EMC, MS tighten integration links

EMC, MS tighten integration links

BOSTON: EMC and Microsoft are substantially stepping up their existing enterprise content management (ECM) relationship to provide tighter integration between EMC's Documentum ECM software and Microsoft's Office, Outlook and SharePoint products. As part of the expanded relationship, EMC's Documentum will support Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 database, according to vice-president of product management, content management software, John McCormick.

EMC also planned to bring out two services designed to link Documentum and Microsoft software content and archiving, he said. The two services are set to debut early in 2007 as Microsoft releases SharePoint Server 2007. EMC expects to release pricing for the two services - EMC Documentum Content Services for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and EMC Documentum Archive Services for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 later this year.

The idea is to have Microsoft software as the front-end for Documentum software as a way to increase the number of users of EMC's products and give more Microsoft customers easier access to complex ECM functionality. It's the same strategy Microsoft was adopting with a number of applications partners, notably with SAP around the Duet product, general manager of Microsoft's global independent software vendor team, Rob Bernard, said.

"It's about unifying the front end with the back end that the casual user needs to interact with in ECM, ERP and CRM," Bernard said.

The move is part of a major shift under way in today's software industry, according to program director, content and digital media technologies at IDC, Melissa Webster. Vendors are beginning to collaborate to make it much easier for users to have full, unimpeded access to enterprise applications from their desktop productivity software.

"Overall, we are seeing all of the major ECM vendors actively building tight links into desktop tools like Outlook and partnering aggressively with Microsoft," she said.

Using the upcoming Documentum archive services, users can manually or automatically flow content from SharePoint repositories to a Documentum repository while enabling users to access and search the content from the SharePoint Server 2007 software.

"Before we worked on [Documentum] integration with Office and Outlook 2003," McCormick said. "Microsoft supplied the tools, EMC or our partners built out the solution. This is different. EMC and Microsoft are together." As yet, the two companies weren't working together on Web content management, but that could be a logical next step to further expand their relationship, the executives said.

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