Will OpenText Really Invest in Documentum?
Since OpenText, the Canadian enterprise information management vendor, acquired Dell Technologies' Enterprise Content Division (ECD), including Documentum for $1.62 billion in a deal, the most prominent question has been whether OpenText will invest in Documentum or force Documentum users onto its own Content Server.
Many customers and technology partners are concerned that OpenText won’t invest in the Documentum core to evolve and innovate the product. The reason behind this belief is that OpenText does not have a history of substantial investments when it comes to the acquired companies. Therefore, some analysts have been insisting that OpenText will milk the cash cow, which is Documentum in this case, and the product won’t see any substantial innovation. On the other hand, OpenText is on its Innovation Tour and has been detailing its plans for the integration of the Documentum product family with its portfolio. Here’s a tweet from Lee Smith, head of Enterprise Content Management at Capgemini, after he attended OpenText’s conference in London:
In fact, throughout its Innovation Tour, OpenText has been conveying the same message to the Documentum customers”: “Keep calm and carry on! Your investment is safe as OpenText will invest and enhance the product.” Additionally, OpenText has clearly stated that there is no requirement for customers to migrate from one platform to another, as OpenText will continue to support and sell both the Content Suite Platform and the Documentum Platform along with associated applications and solutions.
We are in the era of ever-changing technology, and during his keynotes, OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea talked about the generational shift saying that the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is here and the customer-centric approach and innovation are key for businesses to thrive. Therefore, nowadays, OpenText has been so busy reassuring stakeholders that with this merger they are better prepared for 4IR.
OpenText's ECM Strategy
Presentations from the tour have been promising as well as keynote speakers have been really enthusiastic about the roadmap. One of the most important topics that has been touched upon is OpenText’s integration strategy for the future. The visual below demonstrates that the integration strategy is built on the foundation of Open Text Documentum and Open Text Content Server which will be strengthened by continued investment and roadmap commitments. Content services, case services, and capture services will be sitting right on the top of the foundation. From there, API’s, Solution Components, and Integrations are made up to the higher layer. Ultimately, the layer of integration with LEAP’s applications such as Core, Courier, Snap, Concert, Express and Suppler Exchange as well as with enterprise cloud extensions to SAP S/4 HANA, SAP Success Factors, Salesforce, and Office 365 completes the full integration diagram. The strategy is designed to leverage both existing platforms and convergence in next generation platforms.
Additionally, during a webcast, Stephen Ludlow, Senior Director, Enterprise Product Marketing at OpenText, made it clear that current roadmaps and commitments remain stable and will be delivered. Here are some focus areas of Documentum investment:
Industry Solution – specifically Life Sciences, Energy, and Engineering
Continued Enhancement – Documentum and applications like D2 and InfoArchive to improve usability, analytics and total cost of ownership
OpenText Cloud – Managed Services offerings in the OpenText Cloud.
Reassuring Documentum Customers
Jaleel Shujath, Life Sciences Industry Strategist at OpenText, wrote in a company blog post, commenting on what’s next for Documentum and the other ECD products. “I’m afraid the first thing we’ve done you may find fiendish. We’ve put the word ‘OpenText’ in front of it [Documentum]! The next thing we’re doing is setting out a roadmap to ensure the platform meets your needs today and into the future. We’re doing exactly the same thing with other ECD product sets – such as LEAP – so that existing Documentum customers can be reassured that our solutions will always remain a strategic investment,” he said and added: “Our belief in the Documentum platform was only part of the reason that OpenText was interested in this deal.”
The Life Sciences industry is considered Documentum’s strength, and OpenText highlighted the values of having Documentum in its Life Sciences Solutions Suite that can immediately benefit both OpenText and Documentum Life Sciences customers:
Existing Documentum customers can build out the capabilities of the Documentum for Life Sciences Solution Suite and leverage best-in-class OpenText solutions, such as Marketing Content Management for Life Sciences.
Seamless integration with enterprise applications such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Microsoft is now available for Documentum customers.
The OpenText Cloud delivers the ideal platform as Life Sciences companies to transition from on-premise to Cloud-based solutions.
During Enterprise World (July 10-13) in Toronto, OpenText executives will shed more light on the technical impact of this merger. Hands-on workshops are planned at the event for Documentum customers to gain more insight into roadmaps and how it impacts their implementation.
All these enthusiastic statements, informative presentations, and high efforts tell us only one thing certain that after all, OpenText doesn’t see Documentum as a cash cow. It is, of course, hard to predict how all these roadmaps and promises will actually play out in the end, but to be honest, anything other than Dell-EMC is better for Documentum’s future. Documentum has never been a good fit within EMC or DELL anyways. In the technology world, standing still means going backward, and ECD hadn’t invested in the Documentum core product for a long time.
When we first heard the news that EMC wanted to shed Documentum, I was fortunate enough to chat with Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Vice President & Managing Director VOCalis with Digital Clarity Group, about the story behind the divestiture, and he told me that: "EMC is a strong hardware company, while Documentum is a software firm and they are sold differently. Especially, when one hardware company, EMC merges with another hardware company, Dell, to keep Documentum, just doesn't make sense.”
The faith of Documentum has always been hanging around in limbo. Although it is too early to say, that this acquisition marks the end of the uncertainty about Documentum’s future, customers seem to be relieved a little after hearing the commitment of OpenText to invest and innovate on both Documentum and Content Server, not forcing any customer to migrate. However, given the fact that there is also a somewhat distrusting user base due to having no precedence of OpenText being able to integrate with any of their previously acquired products, the vendor should go beyond announcements and presentation to prove that OpenText will fulfill Documentum customers’ long-awaited needs.