For a long time Documentum was known as the 800-pound gorilla of the Enterprise Content Management world, a force to be reckoned with, but not exactly sexy or sleek.  

If you were trained at handling a massive ape, you could certainly use it to safeguard your important information and to get some heavy lifting done. Nice and crucial when needed, but we now live in a world of gazelles. Agility, speed and even grace are not only called for, but required in a universe where information grows at record speeds and is subject to change in a matter of seconds.

Documentum’s parent company, EMC, has known all of this for quite a long time. They’ve been talking about managing the Volume, Velocity and Variablity of information long before the term Big Data was coined.

And conversations around the consumerization of IT were happening at the same time. After all, where was the exponential growth of data coming from if not from mobile technologies, apps and the Internet of Things?

Documentum enthusiasts occasionally heard mention of such things, but they didn’t see any action around them until Rick Devenuti took the helm at EMC IIG.

EMC IIG in Fighting Shape in 2012

In the last year, the group has introduced more than 40 products and solution releases without sacrificing a single bit of muscle and might.

Today’s Documentum sets a new standard in its space and that is only going to improve as it moves further toward the cloud and brings Social and Big Data into the fold. Devenuti won’t confirm that these developments are in process but he will say “we’re thinking about them” which is a lot like a “yes” coming from a man who has made a (rather admirable) promise of not talking about products until they are ready for delivery.

But rest assured, EMC IIG is busy building or shopping for what’s needed to bring these functionalities to life.

Consider that in November the company, once known as Documentum, announced the biggest roll-out of new products in its entire history. And that’s fairly significant considering that they’ve been around since 1990.

It’s worth noting that we’re not talking about patches here. Among them:

EMC Documentum Platform 7.0 the next-generation release of EMC’s industry-leading enterprise content management (ECM) platform. This new platform delivers breakthrough performance and scalability, while dramatically lowering total cost of ownership.

Built with the new EMC xCelerated Management System (xMS) technology, the latest release offers advanced capabilities to simplify and accelerate the deployment of Documentum into VMware-based private-cloud environments. It also includes powerful new capabilities for security such as FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) compliance as well as improved search for end user productivity.

EMC Documentum xCP 2.0 a next-generation platform for developing and deploying advanced business and case management solutions, optimized for cloud-based deployments including EMC OnDemand.

The new release dramatically improves productivity with a modern user experience, content and process analytics, and provides the industry’s first unified solution design tool for increased agility and faster solution development. xCP 2.0 is uniquely positioned to delight business users, enabling them to make effective decisions that drive better business outcomes.

EMC Captiva 7.0 transforms paper documents, faxes and other content into digital data used by enterprise applications. This new, significant release provides advanced capabilities for intelligent enterprise capture, business productivity and improved organizational agility. New features simplify the development and deployment of enterprise capture projects. Captiva 7.0 increases operator productivity with a new configurable, flexible desktop client for a variety of use cases.

EMC Document Sciences xPression 4.5 enables organizations to quickly and cost-effectively create timely, accurate and personally relevant customer communications. Document Sciences xPression 4.5 meets the demands of business users by further extending Microsoft Word to simplify the creation of effective multi-channel communications while providing IT with the enterprise-level administration and change control they require.

The new version also includes significant performance improvements and increases productivity for multi-channel publishing by enabling a single rules-based template to control the appropriate use of channel-specific content and formatting.

EMC Documentum Information Rights Management (IRM) 5.1 enables secure mobile access to protected information assets throughout the enterprise and beyond the firewall. Designed to enhance business and IT productivity in an increasingly mobile and cloud environment, Documentum IRM 5.1 enables iPad and iPhone users to access and browse IRM-protected enterprise content as part of a typical business process. It is seamlessly integrated with the Documentum platform and also works with file shares and other enterprise content management repositories.

EMC SourceOne File Intelligence 4.7, part of the EMC Pervasive Governance solution portfolio, enables organizations to identify, assess, classify and manage valuable content dispersed throughout the enterprise. The solution enables organizations to reduce costs and manage the risks associated with the retention, disposition and remediation of electronic records and files. The new release delivers better performance, scalability and connectivity to other enterprise repositories.

EMC SourceOne eDiscovery -- Kazeon 4.7, an industry-leading, in-house e-Discovery and Early Case Assessment (ECA) platform, simplifies how legal, compliance and IT teams identify, collect and preserve critical information across numerous repositories and applications.

With this new version, organizations can accelerate early case assessment, reduce review costs by more than 50 percent and enhance their internal investigations with breakthrough performance and scalability.

EMC Syncplicity Connector for Documentum enables organizations to automate the distribution of content from Documentum to users and all of their devices as part of business processes. Developers can also use the xCP Designer to visually design, customize and deploy applications that automatically or manually distribute content from their Documentum repositories via Syncplicity. The company also announced the availability of Syncplicity Mobile 2.0 for the Apple iOS platform.

Last May at EMC World, IIG announced:

Learning Opportunities

EMC Documentum D2 a highly and easily configurable Documentum, which is geared for the “New User” who demands a compelling, fast and modern user experience.

Documentum On-Demand offerings that leverage the hybrid cloud deployment model for enterprise-class applications. These hosted end-user solutions draw from a range of best-in-class technologies from VMware, RSA and EMC. The infrastructure can contain one or many EMC and EMC partner products and can be completely portable from one data center to another.

At present there are two new EMC OnDemand solutions, one is the EMC Documentum for Life Sciences Solution Suite (whose capabilities will be expanded in time) and the other is EMC Documentum Engineering, Plant and Facilities Management (EPFM) solution.

Pervasive Governance -- For those who might need an explanation, pervasive governance ranges from managing, controlling and protecting information within an enterprise, as well as to an extended enterprise with partners and contractors, to enforcing federated policies to information as it moves to mobile devices and through the cloud.

Documentum Mobile provides Information Rights Management to mobile content managed by the Documentum platform; extended capabilities for personalization and user experience; and expanded language support, adding Japanese and Simplified Chinese.

All of this in just seven months.

And add to that, that EMC purchased Syncplicity in May, adding a first-in-class Sync-N-Share in the cloud solution into its portfolio. Jeetu Patel and his team are beginning to add partnerships and making it better and better.

Predictions for 2013

So what might be on tap for 2013?

Social -- If EMC IIG isn’t actually working on it (and as previously mentioned, I suspect that they are), they need to start now. Consider that Gartner assigns 15/100 points to Social Content when it rates ECM, which means that EMC IIG can get no more than 85 points versus 100 from the very start. (Though it’s somewhat idiosyncratic, this speaks especially well of its other functionalities because, despite this, EMC IIG stands in Gartner’s Leaders Quadrant.)

There’s another thing that raises the odds that Documentum will add Social and it’s this: Former EMC big shot Pat Gelsinger, who once said that “Social and mobile are clearly consumer-driven trends and we weren't given consumer DNA,” is no longer at EMC; he’s now in charge of VMWare. (And, by the way, isn’t EMC Greenplum Chorus social? How did that happen while Gelsinger was at EMC?)

SaaS, or some other Cloud model will be offered -- EMC IIG already offers Documentum On Demand but users want more. As EMC IIG’s CTO told me at Momentum Europe last month, “the Cloud is inevitable.” So bring it on!

Big Data Integration -- The Greenplum database and leveraging Greenplum’s Hadoop-related offerings would seem like a good choice, but I’ve heard rumors of Cassandra. Would anyone care to explain?

A Play involving Pivotal Initiative? This is truly a guess for which odds can’t be assigned. It wouldn’t be on my radar at all, except that PI is a software play, so IIG may appear to fit there.

My advice to Tucci and company is to leave Rick Devenuti and IIG alone. The memories of how Mark Lewis almost destroyed Documentum (by doing nothing with it) are still fresh in people’s minds. Devenuti is his antithesis and customers like, respect and trust him. Why would anyone mess with that?

Outlier Prediction -- EMC IIG capitalizes on the HP/Autonomy mess and builds a product to replace it. Why not? It’s already halfway there, and it has the public’s trust.

Editor's Note: Interested in reading some of Virginia's thoughts on EMC Documentum? Try A Look at Documentum's Early Days; Will EMC Disrupt Content Management Industry Again? #mmtm12