Always something new – A document management system in the change of time (1)

Always something new – A document management system in the change of time (1)

Overview of the blog post series

  • Modernization: OpenText WebTop to D2
  • Development of an individual administration client
  • Phasing out the OpenText WebTop
  • Interface to other systems
  • Change Management / Communication

Background facts

  • More than 100,000 users
  • More than 70 million documents
  • Used in numerous countries and companies

Part 1: Modernization – OpenText Webtop to D2

The OpenText Webtop is technology that has been outdated for several years. Both the user interface and the functionalities have not been further developed by the vendor, so users must adapt to the rigid web application. At the same time, the application reaches its limits and can no longer handle large amounts of data. The result: dissatisfaction, frustration and acceptance problems among users. The goal on the part of our client was therefore clear: user acceptance must be increased again and at the same time future security must be ensured.

What doesn’t fit is made to fit – the development

Existing technology

  •  OpenText D2 21.4
  • OpenText Content Server 21.4
  • Oracle 19c
  • Red Hat Linux 7.9
  • Apache TomCat 5.5.

With OpenText D2, a standard application was available that was also set up for modern technology such as the latest browsers. This was a good starting point, but of course the standard did not take all the client’s needs into account. So, we developed and customized together with the client, got power users on board in an early pilot, and then successively expanded the pilot user base.

The result

  • A modern and chic interface – consisting of a wide variety of widgets
  • All necessary functions for normal and power users are available
  • Fast document display of numerous formats
  • Customizable interface
    • User can switch between different interfaces (workspaces), depending on work style and focus
    • User can customize individual interface according to his wishes and needs by selecting relevant widgets

Please find further information here: Datasheet Application Modernization

From development to user acceptance – with change management

The functioning technology is the basis, but it is essential to bring the users along with the change. Even if the new system obviously holds many advantages – most people do not like to change. For this reason, we supported the entire rollout with change management to explain the new options in an appealing way and to ease the transition. This included a custom design, information sessions, help documents and short videos. We will provide a more detailed insight into our change management approach in the last part of our blog series.

Last but not least, the most important question: Did we succeed and achieve our goal?

We remember, the goal was to ensure future-proofing of the document management system and to improve user acceptance. Against this background: Yes, the goal was definitely achieved. The system is secure for the future – new technology, compatible with the latest browsers and all relevant functions are available. And user acceptance has also increased significantly again. The new, customizable options are being actively used.

The attentive reader may have noticed that so far, we have only talked about the users. But what would a document management system be without comprehensive administration options? Since OpenText D2 did not offer the possibility to implement customer requirements in the standard version, we developed a customized administration client, through which the assignment of authorizations, preassignments, regular authorization confirmations and many other administrator activities take place. But more about this in the next part of our blog series…

To discuss your own document management system modernization journey, please fill out this contact form and we’ll put you in touch with our experts.

Critical dates for OpenText Documentum solutions entering maintenance mode

Critical dates for OpenText Documentum solutions entering maintenance mode

OpenText has announced critical dates for OpenText Documentum solutions for 2023, but instead of a problem you should consider this as an opportunity. Now could be a great time to make a more strategic move to a more intuitive user interface, to a cloud-based platform, or to wider system consolidation involving archiving of inactive content. A timely review will reveal your best options and roadmap. 

Solutions entering maintenance mode 

There’s nothing like a new year to usher in change. For IT teams and business tech decision-makers, January 2023 signals a countdown to a whole raft of OpenText™ Documentum™ products entering maintenance mode, halting functionality updates to make way for new and updated product versions.  

This April will mark the lifecycle end for several products in the Documentum stack including: 

  • OpenText Documentum Archive Services for SAP® Solutions 16.4 
  • OpenText Documentum  Content Services for SAP Solutions 16.4 – upgrade to 22.2 
  • OpenText Documentum D2 16.4 – upgrade to 22.2 
  • OpenText Documentum D2 +Pack 16.4 – upgrade to 22.2 
  • OpenText Documentum D2 Advanced Publishing Services 16.4 – upgrade to 22.2 
  • OpenText InfoArchive 16.4 – upgrade to 22.4 

With more to follow by December 2023: 

  • OpenText Documentum D2 16.5 – upgrade to CE 22.4 
  • OpenText Documentum D2 Advanced Publishing Services 16.5 – upgrade to CE 22.4 
  • OpenText Documentum for Capital Projects 16.4 – upgrade to CE 22.4 
  • OpenText Documentum D2 +Pack 16.5 – upgrade to CE 22.4 

This phasing out of current versions of critical content management applications (a full list can be found here, or contact us to get full details) means that performance and features will no longer be enhanced or improved. From the beginning of December 2023, there will be no more hot fixes, new releases, Java versions, or browser updates without significant extra fees. 

Opportunity for improvement 

While possibly frustrating, reaching a crossroads like this can be quite useful, encouraging new decisions and actions to improve, augment, or upgrade existing solutions.  

Most companies don’t gain value in absorbing extended support arrangement fees, continuing costs of maintaining aging on-premise environments, or additional costs for performance that steadily deteriorates. Nor do they benefit from legacy applications that tie users to old databases and inefficient versions of operating systems. 

Commonly addressed frustrations reported by fme clients include: 

  • Upgrading to latest system versions to take advantage of fixes, improvements and enhancements; 
  • Replacing underlying OS or database versions (for example exchanging Oracle with PostGres or similar); 
  • Migration to/system consolidation on the latest/cloud-based version of a current platform; 
  • Implementing new and modern desktop and mobile user interfaces that will truly engage end users working on-site and in remote locations; 
  • Strategic content archiving designed to free up capacity, reduce costs and boost system performance of core, critical business systems; 
  • Retiring legacy systems altogether and starting over with a new application. 

Rather than persist in a state of inertia, this is a good time to review current infrastructure and identify opportunities for effective streamlining and modernization to achieve new agility, performance, and ROI from IT spending. 

There are also many opportunities to improve user acceptance, motivation, and system adoption by implementing a modern, efficient interface.  

Here’s a practical plan

First step: Understand what you have 

It’s vital to first understand where your current systems are, which solutions will be impacted by the changes, how they are interconnected, and how important each of those solutions are to your business processes and workflows. We recommend conducting a comprehensive review and analysis of your current technology estate to define and prioritize your environment, risks, and solution options. As an OpenText and Documentum implementation partner, fme has developed and refined a series of specific workshops that can walk you through this process and provide a list of options on how to proceed. 

With a clear understanding of your current state, you will be able to consider current and emerging opportunities, as well as requirements on the technology or business side that are currently unfulfilled. Emerging opportunities might include a previously talked-about move away from local systems and inhouse application management to a cloud-first set-up as part of an IT modernization or digital transformation initiative. Or maybe just a version upgrade is all that is needed to be future-proof.  

Next: Look to the future 

An in-depth analysis process is an excellent way to have a comprehensive IT health-check before committing substantial resources, and will allow you to create an informed cost-benefit analysis.  

Some companies delay IT investment for as long as possible, even if limping by with a patched system could cost more in the long run, increase the potential of risk, and absorb more internal resources in ongoing maintenance. For many, a smaller, strategic investment now can minimize or even eliminate future issues, and ensure systems will meet their requirements for the coming years. Others choose to start a large initiative now and realize the benefits of new solutions before their competition.  

Regardless of the chosen scenario, implementing the new set-up and migrating the designated content could take several months, so the sooner teams are aware of their current state and can make an informed decision, the better the chances of a smooth transition. 

Now: Engage the experts 

fme is perfectly positioned to help companies evaluate and navigate the forthcoming OpenText Documentum upgrades, thanks to the long-standing partnership between our companies and our expertise across all of the linked platforms. Our pedigree includes:  

  • Over 100 experienced Documentum consultants 
  • Over 1,200 person-years of Documentum project experience 
  • Multiple Industry awards: Documentum Partner of the Year, EMC Top Service Partner, OpenText Technology Partner, OpenText ECD Silver Partner, OpenText Partner of the Year Finalist, DELL/EMC Partner Innovation Award, Rising Star Award Finalist, and more. 

Additionally, fme has led the industry by developing our proprietary platform solution migration-center, specifically designed to provide highly automated, large-volume migrations without system downtime for complex migration scenarios. This allows our customers to reduce costs, manage risks, increase productivity, and speed up the go-live of enterprise content management (ECM) applications. 

End-to-end solutions 

We offer a full suite of end-to-end services to solve your current and future challenges. With our talented and experienced team of experts we can: 

  • Execute discovery and roadmap workshops  
  • Analyze existing IT estate and identify improvement opportunities 
  • Implement or update systems and solutions  
  • Integrate disparate data silos across systems 
  • Migrate complex data and content
  • Run, maintain, and support the applications on-prem or in the cloud  

    Please find more details about our approach for your success here: 

    Whatever the scope of your OpenText Documentum-related projects in 2023, why not let us help lighten the load? 

    Contact us today 

    For more information, please complete this contact form and we’ll schedule a time to discuss how we can help you eliminate your challenges, increase your IT ROI, and decrease your system TCO. 

    Updates from the OpenText Enterprise World Conference in Toronto

    Updates from the OpenText Enterprise World Conference in Toronto

    On top of that, there are additional challenges as a result of mergers and acquisitions. Once they come together, companies are forced to consolidate documents and data from different systems and sources. Further, there is high pressure to reduce the on-premise footprints of enterprise applications – and with that, maintenance and personnel costs.

    So, it’s always good to keep on top of these trends and get the latest solutions available to respond to these changing dynamics. We were happy to join the OpenText Enterprise World Conference in Toronto earlier in July to hear the latest news.

    We were out in force with our product, services and sales teams meeting clients at our booth and with our technical staff joining the variety of sessions and labs as much as they could manage. Overall, the conference provided a good overview of the status and roadmaps of the components of the OpenText and Documentum product suite.

    In case you missed the meeting or were looking for the latest updates, here are some of the highlights from this year’s conference:

    • For the Documentum platform, it is good to see that there are improvements and enhancements happening across the platform. Cloud is of course one of the big drivers, and all components are on the path to support containerization to allow for easier deployment and management in cloud environments.
    • Documentum Cloud Edition is the next generation from OpenText and will be available in April 2020. It can run anywhere – off or on cloud – and there will be no need to worry about upgrades again.
    • On the InfoArchive side, the latest version offers connectivity to Azure Blob storage to store archive storage (unstructured content and more) for lowest cost of ownership, and the next versions will continue to support more cloud storages like Google Cloud storage, NetApp Storage Grid, and AWS Storage.


    Working primarily on front-end topics I was especially interested in the following:Working primarily on front-end topics I was especially interested in the following:

    • Good news – Webtop will not disappear just yet. Though it will just be maintained, there is no end-of-life announced at this point. While it is not the client of future, this will at least buy a bit more time for clients to decide which direction to go for their future user interface. Main clients for Documentum remain as before – D2 for content-centric applications and xCP for process-centric applications. An integration or merge is not planned at this point.
    • In addition, the D2 SmartUI has come into play. The goal is to come up with a (close-to) unified user interface across the OpenText applications – Content Server and Documentum. It should simplify the access to the stored documents as well as provide easy access to integrated systems. For D2, it uses a big part of the D2 Configurations. It also will be the base for the mobile app to provide access from devices.

    Another big topic at the meeting was the extension of some of the advanced OpenText features to the Documentum platform. One of them is the SAP integration with the Extended ECM Adaptor for SAP. Also, this integration can be exposed for end users through the Smart UI.

    Working heavily with customers in the life sciences industry, I was of course eager to find out what is planned there as well.

    • On the Documentum front-end side, the Documentum for Life Sciences suite will remain the major front end. The cloud-based Life Sciences Express client uses the same D2 configurations and is planned to replace the Classic UI more and more in future, additional features are still being added there to turn it into a full-feature client. The goal is to provide an easy-to-use but feature-rich client that will run as a regular web application but will also allow mobile device users to efficiently work with the application.So far, the application is focused on read-only use cases but there is a plan to extend it with the required document management capabilities. Some glimpse of that could be caught during the Innovation Lab – and it looked very promising.The classic Documentum Life Sciences suite will still be extended and enhanced, but pure user interface and usability improvements are being targeted for the LS Express client only moving forward. Further business-process-specific cloud applications are planned to enhance the client portfolio. The Quality CAPA application had been published before and was enhanced some more, and a new Regulatory Planning application is in the queue now and is targeted to be developed in close interaction with interested customers.

    Finally, on the innovation front, the other big topic was – of course – the use of artificial intelligence (AI). During the keynote sessions, it was noted that all companies should now consider themselves “information companies,” making it important to find ways to put information into business context. Whether to comply with regulations or to create efficiencies to accelerate time-to-market, AI technologies can be leveraged.


    All in all, the conference provided several opportunities for clients to connect and exchange experiences. Thanks a lot for the interesting conference (and for the “Paws for the Break” – such cute puppies) and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next year in Vegas!

    Checklist for a Successful OpenText Documentum D2 Implementation

    Checklist for a Successful OpenText Documentum D2 Implementation

    After all, the sheer volume of content can be overwhelming and the potential to change business processes that developed over time can be a contentious point in any organization. This planning checklist can assist in making the transition as painless as possible and put your organization one step ahead in planning and implementation.

    1. Know your workflow processes, but be adaptable
    While Competent Authorities have specific requirements around the development, manufacture, and maintenance of drug products, drug substances, and medical devices, the specific business processes to meet those requirements are not explicitly defined by the Authorities.Companies generally develop processes to comply with the requirements and still provide an efficient flow to ensure the product/device can be supplied to the market. While your business processes may have been developed specifically for your company, certain efficiencies can be gained by broadening requirements and adopting the best-practice solution provided by OpenText. By adopting a future state business workflow that aligns with the best-practice models supplied, you can take a smarter and faster approach to your implementation, allowing your implementation partner to focus on other, higher-value customizations that will benefit your business.

    2. Familiarize yourself with the DIA reference model
    The Quality & Manufacturing solution has been developed with the DIA reference model as its backbone. This industry-supported model outlines an organizational structure for documentation. OpenText Documentum for Life Sciences Quality & Manufacturing module leverages this model to provide an out-of-the-box solution that can manage 95 percent of your documentation. You can derive maximum value from this model by identifying artifacts that closely align with current documentation and by adopting the DIA terminology. If necessary, additional artifacts can be added in the Quality & Manufacturing solution with consideration for validation and documentation effects.

    3. Define templates
    Content creation is the function of your authors. Using templates for the content ensures uniformity across the solution and makes your review team more efficient, allowing them to focus on continuity of content, rather than on formatting. OpenText Documentum for Life Sciences Quality & Manufacturing module provides the ability to associate templates with each artifact name, if desired. Templates that are imported into the system must be approved before use in content creation, allowing control over the formatting and structure of content authored in the system.

    4. Know your users’ roles and functions
    OpenText Documentum for Life Sciences Quality & Manufacturing module provides a site-based, role-based security model to save time and effort in determining how to set up security. The combination of membership in site and role allows the business to limit access to content, as needed while permitting appropriate individuals to perform certain business functions. Roles provided by the solution include author, reviewer, approver, quality organization approver, coordinator, and administrator. By identifying the users who fit these business roles early on in implementation, you can accelerate the system set up and provide very focused communication and process training to the impacted roles.

    5. Identify your system champions
    Implementing OpenText Documentum for Life Sciences is a significant change, whether moving from a paper process, a previous Documentum system, other software system, or even a previous version of the solution. The best approach to building positive momentum is to identify a small group of users who will learn the system first and act as change-makers and champions of the new system. This will go a long way to support the overall user adoption. Of course, user training is paramount to system adoption and a positive impression of the system’s capabilities. Beyond that, a core group of champions for the software can initiate a wave of excitement for the new system. Change in any large organization can be challenging, but change combined with a learning curve presents two significant hurdles. By anticipating the challenges and preparing your processes and people in advance, organizations can positively promote change and work through many of the challenges presented by those learning curves.

    User Forum Brings Life Sciences Community Together

    User Forum Brings Life Sciences Community Together

    The meeting held in April brought together business and technical leaders from within regulatory affairs, quality, and IT to share their experiences with regulatory content management strategies, technology implementation challenges, and leveraging next-generation digital tools to automate and improve business processes.

    The meeting held in April brought together business and technical leaders from within regulatory affairs, quality, and IT to share their experiences with regulatory content management strategies, technology implementation challenges, and leveraging next-generation digital tools to automate and improve business processes.

    To garner deeper perspectives and insights, attendees separated into three groups and were asked to discuss three key topics:

  • Priorities and considerations when deploying an end-to-end regulatory information management (RIM) solution, including technical priorities, platform limitations, and the limitations posed by document and data quality.
  • Upgrading and re-platforming to OpenText Documentum for Life Sciences, taking into account master data management, goals to streamline processes, and compliance or data quality issues that should be improved.
  • Quality management solutions, sharing current experiences and areas that need improvement, managing change control processes, and existing measures to oversee QMS processes.
  • The post discussion roundtable resulted in a healthy and productive exchange of ideas and experiences. These perspectives will be further explored in future LSUF meetings.

    A Focus on Improving Processes

    The effort to improve and simplify processes is a high priority for life sciences companies. Artificial intelligence offers a powerful opportunity to improve document quality, for example by enriching metadata. During the meeting, fme talked about the intelligent document classification and metadata enrichment solution it is developing in partnership with Docxonomy, called fmeMATRIX. As establishment of the solution continues, the views and experiences of clients will be integral to applying a progressive approach. The LSUF meeting was a key opportunity to garner feedback on the needs and concerns of life sciences companies.

    Here are some additional takeaways:

    • In another LSUF presentation, one of our clients shared its experiences with collaborative authoring, using technology to enable simultaneous or parallel authoring and review in real-time. Integral to enabling the company to meet its regulatory requirements is SharePoint Connector, and the client team is working with OpenText on implementing this capability.
    • During its presentation, the client’s IT account manager and IT regulatory architect posed several key discussion points and questions for their peers. These included how other companies tackle collaborative authoring of submissions and the point at which a document becomes an official record, based on good practice guidelines.
    • During another presentation, a client presented a proven, iterative approach to integrate a leading Regulatory Information Management platform into the OpenText Documentum for Life Sciences Research and Development module. The client outlined an approach that ensured quicker solution implementation timelines and more effective R&D alignment and buy-in.

    These were some of the highlights from the April LSUF meeting, which was the second forum meeting to bring together the life sciences client community to exchange ideas. The next forum will be held this October and we look forward to further productive and insightful discussions. Please reach out to me if you’re interested in joining this growing group!

    Why OpenText Documentum products and Cloud Computing are complementary!

    Why OpenText Documentum products and Cloud Computing are complementary!

    Compared with cloud computing technologies that are very strong in providing elastic (scalable) services OpenText Documentum products could be regarded as inflexible and monolithic / layered applications. Although they seem to be the exact opposite of the flexible Microservice architecture approach used for cloud native application design, there are ways to combine OpenText Documentum products with cloud computing technologies.

    Here are some examples to give you an idea of how to achieve more flexibility by breaking either the OpenText Documentum base installation or business logic into smaller services.

    Infrastructure Services

    A classic OpenText Documentum Content Server installation could be split into four services / Linux containers:

    • The Docbroker
    • The repository services
    • The Java Method Server (serverapps.ear)
    • The Accelerated Content Services (acs.ear)

    It is obvious that the Docbroker does not have to deal with much traffic and does not need any load balancing. Thus one or two instances at most could be sufficient (complemented with according health check monitoring) to provide a robust fail over.

    For the repository services, the Java Method Server and the Accelerated Content Services, two instances each are sufficient to provide a quite robust service.

    However, at some point you might want to perform a data migration into your repository with many documents for example. In this situation, you might think of hiring our highly skilled content migration team. During the migration period, especially with systems utilizing the Java Method Server heavily, exactly this service would become a bottleneck. All other server components would be able to handle all migration tasks.

    And here things become interesting: If you had used the service architecture as described earlier and you had been utilizing an orchestration tool, you would have been able to request two additional Java Method Server instances on-demand within minutes. The orchestration tool automatically creates two more instances, which are automatically proxied via a service end point. All upcoming migration requests are then spread over all existing instances, providing a good migration experience. Once the migration is finished, you can scale down the number of instances.

    Business Logic Services

    If you are using OpenText Documentum D2 e.g. and have potentially “heavyweight” logical services like watermarking, you can create real services (Microservices) and connect them to service discovery tools with load balancing/fail over aware clients (e.g. the Netflix OSS – Eureka, Ribbon, Hystrix). With this option, the watermarking service becomes scalable and flexible for any upcoming future needs and can be placed or moved to dedicated computing resources as needed. If at a certain point this service is identified as a bottleneck, you may instruct your orchestration tool to create additional instances of the same service. If there is a one-time event like a submission to an authority, you may also instruct your orchestration tool to create additional instances of the same service, but you are able to downscale the service after the specific event has finished in order to efficiently use your hardware resources.


    Do not fear to use the best of both worlds! We will support you in combining both technologies and providing best results to you!

    • Analyze your existing OpenText Documentum infrastructure architecture
    • Analyze your existing OpenText Documentum software architecture
    • Create a roadmap with you on how to make your OpenText Documentum stack cloud computing-ready
    • Create best practices on how to create future components inside your existing OpenText Documentum stack to make them elastic and to comply with the concepts of cloud computing
    • Move application logic (where applicable) into elastic Microservices

    We are looking forward to sharing our expertise with you!