EMC Documentum 5 brings mastery to content management
Myriad modules strengthen app with compliance, business processes, and more
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EMC Documentum is synonymous with enterprise content management. Picking and configuring appropriate components from the company’s product set -- over 100 different systems -- takes research and work. But stick with the process and you’ll be rewarded with a solution that doesn’t feel cobbled together; rather, it’s one of the best at solving various particular content problems, anything from project collaboration to managing documents in order to satisfy ISO 9001 certification.
For my test, I evaluated four components that specifically address EDM (enterprise document management) needs. EMC Documentum 5 Enterprise Content Management Platform formed the core of the testbed. Beyond key components of an EDM system, including version control and library services, this product provides secure virtual rooms in which teams work on documents.
Of course, many enterprises (such as financial service companies) do volume-document processing. For this aspect, I used EMC Documentum Business Process Management (BPM) to build workflows. Finally, given the importance of compliance and document retention, I also evaluated RPS (Retention Policy Services) and the Compliance Manager module.
Distilled to the essentials, an EDM system allows for creating (or capturing) documents, editing them, approving workflows that result in publishing material, and ultimately preserving or destroying these items.
My first test simulated a situation fairly typical of any enterprise: Sales, engineering, and other departments need a repository to control technical and marketing publications. EMC Documentum offers multiple ways for users to interact with this content. Microsoft Office integration let me open PowerPoint, create a presentation, and save it directly to the document repository.
Interesting things happen with the collaborative capabilities of the EMC Documentum system. First, my presentation was placed in the appropriate private room based on meta information I entered. Next, designated reviewers were notified so the team could discuss and edit the document. Once all members were satisfied, the presentation was automatically moved to a public folder, locked against changes, and marked to be retained for six years (to meet compliance regulations). That type of tight content management and collaboration is rare; it signals how well EMC Documentum understands -- and streamlines -- the document management process.
It’s easy for admins to add additional meta fields, adjust retention rules, and specify conversion to other formats, including HTML and PDF. Further, Documentum Client for Outlook, another interface, provides a single point for managing e-mail and documents.
My second test involved an elaborate high-volume mortgage loan approval process, which could easily translate into other industries. The BPM module takes center stage here. The graphical process manager helps developers quickly specify actions, such as document capture, routing, and approval.
I started this test by scanning a paper loan application, performing optical character recognition (so the data could be stored in a repository), and converting the document into a PDF. Simultaneously, the process called an external Web service to retrieve current loan rates. These parts formed the start of a virtual document that was routed through different departments for approvals.