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November 15, 2005

EMC: extending Documentum functionality

The announcement that EMC is to acquire Captiva has, once again, extended the capabilities of content management solutions. The purchase is set to boost EMC's Documentum offering, enabling the kind of application integration that is essential to digitally capturing information for content management. Furthermore, this could represent just one of many data capture vendor acquisitions to come.

By CBR Staff Writer

EMC has agreed to acquire Captiva Software Corporation.

Captiva’s products capture documents digitally, using scanners, fax machines, and the Internet, and extract meaningful information. Business rules are applied automatically to ensure the data is accurate, and the resulting information is input into content management systems.

The digital capture of information is becoming increasingly important for organizations as they attempt to reduce the amount of paper they store, by transferring paper-based documents, particularly forms, to electronic formats.

Content management is increasingly being used to manage content-centric processes, such as insurance claims processing or order processing, where the initial document may be received in a paper format. The form will be scanned, with extracted information being automatically input into a database, and the image of the document being stored in the content management system. Using this type of functionality allows much of the processing to be automated, often with minimal human intervention.

Data capture is functionality that is currently missing from content management solutions but that is vital if organizations are to automate tasks, such as forms processing, and reduce the amount of paper they must store. Content management systems are good at creating content, and content can be imported from other applications, but the digital capture of information has relied on integration with products, such as those from Captiva. By purchasing Captiva, EMC is ensuring that Documentum will be able to provide a full service from the capture of information, through its processing, to its publication.

However, the publication functionality of content management systems is not as extensive as that of niche content publishing applications, and many organizations have to purchase a publishing application as well as a content management solution. This is the next area that EMC needs to move into in order to further its ambition of offering total information management.

Expect to see other content management vendors vying to acquire data capture vendors, as this will become the next ‘must have’ functionality in a content management solution.

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