High-end document management getting squeezed?

Tony Byrne points out something I’ve seen happening at my clients recently as well: collaborative tools like Sharepoint and eRoom are being leveraged for “informal” document management while high-end tools such as Documentum are used for “formal” document management.

This sounds familiar. For most of the 1990’s me and my colleagues were hardcore Lotus Notes developers. We never saw any competition in Documentum. At that time we saw Documentum as a niche solution for high-volume, highly-regulated content, or imaging.

The current release of Sharepoint lacks “table stakes” functionality for all but the most basic of document management needs. The two critically lacking features are document-level security and any semblance of a basic workflow. But Microsoft looks to be addressing both of those features and more with its 2007 release.

As the price gap between Sharepoint, eRoom, open source solutions and high-end ECM platforms increases, and as things like web services make integration less of a headache, could we be seeing a regression in how the market views offerings like Documentum, i.e., only for the 10% – 20% of the specialized document management needs in an enterprise?

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