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Mmtm16. Where did the disruption go?

April 11th, 2016 Comments off

It has been almost 12 month since Rohit spoke the heavy weighting words: We need to disrupt the ECM Space. Change is needed and there needs to be an alternative for the 2de platform. A new direction for ECM!

In the first blog leading to Momentum 2016 it is a good time to reflect what has happened since that bold statement and some reflection from the years before and how Rohit got to that statement. Momentum16 will be my 21st Momentum to get to the vision I will express below and since I got in contact with Documentum in 1995 a lot has happened and I am all for a new direction or a new step in maturity of ECM, but is it that easy/doable?

P1

In 1982 when Howard Shao and his team came up with Documentum and the object-related model with a very extensive and flexible security model, it was new and changed the world of ECM. It is impressive to see that the dm_sysobject and the dm_acl are still the fundament of Documentum. But a concept of 1982? Is that still actual and in line with the ‘new normal’ of this digital age? It is good to look back and see what has happened with Documentum and why and try to make some conclusions about the best steps (according to me).

When I startedP2 with Documentum we were in the top of the client/server age. Documentum had their super client WorkSpace. A heavy duty client application with for that time very flexible interface with a lot of functionality and a more than acceptable performance. In those times performance was the main pain. The hardware and database capacity made all ECM systems slow and the immaturity of the platform made it often a challenge to get them ready for production.

In 1998 my first Momentum we were all amazed by the new concept of the browser and Documentum came with their version of an application server with a full interface in it. Whitney Tidmarsh gave a super in-depth session about the new three-tier model and RightSite and we all knew we would win the world. Documentum was ahead of the competition but maybe a bit too fast and the performance and stability of the whole stack was a challenge. Still making a solution with Documentum was so much easier that their competitors like FileNet or Open Image (Wang). Why was that? It is simple: the base was so strong and consistent that it you really could focus on the other challenges.P3

And the world changed and open source showed its face and the web became more flexible. Rightsite was becoming out dated. Documentum invented there 7 layer configuration model for the web: WDK. The idea might have been good but maintaining any changes was tricky. WebTop is still used a lot, everybody complains about the outdated interface but I have seen a lot of great implementation that really gave great ECM support to companies across the world. And why is that? I think the answer is still simple: the base is so good: dm_sysobject and dc_acl.

And now iP7n the new normal with IoT where the world demands user friendly and flexible IT, Documentum comes with D2 and xCP2 with interfaces that meet the demand for UX, flexibility and maintainability. With now the front end in control and mature we see that implementing a good and solid Documentum solution is easy if you know how to combine the perfect foundation with the flexible interface options. It seems that we are there and we can take over the world again.

 

P4

But simultaneous with a great UX everybody demands the cloud and more precise the public cloud. Jeroen van Rotterdam was very right in his statement that Documentum can do a lot but it is not a multi-tenant environment that fulfills all demands for tenant separation and control. So EMC-ECD needs to come with a new platform with new demands and possibilities. So project NextGen Server was started and somewhere last year it would change to Project Horizon. What I expected of this was that it would be so very different and new and all that great stuff but that something would not change: the base is so good: dm_sysobject and dc_acl.

11 month after the announcement of Rohit I have to say: I don’t know. I have seen a number of demo’s/video’s of Snap, Exchange, Assent, Jazz and Shelf but that is all, no release date, no playgrounds for partners etc.. So the conclusion for now is simple: Did EMC disrupt the ECM space? Not in 2015 and the most important announcement we want for MMTM16 will be about the progress and availability of the disruption: Project Horizon or what the new name is going to be…….P5

What have I seen sofar: dm_sysobject and dm_acl are gone…. There might be a building block or two that might give you some sort of basic object model but for the rest it is all XML so you are free to make a mess out of it. I’m worried that this will mean that we will not reuse the power of Documentum in its new generation and I think that will be a missed opportunity.

What is interesting to see is that in the other big win from EMC-ECD: InfoArchive they started off only with xDB (The XML-database) to archive all stuff, but before the solution came to its full potential more control and security was needed and in the end the conclusion was: We need a strong security model and the ability to define clear objects and object-structure  as powerful and flexible as in Documentum, so we just added the content server from Documentum to the mix and suddenly InfoArchive is very secure and strcutured. Why, you can guess, Documentum has it perfect dm_sysobject and dm_acl.

P6So what do I expect to hear at @MMTM16 when it comes to the public cloud? A lot about the new name for Project Horizon and a lot about the perfect new app’s that EMC-ECD has created on the platform, but hopefully also something about the perfect fundament that demands structure and control in your object configuration and security that mimics a lot like: dm_sysobject and dm_acl!! And last but not least the way we partners of EMC-ECD can reuse this potential disruption of ECM, because the only way EMC-ECD is capable of disrupting the ECM space is by allowing partners like Informed Consulting to build the prefect vertical apps that will rock the world.

What’s up next? In my next blog I’ll try to reflect my thought about Documentum xCP3.0 (or 2.3??) and what is the good, the bad and the ugly is in the new IoS case management.

 

EMC World 2015: Counting it all up to disrupt the ECM Space

May 25th, 2015 Comments off

EMC World 2015 is over. Once I arrived in the chaos of Vegas there is no stopping and now a full month after the fact and after the rush it is a good time to settle down and see what the impact of the great week will be. Normally I should have done this directly after the venue, but the world spins way too fast and because of some organizational changes within Informed my mind was somewhere else. 

So EMCW2015 what is there to tell?

First the important stuff, my seven year old will not let me through the door without any goodies. I have to say, for the first time the number of childish goodies was limited. Finally I found some, but because of the great fingerlights from Jacqui during the awsome Momentum party I was saved 🙂

Now for the serious stuff, my daughther will again play a role in my findings this year. For people who read more of my blogs you know I like the vision of Peter Hinsen about the ‘New normal’. This is the age where the way of people is changing from getting used to digtal to being native to everything digital. Looking at my daugther who does not need any help from papa to understand the difference (and similarity) between a touchscreen, touchpad on a laptop or the mouse of those old computers she has at school. They work on it without any training. You see the vision at work. I’m not one of those guys who talks about that this is the most, fastest, most impacted change ever happend to men, but the change is happening and it is happening now. Fire, wheels, ships electricity etc. etc., all with more impact, but I’m proud to be part of this change.

As a graduate of Technical Informatics it is not easy to say but there are childeren with no education what so ever  in that area, who know more about some areas of IT than me. Biking, eating, dancing, it does not matter what they do, texting can be done simultaneously and understanding how to make sure it ends up at the right people is simple (for them), so absorbing info is also possible while doing other stuff. Disucssing this or stating the strangeness of these combined actions is stupid and definitely makes you old!

But what has this all to do with ECMW2015. Actually a lot. Lee Dallas warned us that there will be a lot more EMC during Momentum. He did not say it was a bad thing, but just a warning. Reading the warning always make me cautious. Why do I need to know about super fast SCSI or the new super stable, super big SSD Drives? In my ECM niche of the IT world that is less important. But this time I was totally wrong, yes there was a lot of EMC Core stuff during Momentum, but it was all good, even for an ECM geek like me.

After this event I hope the voice finally is quiet about EMC selling Documentum or the whole ECM stack. The grand speech of Joe Tucci was very clear. We are in the age of the Digital Enterprise and as a company to survive in this new era the company needs to focus on managing the digital waves that will hit them the coming years. Survival of a large enterprise will be measured on the ability to manage the disruption in IT and the way people in their enterprise communicate. Is the enterprise able to stay on the opportunistic side of this digital wave? Great words of a vision that hits the challenge we are facing on the spot. He talks about the four major items to control: Documents, videos, images and information. So he tells it very clear, EMC is all about managing all sorts of data, structured or unstructured. So EDC as the Documentum group is now called is the face of that vision. Without ECD that vision will crumble.

It got even better with the talk of Rohit. His speech about the disruption of ECM should be mandatory for all. It was a more than challenging speech where he stated that there will be an end of live for Documentum as we know it…..

but there is light at the tunnel for us Documentum lovers. We all knew that somewhere it needs to stop, but what will replace it? Last year Jeroen van Rotterdam introduced his new platform in the cloud. A multi tenant version of something that might look like an ECM system but in fact is a data lake that gives you the opportunitee to create an app on it. Technically a nice thing and already last year we at Informed started the process of our own app on it, but now the vision behind it has left the techy group and has landed with the big guns like Joe and Rohit. From ECD side with project Horizon and its sub projects we can all join this new thing. The new platform is not a Documentum thing it is a whole stack of IT stuff all put together and all owned by EMC. This is the EMC Federation or like I will call it the EMC family. This whole soultion that offers the ability to create content tiles, containers or micro apps with a continous deployment is the fundament of EMC. It shows the power of the whole EMC family and EMC is the only company that has this combination of products to deliver this. Looking at it’s potential I forgot already that Documentum existed. It really is a disruption of the whole ECM space and leaves the competitions miles behind. As a consulting/solution company we will build our own tiles in the EMC cloud and without any disruption of availability, offer new tiles or update tiles for my clients who will pay us handsomely for all our perfect tools and solutions. I’m surfing the digital wave! 🙂

After I had landed from my dream of the future I saw a lot of challenges beside these opportunitees. Is the enterprise world ready for the major change? Sure we know that every youngster knows how to be a digital person, but what about a company? Do they accept this radical change? Twice already before EMCW clients of mine surprised me. I asked Jeroen van Rotterdam to join me at my clients and both times the client loved this new vision and already was open to the idea that (still somewhere in the future) all their IT solutions will be a micro-app somewhere in the fuzzy cloud. One was a pharma company and if pharma is ready for the cloud the rest better be or will be left behind. An other client told me they could not find new technical engineers as all that came to the job interview did not accept that the company was so behind in their IT and did not offer BYOD. 

It is still in the future but the enterprises are working up to the idea and I think once the first sheep is over the bridge/dam the rest will follow (nice apropriate Dutch expression). But how do they get there? It is easy to see the end result, but if you have your enterprise ECM system and paid good money for it and put a lot (realy a lot) of functionality (and work) in that one single enterprise solution, the transition to that new and bright future should be slow, baby steps. Pick out small functions from your current Documentum environment and make a tile out of it, migrate the data to the lake and start using it. It sounds easy and as everybody is already used to the whole app/tile concept, it might work. More and more business users demand specific apps on their mobile/tablet devices to do certain segmented actions, that picking the right function should not be so difficult.

Does this mean the end of Documentum? Yes, somewhere in 10 to 20 years. For now running an on-prem Documentum solution to manage your case in xCP2 is the best choice and will make you ready to transfer to this new and bright concept of the digital enterprise. As the whole new platform will reuse xCP designer as the tile creation interface, going for xCP as your choice of Documentum functionality is an easy decision. Using SPA4D as your interface will make your solution ready for the next step in the digital world.

Then there is also InfoArchive. During EMCWorld I had a great epiphany to create the perfect way of working. You start in a tile or (on-prem) Documentum solution to make a new information item. Once this item has a final state it will be moved to InfoArchive and be available to all in its final state. If there is a need for a revision or change it is automatically moved to the work in progress app (Tile, Documentum or Office365) and you can manage it. Even use the perfect collaboration functions of Office365 and SPA4D to leverage all that is good from Micorsoft. So SPA4InfoArchive will be available shortly. And why not make this flow also the base of your migration? All that is final goes to InfoArchive, create a micro-app on the new platform and once a change is needed it is checked-out in the new app and delivered to the end user in the new way of working. I see this option working, do you?? 

We also had a good discussion about what a tile or micro-app is. Is it as stated by Rohit the whole stack including the content and if you need that content in an other app you replicate? Or is it only the interface and the content should be stored in the full data lake and shared across mutiple tiles. I’m a hard figther for the latter as content/information should be stored only once. Or at least you should try to store it only once. The time to discuss this during World was way too short, but this one I want to continue as this will be an important demand for the security model in the data lake and the boundaries of the micro-apps.

Last but not least there was SPA4D. Our flagship in our product suite and the reason why I could not attend too many sessions. It hit the market like a bomb. I have never ever given so many demo’s and had so many positive reactions to a Documentum interface. Collaboration on Documentum content is possible and the world now understands that Informed Consulting is the only one who can offer it!!

So all in all a disruptive and opportunistic EMC World and a great show of vision and future by the company that has shown me again that they know what is happening in the world and are not afraid to make the hard decisions that need to be made to stay ahead of the pack.

The power of EMC OnDemand

November 7th, 2012 Comments off

One of the hot topics this Momentum Vienna is the OnDemand. The new cloud offering of EMC. This blog is not about how great OnDemand is (but I assure you, it is!), this blog is about the reason why a consultancy firm like Informed Consulting, who makes money with third line application support on Documentum, should and is promoting OnDemand.

It is not an easy thing to sell internally. On average a third line support deal for a medium size Documentum solution is between 30k and 150k. When you use OnDemand most of these hours will be part of the full OnDemand deal and that will be done by EMC not us.

So why even mention this to a client? The answer is simple, I like the best for my clients.

Yes, I know for sure there are not better skills engineers than the Informed Consulting support staff and yes giving your Documentum support to Informed Consulting will minimize your frustration with your end users as response times go up and downtime goes down. (and that is a proven statement, over and over again!)

Yes, this is good money and yes, we love to do it

But here is the final clue: Documentum is build on an entire set of components, from OS to database, from JBoss server to Lucene search, from firewall to SAN storage (and you can continue this list for way way to long).

So, even if you have your app support managed by the best, the rest of the stack might be managed by the best, but not by a team that is dedicated to do Documentum support or more precise support on one of the components focussed on optimization for Documentum.

Our conclusion on OnDemand is: we rather do a new project and add new functionality than make money doing app support.
Also: a happy customer will add more to their Documentum environment than a customer which has frequent performance issues or downtime.