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EMC Pursues SharePoint And Web 2.0

The newest Documentum platform emphasizes collaboration, and also offers new tools to help manage information compliance.

The newest Documentum platform emphasizes collaboration, and also offers new tools to help manage information compliance.Yesterday EMC launched its Documentum ECM 6.5 platform. Two parts of the announcement jumped out at me.

First is CenterStage Essentials. Currently in beta, CenterStage competes with SharePoint. It provides collaborative workspaces that let employees share content, manage workgroups, track changes and annotate shared documents with comments.

EMC takes a page from Apple's iTunes by letting you flip through images of your documents the same way you flip through album or video images in iTunes. It's a pleasant alternative to the typical folder system (which is also an option), and may appeal to folks who live in PowerPoint, but I don't see it being very useful for text-heavy documents.

More substantive is Smart Navigation, which lets you use multiple queries to refine a search. EMC says it will eliminate long lists of irrelevant returns and help users get to the documents they want more quickly.

The beta program will launch on Sept. 4, but you can apply for it now.

CenterStage Essentials may be a blessing for IT and compliance officers struggling to manage content being created inside rogue SharePoint servers and uploaded to Web-based collaboration tools. That's because all the information will be hosted inside a Documentum repository so IT can enforce retention and compliance policies.

Of course, the real trick is getting users to adopt CenterStage. The new Documentum release acknowledges that this might not happen, as indicated by the second feature of note: Federated Records Services (FRS).

Traditional records management practices operate on the premises that users are carefully categorizing information and saving it according to strict classifications in a central repository. Ha!

FRS enables a management-in-place strategy, in which retention policies and other requirements are enforced on local systems, such as departmental file servers, rather than migrated to a massive repository. FRS is a feature in the Documentum Retention Policy Services module. It lets Documentum act as the rules engine for content in third-party repositories, such as SharePoint servers or even other records management products.

It uses adapters to connect to the APIs of other content repositories and will change file permissions of content on that local repository, such as making a file read-only or preventing it from being deleted. Administrators also can have a proxy record created inside Documentum, just to be safe.

Other vendors also offer manage-in-place capability, including Autonomy and CA. CA launched Records Manager 12, a Documentum competitor, last week.

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