Interview with Christopher McLauglin of Dell EMC ECD
Dell EMC made one of the biggest headlines in the tech industry in 2016. But, it actually all started in 2015, when Dell announced in October of last year that it would be acquiring the tech company, EMC, for $67 billion, considered to be the largest deal in tech history. Just after the deal finally closed last September, Canadian enterprise information management vendor OpenText has agreed to acquire Dell Technologies' Enterprise Content Division (ECD), including Documentum for $1.62 billion. Recently, ECD introduced the new Dell EMC LEAP Platform, which is a content management platform featuring a deep set of enterprise-grade content services. LEAP was first announced at the EMC World Conference in Las Vegas as a suite of purpose-built, cloud-native apps that deliver enterprise-grade content management capabilities. With newly announced upgrades, Dell EMC aims to simplify app development and enable enterprise content management services in the cloud.
To get a first hand account of all the exciting recent events, we have reached out to Christopher McLaughlin, Chief Marketing Officer, Enterprise Content Division at EMC. He discusses their position in the Leaders' Quadrant of the 2016 Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management for the 13th consecutive time, the new product offerings and what they mean for the future of enterprise content.
Christopher McLaughlin is, naturally, appreciative of Gartner’s recognition and he stressed that their deep understanding of the customers’ needs, and moving their product forward in a way that meets those needs, are the key reasons why ECD (formerly Documentum) has been a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 13 years.
As I mentioned in my previous article regarding 2016 Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management, the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm made some changes to their inclusion criteria, and those changes have resulted in the number of vendors included dropping from 20 in 2015 to 15 in 2016. During the interview, Christopher McLaughlin explained why those changes are significant to the industry: “Gartner’s recognized the revolution that we saw in the marketplace two or three years ago. We had to begin building our product in advance of the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.” He interprets these changes as a result of the evolution in customers’ needs and the evaluation in the way that customers work with content. As a Leader, Christopher McLaughlin believes that their organization has a unique role in the space, saying: “13 years ago, we helped to invent this space, and what we’re doing now is really helping to reinvent this marketplace to meet with these new customers’ needs.”
He also said that Gartner alerted the vendors almost a year ago that they were thinking about changing the definition of enterprise content management and the criteria for the Magic Quadrant for ECM. However, according to him, this is already something that they had to be working on for some time, prior to having the product ready, so the platform could be qualified to meet Gartner’s criteria for the new Magic Quadrant. Therefore, Dell EMC detected the changing patterns in the marketplace even earlier than Gartner’s decision as a way to adapt their offerings.
So what are the changes the company made to adopt the evolving customers’ needs? The short answer is: “It really begins and ends with LEAP,” as Christopher McLaughlin states. They see LEAP as their next-generation content and collaboration platform and the main driver behind their leader position, at the far right in the Magic Quadrant for ECM, in terms of strategy and vision.
For those who aren’t acquainted with LEAP; last May, EMC announced a new suite of cloud-native content apps, called LEAP, at the EMC World Conference in Las Vegas, in an effort to speed companies toward digital transformation. Also, five EMC-authored apps were announced in conjunction with LEAP. A couple of weeks ago, ECD introduced the new Dell EMC LEAP Platform during its customer event, Momentum, in Barcelona. The platform is redesigned as a content management platform featuring a deep set of enterprise-grade content services. In addition to this announcement, ECD also announced the general availability of two additional content management apps.
According to Christopher McLaughlin, what makes LEAP unique is that the platform puts the power of enterprise content and collaboration into the hands of their customers. With the recent releases, customers are able to build enterprise content applications in the cloud with capabilities such as file uploads/downloads, versioning, folders, metadata attributes, content transformation, workflow processes and enterprise search as well as take advantage of more modern user experiences through mobile support and LOB application integrations.
For the future plans of the company, he said that they are looking further out to the point that they will be able to offer a marketplace where the customers are able to get on track for the microservices, for the platform, for ECD’s apps, and even for apps that are partners in developing.
To me, with the newly announced upgrades, it seems that the platform will keep retaining its leader position in the space and continue to meet the rapidly changing and evolving consumer expectations. However, there is still one question in my mind that remains to be answered: Will OpenText continue to truly support LEAP and other ECD products after the deal closes? I will share the answer here as the events evolve on CMS-Connected.