So my colleague Kas was not very off track when he speculated something's cooking between EMC and FatWire. They announced a strategic partnership.that includes a minority stake for EMC in FatWire and mutual reselling arrangements along with some other agreements.
The announcement does corroborate a few things that we've been saying for a while. The first one is that EMC seems to have accepted what our subscribers knew already - that WCM is a different domain and Documentum's toolset doesn't compare favorably with competitors. So they've decided to replace their Web Publisher with FatWire's Content Server. Secondly, this also shows that "an overarching approach to managing all forms of content" is not something that most customers want or need.
It does change market dynamics a bit. There will be one player less in your short-lists and the quadrants will be less crowded. It also probably means more business for both vendors and indeed makes a lot of sense for them as both vendors get to extend their offerings.
But what about customers?
I am not sure if it will make too much of a positive difference to customers. After all, both of these are completely different product stacks with different content models, different architectures, publishing, workflows, and such. That will not change easily. In the best case scenario, what might happen is that FatWire's existing Documentum connector (which is part of its content integration platform) will be improved to offer better bi-directional integration. Currently, the Documentum connector allows you to surface Documentum content via FatWire but not the other way round. When and if they make the connecter bi-directional, you will be able to archive your FatWire content in Documentum for compliance or e-discovery.
Let's look at some of the possibilities:
- If you are an existing FatWire customer, FatWire sales folks are probably going to try and cross sell some of the EMC products to you. There is some level of integration between FatWire Content Server and EMC's DAM products that FatWire will resell but they are still very different products. You should consider these products purely based on your requirements and not just because of this partnership. Check out this post by my colleague Kas Thomas on what it means for DAM customers.
- If you are an existing EMC customer and use Web Publisher, you will probably be most impacted. EMC will not be putting new resources on Web Publisher and so you will need to migrate to...some alternative. Migration is never easy and just defaulting to FatWire is really a rebuild. You'd have to map your Documentum content model to FatWire's asset model and rewrite your delivery tier from scratch.
- If you are an existing EMC customer and need WCM, you can probably negotiate a better deal with EMC for FatWire licenses. However, unless you have a solid reason to have some integration between FatWire and Documentum, you should remember that EMC is only reselling FatWire and that it is essentially a non-EMC product. So you should evaluate other WCM products as well, especially if your WCM needs are lighterweight. In any case, the upcoming CMIS standard will make it easy to integrate Documentum with other WCM products
Similar re-seller deals have happened in the past -- and typically not amounted to much. In this case, EMC has also acquired a "significant but non controlling" stake. It's a little odd that EMC did not go for an outright acquisition but we don't know the exact terms of EMC's investments. Perhaps, just like trial versions of software, they will use this as an opportunity to evaluate each other? We'll be sharing all the important details with our CMS research subscribers.