Documentum vs Sharepoint – Round 2

I was planning to high-light the differences between Documentum and Sharepoint, but after coming back from EMC World, I was to very surprise to see that the lines between the two are quickly disappearing.  In fact, EMC was actively promoting their Content Services for Sharepoint.  The proliferation of Sharepoint sites in the enterprise has driven EMC to address where Sharepoint and Documentum fit in the enterprise. 

Sharepoint (like eRoom) is great for collaboration.  However, once collaboration is done, the information and documents stored in Sharepoint site are siloed from the rest of the enterprise.  Since these Sharepoint sites are disconnected from the enterprise, there is no OOTB way to have users interact in enterprise business process.  This includes applying corporate retention policies on content.  Another problem with Sharepoint architecture is the reliance of storage of content in SQL Server.  This prevents the moving/archiving Sharepoint sites to 2nd tier (lower cost) storage.

Even with these challenges, EMC recognizes that Sharepoint does have a place in the enterprise.  To this end, EMC has created two products to support integration between Sharepoint and Documentum:

Archive Services for Sharepoint– allow users of Sharepoint to archive content to Documentum Content Server once collaboration has been completed. 

Content Services for Sharepoint– allow users of Sharepoint to use it as a complete front-end to Documentum Content Server.  Although Content Services is not a complete replacement for Webtop, it has a lot of features of Webtop.

In my humble opinion, I feel that the market for Sharepoint integration will grow to a point, such that one might ask where does eRoom fit in.  As for whether Sharepoint can replace Documentum as THE ECM solution, I dont think this is possible as long as Sharepoint architecture is completely dependent on SQL Server.

Stay tune to Round 3 – where I high-light some of the differences between Documentum and Sharepoint.

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6 responses to “Documentum vs Sharepoint – Round 2

  1. Hi Johnny, I’d like to do a little compare of eRoom vs SharePoint, if I may.

    We’re seeing alot of SharePoint customers come to us and ask how eRoom can help alleviate some of their problems they have experienced with SharePoint. Johnny, one of the biggest issues that SharePoint has is administration. I’ve had companies come to us and tell me that they are spending 10 hours a day keeping SharePoint up and running. When you look at eRoom and have customers who have installed it a year ago and don’t have to log into the server again in that period of time, that says alot. Look at eRoom, launched about a decade ago, is already at version 7.3. It’s stable, proven, reliable. When reviewed side by side, it blows away SharePoint.

    Some additional key points for eRoom is the ease of extending and building the eRooms by nontechnical business users. A manager can build her own tracking system for just about anything, such as correspondence, without IT involvement. Try doing that with SharePoint.

    Inboxes also don’t exist with SharePoint. But with eRoom, you can add an “inbox” to a room and then start emailing that project, program or business process as you would any member ofthe team. Then, all the related emails to the proejct are in your eRoom, within the context of what you are working on. Stored alongside files, structured and unstructured data.

    In SharePoint, you cannot “nest” containers. In eRoom, we can have a folder inside the room. A calendar inside the folder. An event inside the calendar. Another folder inside the event. A database inside the folder. A file attached to a database row inside the database. eRoom will truly go where you need it to go.

    Then, there’s the customization side of things. If you can dream it, we can do it as an extension/add-on to eRoom. The API is rich, stable and reliable. As I said, we’re at version 7.3. We’ve built add-ons for numerous purposes including a custom command that will convert the contents of a database row into a fillable PDF form template and uploaded to the attachment area of the database row. We’ve built custom single sign on. We’ve built “relational” databases within eRoom. The point is that it can be extended and customized easily, within the scope that eRoom initially intended, without sacrificing stability of the core product.

  2. Thank you eroomexpert for side by side comparison. I am going to re-post your comments as a separate post. If you would an acknowledgement for your posting, please provide your name/info.

  3. Thanks Johnny….
    Eric Crone
    Managing Partner
    ForeFront Partners LLC
    http://www.eRoomeXperts.com
    http://eroomexpert.wordpress.com/

    I just started my own blog because I loke yours so much. I’m just learning the Documentum side. We recently purchased Documentum, BPM, WebTop, and Adobe Forms Server for Documentum for our client and are learning about it. Your site is incredibly helpful.

  4. Pingback: eRoom vs Sharepoint « Ask Johnny! - Documentum Guru

  5. Hi Eric,
    Thank you for your words of appreciation. I’m always glad to hear that my blog is helping people navigate through the complex world of Documentum. If you or your client ever need some additional Documentum services, feel free to contact me at Beach Street Consulting.
    -Johnny

  6. Thanks for a great post. I wanted to address a few items from the SharePoint side.

    1. SharePoint sites are not siloed from the rest of the enterprise. SharePoint has a set of rich, remotable APIs, including SOAP Web services and WebDAV, that allows the rest of the enterprise to interact with SharePoint content. Among other things, SharePoint’s records management API allows an organization to natively use an external records repository with SharePoint, if the organization does not like SharePoint records functionality (now DoD 5015.2 certified).

    2. SharePoint data can indeed be spread over multiple storage tiers. A SharePoint farm can use any number of SQL Server databases managed by any number of SQL Servers. Administrators have very fine grained control over which database (and storage tier) a SharePoint site collection uses for its content store. This not only allows use of cheaper storage when appropriate, but also allows SharePoint’s storage tier to scale very nicely.

    3. SharePoint administration is on par with other enterprise-class server software. Most of my customers do maintanance every few months. As wih any server software, excesive maintanance requirements is usually a sign of improper initial install and configuration.

    4. You can nest containers. Sites can have sub sites. Folders can have sub folders. Events and documents can be promoted to workspace sites that can contain other lists, libraries, and sites.

    5. SharePoint does have inboxes. They are called “email-enabled lists” and “email-enabled document libraries”.

    6. SharePoint is a very good tool for organizations who want to enable their end-users to build their own tools without IT involvement. That’s why more and more organizations are purchasing SharePoint. In fact, Microsoft supports 3 levels of users with SharePoint:

    a: Non-technical – These users can do a great deal with SharePoint’s web user interface, including creating sites, lists, libraries, and customizing pages using web parts (the .net equivalent to portlets).

    b. Semi-technical – These users can do even more with SharePoint Designer. SharePoint Designer allows semi-technical users to create custom page templates, do graphical database and web service queries, and even create workflows using a wizard interface

    c. Technical – These users can do just about anything they can imagine with Visual Studio and the .Net Framework. I know several organizations that have created automated Word and PDF systems similar to Eric’s description using SharePoint. I built one.

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