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  1. Technology
November 15, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Pleasanton, California-based Documentum Inc has signed a multimillion dollar deal with Glaxo Plc, the world’s second largest drug company. Documentum will install its Enterprise Document Management System at Glaxo’s 120 sites worldwide for use by more than 10,000 users. Enterprise Management Document System’s purpose is to manage the use of unstructured data of all types. Documentum says it is a step up from the work Lotus Notes does, concentrating on things like technical manuals, sales proposals and regulatory submissions rather than memos, messages and so on. The object-oriented system consists of the distributable Documentum Server, currently up on Sun Microsystems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp Unix boxes, and Document Workplace, the client side graphical user interface, which is currently available for Windows, Macintosh and Motif. There are also development tools for tailor-made applications. The server creates a repository in which data is stored as a DocObject; the data can be in any form. Documentum likes to call this the virtual document. DocObjects can be re-used or combined as the user chooses, says Documentum, and there is software to do this quickly. The system is transparent to the user, who need not know what format the document required is held in or where; she makes a single call from the Workplace interface and Documentum claims the system is pretty fast to respond. Documentum Server stores the DocObjects in the most appropriate storage system for that object. New data is ‘checked in’ to the virtual document as a DocObject by the user through the graphical user interface. This process is automatic: the cataloguing and organising of information destined for the repository is done by the system’s library services. For legacy data, it is possible to give it attributes that then reside in the repository and will link to the appropriate data in the legacy store.

Every system going

Although there are plans to convert the Enterprise Management Document System to run under other systems, first up being Windows NT, Documentum says that its aim is not to make the product available under every operating system going. For companies, like Glaxo, where all their products have to be approved by governmental regulatory bodies, the system automates the assembly of pieces of information created by different people working in a distributed, heterogenous environment. Documentum boasts that for its pharmaceutical customers, it has telescoped the time it takes to provide documentation for a new drug to the US Food and Drug Administration down from the best part of a year to just a few days. Pricing for a 32-user environment is $1,500 per user; with 100 users the cost drops to $1,000 each and with a 1,000-user environment it’s $550.

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