When EMC announced a strategic partnership with FatWire designed to replace their Web CMS with FatWire's Web Experience Management framework, there was a lot of talk about the benefits for both companies and clients, but not a lot of detail.

After speaking to FatWire, it looks like clients of the combined solution should start seeing improvements in Digital Asset Management (DAM), compliance and analytics.

Managing Digital Assets, More than the Obvious

In the initial announcement it was stated that EMC’s Digital Asset Management software was going to be resold by FatWire (news, site) as a Brand Management solution. FatWire users will have reach-back into EMC’s (news, site) Content Repository for images, and users of the Digital Asset Manager product will be able to push images and other content into FatWire.

This bi-directional interface will allow the brand managers and web managers to work within their own environments.

One of the questions that rises naturally is the concept of two Content Servers in this environment. Why would you have two Content Servers and what would the dividing line be for the content? The answer can be summed up in one word -- compliance.

Compliance is the Secret Ingredient

FatWire is looking to EMC to solve a number of the compliance issues that their larger, enterprise-level customers are facing. These are not new issues, but they are issues that have kept the traditional Enterprise CMS players active in the Web CMS market.

Recording Web Pages: For many sites, it is important to prove, or disprove, what was displayed to the consumer. While many vendors claim that simply versioning a web page or site can accomplish this, many publishers need more. Capturing the rendered web page with the different URL variations, such as the referring source, is critical. FatWire plans on allowing users to capture those rendered pages and store them into EMC as a record, placing it under retention control in order to prove what the website was displaying at any given time. (Editor's Note: For clarification, the actual webpage itself is not captured for retention purposes, but rather the web assets on the page. FatWire has released this capability as of July 1. Read: FatWire and EMC Deliver Retention and Compliance Platform )

Capturing Blogs and Discussions: Other items for capture are blogs, discussions and other types of web 2.0 content. These are under separate consideration from normal web pages, because the page they are displayed upon doesn’t change, but the information does. As these new artifacts are created, they will be automatically stored and retained in EMC.

The general guideline for where content resides is that the active version of any content will live in FatWire, and the versions required to meet compliance requirements will be stored in EMC. Like any set of features from a large vendor like EMC, the capabilities that users choose to leverage can be bought and implemented as desired.

(Editor's Note: Note that in this case, compliance is related to business processes/ retention requirements, not regulatory compliance.)

Would You Like Some Analytics with That?

The feature that completely caught me off guard, and that I thought was simply brilliant, is the planned potential capability to take FatWire's Web Analytics data and feed it back into EMC. (Editor's Note: Although this capability is not currently in the FatWire/EMC roadmap, it was informally discussed as a potential future opportunity.)

The benefit provided to the content creator is readily recognized. If a particular image seems to be improving the effectiveness of a web page, that information will be available within EMC’s Digital Asset Manager. This will allow someone looking for images for a flyer or presentation to know which images have resonated with the audience previously. Creators can look at successful images and try and predict what images might resonate with consumers in the future.

More importantly, content that does not do well can be identified and not used again.

Brand managers would be able to work entirely within EMC’s Brand Management offering without having to cross-reference the analytics from FatWire. This would make life easier for the creative team, which is something that is usually easier to say than achieve. 

EMC + FatWire = A More Comprehensive Enterprise Content Management Solution?

The basic agreement -- EMC to resell FatWire’s WEM and FatWire to resell EMC’s Brand Management -- seemed a marriage of convenience. Both had basic capabilities that the other was missing in their portfolio. What was a pleasant surprise was the extensive thought given to the compliance and analytics requirements.

The compliance features allow for better management of the content, lasting beyond the rapid lifecycle of a website. While many smaller organizations won’t need these capabilities, larger ones, such as governments, will appreciate the more robust features.

The compliance capabilities are targeted for release in Q3 2010, but the underlying capabilities are already built, and there are existing client implementations that can be referenced. The efforts going forward are focused on productizing these features. That is the point where this will all become real for the average customer.

I am looking forward to seeing if the vision is implemented. Large customers will have a strong solution that will provide them a “current” WEM system with the ECM features that allowed EMC to continue to play in the market with their old Documentum Web Publisher offering.