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CenterStage - How EMC is Taking on Microsoft SharePoint

CenterStage - How EMC is Taking on Microsoft SharePoint The face of enterprise content management is taking many forms today. The need for knowledge workers to leverage an ECM's capabilities while at the same time leverage Web 2.0 tools for better collaboration, has led to a number of new Enterprise 2.0 solutions from ECM vendors.

EMC's Lance Shaw, Group Product Marketing Manager, Knowledge Worker Applications, says that CenterStage, an enterprise collaboration tool, is not meant to be a direct competitor to SharePoint. But looking at what it is and what it does, one can easily draw the comparison and see why an organization would implement it instead of SharePoint.

Shaw took us on a tour of this new offering from EMC.

A Face for Documentum

EMC CenterStage is a business-to-business collaboration solution built to support the mobile knowledge worker and office worker alike. It is a client to EMC's enterprise content management system, Documentum. So, if you don't have Documentum, then you don't need CenterStage.

If you do use Documentum as your Enterprise CMS, then CenterStage is a good way to take advantage of Documentum's capabilities using Enterprise 2.0 tools like collaborative workspaces, blogs, wikis and more.

CenterStage is the evolution of Documentum's eRoom. It is directly connected to Documentum and Shaw says it is a balance between empowerment and control. It has three core themes:

  • Team Productivity
  • Business Process Automation
  • Information Discovery

Essentials and Pro Versions

There are two versions of CenterStage: Essentials and Pro. CenterStage Essentials offers basic content services and team workspaces. But to get the most of this solution, you should have CenterStage Pro which adds personal workspaces, wikis, blogs and other Web 2.0 tools, and even more importantly advanced search and discovery tools.

Added Benefits from Documentum

With Documentum as the back end, there are a number of added benefits to CenterStage. These include integration with Records Management, retention policies, auditing and lifecycle management.

CenterStage Functionality

Personal and Collaborative Workspaces

Workspaces are key to any collaboration solution and CenterStage offers both personal workspaces and team workspaces.

CenterStage Workspaces

Collaborative Workspaces are very flexible. You can control the layout and add any number of widgets if you have the proper administrative permissions. You can have widgets that display image libraries through a list, images or thumbnails, track specific content, discussions, blogs and more.

In your personal workspace you can things like a Favorites list and a My Current Work list.

You can also watch your workspaces for updates either through RSS and email notifications.

Managing Content in a Workspace

One of the interesting aspects of managing content within CenterStage is that nothing lives within CenterStage directly. As we've said, it is a client for Documentum. So all content actually resides within Documentum.

CenterStage Collaborative Team Workspace

This is not limited to documents, but also includes all other forms of content such as images, blog posts, wikis and discussions. As a result, versioning is applied to all content, as is check-in/check out and workflow capabilities. Versioning is applied by default, workflow is not.

Note that workflow processes are associated with a CenterStage folder and can be automated and routed via Documentum to CenterStage or some other collaborative workspace solution.

What you don't see in CenterStage is the ability to add metadata to your content. Shaw indicated that the intent of CenterStage is simplicity, so the functionality is designed to allow users to easily add content without needing to include a lot of additional information.

Search and Discovery

The need to easily find information is critical. With CenterStage, the search and discovery capabilities are very useful.

CenterStage Search

You can choose to search within a specific workspace or across all workspaces you have access to. Search is faceted and federated including information across any number of enterprise systems.

CenterStage also includes text analytics. This version is just the start of this capability, but you can easily find information using a number of different filters that are based on key categories and principle concepts. Text analytics are performed on content residing within Documentum repositories.


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