Someone needs to have a talk with EMC boss Joe Tucci. They need to tell him to take a break from strategizing about the integration of companies in his Pivotal Initiative portfolio, pluck Socialcast from EMC’s offspring company VMware, and move it into EMC ‘s Information Intelligence Group (Documentum).
He needs to do this NOW. There won’t be a better time.
Playing Social Catch Up
After all, Documentum’s primary competitors all have a Social component, so not having one is a deficiency, and a pretty significant one at that. Consider that when Gartner evaluates vendors for its Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Magic Quadrant, fifteen percent (15%) of the points are earned for “Social Content.” (That’s as high, or higher, a percentage than it assigns to document management, records management and WCM).
And while EMC could potentially argue that Syncplicity, EMC IIG’s shiny, super chic File Sync ‘n Share solution is Social, there’s a whole lot more to Social than sharing files. Syncplicity is more about Cloud at EMC. Everyone knows that.
But it’s not only what Gartner thinks about Social in the ECM space, it’s also about how the “modern user,” a term EMC loves to use, lives and works. Do you know anyone who doesn’t post to a social network like Facebook, tweet (or read tweets), text, SnapChat and the like? Enterprises have already learned that people like to do in their professional lives what they do in their personal lives. (Remember when companies didn’t want people to use smartphones at work? BYOD is now practically a given.)
Social is woven into the fabric of our lives.
It needs to be woven into ECM too, almost by default. Unless an ECM provider intends for its solution to continue to create, rather than to break down, information silos. And I think most enterprises are tired of that (a.k.a. “been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and it said “Loser” on the back.”)
Knowledge silos are broken open by Social, that’s a sales pitch Documentum needs to be able to make and deliver on. And it’s one their customers need to hear before they’re asked to pull out their checkbooks.
And while that’s reason enough for Tucci to rearrange the pawns in his portfolio and move Socialcast to IIG, there’s another one.
VMware probably has no interest in owning Socialcast anyway.
Who Wants Socialcast?
Last month, in a carefully thought-out statement to VMware investors, Pat Gelsinger, the company’s recently appointed CEO, announced that VMware’s updated mission is to pioneer virtualization technologies that radically simplify IT infrastructure from the data center to the virtual workspace.
It’s difficult to imagine how Socialcast will help them achieve that. (Unless they want to use it internally and with their suppliers — in that case they can become an IIG/Socialcast customer.)
And, not only that, but, if you take Gelsinger at his word, he also doesn’t think Social has much of a play in EMC’s overall offering. (Mind you EMC owns 80 percent of VMware.)
Consider that last year, when Gelsinger (he was President of EMC at the time) spoke to UK Technology Journal V3, he proclaimed that “Social and mobile are clearly consumer-driven trends and we (EMC) weren't given consumer DNA.”
So, it should go to follow that Socialcast neither gives Gelsinger the warm fuzzies nor makes him see green.
And to let Socialcast live at VMware, without Gelsinger’s sunlight, would be a shame. The company was “hot” enough to make the stage at sexy tech conferences like GigaOm’s Structure not too long ago. The market for it is still ripe.
That being said, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for Tucci to take Gelsinger’s unwanted, inherited step child and give it to Rick Devenuti and his team at IIG who could love it, allow it to grow, and to thrive?
It would delight Documentum customers, give end users a reason to ☺ about ECM, and help IIG’s top line (and presumably bottom line) grow.
And sure, all of this is more easily said than done, but Tucci is one of the tech sector’s top CEO’s; David Goulden, EMC’s President and COO is a brilliant strategist and a shrewd, trusted money man; and IIG President Rick Devenuti has the brains, the team, and the people skills needed to bring Socialcast under his wing without causing too much disruption (of the bad kind) internally.
Sure, there may be some places where Socialcast and Syncplicity overlap, but Jeetu Patel and the members of the Socialcast team that I’ve met, are “can do” people who recognize that doing what’s best for the customer is good for business and good for themselves. They’ll make 1+1 = 3.
So, Mr. Tucci, as soon as the snow is cleared from the runways at Logan (or wherever you might keep a private EMC jet) hop on a plane, head to sunny California and take Rick Devenuti to lunch. Give him Socialcast over a cheeseburger.
Or better yet, you can stay in Hopkinton and SIMPLY tweet “Look I can be Social, now Documentum Can Too” #DocumentumGetsSocial
Bet you’d get a lot of RTs.