Documentum unwraps EDMS 98

Documentum Inc. last week introduced a new version of its Enterprise Document Management System, called EDMS 98, that is designed to manage the entire "life cycle" of a document, from its creation to its eventual destruction or permanent preservation.

Larry Warnock, vice president for corporate marketing with Pleasanton, Calif.-based Documentum, said the company added several new features to the product, including an image-

capture capability and an electronic recordkeeping module, at the request of federal customers. "You should not have to export [documents] to another system with different administration and different control," he said.

EDMS 98 joins a growing list of products that are designed to help agencies track and control access to digital documents not only while they are being created but also afterward, when they are used for reference and research. Warnock said the software will help agencies maintain these documents as they evolve into official government records by letting users tag the records with disposition instructions and store them in a single repository.

Demand for this capability is growing as the result of a 9-month-old federal court ruling that requires agencies to keep electronic documents in their digital form rather than printing them out. The government is appealing.

Two of Documentum's direct competitors, FileNet Corp. and PC DOCS Inc., already offer electronic recordkeeping capabilities to federal customers through integration with ForeMost, a stand-alone application from Provenance Systems Inc. Vendors of various workflow applications also are incorporating recordkeeping into their software.

However, Richard Medina, a senior analyst with Chicago-based Doculabs, said Documentum is the first document management vendor to make electronic records management a core feature of its software. "That's what's been lacking for the last several years," he said. "This records migration should be part of the document life cycle."

Medina said agencies that want to provide electronic recordkeeping capabilities "to every desktop" will not buy EDMS 98 because Documentum's solutions are most appropriate for specialized applications where automation offers a big return on investment.

Warnock said the company, whose primary federal customers are the Energy Department and the Food and Drug Administration, will not be chasing small installations.

The company is pitching its software to the FBI for a project to publish declassified documents on the World Wide Web, and it is completing a deal with the Library of Congress to track congressional legislation as it is being written. "Fifteen people on a specific Army base is probably not [for] us," he said,

EDMS 98 also enables users to scan paper documents into the same repository that holds their digital files and control access to them. "A lot of documents come to the agencies in paper form," Warnock said. "Are you going to ignore 60 percent of the documents?"

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