Top Reasons The OpenText Acquisition Of EMC’s ECD Will End Up As A Positive For Customers

Craig Le Clair
Vice President, Principal Analyst
September 12, 2016

EMC purchased Documentum in 2003 for $1.7 billion, a very high price tag at the time, and did not grow the core business. Today, the Enterprise Content Division (ECD) business unit consists of Documentum, next-generation content platform Project Horizon, and the archiving solution EMC InfoArchive. Core Documentum products include the Documentum platform, xCP and D2, midmarket ECM solution ApplicationXtender, Captiva, and Document Sciences xPression; additional products include Kazeon, MyDocumentum, and eRoom. A mix of aging and newer and aging technology but lots of customers, which is what OpenText seems intent on accumulating.

A Fresh Focus On Documentum Is Overdue

Documentum products received good ratings in five Forrester Wave evaluations, yet never realized their market potential under EMC. Their future with Dell only looked bleaker. OpenText acquisition gives hope.

A Spinoff Was The Best Hope

EMC is set to become a private company as funding for the deal comes from Michael Dell, private equity firm MSD Partners, and investment firm Silver Lake. As we said in November of 2015, Documentum will only prosper if it’s spun into a separate, agile, and more strategically aligned entity. And with OpenText it has.

Customers Should Stay The Course, At Least Through 2017

OpenText needs to be careful. It does not want  to trigger shopping events for Documentum customers, and many are already in that process.  Newer cloud-based content services, like Box and Drop Box are slowly becoming the next-gen repositories for content. And this means keeping the pedal on the floor for EMC’s Project Horizon, a platform-as-a-service offering for content services, it critical.  Independently consumable capabilities, like secure collaborative document authoring and digital document exchange, which firms can use standalone or integrate into other consumable services, is the future.

Customers satisfied with the value they receive from Enterprise Content Division products should stand firm through 2017. OpenText keeps acquired customers reasonably happy with few aggressive end of life moves or tepid support road maps for acquired products. The size of ECD (perhaps the largest OpenText has done), complexity of Documentum installations, and rapidly changing content landscape,  will challenge that track record.

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