Craigleclair_4By Craig Le Clair

HP’s plans to acquire Exstream combined with EMC’s intent to buy Document Sciences demonstrates that output management for transactional content is becoming critical to many large organizations. But how do you rationalize these two acquisitions? First let’s look at EMC. They add to their consistently improving transactional content assets. Whether it involves invoice processing, account notices and policies for insurance, or new account opening, DOM gives EMC more complete support of the document lifecycle. More to the point, Forrester’s predicted growth in Interactive DOM is very important for the major ECM players. Interactive DOM makes more use of ECM then Structured applications that are essentially batch processes with little human involvement. Interactive applications need human-centric business process management to help author, store, version, and manage content dynamically. EMC can now link their broad ECM platform to Document Sciences for this emerging area.

The HP acquisition is harder to see at first but is clearly aimed at the structured print channel and less at the interactive content and multichannel segment. From a hardware and document outsourcing standpoint for structured DOM, HP has not had as strong a footprint as OCE, Xerox, or IBM. Their printers – think PCL – have always been mid-range and not used for significant statement and transaction reporting volume. So why buy Exstream Dialogue, the market leader in that high-volume segment? With the acquisition, HP now gains a significant software position for this segment. With Exstream, HP can, as the balance between print and electronic delivery equalizes, direct output away from the major print centers to more distributed environments where they play well. They can help customers more strategically optimize their DOM environment, and for HP that makes money when bits are set to paper. This is important. Those readers that like grand strategies will respond to this theory. But anyone with a bit of “toner” under the fingernails knows that changing these high-volume environments is not for the faint of heart and needs a very strong ROI. There is a reason they are centralized. All this being said, DOM is important from any angle one takes, and HP and EMC are showing vision by launching into this market.