This Isn't Your Daddy's Documentum
By Ed Miseta, chief editor, Outsourced Pharma and Clinical Leader
In the late 1970s and early 80s, the home video game industry was ruled by Atari. The company, started in 1972, saw its share of the video game market grow to 80% in just 10 years. Purchased for $28 million in 1976, Atari saw its net worth grow to $2 billion by 1982. In 1983, when the industry hit a slump, the company lost $536 million and reportedly performed a mass burial of games and game systems at a landfill in Texas. After several acquisitions and name changes, the Atari brand is likely unknown to most of today’s young gamers. When not paying attention to the wants of customers, even a dominant firm in an industry can lose its way.
Twenty years after the launch of Atari, IT provider EMC debuted Documentum in 1992. After signing its first life sciences customer, EMC went on to sign 75% of the major pharma companies in the next five years, becoming the dominant product in document management. Documentum has certainly faced challenges from competitors in the last 21 years, but has kept an eye on the needs of its market in an effort to remain on top. If Atari is a good example of how not to manage a dominant product, Documentum might be an example of how to properly evolve it.