A huge announcement was made today by EMC and CSC (Computer Sciences Corp) around the controlled and regulatory document space. EMC is focusing on platform functionality for controlled documents while CSC will provide “the last mile” functionality to the end user. This is a big shift for EMC who often competed with CSC FirstDoc (formerly First Consulting Group) on end user functionality. In the ECM space this if the first significant market validation of a CEVA (Content Enabled Vertical Application).
What Is CSC FirstDoc?
CSC’s FirstDoc is a regulatory and compliance document application primarily focused on the pharmaceuticals industry. The application is used in over 45 companies, including 12 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, and over 100,000 users. Those are very respectable metrics for a CEVA.
Here He Goes Again With That CEVA Thing
Those that have been reading BMOC for a while know that I’m a true believer of the CEVA strategy. When Gartner coined the term I thought, “finally some messaging around the real direction the ECM space needs to take.” But the industry has been a little quite on the subject.
In working in this space I saw the expertise that was brought by focused individuals to a specific market. And while any ECM vendor try to be all things to all customers, it’s a difficult task made even harder especially if you view partners as competing rather than partnering.
At the same time it’s foolish for software vendors to build their own content management functionality when platforms are easily accessible. The only barrier had been the need to join a partner program before accessing the software but that’s been changed with many vendors now offering free development platforms.
So Why Is This Message So Important?
The technology side of a CEVA strategy is relatively easy. It has been the business side that has been hard. This press release is no “Barney” message. It shows a fundamental change in thinking. EMC is open to working with solutions providers and has starting it with one of it’s core markets.
For those that know Documentum well, know that this has been one of the product’s pillar markets from its inception. Today’s announcement means that the direction of EMC is to work with partners on this segment. It’s a message that they have been saying in other markets as well. But EMC will continue to add additional functionality to the platform to support regulatory documents. They will look to partners for the last mile. This is exactly what a platform company should be doing.
Another interesting aspect to EMC is that their sales capacity has just grown at ZERO costs. A sales team will no longer need to compete (EMC and CSC) with they will be able to focus more on their customers problems. This new partnering sales approach also means that both companies will be able to focus on new markets for FirstDoc. For those of you considering CEVA models think about that.
Hey But I’m a Partner Too?
It’s a natural instinct to fear change but we do overcome our fears. It does change the dynamics of those systems integrators who look at CSC as a competitor in the pharmaceutical market for ECM. I simply ask why?
Looking at it from a positive angle, only the product has changed. The platform is the same as is the business problem. What this does do is create an opportunity to draft into new markets to solve the regulatory and compliance document problems. There are several that come to mind immediately. See this as a new partnering opportunity.
Better still if this strategy continues with other business problems it only builds the strengths of the platform. And any platform that gets stronger ultimately helps the entire ecosystem.
This announcement was indeed big. This is not a technology related announcement but rather a sales and business related announcement.
It will be hard though to convince compliance customers using EMC products to switch and go the CSC way.
It has been really hard convincing existing Pharma companies to move from their age old D4 product stack to newer versions of compliance products. I doubt it will be easy for CSC to get them to move from DCM to First Doc.
This is from someone who spent a lot of time trying to convince GxPharma (remember IBM/PWC) customers to move to DCM. After 5 years they have slowly moved to it, citing differences in design of the interface, getting a lot of these guys to move to First Doc could take another 5 years.
The important point to remeber as well is that a lot of Pharma chose DCM over FirstDoc, and may not be ready to move to it since they rejected the solution initially.