SDL - EMC - FatWire -- The Great Love Triangle?

  • 21-Mar-2011

It’s been only a little over year since EMC admitted its ineptitude in the realm of Web Content Management, and graciously invited FatWire to share the stage and play the role of a lovey-dovey partner. Today, another WCM vendor joined the affair -- SDL with its SDL Tridion Web CMS.

Is FatWire heartbroken to become the third wheel? Why did EMC choose to befriend SDL as well? FatWire is one of the last few still-standing independents of decent size in the Web CMS market. Still, the EMC-FatWire fling was never consummated in an acquisition, despite engaging in several preludes to M&A activity. There are reasons for that.

According to EMC, the new dalliance with SDL Tridion “…will complement EMC's existing relationships in Web Content Management (WCM) and Web Engagement Management…”

But is it really that necessary for EMC’s customers and prospects to have multiple approaches to WCM? Even though right now, it appears that EMC is giving equal love to both FatWire and SDL, this polygamous approach doesn’t appear to be viable long-term.

FatWire, just like SDL Tridion, is in the business of singing Web Experience Management (WEM) hymns. The deal between SDL and EMC is about identical to the one signed with FatWire. It includes mutual reseller agreements, where EMC will resell SDL’s WCM system SDL Tridion 2011, and SDL customers and prospects will get access to EMC’s Digital Asset Management (DAM) product - EMC Documentum Media Workspace.

On the DAM side, SDL never exhibited many ambitions in expanding this side of the product beyond the primitive upload, storage, and re-use of digital assets – even image resizing is an additional implementation effort. Aside from a quick romance with ADAM, SDL has never committed to a DAM relationship until EMC came along with their brand asset management product.

Only a handful of WCM vendors kill two birds -- DAM and WCM – with one product stone. VYRE and Adobe CQ are some of them. In the majority of other cases, there’s a lot of work on the integration side to tie in your WCM/WEM with a DAM system. EMC and SDL are the two dots that do need to be connected.

Like my colleague Apoorv Durga in his take on EMC + FatWire, I am not sure SDL + EMC will make too much of a positive difference to customers. Neither EMC Documentum Media Workspace nor SDL Tridion 2011 is elegant or inexpensive. The two products are rather different from an architectural standpoint. If you are an existing EMC customer who were recently sold on FatWire’s WEM idea, be careful – you probably don’t want to face the challenge of switching to Tridion. 

To get a better handle on these technologies, you may want to check our Web CMS Research, which covers SDL Tridion, FatWire, and Documentum in depth. And if your needs include DAM, you'll want to check out the Digital Media and Asset Management Research as well.

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Martin Beake, ITT Consultant, 2Sys Limited, Malmesbury, UK

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