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Easier-To-Manage Content

Documentum aims for efficiency.
Content-management vendors are expanding the types of content their software can handle and improving interfaces for users and administrators. As part of that trend, Documentum 5 represents a major revision of Documentum Inc.'s flagship document-management platform.

Among the improvements in Documentum 5 are redesigned user and administrative interfaces, quicker integration with enterprise applications, upgraded collaborative features, and improved security for the platform's compliance tools, with the addition of encryption, anti-virus protection, digital-rights management, and integration with public-key infrastructure for supporting digital signatures. It also includes a new reports-management tool that automates the capturing and publishing of reports as PDF or XML files.

Making its tools easier to use is critical for Documentum, which has become known as much for the difficulty of its interfaces as for the effectiveness of its applications, Meta Group analyst Andy Warzecha says. "We continue to get complaints about the complexity of the overall offering from both a user and an administrative standpoint," he says.

That complexity has proven frustrating to customers with changing IT requirements, says Delphi Group analyst Hadley Reynolds. "People want to get their applications up and running faster."

Although Reynolds says Documentum's broader offering should appeal to new customers, the capabilities also benefit existing customers. The beefed-up compliance capabilities will let Allergan Inc., a $1.2 billion pharmaceutical company best known as the maker of Botox, add digital signatures to its Documentum environment and speed up the approval of regulatory documents it must file to the Food and Drug Administration. That's a key consideration for a company that faces an average investment of $180 million and five to nine years of development time to bring a single drug to market.

"Time is money in this environment," says Jeff Kouba, director of research and development for scientific information services at Allergan. Being able to use digital signatures more widely should result in substantial time-savings in the drug-development process, he says, and the improved user interface will further cut the development time by speeding up employee training and helping staffers use the software more efficiently.

An upgrade to Documentum 5 is included in current customers' maintenance contracts, with the exception of the compliance and fixed content modules. For new customers, a Documentum license runs between $200 and $600 per user, with add-on modules priced at $25,000 to $50,000 per CPU.

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