Usually it’s the Monday of any given vendor conference that the big news gets released. In the case of EMC, it was the partner conference yesterday in Las Vegas (Sunday) that set the tone for a conference that looks set to be full of interesting nuggets. Two big things came out of it yesterday, both of them issues where many people wanted to see what EMC would say.

First -- and the one we were really looking to see -- was what is going to happen to Documentum. In the past 12 months, there is hardly a meeting of enterprise CMS professionals where you would not have heard some people querying the future of Documentum, or even predicting its demise.

Documentum’s Future

This despite the fact that in recent times EMC has indicated previously that it will be bringing it completely into the cloud within the next three to five years.

But everyone’s been talking about this, with little substantive information to base it on. Yesterday, though, EMC chief executive officer Joe Tucci told the audience at his keynote speech during the partner day that Documentum is here to stay, no matter what.

That will be a big relief to enterprises that have invested in it, as will his affirmation that, while it may not be what it could be, EMC is going to continue to invest and develop it. He added that he believes it will start growing again and remain part of the company.

Leaving technology issues aside, Documentum has been under the microscope for a while because of its lackluster financial performances in recent quarters, leading some to predict that it would be ditched.

However, Tucci did admit that it was in need of a makeover:

It was built as this big platform [for running applications]. If you were an insurance company, you might [use it for] loans processing or other companies might use it to run expense control...But that's not the way consumers want to buy anymore. They want to buy more SaaS-orientated [products].”

Significantly, in this respect, he adds that the company will “transform its content business into where it needs to be for tomorrow,” a shift toward getting value and insight from unstructured data.

Documentum, Big Data

But think about applications in the enterprise now and the amount of data that they are being forced to handle; think Big Data.

And there’s the core of EMC’s strategy with Documentum: it’s a big system and should be able to handle big amounts of data, and this is where Tucci sees it coming into its own.

We're spending a lot of money [on it]. Once you like a plan and have a team you think can execute it, you have to make sure you give[it] time....I think you will see that return to growth, probably not next year, but it will remain a part of the company.”

Clearly, he is expecting great things here. Tucci, you may recall, was due to retire in January, but he is citing the emergence and development of Big Data and cloud computing as the reasons he postponed it until next year. Undoubtedly, we are going to be hearing a lot more around these subjects over the week.