Rick Devenuti stepped into a mess when he first took the helm at EMC’s Information Intelligence Group (IIG), commonly known as Documentum (2010). When I asked him if he knew what he had gotten himself into, he gave a theoretical response, “Does anybody ever know?”

Even though EMC’s Content Management giant, which was once known as the Cadillac of its industry, still ranked high with analysts like Gartner, Forrester, Ovum and the like, its sales were in decline, its product features were commoditized and end-users hated to use it. The idea of “delighting the Documentum customer” seemed to a market-watcher as Mission Impossible, but whether Devenuti knew all this or not, it was a challenge he signed-up to take on.

Wooing the Next Generation of Customers

By Spring of 2011, Devenuti had a pretty good read on how his customers felt about his products. “IT loves us. The Business puts up with us. And end users hate us,” he said. He had learned this through meeting with Documentum customers and, needless to say, that had to change. Not only because having happy customers is a good idea, but also because, in his words, “any user with a credit card is now the CIO.”

So when a user refuses to use your software (even if it works), it’s your user experience that’s hurting. And, if that’s the case, your customers will never see how your tools will help them gain productivity.

Add to that, that Web 2.0, iPhone-toggling, Facebook-sharing, digital natives (aka “the New User”) were entering the workplace at this time and their reaction to software that doesn’t delight is to download something that does versus complaining or looking for answers from IT. A vendor could lose business and not even know it.

To Devenuti this (probably) meant that he needed new UI’s, Mobile Apps for devices of an end user’s choice, effortless document sharing on the cloud, software whose speed to value is days or weeks rather than months or years, and business applications that deliver the right content at the right time, in the right way, on the right device, in the right format and so on. Add to that, that among Documentum’s base of customers, Pervasive Governance at all times is a must.

Though he delivered answers to some of these challenges at EMC World 2011, Devenuti’s team still had a ways to go. He told his user community and development partners what his plans were and promised to deliver, and alluded to the fact that his team’s compensation (bonuses?) was tied to that.

Enter the EMC of the Future

Last week at EMC IIG’s Momentum Conference, held in Vienna, Austria, Devenuti introduced the largest simultaneous release of products in the company’s history, which should result in a very different Documentum. Though the new platform (Documentum 7) was built to deliver on a common ECM theme, “Make money. Save Money. Keep Out of Trouble,” the approach, the user experience, the total cost of ownership and the return on investment may differentiate EMC IIG from other vendors in the space.

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EMC aims high and delivers

The easy to identify wins, for example, are the new xClerated Management System (xMS) that facilitates one click deployment, a 65 percent increase in performance, response time that is ten times faster, better security via FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) compliance, the new UI which has a consumer-like feel, IIG Syncplicity’s Sync and Share capabilities which now connect to Documentum and files to the public cloud, and its xCP tool which delivers solutions to user problems in record time.

Gone are the days, says Devenuti, when IT talks to the business about a problem they want solved and, when IT delivers  six months later  a requirements document that no one reads, from which IT then spends months, or even years, building and delivering an application that the business doesn’t want.

With IIG’s xCP tool business analysts and business users work together to compose and configure solutions to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

But the new Documentum isn’t simply about better user experiences, the cloud, pervasive governance and managing information; it’s about putting information to work. “Information in and around the enterprise can’t give you value,” says Devenuti, “Putting that information to work gives you value.” And the new Documentum not only does that, but it also, potentially, steps-it-up exponentially with an analytics and Big Data twist.

According to Devenuti’s keynote, Documentum 7 will be capable of helping users to see insights in business before their competitors do (this suggests looking at data far outside the Enterprise), to gain insights as to what you might do to improve customer satisfaction, to discover business opportunities that you weren’t even aware of and to turn your information into business assets.

So while most present day content management might be simply about managing information well, the new content management, at EMC IIG anyway, is about finding and making the most of the gold that lies within.