the days of Documentum Inc., to following the era with EMC, to Dell and now on to OpenText.
In Denmark, we are a rather small community of Documentum-nerds (including both Documentum partners and the customers), and as soon as the acquisition announcement was official, the speculations started; Will Documentum survive or is this a hostile take-over where customers are forced onto OpenText technology? Why else would OpenText buy technology similar to their own? What will happen to my software support? Do I still contact the same people when I need assistance? Can I get the analytics tool / artificial intelligence tool / XYZ tool from now OpenText integrated into my Documentum suite? What about the future of InfoArchive? Practical questions mixed with strategic arise from this new situation.
As information flows to us partners, my understanding of the acquisition has been varying, however now I see the meaning of it all. At this point, I would like to share two things. One very practical issue in the OpenText/partner/customer relationship, and another of a more strategic nature - why the acquisition. The following are my personal answer to two frequent questions.
The New Relationship: Welcome and Get Aligned
Firstly, I will share that Strator as partners is being welcomed professionally into the OpenText community. Tons of papers to fill and equally many webcasts, phone calls and e-mails are currently educating us. Three things are clear:
- The OpenText organisation have tried this before and know how to absorb a community of customers and partners.
- There is a one-way-only to do things and that we are being put into proper boxes and aligned.
- It will take a while before we know all the new routines.
I say this for two reasons. One is to point out that I experience a very professional organisation – and that is good for all of us. Second, if the transfer process for customers is anything like the partner transfer, you as a customer can expect to be additionally welcomed and aligned by a professional ‘machine.’
The latter differs from what we are accustomed to. We are used to a process where partners and customers collaborate on a fair few of practical things, including issues such as license and maintenance deliverance. My understanding is that some of these practicalities will be executed centrally now, and we as partners will no longer be involved in them. I expect you (the customer) will be approached directly by OpenText and be handed your pile of papers to fill if you have not already been contacted. It is not because we do not want to do this for you; I simply do not believe we, the partners, will be included. You are of course welcome to contact us when you need assistance nevertheless. Let us see how it will play out.
Why the Acquisition: Content Services
So why did OpenText buy Documentum? To be precise: the ECD unit of EMC including Documentum, LEAP, and InfoArchive. I heard a presentation from OT explaining that the two suites complemented each other. I did not buy that argument, to be honest. Documentum is powerful in vertical solutions, Energy and Engineering, HealthCare plus LifeSciences, and LEAP is simply fantastic. But so is the OpenText Content Server and it has plenty of cloud offerings of its own. Today I believe I finally understand - they are right, and here is why:
Gartner recently announced that ECM – Enterprise Content Management – is dead, and long live the new black: Content Services. ECM is represented by Content Management Systems, where the system centers around controlling and managing content. In other words, content is in the center of attention in ECM. Content Services is the same functionality, but not in a system, but distributed into numerous systems – and these are not ECM systems, but business systems, wherever the content is needed. Hence, the business process is in the center of attention in the term content services.
If we go with this idea, then why is the marriage between OpenText and Documentum then a happy one?
OpenText have excelled in a couple of areas:
- They are integrated into various systems through something that to us Documentum-nerds look likes D2-widgets. SAP, Salesforce, Office 365 are a few examples, and they are in general strong on integrations.
- OpenText have called themselves an EIM and not an ECM vendor because they provide a broader portfolio of technologies related but not limited to ECM e.g. technologies such as robust analytics, artificial intelligence, and capture tools.
- A well reputed OpenText Cloud.
Don’t they almost have it all? What could be added from the Documentum stack? OpenText told me – I had to process it, but then I realised. These two were missing: Vertical solutions and LEAP.
The vertical solutions make sense to OpenText as the prominently marked position of Documentum in those verticals complements OpenText’s lack of prominence in those particular verticals. Additionally, the ability to easily configure a vertical solution through the D2 Platform could offer OpenText the possibility to broaden the spectrum of verticals.
Documentum gives OpenText a vertical approach to the market. When going through what OpenText had excelled a few paragraphs ago, those are all horizontal approaches to the market. So yes, thinking it through, the vertical offerings of Documentum makes great sense to OpenText and to keep those vertical solutions as we know it, Documentum Content Server and D2 must be nurtured.
LEAP. Now back to Gartner’s Content Services. LEAP (formerly known as Project Horizon) is content services. OpenText offers integration of functionality into applications and has a good amount of significant experience with specifically that discipline. With LEAP we add content functionality broken into bits and pieces to the picture. Those will be available for integration with up till now unseen level of flexibility. Also, with the six first applications (Core, Courier, Snap, Concert, Express and Focus) we have the first examples of business applications built around a business process with content services used where relevant. Content Services.
Conclusion: OpenText did buy Documentum to use it and grow with, not to cannibalize it. The two complement each other, and can be a powerful player in the future. I do believe that now.
Our interest is now focused on finding and sharing the advantages the customers will get with this new palette of technologies. Stay tuned for more.
Vibeke Bugge Kristiansen, CEO @ Strator