EMC announced this morning that it has acquired a stake in Web content management vendor FatWire, one of the remaining standalone major WCM players in the market. With this announcement, EMC has finally admitted what’s been obvious for some time: that its current Documentum Web Publisher product simply doesn’t have the ability to become a marketing tool for ebusiness and marketing teams to achieve business goals in the online channel.

What’s interesting about this announcement is what didn’t happen – the expected sale of FatWire to EMC, which many have speculated about for the past year or so. Now, EMC won’t fully own its prescribed WCM product, and will instead rely on FatWire for that component of its content management suite. FatWire, a leader in Forrester’s last WCM Wave evaluation, has strong customer engagement functionality, better than the Documentum Web Publisher offering. With this deal, FatWire gets an improved distribution platform for its WCM, and opportunities for further integration with EMC products such as its digital asset management offering (which it will also resell).

What’s also interesting is that this marks an end to EMC’s dream of a unified repository for all enterprise content, since FatWire products have their own repository. Many of Forrester’s clients have known for a while that this dream simply wasn’t reality, due to organizational issues as well as technological ones.

EMC will likely make an announcement about sunsetting its current Documentum Web Publisher later this year, though support will certainly continue for several years through current maintenance agreements and an extended paid support period. Right now, if you are a current Web Publisher customer, you’ll have to decide:

  • Whether or not you truly have WCM needs that warrant FatWire (if not, there are all kinds of options these days, including software-as-a-service)
  • How FatWire – vs. other other high-end players – fits into your suite of engagement tools (shameless plug: use the WCM Wave!)
  • What kind of migration support EMC will provide to help you move to FatWire
  • How comfortable you feel about EMC’s commitment to supporting the full spectrum of enterprise content when it doesn’t fully own its own WCM offering (though it’s possible that the deal contains an option for EMC to buy FatWire outright down the road).

This deal further demonstrates that WCM is no longer just a siloed application. Rather, it has become critical plumbing in an overall customer engagement ecosystem. Documentum’s Web Publisher is just that – publishing software – and simply doesn’t have the foundation to go beyond that, so EMC made this move to better compete in the changing market.