EMC has unveiled a more business-focused approach to the deployment of its enterprise content management infrastructure.
At its Momentum user and partner conference in Monaco, EMC said the new strategy is underpinned by two parts: the Documentum 6 ECM platform, which now boasts new SOA-based web services capabilities to ease development of content-enabled business applications; and a vast ecosystem of business and consulting partners that provide vertical and process domain expertise.
It said the combination of the two will result in the development of new 'Solution Frameworks' that provide a reference architecture for building vertical and horizontal applications on top of the Documentum ECM platform. Each Solution Frameworks consists of a bundled set of pre-built content objects, web services, integration components, and process templates, geared toward a specific set of content management tasks and all wrapped up as a 'best-practice' implementation.
In his keynote address at the conference, Mark Lewis, newly appointed president of EMC's content management and archiving division, officially introduced the company's 'content-enabled solutions' strategy. He said the strategy is intended to encourage customers to think more strategically about 'integrated end-to-end' ECM deployment across the enterprise.
"It is about meeting enterprise needs through the enterprise-enablement of our Documentum platform," he said. Lewis noted that companies have up to now adopted an application-centric approach to content management, with silos of content including documents and e-mail each managed separately. "The new paradigm is to get more business-centric and build an information-centric architecture that decouples applications from information in such a way that it can be shared and utilised in a consistent way across all applications in the organisation."
EMC plans to roll out several vertical and functionally-focused Solution Frameworks over the next year.
"We have already aligned our platform and the organisation around four key areas: knowledge worker, transactional content management, interactive content management, and archive and compliance," said Balaji Yelamanchili, senior vice president and co-general manager of content management and archiving at EMC. "We will enable customers and partners to create content management solutions using the Documentum 6 platform in the context of each of these highly content-driven categories."
The Solution Framework for the knowledge worker category will focus on applications including collaborative case management, client engagement, and product development.
Transactional content management Solution Framework will focus on streamlining operational business tasks like invoice, loans and claims processing, and contracts management where the supporting transactional information tends to be content-rich and driven by contextual business processes and workflows.
The interactive content management Solution Framework will address editorial publishing, broadcast video production, and brand resource management applications. These types of applications typically involve publishing and managing web and rich interactive media content, for example, to communicate a company's products and services across multiple customer channels.
Finally, the Solution Framework for archive and compliance will cover e-mail compliance, legal reviews, and corporate governance applications.
Yelamanchili said the Solution Frameworks will not only provide a set of integrated software products specific to one of the above four categories. "They also extend to provide an integrated reference architecture for building those types of applications, as well as a best practices implementation methodology," he said. "What each category really represents is a purpose-built user experience, recognising, for example, that wikis and blogs allow for a more interactive and dynamic experience as opposed to transactional content that is forms and data-driven."
Yelamanchili said partners will play a key role in the development of the Solution Frameworks. "This will be a partner-powered initiative. We will be leveraging our rich and deep partner network to build these Solution Frameworks for specific sets of business-related content management problems," he said.
Documentum has over 500 ISV, OEM, and systems integrator partners and 80 certified application integrations through its 'Designed for Documentum' program.
It did not offer a timeline for the delivery of the Solution Frameworks, but Yelamanchili said that joint development work is already under way.
EMC clearly wants to show the market that it is far more than just a storage infrastructure player as it continues to step more deeply into business software applications.
The new web-services capabilities baked into Documentum 6 and the recent acquisition of process management technology from ProActivity underscore EMC's grand scheme to build business-focused and process-aligned content management applications that sit on top of its core ECM platform and storage infrastructure.
But does that make EMC a software company? Not quite. Last year hardware accounted for 80% of overall revenue. Today 57% of EMC's $12,7bn revenue comes from software and services. Lewis likes to think of the company as a 'technology' company for building an 'information infrastructure'. That broad-brush term is perhaps a convenient compromise for a company that still seems to be in transition mode, while at the same time loading up on a variety of software technologies, including virtualisation (VMware) and security (RSA).
Putting Lewis at the helm of its new content-management and archiving division is also a significant move by EMC. Lewis spent five years at EMC but has harbored ambitions beyond shifting storage boxes.
He was instrumental in convincing the EMC powers that be to swoop for Documentum in 2003.
With CEO Joe Tucci looking to build content management into a billion-dollar business next year (it is currently around $800m-900m), more innovative product announcements are expected from this growing EMC division, and perhaps an acquisition or two as it continues to fill out the remaining holes in its portfolio.