Rick Devenuti stepped into a mess when he first took the helm at EMC’s Information Intelligence Group (IIG), commonly known as Documentum (2010). When I asked him if he knew what he had gotten himself into, he gave a theoretical response, “Does anybody ever know?”

Even though EMC’s Content Management giant, which was once known as the Cadillac of its industry, still ranked high with analysts like Gartner, Forrester, Ovum and the like, its sales were in decline, its product features were commoditized and end-users hated to use it. The idea of “delighting the Documentum customer” seemed to a market-watcher as Mission Impossible, but whether Devenuti knew all this or not, it was a challenge he signed-up to take on.

Wooing the Next Generation of Customers

By Spring of 2011, Devenuti had a pretty good read on how his customers felt about his products. “IT loves us. The Business puts up with us. And end users hate us,” he said. He had learned this through meeting with Documentum customers and, needless to say, that had to change. Not only because having happy customers is a good idea, but also because, in his words, “any user with a credit card is now the CIO.”

So when a user refuses to use your software (even if it works), it’s your user experience that’s hurting. And, if that’s the case, your customers will never see how your tools will help them gain productivity.

Add to that, that Web 2.0, iPhone-toggling, Facebook-sharing, digital natives (aka “the New User”) were entering the workplace at this time and their reaction to software that doesn’t delight is to download something that does versus complaining or looking for answers from IT. A vendor could lose business and not even know it.

To Devenuti this (probably) meant that he needed new UI’s, Mobile Apps for devices of an end user’s choice, effortless document sharing on the cloud, software whose speed to value is days or weeks rather than months or years, and business applications that deliver the right content at the right time, in the right way, on the right device, in the right format and so on. Add to that, that among Documentum’s base of customers, Pervasive Governance at all times is a must.