When Marko posted his report card for the EMC Documentum OEM edition I thought it was a fair assessment of the offering. The fact that EMC has based it on the 5.5 release and not D6 was troubling though. Turns out the post was far more timely than we realized. Now that Adobe has announced they will be incorporating content management services to LiveCycle by embedding Alfresco, the choices EMC and others are making in the OEM space are more critical than ever.
CTO of Alfresco and Documentum Co-Founder John Newton blogged on the deal recently. He took the opportunity to claim that this kind of relationship shows content management to be on par with database technologies where integrations and OEM relationships are concerned. That position may be a bit optimistic. If anything, the arrangement is a testament to the good job Alfresco has done delivering on the promise of commercially viable open source content management. To get where John wants to go, the industry has to mature around real standards. (insert applause from Pie here)
The whole idea of an OEM relationship is to enhance not overwhelm the product that is including your software. I don’t know all of the reasons that EMC elected to OEM the 5.x code level rather than D6 but from my experience, D5 is much easier to run on a laptop. Anyone who has worked with D6 understands that the footprint of the platform is more Sasquatch-like than ever.
I suppose the party line my be they want to maintain a degree of competitive advantage by not making the D6 capabilities part of the OEM product but something tells me they tried it and quickly passed the point of diminished return in the effort. There is simply too much baggage to overcome.
I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last few months working with LifeRay. They truly get the open source to OEM model and have a number of successes to show for it. There is even a LifeRay-Alfresco bundle that is very handy. Adobe itself is not a stranger to content management as they have their own light weight WCMS. When it came to enterprise class CM they have heretofore relied on the likes of Documentum. Now LiveCycle is very much a one-stop shop for this class of forms management.
If everything works as advertised, It will become more difficult over time justifying complex Documentum integration for LiveCycle if you can remain in the boundaries of the platform. For others looking for a CMS to OEM and they need it PDQ to get ROI – (sorry about that) – Alfresco now has a marquee reference that’s impossible to ignore.