EMC discovers Magnetic Poetry

I can’t find a video of the Mark Lewis keynote from EMC World 2010. Instead I’m depending on reporting from the event like Ron Miller’s article [Documentum group gets new name and new direction] and Pie’s tweets and blog posts. It’s probably for the better; I never had a taste for gruesome videos since Faces of Death, and this may be EMC finally decapitating the Documentum brand.  Rather than plunging into a pages-long diatribe about EMC’s unconditional surrender to the commoditizing of content management or the latest dish of scorn Lewis served up to Documentum veterans, let’s talk names.

Information Intelligence Group is EMC’s new moniker for the product that shall not be named. Lewis breaks down the name for us on his blog [Episode 91: EMC World 2010 – The Birth of the Information Intelligence Group]. It’s hard to read–let alone say–the name with a straight face, and this breakdown doesn’t help. At least the cumbersome and uninspired Content Management and Archiving accurately conveyed something about the product.  This new name is too broad and inherently meaningless; it will continue to erode mindshare for a product that was the de facto definition of document management. Let’s hope this new name doesn’t prove itself a compound oxymoron to boot.

Magnetic Poetry

The “Intelligent” product silos aren’t much better. Granted, this is a product that has to publish a separate guide with each new release to map old product names to new. Not a sheet or a few pages, a document. However, these new silos are so vertically restrictive that EMC had to toss the content server into case management.  Having done case management and having paid my dues in lines of server code, I’m perplexed. It’s like they had a very limited box of magnetic poetry to play with.

The continuing erosion of a strong brand means less mindshare among potential customers. Everybody knows SharePoint even though most don’t know what it really is. I’ve seen first-hand how good marketing trumps good product. Documentum had that name recognition–still does in many parts–and EMC seems determined to stamp it out without something sticky to replace it.

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