I actually managed Atmos as a project of mine when I was EMC chief technology officer, and it's good to see it growing up. Atmos is a whole new paradigm aimed at providing top functionality economically, and rests on the principles that store data. While traditional storage devices talk SCSI, by moving to higher level protocols like Soap there are more possibilities that are easy to marry to content management capabilities.
Do you think your updates to the Documentum platform and the edition of Web 2.0 type collaboration tools with the CentreStage Essentials module puts you in competition with social networking sites such as Linked In, which now offers collaboration tools from UK firm Huddle?
Not really, we are not trying to target the whole collaboration market, just enterprise customers.
IBM has just launched Bluehouse, a similar tool to the CentreStage Essentials client. How do you regard this competition?
We also have competition from SharePoint. We have a lot of competition from Microsoft and IBM but our speciality is around how information is managed. EMC allows people to collaborate on front-end applications, such as wikis, but then provides secure enterprise content management from behind.
EMC has mentioned plans to allow customers more of a say in product development, such as opening up CentreStage Essentials to third-party developers to allow them to build applications on top of the Documentum repository. When will we begin to see these plans materialise?
What we want to focus on is helping customers with their customer communications. We want to ensure our customers can provide more customer interactive communication. Before it was all about web content management: taking information, managing it and pushing it out. Today, it is about communicating with customers and getting their feedback.
How do you plan to incorporate the next era of Web 3.0 into the Documentum platform?
The plan is less about adopting a Web 3.0 approach and a bit more about content-enabled applications. We have seen how Web 2.0 has given an easy underpinning for building applications. It has enabled us to leverage the Documentum platform in content-centric business processes. The next era will be more about developing particular application areas, and allowing customers more power over product development and more input and effort in helping develop their products. They can help us solve their business needs.
I've noticed you are working more closely with SAP, such as in the development of the Content Management Interoperability Services standard. How is this relationship developing?
We have a strong relationship with SAP and we view them as a strategic partner, particularly in two strong areas: compliance archiving with SAP software; and building extensions around enterprise resource planning [ERP] applications to tie them with content management applications, which could be useful when customers need to manage the transactions in an ERP system.
The Document Sciences acquisition brought with it a new idea of customer relationship management (CRM). Do you see CRM becoming even more pervasive in the near future?
Building relationships with customers used to be a selling process, but now it is more interactive. This is because customer input is becoming more effective, and firms have started to communicate in personalised ways with the customer. I think this will only continue.
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