EMC Replaces Web Publisher With FatWire

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Big news out of EMC this week. They have purchased a large stake in FatWire, a competing Web Content Management company. Even bigger news is that Documentum Web Publisher, EMC’s web content management solution, is being replaced by FatWire’s “Web Experience Management” (WEM) solution.

The deal looks like this: FatWire will resell EMC’s digital asset management software, and EMC will resell FatWire’s WCM software.

What’s So Great About FatWire?

FatWire is the largest independent WCM (or as they like to be called, WEM) software vendor. They have over 500 enterprise accounts and 200 employees. Most analysts consider FatWire to be one of the best solutions for WCM/WEM. So they have a lot of credibility behind them.

The FatWire solution is much more holistic than Web Publisher. While Web Publisher is focused only on the creation, approval, and management of web content, FatWire also focuses on delivery and presentation of that content to end users (web site visitors). With FatWire, you get a much more sophisticated solution “out of the box”, while getting the same types of features with a Web Publisher-driven solution would require thousands of hours of development effort from your web team.

Here are some of the features FatWire has that will be new to Web Publisher owners:

  • Drag and Drop Authoring – FatWire’s user interface allows web page authors to drag rich page components from a “library” into a web page. For example, you can drag a “slideshow” component into a web page and configure it to cycle through a set of images. FatWire has a bunch of built-in components for things like this, so you don’t have to be a web design expert to create a rich user experience.
  • Personalization and Segment Targeting – FatWire has robust targeting and personalization features that can target certain content to certain segments of your visitors. These segments can be defined based on “known” profile information (like a customer’s address from your CRM system) or they can be created based on the visitor’s behavior on the site. So not only can you offer, say, coats and snowshoes to someone that lives in Alaska, you can keep track of the color of other items they’ve looked at on your site and then show them coats and snowshoes in those colors.
  • User Generated Content – FatWire has built-in support for user generated content such as ratings, reviews, and comments. And it comes complete with a set of moderation features that allow your content managers to approve the user generated content before it goes live on your site.
  • Analytics – FatWire includes rich analytics that help you understand what content is most popular and is driving the highest conversion rates, etc. It can do this not only at the page level, but also at the component level, so if you have a rotating set of product images on your home page, you can see which image is doing the best job of catching your visitor’s attention.
  • Edge caching – FatWire includes built-in edge caching servers called “satellite servers” that allow all these fancy targeting rules to work in a high-performance manner.

Integrating with Documentum

FatWire has its own architecture, repository, and technology stack that differ from Documentum’s, so it breaks Documentum’s vision of a single integrated repository for all enterprise content. And since EMC didn’t fully acquire FatWire, there are no plans to replace the FatWire repository with the Documentum repository.

However, FatWire does have an integration with Documentum that will synchronize content from Documentum into FatWire. When you make a change to the content in Documentum, it will automatically update in FatWire (and on your web site), or optionally launch a FatWire workflow to be approved before it goes live. The main use case I see for this is the ability to embed into your FatWire web pages the digital assets (videos, etc.) that are stored in Documentum’s Digital Asset Management solution.

Later this year, there will be an integration that goes the other way, allowing FatWire content to be replicated into Documentum as well.

What is going to happen to Web Publisher?

Peggy Ringhausen, an old friend of mine and the WCM product manager at EMC, says that the new FatWire solution is the wave of the future and that they will be retiring Web Publisher, Page Builder, and the other products in the WCM product line. No date has been announced for this, but it probably won’t happen for at least three years.

EMC says they have some licensing deals that allow existing Web Publisher owners to get their hands on the new FatWire solution, but you shouldn’t expect it to be a free upgrade.

It will be interesting to see how existing Web Publisher owners react to this news. On the one hand, their existing investment is in jeopardy, but on the other hand, the replacement seems like a much stronger solution.

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