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EMC content management strategy takes a step backward

EMC's content management strategy took a hit when the company decided to sell off Syncplicity, the cloud-based file-sync-and-share app it bought with much fanfare only a few years ago.

Recently, EMC Corp., based in Hopkinton, Mass., sold Syncplicity, a cloud-based file-sync-and-share acquisition it made in 2012. At one level, dumping Syncplicity was about the poor cultural fit between the two companies, said industry observers, including Ron Miller, a content management expert and contributor at TechCrunch.

According to Miller, while EMC is enterprise-focused with its storage, virtualization and other enterprise-geared products, Syncplicity is a user-focused, customer-facing company that didn't fit well with the back-end services EMC traditionally provides.

"It wasn't a good fit for EMC as an enterprise company," Miller said. "EMC salespeople don't normally sell user-focused software, and they had a really hard time with it. They didn't know where to put it or how to deal with it."

But at another level, the sale represents a continued misunderstanding among vendors -- and user companies -- in putting enterprise content management front and center in business strategy. The EMC content management strategy isn't a high priority, despite the fact that EMC's customers often need to integrate content management platforms and tasks with a variety of other business processes, such as tracking inventory, managing financials and customer data, and more.

"EMC is making … a strategic mistake," Miller said. "Removing the complexity from the content management process, making it easier to move content as people move -- these are expected kinds of services in any kind of modern content management system today. If you're not offering them, companies are going to wonder, 'Why not?'"

Next Steps

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This was last published in July 2015

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What does the sale of cloud-based Syncplicity mean to you about the future of content management?
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If sale of Syncplicity has any impact on us - it has to be a good one.
Since , we can read it clearly that EMC didnt want to further invest on
Sncplicity to make it a market leader in cloud based content management.
Which means there sure is a competition and there are better products
available for the consumers. Content management as a field itself is
here to stay and is only going to get intense. Sale of Syncplicity
should not be read as any kind of indicator other than - 1. EMC could
not innovate and keep Syncplicity as the best content management
product. 2. There are other and better Content Marketing products
available in market that are competing. 3. EMC still holds investment in
Syncplicity, which is a sign , they still see value there.
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In terms of EMC and content management, there's also what it's doing, or not doing, with Documentum.
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Full disclosure, I used to create content for EMC in the late 90s and early 2000s. I thought their content strategy then was pretty sound, but if their current move is to ignore tools and methods that provide richer content to their audiences, I think it's a mistake. That said, I'm not in the chairman's or CEO's spot and don't have visibility to the strategy behind their recent moves. Time will tell if this bites them or or only makes them stronger through a consolidated approach.
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What I think is  - EMC was originally in storage business and 3 years back decided to get into cloud based enterprise file sharing product in order to create a pressure on its competitor like Box, by acquiring Syncplicity. However, their sales team couldn't sell it the way they and planned and they eventually realized that they might have to either significantly improve and will need to add huge innovation if they wish to be the market leader else with the way competitors like box, dropbox etc were coming up and capturing market, EMC (Syncplicity ) would anyways become a history. This decision should however, not be read as a permanent decision for EMC to keep out of content management - instead, this is a reflection of EMC willing to focus on their core strengths for now.
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