I’m very excited to announce that Blue Fish is now an Alfresco partner. Over the past 4 years, Alfresco has come out of nowhere to take the Enterprise Content Management community by storm. Alfresco has been downloaded over 1.5 MILLION times, and their platform gets better and better with each release.
Founded by John Newton, one of the co-founders of Documentum, Alfresco provides an ECM platform at a price nearly 95% less than a traditional ECM solution. In fact, their standard license is about half of the cost of a traditional ECM vendor’s yearly maintenance fees. Think about that for a minute – for about half of what a company is spending on maintenance fees for their existing ECM solution, they can move to a fully supported Alfresco solution. That’s a very compelling savings.
Alfresco has a Great ROI
With the current economic climate, our clients are looking for ways to reduce the TCO of their ECM infrastructure. Several of our clients are migrating all or part of their content from expensive traditional ECM platforms (Documentum, FileNet, OpenText) to other platforms that they feel have lower TCO. I’ve talked to at least three pharmaceutical companies, for example, that are moving part of their content out of Documentum because they feel that it’s overkill for their needs. The content in question isn’t regulated and isn’t used very frequently, and they just can’t justify the cost of Documentum licenses for it. One of my clients told me, “It’s like keeping your Timex watch in a bank vault. That makes sense for a Rolex, but it’s overkill for a Timex.” These companies are continuing to use Documentum for their most critical content, but they are using other platforms for less critical content. OSHA, NYPD, Morgan Stanley, and Cisco are just some of the companies that have transitioned from one of the “Big Three” ECM vendors to Alfresco.
Alfresco Broadens Our Market
Alfresco is a great choice for smaller organizations or departments within larger companies that can’t justify the expense of a traditional ECM solution, because they don’t need all the horsepower and don’t operate at true enterprise scale. Alfresco has been benchmarked at over 100 Million documents, which is orders of magnitude more than most ECM systems are currently managing. By partnering with Alfresco, Blue Fish can take our brand of ECM services to more companies than we have been able to in the past.
Alfresco is built using technologies with which we are very familiar. It’s a Java-based solution, and many of the technologies that are used as the building blocks of Alfresco (Hibernate, Spring, Freemarker, etc.) are technologies Blue Fish has been using in our solutions for years. Because the Alfresco technology stack is so familiar to our developers, it’s easy to ramp up and adapt our existing products and solutions to Alfresco.
What about Documentum?
We still love Documentum, and we still believe that there is a ton of value in using Documentum as your Enterprise Content Management platform. Especially for those huge organizations with really complex content management processes, Documentum is one of the best games in town. The breath and depth of the Documentum platform is staggering, there are hundreds of third-party add-ons and integrations, and they continue to innovate and acquire new technologies that keep them at the top of the pack. If your IT strategy is to invest in a single ECM technology across your entire organization, Documentum is a very good choice.
But more and more companies are moving away from a single ECM platform and are instead deploying a hybrid model with Documentum handling the more elaborate content management tasks and Alfresco taking care of the less complex needs. Also, when a smaller department needs content management, they often can’t justify the expense of a commercial ECM platform such as Documentum, so they often just make do with a file system. With Alfresco, a company can provide ECM tools to a larger percentage of their knowledge workers than they can with Documentum alone.
We see Documentum and Alfresco as two different types of tools. There are situations where Documentum is going to be the best fit and others where Alfresco is the best fit.