How to migrate from Documentum to SharePoint

How to migrate from Documentum to SharePoint

Sudakshina Bhattacharjee


17 Mar 2020

Microsoft SharePoint is a leader in the Content Services sector because of its range of attractive features designed to accelerate productivity for any organisation, in any industry, and anywhere on the planet.

These features include:

  • Strong security capabilities
  • Ease of use
  • Native integration with a wide range of productivity, collaboration and communication tools available in Office 365

Those organisations that use Documentum as their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform are now looking for ways to manage their business content better as well as how this can be leveraged intelligently, efficiently and collaboratively.

There are some important benefits to be gained when migrating from Documentum to SharePoint such as:

  • Significantly reduced license costs
  • Improved content accessibility because of SharePoint’s improved search functionalities
  • Better productivity, communication and collaboration because of a range of tools that come with Office 365 and are integrated with SharePoint.

However, migrating from Documentum can present a range of challenges that could negatively impact the outcome of a project unless these are properly addressed, ideally before the migration begins.

To ensure that you migrate content from Documentum to SharePoint as seamlessly as possible, we would ask you to consider the following recommendations to avoid facing any issues that could affect the content architecture and infrastructure of your new SharePoint environment.

Recommendation #1: Decide on an approach for mapping Cabinets into SharePoint

Documentum organises documents into Repositories and Cabinets, both of which contain a hierarchy of folders. These are used to manage persistent objects across a wide range of file types.

SharePoint stores content in Site Collections which contain Sites and Sub Sites. Each of these can contain numerous libraries and folders.

To achieve the most consistent and logical transition from Documentum to SharePoint, Cabinets should be migrated to SharePoint as Site Collections. After this, the folder hierarchy can be recreated as a single library or restructured into multiple libraries in one or more Sites.

Before the actual migration process begins, it would be best if you plan how your Cabinets in Documentum are to be mapped to SharePoint.

Recommendation #2: Leverage URLs and Lists in SharePoint to support hierarchical and virtual filing

Documentum allows files to be stored hierarchically in folders within a Library. In addition to hierarchical filing, files can be referenced in multiple folders within Documentum without the need for duplication. Content is then referenced using Object ID which has no resemblance to the hierarchy that the content lives in.

SharePoint also supports storing files hierarchically in folders within a Library. However, to avoid any ambiguity of the actual location of a file, SharePoint allows these to be referenced from other folders as Shortcuts. SharePoint allows the hierarchical storage of other content such as Tasks, Events, and non-document-based information using Lists.

Content within SharePoint can be accessed via a URL, based on the storage hierarchy, or through ID-based links. As Documentum supports multi-filing, within SharePoint such items will need to be migrated as links to documents.

Identify which content will need to be migrated over as URLs/Links to documents and which will go into Lists before the migration begins.

Recommendation #3: Align major and minor versions of documents

Both Documentum and SharePoint support major and minor versioning. However, the approach each takes is markedly different.

Documentum supports system-generated numeric versions with up to three levels of precision (e.g. and user-defined symbolic version labels, such as “APPROVED”. On the other hand, SharePoint uses a numeric version label with only a single level of precision (e.g. 1.115).

Both major and minor versions from Documentum can be mapped across to SharePoint. However, as SharePoint only supports one level of versioning, an alternative approach needs to be identified based on the number of versions present for each document.

Decide with your key stakeholders which versions of each documents need to be migrated over and which could do with archiving or deleting. This will help control the overall volume of content that is ultimately going to be migrated.

Recommendation #4: Use Document Sets in SharePoint to map and store content renditions

Documentum can store variations of existing content as Renditions. These are a representation of a document that differs from the original in some aspect of its format. Documentum can also support language translations and annotations to the original document as well as allowing custom relationships to be created and stored between different documents.

In SharePoint, Document Sets – i.e. a group of related documents that you can manage as a single entity – can be used to store content renditions or a series of interrelated documents for a project or topic. You could create a Document Set in a single step and then define its characteristics and metadata.

Recommendation #5: Map Documentum ACLs to an equivalent permission level in SharePoint

Documentum uses a security model based on Access Control Lists (ACLs) to protect objects, where every content object has an associated ACL allowing file owners, other users or groups to perform certain operations on that object. This includes setting Deny rights for users or groups.

SharePoint supports item level permissions but considers the performance impact of these and enables users to structure content into various Sites and control security at a Library, Site or Site Collection level.

SharePoint uses permissions inheritance, which means you would be required to identify where the security of a document is different from its parent and map the Documentum ACL to an equivalent SharePoint permission level.

Recommendation #6: Get the most out of Office 365 and its rich suite of productivity tools

Documentum gives Home Cabinets (sometimes called Personal Workspaces) to its users to store documents and folders that they create. It also allows users to save their most-used search criteria as a view on a repository as a Saved Search.

SharePoint provides OneDrive for each user, which can be easily utilised in the same manner as Documentum’s Home Cabinets. SharePoint comes with a rich set of search features that are augmented by Microsoft Graph. However, some out-of-the-box customisation is required to enable saving searches.

One of the main purposes of migrating to SharePoint is to provide your users a modern, frictionless experience when creating, storing, managing and leveraging their business content.

Before you embark on the migration project, it is worth checking out the rich suite of productivity tools that Office 365 has on offer and strategize how these could be best leveraged.

Choosing the right SharePoint migration tool

We hope that we have been able to show you that migrating from Documentum to SharePoint doesn’t have to be a complex challenge when approached correctly.

Following these recommendations will also ensure that you will be able to get the maximum commercial value by leveraging SharePoint and Office 365.

Of course, all this is only feasible when you have the right migration tool in place, which should remove the challenges that can often be encountered when migrating from a legacy ECM, such as Documentum.

Proventeq’s Migration Accelerator tool maximises the potential of your content and information management structure before, during and after the migration process.

This includes:

  • 360° insights into your content through powerful AI powered analytics and reporting
  • Content enrichment thanks to automated metadata extraction and intelligent classification
  • Improved Information Architecture as a result of deeper understanding of information types
  • On-going user experience improvement via real-time and on-demand data classification

Watch this video to learn more about what Migration Accelerator does:


Documentum to SharePoint

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