Enterprise content management is a 2.7 billion dollar industry with just a hand full of vendors competing for market share. Documentum was once the master of the content management space, the de facto product for most companies looking to automate their processes and get control over unstructured data. After the dot-com bust, Documentum’s presence wavered and was eventually purchased by EMC. EMC CEO Joe Tucci’s recently announced on an EMC’s earnings call that the Information Intelligence Group at ECM was down 5%. Oracle’s, on the other hand, is expecting to show an impressive 20% growth. And it has come up with a plan it thinks will help Documentum customers.

Documentum’s Drawbacks

With current trends for companies to consolidate their infrastructures, minimize applications and gain greater efficiency through “Out-of-the-box” integration products, Documentum customers are faced with the fact that their implementations will not meet these demands. Costs associated with maintaining, let alone upgrading, Documentum are causing more and more companies to re-evaluate their applications. This, along with other factors, may very well be a reason for Documentum’s downturn.

With Oracle’s focus on “Complete, Open, Integrated” solutions, they are well positioned to capture a large number of Documentum customers. Oracle feels that there are other factors at play; companies are looking at content applications as a fundamental part of the infrastructure, require content to be managed fundamental and OOTB integrated repository for all their middle ware platforms and applications, and there is concern in the lack of a published roadmap for the Documentum product line.

While Documentum offers a wide variety of features and modules, not all of them are operable out of the box and require support from Sis to implement them. Compare that to the Oracle WebCenter suite of products, which work in concert with each other right after a standard install, and it is easy to see potential cost savings for customers that have been struggling with their Documentum implementations.

Another drawback to Documentum is the fact that they did not natively provide a web experience management application, requiring them to utilize FatWire to provide the functionality. Oracle has recently purchased FatWire, now called Oracle WebCenter Sites. Documentum has to look to other vendors to fulfill the WEM requirements (SDL Tridion). In addition, they had no native collaboration utilities and required the use of Box.net and Cisco.

While there are other drawbacks that can be named, the final one that Oracle feels very competitive about is that Documentum doesn’t really have a strong enterprise application integration play (natively integrating with the likes of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and SAP).

Oracle’s Plan

Documentum is squarely in Oracle’s sites. Oracle is announcing this week their go-to-market strategy to help struggling Documentum customers while gaining new ground in the content management space. Oracle’s plan is straightforward:

Trade In Your Documentum and Get 100% Credit for Oracle WebCenter

How much easier can it be? Of course Oracle is also providing very strong messaging to reinforce their efforts:


Oracle is focusing its campaign on existing FatWire customers. Prior to the Oracle acquisition of FatWire, Documentum was used as the digital asset management repository. Now that FatWire is part of the Oracle WebCenter family of products, and product development is quickly incorporating productized integrations, FatWire (WebCenter Sites) customers will soon be able to utilize the built-in DAM capabilities of Oracle WebCenter Content. Other campaign focuses include WebLogic Portal and WCI who utilized Documentum as the content repository for their portal initiatives. Additionally, life sciences and engineering companies can expect a call from Oracle.

Opportunities to Help Documentum Customers

I had an opportunity to speak with Brian Dirking, Principal Product Director, Oracle, recently and he is excited about how Oracle can help existing Documentum customers. “We are excited about the opportunities we see in the market place. Oracle natively provides functionality that they (Documentum customers) have had to engineer through difficult customizations and third-party products work together in a way they were never meant to.” He also indicated that “Oracle has set its strategy for WebCenter and its continued growth in functionality and completeness.”

As a Systems Integrator, I can anticipate some of the reactions existing Documentum customers will have to the new campaign. “Migration will cost too much. I’ve already invested so much. I just can’t shut it down to put in something new.” Changing technologies is always a challenge, but many companies have done complete infrastructure replacements…successfully. The key is making sure that the new technology not only meets current requirements, but allows for growth and expansion; no one wants to do a rip-and-replace every few years.

Organizations wishing to take on such an endeavor should find a tested and dependable partner who can help them plan a strategy for success. And finally, companies should employ a structured roll-out focusing on “low hanging fruit.” By selecting portions of the infrastructure to target for initial deployments, success can be quickly achieved. As the old saying goes, “Success breeds success.”

“Migration will cost too much.” Companies should look at how much they are paying now for managing their Documentum implementation. Compound that with upgrade costs, integration costs, system and hardware costs, and they will see that, with Oracle’s generous credit offer, there really is an ROI to be had.

“I’ve already invested so much.” That is understandable. Most Sis estimate a Documentum implementation to run as much as five times the software cost. The cost of that investment will only increase over time and may even grow exponentially if Documentum does not continue to enhance the product line. Eventually, companies will be investing on a platform with very little return to show for it.

“I just can’t shut it down to put in something new.” Of course not. Oracle and its partners will help Documentum customers implement the Oracle WebCenter platform in an Active-Active process, migrating information and functionality at the right time while decommissioning Documentum over time.

Oracle’s technology, support, and yes, pricing, makes it a very compelling case for existing Documentum customers to look forward to a brighter future.

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading: