Documentum releases new content management platform

Documentum Inc. this week released the latest version of its content management platform that is aimed at making it easier to manage and secure all types of content across a business.

Documentum 5, Tuesday announced at Documentum's Momentum user conference in Orlando, more tightly integrates functions such as document management, Web content management and digital asset management.

It also adds new support for management of so-called fixed content, which includes reports, images and other information that is scanned into the Documentum repository, but is not expected to change. A sales trend report collected in an SAP application, for example, can now be managed by Documentum and shared with other users.

"We're doing automated capture of reports from enterprise application reporting tools within SAP, Siebel, etc. and we're putting that in our repository and using standard content distribution to make it available through portals, e-mail and other means. Reports can also be archived," says Whitney Tidmarsh, vice president of product marketing at Documentum.

Documentum 5 also offers heightened security, including support for encryption, single sign-on authentication, and public-key infrastructure. That will make it easier for companies in the pharmaceutical or financial industries, for example, to comply with security regulations when managing their content, Tidmarsh says.

Other new features in Documentum 5 are collaboration capabilities that Documentum announced earlier this summer, but that will ship with the new platform. A consistent user interface across all Documentum features is also new.

An easier to use interface is one thing that office products supplier Corporate Express in Broomfield, Colo., is particularly pleased about. The US$5 billion company has been using Documentum since 1996 and currently has more than 12 million documents stored in a Documentum repository. Documentum has helped Corporate Express streamline the management of content on its Web site, which brings in about $1 billion in revenue each year and clients accessing the site can now retrieve invoices and other information directly from the Web site.

"The next big phase for us and the reason we're excited about Documentum 5 is we're going to roll out Documentum to more groups within our enterprise. There are key features in Documentum 5 that are going to make that a lot easier," says Wayne Aiello, vice president of e-business services at Corporate Express. "Documentum put a lot of effort into ease of use, intuitiveness in the system as far as user interfaces. You no longer have to be an expert to use it."

Analysts say Documentum 5 provides some good new features for companies looking to manage a wide variety of content. The ability to manage everything from documents such as contracts and spreadsheets to Web content such as HTML and XML to rich media such as audio and video to fixed content such as records and reports is paramount as enterprises expand their collection of digital data. Collaboration capabilities are also key.

"For technology suppliers to be successful in this marketplace they have to put all those technologies together," says Ken Chin, research director at Gartner. "What [Documentum 5] does is it strengthens Documentum's position in the marketplace because they've been able to pull together a broad range of technologies to bring to the table a truly enterprise wide content management capability."

Documentum competes with companies such as FileNet, Hummingbird and OpenText, as well as IBM and Microsoft, in the document management market. It also competes with Web content management vendors such as Vignette, Interwoven and Stellent. Businesses can expect all vendors in the market to continue adding features that expand their management capabilities across different content types, analysts say.

Customers with maintenance contracts will be upgraded to Documentum 5 free of charge, although some components such as some security services and records management, for example, will cost about $25,000 per CPU extra, Tidmarsh says. The Documentum platform is generally priced between $200 and $600 per seat depending on functionality and number of users, she says.

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