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OpenText / Documentum Deal Closes. What Do I Do?

OK, it’s official: OpenText has closed its deal with Dell EMC to buy the latter’s Enterprise Content Division, which includes Documentum.

Which means: very little, especially in the short run. And possibly everything in the longer term.

Reality Meets Expectation. Doesn’t It?
Pretty much everyone with a vested interest in such things knew Documentum would be flipped soon after EMC sold itself to Dell – what, after all, does a content software division have to contribute to a systems and storage hardware firm? Heck, Documentum was an awkward fit at best within EMC for most of the 13 years it lived there. So let’s not pretend we’re surprised by today’s news.

If you’re an EMC Documentum customer, you should already have been thinking about what any change in ownership could mean for you, especially in terms of maintaining your current solution and updating your roadmap to the future. (What? You don’t HAVE a roadmap? We need to talk!)

Good News or Bad?
The good news, of sorts, is that you likely have some time before you notice anything different happening around your Documentum implementation. No doubt the first thing will be a phone call from your account rep, who’ll say “Don’t worry; be happy” and then quite possibly move on to another company.

Other good news (depending upon your perspective) is that OpenText has lots of experience dealing with customers of other vendors, having acquired 14 software companies since 2004. In the ’70s and ’80s, we used to say that all good ideas used to degenerate into hardware. Today, it seems all good content technology degenerates into OpenText.

The bad news perhaps is that fairing all these offerings into a streamlined line of products is a difficult and lengthy task, making it rather more challenging to set your upcoming budgets budgets for services, staffing, and the like. And if you’re a relatively new Documentist, you may feel like a college football recruit who signs with a school on one day only to see his would-be future coach take a job with another on the next.

What to Do, What to Do
My recommendation is that you take a hard look at what your Documentum ecosystem looks like, and begin imagining what would happen if – when – OpenText begins insisting you migrate to its information management platform.

  • Do you have people on-staff who can speak both Documentum and OpenText so you can smoothly make that transition if you choose to?
  • Does the integrator or service provider you’re working with (if you are working with one) have those skills, or will you have to think about finding a new one?
  • Are the features and functions you’re planning to implement next part of OpenText’s vision? If not, from where might you acquire them?
  • Are there features and functions on your wish list that OpenText already offers and Document doesn’t/hasn’t/hasn’t well enough?
  • Does your budget planning reflect extra expenditures associated with joining (being drafted into) the OpenText family?

I’ve always said that “the thinking is the work,” and the preceding barely scratches the surface of what’s on the table to be pondered. But the best thing you can do is to revisit the business needs that led you to Documentum in the first place and see if/how they can be met in an OpenTexted future. Only then can you confidently figure out what to do next.

1 thought on “OpenText / Documentum Deal Closes. What Do I Do?”

  1. a different way to look at this can be summed up as “never assume stability just because you went with a big vendor”.
    Concrete actions:
    1) Plan for migration from your vendor at the same time you choose your vendor.
    2) understand the candidate vendors’ facilities to “export” to industry-standards or at least be converted/imported to other vendors’ systems. Make this ability a significant factor in choosing a vendor.
    3) avoid as much as possible using “advanced” features which are only provided by your chosen vendor’s product.
    4) periodically invest a small amount of time to reach out to additional vendors, big and small. Even knowing you’re just “touring the showroom to kick the tires”, they can still keep you abreast of their solutions, in case your current vendor tries a forced change because they think you have no other choices.

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