Formerly Known As

The debranding of Documentum continues with the conference formerly known as Documentum Users of the Mid Atlantic (DUMA) now being called EMC Content Management and Archiving (EMC CMA) User Group.

I’m still worried that my bread-and-butter won’t survive EMC’s acquisition; software companies don’t fare well after being acquired by hardware companies, like IBM acquiring Lotus and only briefly honoring promises of hands-off management and bank-rolling. Would Documentum just become a value-add to an EMC SAN solution? So far there’s no hard evidence that EMC is dismantling Documentum. D6 has an ambitious list of new features and EMC’s representatives laid out an aggressive plan for the next two years. The troubling part is that this year’s road map looks just like last year’s with a few dates slipped and still no live demonstrations of working software. Perhaps TCFKA DUMA isn’t a big enough draw to roll out the full dog-and-pony show or EMC doesn’t want to upstate their big event in Orando next month.

Comparing the first EMC CMA with the last DUMA, I found attendance somewhat lower, lunch cheaper, and the talks less compelling. At least every presentation didn’t start with a CYA sales pitch this year! It’s hard to say if the lower attendance reflects Documentum losing momentum or the normal yearly variation in the conference: Despite 13 years in Documentum, these are the only two years I’ve attended. Maybe I’m just another year closer to my crotchety old man’s license, but next year will either need a hotter agenda or rodizio to assure my attendance.

The most relevant presentations this year were by EMC on D6’s web services (SOA) and Content Services for SharePoint. Both felt more like sales pitches, but I walked away with enough facts to feel that both products are on the right track. They’ve fooled me before. At first the BOF sounded like server-side behavioral extensions that would make Documentum truly object-oriented but turned out to be client library decorations with major distribution problems. Wishful thinking aside, a bad licensing scheme could kill even well-engineered products; pricing details for SOA were not available which worries me given some custom-client licensing craziness between EMC and one of my clients.

My current client’s evaluated some third party products in these spaces but weren’t impressed enough to write checks. They may be more forgiving with products from EMC like business travelers avoiding great local restaurants for a TGI Friday because it’s familiar and consistent even if it’s mediocre. Regardless, I sympathize with those conference partners who paid to watch EMC muscle in on their territory; they deserve a better lunch next year too.

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