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DM leader takes the plunge

This article appears in the issue August 1998 [Volume 7, Issue 9]

DM leader takes the plunge to focus on "knowledge chain"

By acquiring Relevance Technologies (www.relevance.com) and releasing a new easily deployable EDMS product with built-in integration, Documentum (www.documentum.com) has launched a strategy to deliver "knowledge chain management."

"This acquisition helps to give us more in-depth knowledge of what's in the containers," said Larry Warnock, VP of marketing. Documentum's strength has always been in managing containers, he said, while Relevance's technology is useful in filtering that content and delivering what is relevant to the user.

Warnock said that his company has been taking a long look at knowledge management and wanted to avoid entering the market by only changing words in brochures.

Documentum's perspective has knowledge management encompassing culture, people and business processes. Knowledge chain management, defined by Warnock as the automation of how knowledge moves through an organization, sits beneath KM, as does content management--where Relevance plays. Document management--the companyÕs bread and butter--is a tool within knowledge chain management.

The move into content management cost Documentum $36.5 million in the form of Relevance, a company with no product on the market and zero revenue.

Acknowledging that, Warnock said Relevance's technology is "a core differentiator in the market."

Relevance has developed Semantic Modeling Architecture (SMA), which provides the ability to automatically encode, warehouse and analyze a wide range of text-based information assets. The technology mines unstructured data sources and can be tailored to individual users via profile "maps." Its product is expected to ship this fall.

Documentum will market the product individually and as a component of EDMS 98, adding the ability to mine new data sources including Lotus Notes, sales force automation tools, news feeds and selected Web sites.

Warnock said the EDMS 98/Relevance application will first be marketed to a particular function useful across various vertical markets. Relevance frequently demos its product as a sales tool providing competitive intelligence.

"With the acquisition of Relevance Technologies, Documentum extends its products' capabilities beyond document management into the knowledge management arena," said Carl Frappaolo of The Delphi Group (www.delphigroup.com). "This coupled with the ability to understand information in context strengthens Documentum's offering. Using maps of a business and its competitors enables the Documentum system to provide what is relevant, not just what 'matches' for people trying to find and apply knowledge."

Through partnerships, Documentum has built in capture technology from Input Software (www.inputsw.com), document viewing features from Informative Graphics (www.infograph.com) and publishing capabilities for users of Adobe (www.adobe.com) FrameMaker. EDMS seeks to take integration hassles away from users and offer them a tool to manage documents, regardless of form or content, from capture to retirement. EDMS 98 includes an automated agent for records management services and a pair of enhanced Web clients.

Documentum is making a serious stab at tight image capture integration, which will enhance its stature in situations when the ability to capture, manage and reference a large volume of images is important, said analyst David Yockelson, director of the Meta Group (www.metagroup.com). "Moreover, the coupling of records management facilities is another key feature to help round out its overall life cycle solution," he added.

According to Kimberly Woodward, Documentum's director of product marketing, through the intelligent interface, the system categorizes a document by type, such as press release, and assigns it a route based on how an organization handles press releases.

ViewSpace--a browser-based view-only component--is for workers who require workflow access, annotation and search capabilities.

DocInput, which is built around Input Software's capture solution, converts paper documents to electronically manageable documents within the system. The "intelligent capture" component can also start the routing process as does the SmartSpace feature by document type.

DocViewer, based on Informative Graphics (www.infograph.com), allows users Web-based viewing of TIFF images and Adobe Acrobat PDF files and can be upgraded to CAD viewing.

Continuing on the Adobe front, built into EDMS 98 is FrameLink--an automated reuse and document publishing tool based on FrameMaker. The Records Management Agent automatically archives a document when the criteria established in the metadata have been met.

The automation and integration of EDMS 98 make gains in ease of deployability and ease of use, two areas where Documentum has not been particularly strong in the past, according to IDC (www.idc.com) senior analyst Amie White.

Pricing depends on volume and features: The Web clients cost $200 to $650; the DocInput document capture feature, $6,000 to $40,000; the DocViewer viewing feature, $195; and the FrameLink publishing feature, $645 to $1,045.


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