May 22, 2012 – EMC’s content management applications got a new look, with a dash of cloud and a bump from an acquisition during the start of its annual user conference.

At EMC World, the vendor announced it had acquired Syncplicity Inc., a provider of cloud-based file management, sharing and backup solutions. EMC noted in a release on the deal that Syncplicity would operate in some capacity under its Information Intelligence Group, which develops EMC’s Documentum offering. Rick Devenuti, president of that group for EMC, said the acquisition would go toward strengthening and simplifying cloud content collaboration with Documentum and other solutions. EMC also made a handful of enhancements and additions for mobile, cloud and specific industries with the latest release of its content management application, Documentum D2 4.0. The updated release features more configuration rather than coding, a revamped user interface, the ability to bring in Web information like Google Maps or Twitter, and an information rights management feature for mobile clients. The solution is offered on premise or in an EMC-managed environment, which was central to last year’s user conference announcements.

In addition, EMC announced on-premise and cloud managed suites for two specific industries built atop the new edition of Documentum. The releases for the life sciences and engineering, plant and facilities management (EPFM) feature industry configured modeling and governance, and are the first of more expected industry-specific releases, either from EMC directly or its partners , says Chris Preston, EMC senior director of integrated technology strategy.

Alan Weintraub, principal analyst for content and collaboration at Forrester Research, says the user interface enhancements should reduce complexity issues that have caused some “user revolts” with Documentum implementations. Simplicity is also the benefit of the cloud support of the EPFM and life sciences offerings, as Weintraub says the on-demand facet will enable EMC to reestablish its position in these markets and convey faster value-to-market to interested enterprises.

“Organizations are eliminating Documentum from RFPs because of a perception that it is difficult to implement, difficult to maintain and has obstacles to adoption because of the user interface.  The combination of On Demand, D2 and solutions address most of the concerns presented by end users,” says Weintraub.