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Documentum Rallies For Biz Process Software

Documentum, an enterprise content management provider and division of EMC , took steps Tuesday to broaden its portfolio by adding business process management software to the mix.

EMC purchased Pleasanton, Calif.-based Documentum, to help round out its information lifecycle management portfolio. EMC said the new BPM suite integrates the perks in the company's eRoom collaboration software purchase with the content management and process capabilities of the Documentum process engine to deliver on-demand collaboration.

This product convergence will help customers automate a wider range of processes than was previously possible, leading to enhanced efficiencies and cost reductions, the company said.

For example, the software can ramp up anything from claims processing and loans in financial services, to change requests and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in engineering and manufacturing. On-demand collaboration can also benefit horizontal applications for Web publishing and accounts payable processing.

BPM software plays a crucial role here: BPM is the concept of carefully shepherding tasks or jobs, through a multi-step process. The items are gauged through each step, with people or applications processing the information.

Software that performs such scrutiny has been gaining in popularity with the increase in Web services software platforms, which look to integrate, orchestrate and facilitate application-to-application communication to achieve certain tasks, such as e-commerce transactions. BPM software operates on a more holistic level to organize steps in a supply chain, for example.

Market research from IDC noted in December 2003 that customers are using their existing application or integration server software to automate business processes. IDC believes this trend will drive application/integration server software market growth in 2004.

Several vendors, including IBM and several smaller outfits like Savvion, Intalio, HandySoft, MetaMatrix, are already looking for pieces of the BPM software pie, a sector whose market valuation is difficult to quantify because of its relative immaturity.

But Documentum President Dave DeWalt said combining eRoom with the company's content management functionality will help differentiate Documentum's software from those vendors by linking collaboration with structured business processes. At a bird's eye view, the new software could help EMC compete with IBM in the multi-billion-dollar content management arena.

Meanwhile, Documentum BPM works with the company's Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform to invoke all Documentum content services as part of a business process from inside and outside the Documentum platform. ECM provides distributed workflow, XML processing for messages in XML format, auditing and electronic signatures for business processes.

The suite uses enterprise content integration and federated discovery of the Documentum Virtual Repository application to help customers can discover and aggregate all content types from multiple data sources and integrate the content with business processes.

The Business Process Management (BPM) suite also includes a drag-and-drop Business Process Manager tool; Business Process Services to integrate business processes in Web services , XML or Java ; and a graphical Form Builder for XML-based electronic forms that end-users can fill out when initiating a business process.