An alliance between software giant Microsoft and enterprise content management system vendor EMC has resulted in a new set of products that integrates EMC’s Documentum with Microsoft’s popular SharePoint.

EMC’s two new products include EMC Documentum Content Services for SharePoint (EDCSP) software and EMC Documentum Archive Services for SharePoint (EDASP) software. EDCSP connects into the functionality of SharePoint while providing advanced content management functionality via direct access to the Documentum product, according to Lance Shaw, a senior marketing product manager with EMC.

EDASO, meanwhile, allows the user to manage SharePoint content, and move it into the Documentum system. “It’s not cost-effective to store things in SharePoint,” said Shaw. He pointed out that SharePoint’s data storage capabilities can be inadequate when it comes to compliance and legal discovery.

Warren Shiau, lead analyst with Toronto-based technology consulting firm The Strategic Counsel, said that this represents a savvy move on EMC’s part, as it marries SharePoint’s basic content management functionality at the user level with the underlying, complex content management system. He compared it to placing a user-friendly face on an enterprise-class content management system. Shiau said, “It also takes a lot of steps out of the (integration process),” pointing out how integration between SharePoint and a content management system could be a long, arduous process.

According to Shaw, the move toward SharePoint-integrating software was driven by customer demand. “Customers want to be able to deploy SharePoint out to end users while using more complete, robust content management system on the backend,” he said.

This way, customers can benefit from SharePoint’s ease of use and Web-based features without every employee having to unnecessarily master a complex content management system. “It’s a seamless experience. It’s very easy to use and learn, and its integration with the Office 2007 applications means that new users find it easy to figure out,” said Microsoft’s Elizabeth Caley, a senior product manager for SharePoint.

Shaw said the integration with SharePoint does not necessarily represent a bigger push into the Web-based software space, but he feels that the Web aspect of SharePoint could help drive adoption of the Documentum products. “A very popular way (to drive adoption) is to provide users with an interface that they have knowledge or and are familiar with. This could really drive adoption of content management systems in organizations,” said Shaw.

SharePoint-integrated content management systems are certainly popping up all over the place. Enterprise content management system vendor Hummingbird released last year Hummingbird Enterprise(TM) eDOCS for Microsoft SharePoint. According to Caley, many other companies — including Open Text and Interwoven — have jumped on the bandwagon, too. “It’s definitely an emerging trend,” she said.

Shaw said that EMC’s clients were already clamouring for it last year after the announcement of Office 2007 and, with it, increased SharePoint capability. Shaw said that EMC’s eRoom product has some competing functionalities with SharePoint, but Microsoft’s market share is too vast to ignore. Said Shaw: “It behooves us to provide integration… It’s just market share and mathematics.”

Shiau foresees the move paying off. He said that there is high demand for this type of integration, resulting in a “quick and easy return (on investment)” for EMC.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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