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SharePoint and Documentum competitors or partners in crime?

June 5th, 2010 Comments off

After a long but very interesting week of technical SharePoint sessions of devconn and the week before a long week of super sessions at Momentum it is time to make up my mind.
Should SharePoint and Documentum be seen as competitors or is the combination of the two a very good example of: the sum is greater than its parts.

1) Documentum: This is still the number one if you really want to control and manage your documents on an enterprise level (this has only little to do with technical scaling and high availability/failover) If you look for compliance support or need enterprise content management this is the best of the breed. Interfacing for knowledge workers who use word, excel project or PowerPoint is improved but still needs work to be accepted. The possibilities to really do collaboration or add social computing to your work environment is not possible.

2) SharePoint. With their new ribbon they are setting a new standard for interfacing with the desktop and editing applications like word, excel, project and also access, InfoPath and Visio. The possibilities of SharePoint to collaborate, use your personal social computing in a working environment, use tables and list to manage data (it does not matter if it is structured or unstructured) is the best ever. Creating good structure within your unstructured data, setting up clear version, enterprise security and content lifecycle management is difficult and still a long way of, of being enterprise ready. Workflow in SharePoint is still immature an if used widely unmanageable. Also setting up an enterprise ready solution in SharePoint is not possible to make it maintainable.

But the two combined: WOH,DOUBLE WOH. With the two integration modules of Documentum, the power of business process management, lifecycle management, records management and the new case management options seamlessly integrated with the interfacing and social computing power of SharePoint gives an enterprise finaly the possibility to create solutions with an exceptional good user experience and meet the current compliancy and enterprise demands.

But how will it work?

In my perfect (well let say a bit more perfect) information management world an enterprise will setup SharePoint in a small silo-ed approach. Technically it can be centralized, high avail etc.., but to make it functional maintainable you need to chunk in up in smaller functional pieces. In this users are able to really collaborate with the colleagues they work with. This interface will make the end-users happy and encourage them to make more use of ECM tools. Underneath this, your enterprise will need Documentum to guarantee a real enterprise and compliant ready solution. When documents/content needs to be managed on an enterprise level, according to rules and regulations, you can setup your SharePoint environment to automatically or manually declare a document controlled and make full use of the Documentum xCP and record management functions to suddenly control your documents on an enterprise level. All controlled and structured business processes will be fully managed by Documentum and depended on the type of worker you can offer them a full collaboration environment (A SharePoint interface to perform their controlled and uncontrolled tasks) or give them the focused and simple TaskSpace interface to perform standard controlled tasks. Last but not least for the real compliance/record freaks there is the record manager interface to maintain the filling plans, retention disposition, library functions, etc..

If you top this off with a Google search box to make real enterprise search (both structured and unstructured data alike) possible your ECM pie will be complete and tasty for everybody.