Documentum: From Out-of-Step to Tried-And-True

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-10-11 Print this article Print

Dossier: After creating one of the first large-scale document-management systems built on database technologies, Documentum began to slide. Now the company is poised to rebound.

In the early 1990s, Documentum offered one of the first large-scale document-management systems built on database technologies. A few years later, though, Documentum lost business to startup competitors who moved faster to create products for Web publishing. Today, Docu-mentum's tried-and-true approach could be paying off. Its losses aren't as steep as rivals and it's adding Web publishing features to its core document-management platform just as its largest customers are moving in that direction.

PDF DownloadOffice products giant Corporate Express deployed Documentum in 1996 to manage internal financial documents such as invoices and receipts. In 1999 it used new Web capabilities in the platform to build an application to allow accounts-receivable staff to access those records.

Since then, Wayne Aiello, VP of e-business services, says Corporate Express rolled out other applications including one this summer that allows customers to compile product-usage reports. "In the past, a customer would request a report by phone, and an employee would have to find the invoices and fax it back to the customer. Some of our invoices for clients like HMOs can be hundreds of pages long, so it's a very time-consuming process."

Towers Perrin, a human resources specialist, has used Documentum for about three years, primarily to manage internal documents. John Mallon, IT applications development manager, says his company is beginning to deliver content, such as changes in IRS and 401(k) rules, to clients over the Web.

Overall, he's satisfied with Documentum. "I'd heard that it could be somewhat difficult to deploy, but that wasn't our experience," says Mallon. "They [Documentum] really dedicated a lot of time to us."

Pharmaceutical firm Chiron decided this year to dump its Documentum system in favor of one from Open Text. Project manager Seth Gillespie says Documentum spent too much time worrying about how to port documents onto the Web and not enough on improving its internal corporate document-management system.

The slap hurts double for Documentum. Gillespie was vice president of the West Coast Documentum Users Group.

Documentum Inc.
6801 Koll Center Parkway, Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 600-6800 www.documentum.com

Ticker: DCTM
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 950

Jeff Miller
Began at Intel in 1974, where he managed microprocessor-marketing group. Held high posts at Adaptec and Cadence Design Systems. Joined Documentum in 1993 as president/CEO, chairman in 2001.

Dave DeWalt
President, CEO
Joined company in 1999, and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2000. Named president/CEO in 2001. Previous stints included Oracle, Eventus Software, Segue Software.

Howard Shao
Founder, CTO Launched Documentum in 1990 with John Newton. Now sets the company's technical direction and strategy.

Early offering was an enterprise content management system that allowed companies to store and manage internal documents. Documentum expanded its platform to allow companies to leverage their internal documents on the Internet.

Reference Checks

Thomas Schiavone
VP, Documents on Demand
(212) 924-5500
Project: Has used Documentum since June 2000, and found it helpful for a new business venture that allows companies to print financial documents on demand, such as 401(k) enrollment books.

Seth Gillespie
Project Manager
(510) 655-8730
Project: Has used Documentum system for internal document management for more than three years, but has decided to switch to Open Text.

Corporate Express
Wayne Aiello
VP, E-Business Services
(303) 664-2000
Project: Installed Documentum in 1996 as repository for internal financial documents, but has since leveraged system to provide customers with access via the Web.

NCS Pearson
Jeff Sears
Manager, Web Services
(651) 683-6000
Project: NCS uses the Documentum system in its NCS Learn subsidiary. However, it decided to custom-build a document-management system for its corporate Web site.

Jessica LeFur
Director, Document Management & Planning
(303) 546-7600
Project: OSI uses Documentum as repository to store and manage all documents related to applications for new drug approvals.

Towers Perrin
John Mallon
Manager, IT Applications Development
(914) 745-4000
Project: Human resources firm uses Documentum as a knowledge-management system for best practices, consulting resources and research.

Executives listed here are customers of Documentum. Their willingness to discuss their experience has been confirmed by Baseline.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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