EMC, Microsoft sing Duet

Enterprise content management deal combines Documentum, SharePoint

Can three people sing a duet? According to Microsoft, the answer is a resounding "yes."

The company last week announced a deal with EMC to step up the two companies' collaborations in the area of ECM (enterprise content management), tying EMC's Documentum ECM software and Microsoft's Office, Outlook, and SharePoint products more tightly (infoworld.com/4584).

EMC's Documentum will support Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 database later this quarter. EMC also plans to bring out two services to link Documentum and Microsoft software content and archiving, said John McCormick, vice president of product management, content management software at EMC.

EMC Documentum Content Services for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and EMC Documentum Archive Services for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 will be available later this year, he said.

The idea is to have Microsoft software as the front-end for Documentum software as a way to increase the number of users of EMC's products and give more Microsoft customers easier access to complex ECM functionality.

If that sounds strangely familiar, it's because that is the same strategy Microsoft is adopting with SAP around the "Duet" product, said Rob Bernard, general manager of Microsoft's global independent software vendor team. Formerly known as Project Mendocino, Duet was jointly developed by Microsoft and SAP to allow to customers access data and processes from SAP's back-end business applications via Microsoft's front-end desktop Office software suite (infoworld.com/4585).

"This is the culmination of a vision we've been working on for a number of years," Bernard said. "It's about unifying the front end with the back end that the casual user needs to interact with in ECM, ERP, and CRM."

And EMC and SAP won't be the only vendors to get hooks into Office, Bernard said.

"Overall, we are seeing all of the major ECM vendors actively building tight links into desktop tools like Outlook and partnering aggressively with Microsoft," said Melissa Webster, program director, content and digital media technologies at IDC. Vendors of all stripes are beginning to collaborate to make it much easier for users to have full, unimpeded access to enterprise applications from their familiar desktop productivity software, she said.