Mark J. Barrenechea, OpenText Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer
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OpenText Buys Documentum, Faces Competition as Veeva Goes Bigger on ECM

5 minute read
Virginia Backaitis avatar

OpenText today closed on its acquisition of Dell EMC's Enterprise Content Division (ECD), including Documentum.

OpenText announced its plans to acquire Documentum and EMC's other ECD businesses, including InfoArchive, EMC Leap in September, just a week after Dell finalized the purchase of EMC.

In a statement today, OpenText CEO and CTO Mark J. Barrenechea said customers are rethinking their enterprise platforms to better compete in the digital age — and enterprise information management "is the key platform to enable that transformation." He continued, "Our acquisition of Documentum and the Enterprise Content Division from DELL EMC significantly strengthens our market leading position.”

The closing comes just two days after ECD president Rohit Ghai sent out a thank you tweet to his team, closing out the Dell EMC ECD era.

The Fate of ECD

Though many of ECD's employees will be joining OpenText, much of management team will not. Ghai has taken the top job at RSA, a subsidiary of Dell Technologies, and that CTO Jeroen van Rotterdam left last year to join Citrix. 

CMSWire has also learned neither ECD CMO Chris McLaughlin nor John O'Melia, SVP, worldwide services and customer success, will be making the transition, leaving EMC ECD's customers with few familiar faces at the top.

It appears OpenText wants to put its own executives in front of Documentum customers, perhaps in a bid to win their trust and eventually move them over to its own products like Content Server and Archive Server. It is an approach that has worked well for OpenText in the past, according to Gimmal Group senior vice president Mike Alsup, who noted in a CMSWire article that OpenText's investors have been well-rewarded using this model.

Will Documentum Customers Embrace OpenText?

But this can only hold true if Documentum users believe OpenText is a better choice than newer ECM solutions rather than simply the path of least resistance. 

Older more established vendors cannot assume they will win over newer market entrants in these disruptive times, analysts concur. In fact, according to Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management, the top-three vendors  — IBM, OpenText and Dell EMC — all lost market share in 2015, while their smaller rivals gained.

Real Story Group's Tony Byrne recently told CMSWire ownership of Dell EMC ECD might help OpenText gain inroads into fields like life sciences. 

But Doculabs VP and CMSWire contributor Joe Shepley expressed doubt, telling CMSWire he believed Documentum customers in the life sciences vertical would give Veeva Vault a good look. And he's not alone.

Some established Documentum partners, who spoke on the request of anonymity, echoed the same sentiment about Veeva's enterprise content management (ECM) solution. Needless to say, they are hoping that their concerns do not become their realities.

Cloud Weariness Wanes

Veeva's cloud-only solution was a deterrent in the recent past. But the idea the cloud isn't secure is quickly fading. 

Learning Opportunities

Consider that leading life sciences companies like Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen are now Veeva customers and that the market as whole is moving toward the cloud.

By 2018, at least 50 percent of the leading enterprise content management vendors will re-architect their offerings into cloud-based platforms, Gartner predicts.

Until recently, the idea that a cloud-only ECM vendor laser-focused on life sciences might appeal to Documentum's broader user base might have seemed far-fetched. But last Friday, Frank Defesche, SVP and general manager of the Vault Platform at Veeva Systems, told CMSWireVeeva Vault's product line will soon be extended toward other industries including process manufacturing, discreet manufacturing and regulated services.

"There has been strong interest in Veeva Vault as companies look to replace their on-premises, legacy ECM technology and better manage critical content," he said.

"Our customers are seeing great success with Veeva Vault and word has spread. They are looking to Veeva because we have proven that Veeva Vault supports the most sophisticated content management requirements for regulated industries, and does so at massive scale."

The cloud offers big benefits, aside from cost savings, as Jen Goldsmith, senior vice president Veeva Vault at Veeva Systems explained to CMSWire readers here.

There's one other thing that could be significant. A search of LinkedIn profiles reveals 66 Veeva employees have either worked at Documentum (when it was an independent company) or for EMC's enterprise content management group — its name has changed several times over the years — or for a partner or customer that uses Documentum. 

In other words, Veeva may not have to win much credibility to win — and its team may not have to do much cold-calling.

What happens next is anyone's guess, but in the ECM space, one thing is for certain. The times they are a changin' ...