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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.

Day 4 and 3 before it begins

May 3rd, 2015 Comments off

Yesterday I missed the opportunity to write my blog. Packing was on the menu for the evening. The past few days I could take those 30 minutes to write my blog, but now I had to make sure all items for our booth where packed and ready.

Two laptops, a hub, a lot of flyers and some nice give-aways. Thought I was ready but then I remembered, I needed to finish the last tests of our Office 365 demo with SPA4D and our SharePoint LSQM integration solution. The first is easy. I have given this demo probably 50 times now and all with great success. Our integration with LSQM is a different matter. We are just releasing this together with the Live Science team of EMC – EDC.

The business case is simple but perfect: within a pharma company, a large group of users need to read the SOP’s and other important documents. This needs to be in the audit trail. This TBR (To Be Read) is a very basic function within Life Science. Normally the user needs a full LSQM license and needs to be trained how to operate it. That is not easy, as they might use the system only 2-6 times a year. On the other side, most of these users use SharePoint, they like it, understand it and are fine working with it. So the task is simple: create the TBR function with SPA4D and the answer is perfect. A simple task for users to perform and after the sign-off, a record in the audit trail is added for this action.

But that was the easy business case. What is much more interesting is the ability to service all partners in the life science ecosystem of a company. More and more pharma companies are just managing the process and out-sourcing a lot of work to partner companies. These partner companies come in different sizes and shapes, but also both in very tight or very loose relationships. But for almost all of these companies it is mandatory that they need to be able to read, comment and sometimes edit or create regulatory documents. This demand calls for a set of options a company can select from.

1) if the partner is fully trusted and you have a full working relationship, you might want that partner to have direct access to a subset of documents within Documentum. This needs to be a much simpler interface with preferably a lot cheaper cost-base as these users might change frequently. The interface should be simple and easy to use. The access needs to be possible within the extranet of the pharma company or via a cloud based solution like Office365.

2) if you work on a less frequent bases or less intensive manner with the partner, you might decide that the partner does not need to have full access to the site, but only read only access to a part of the site and should be able to submit documents to be added to your quality system. Again this should be a cost effective interface and simple to use. Because of the more limited relationship it should suffice that only the high level actions from the partner are captured in the audit trail, but versions and revisions should be fully available.

3) if it is a one-time or incidental partner, the partner should only get a copy of the relevant document(s) and should have a communication that is very controlled when documents are added to the system.

And this all makes together:SPA4LSQM-Partner eXchange (PX).

Within the easy to use SharePoint Interface you can decide what level of trust you give to a certain partner and configure the level of access to your QM solution. Trusted partners will get access to the full browse app-part of SPA4D to manage the documents they are entitled to and partners with less of a relationship will get only read-only access to Documentum and can submit documents via a process within a normal SharePoint library without having direct access to Documentum. If you want to make the integration even more loosely coupled you could share the documents with the partner via OneDrive for Business and not even give the partner access to the SharePoint environment, but still control the documents.

All very powerful and very good to demo.  So finally at 1.30 am all was tested and I was ready to go. Now I’m sitting in a Delta plane for the last hour before we touchdown in Vegas after a long, long flight. Hope to see you and let me impress you with a good demo of SPA4LSQM or join us in the raffle for a very nice toy.

Only 5 days to go: demo, demo, demo and a good TCO

April 30th, 2015 1 comment

This is day 5 of the countdown. Interesting is that this countdown runs until Tuesday and looking at the agenda, Monday is a full day of sessions already. Normally it was the Partner Day on Monday, where we get the news just a bit earlier than the rest of you. Could not find, if this still the case??

Today not much happened that is worth blogging. We are finishing our demo machines for the booth. As I always dare to show the real thing, we are going to demo everything live. We will have 3 Documentum environments running: xCP2, LSQM and another xCP2 environment with a totally different interface design. Beside this we will dare to show you a full cloud based solution using SharePoint Online (Office 365) and Documentum on Azure with the perfect integration using SPA4D via a normal, very busy, conference wifi. Last but not least we will show you the ease of connecting your business applications to a Documentum xCP or WebTop solution with LoBConnect. Standard we have salesforce.com and Exact Online (accountancy), but if you dare to give me access to an other business application I’ll show you the integration possibilities in minutes.

Beside that we are running our On Premise SPA4D environment on a SharePoint 2013 platform. It is so cool to see how this ‘perfect’ interface (yes, I’m not very objective in this case, but please drop by and see for yourself) is able to functionally extend any Documentum solution like D2 with LSQM or xCP2 with multiple different applications. With the SPA4D solution you can specifically target groups in your organization and offer them the ease of SharePoint with the strength of Documentum.

In a current business case we are doing for a client, we see that, besides the easy to use and full functional solution, the pricing of this interface is so competitive, that this solution, as your read only interface, gives you a perfect ROI.

With this client we are defining the different roles that need to have access to the information stored in Documentum and what type of actions they should be able to perform. Once we know this, we are able to group those roles into different user-types that demand: focus on collaboration, focus on a rich set of document management functions, readers, approvers, etc.

With these sets of user-types it is very easy to define the best suited interface and define the total TCO for that solution. Our current estimate will be that with SPA4D their TCO will be less than 50% than with any other interface. So if the functionality is as good as I say it is this will be a no-brainer.

Day 6: What is the best interface?

April 29th, 2015 1 comment

Today I had a great discussion I’d like to share with you. It was with a colleague about the best interface for end users. The actual point started a couple of weeks ago in a discussion we had with an external independent business consultant. I’ll try to be gentle, but people who know me, know that I have my doubts about business consultants without any expertise in Documentum or SharePoint who, for way to much money, advise clients the most stupid ideas.

But in this case I got a call from a very worried client. How do I make my users like the Documentum interface? They are now working with SAP and suddenly they will need to use Documentum. I off course started with the simple statement that everybody who is using SAP will start to cry out of joy when they see a good user interface like xCP or D2, but I restrained myself and focused on the underlying question.

Which user/roles are we talking about?, what are they doing and why do they need Documentum or SAP? That was a good question, the client did not have the answer and he needed to go back to the extremely intelligent business consultant who did not understand the question because we had to make a decision what the preferred interface was……..

And here is what this blog is all about. Never ever try to come up with a preferred interface for the company. But a preferred interface for a role within the company I like. Look at what people in that role are doing and what interface should fit them best and make sure that all other information can be accessed via that system. The client loved this approach and the business consultant was too busy advising an other client and was never seen again..

But making this vision (the one perfect interface per role) happen, is much easier said than done. How do I make my Documentum data accessible in SAP, Peoplesoft, SharePoint or any other business application without spending thousands of euro’s per year on the integration of my systems? Most new systems have some sort of webservice option to share information, but often it is needed to access the data from the client side and with every update of one of the systems the integration has to be redone or repurchased.

It gets even more difficult if a user needs to be able to make decisions during the collection of data from the other system. Suddenly the integration is not one process but multiple separated processes that have to be started after a choice of intervention of the user. Not an easy choice and for sure very expensive.

We at Informed Consulting got that question often from our clients and finally decided that building a product might be a good idea :-). Now there is LoBConnect. It is not the replacement of your Enterprise Service Bus, nor should it replace your archiving solutions from SAP. But if you have identified that the best interface for a role is not Documentum (can be any from SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft, Unit4, etc..) and that role needs to interact with Documentum frequently or occasionally, have a look at LoBConnect. It might, in a very simple way, solve your basic integration demands from an end-user perspective.

It is easy to configure any action or any interface, no programming and understands most Documentum interfaces.

So don’t let the fact that users need to be able to access information from multiple systems limit your vision on the best interface for that specific role. Drop by our booth next week at EMC World and we’ll show you this simple wonder.

7 on the countdown: The ultimate SpringBoard

April 28th, 2015 Comments off

Today is Tuesday and within a week EMCWorld will be in full swing. Todays blog is all about the new EMC concept for partners: SpringBoard. EMC acts as the middleman to connect the different partners to deliver the perfect solution for their customers. EMC understands that this is the best way forward if they want to increase the license sales of their product. Do not compete with partner products but embrace them and make a great joint venture to the benefit of all.

We at Informed Consulitng are all about this concept. Even before SpringBoard we had very good relations with a large group of partners who are often also competitors. In the end we think that when we work together there will be a lot more for all than if we try to compete hard. It might not be the only way to get the biggest piece of the pie, but for sure the pie will be a lot (LOT) bigger.

Today we released a perfect example for the SpringBoard concept. With SPA4D we created the perfect collaboration interface for Documentum. Using SharePoint as THE interface of choice for a large part of the organization it is only logical to have an easy to use connection to the information stored in Documentum and be able to leverage the good collaboration functions like simultaneous editing, OneDrive or sharing from SharePoint on your Documentum information.

But only having SharePoint functions available does make your Documentum solution limited. We already added things like renditions, full versioning (including meta-data), workflow, etc.. but where we got stuck is the whole concept of annotations. How can you support the user with RELATE permissions to be able to leverage that unique Documentum concept and enable them to create the standard Documentum annotations?

The answer was simple and perfect. We already had a close working relationship with Aerow. They have their certified solution ARender as a replacement for PDF-annotation services, as that is eol. This easy to use and configurable solution has a perfect webservice handle to open a document and start the read/annotate process.

Within days we added this function to our SPA4D product and without any programming on both sides this function is now part of the solution package. On premise and in the cloud. So now even more Informed Consulting and Aerow join forces to deliver the best Documentum solution to our customers.

So come see us at the booth at EMCWorld and we will show you this perfect SpringBoard example!

Categories: EMC Elect 2015, EMC World 2015, SPA4D Tags:

Day 8 in the countdown and UI is key for Case Management

April 27th, 2015 1 comment

and the story continues…

Today is King’s Day in The Netherlands. A good day to dress in orange and have some fun. One of the ‘fun’ things is that everybody is allowed to sell their junk. A garage sale only with everybody together in one street on little carpets. In theory it is for kids but the parents control the cash. 🙂 Walking with my seven year old daughter and seeing her rushing through the stuff to find the perfect thing, I could not help and drift away to my previous blog. User Experience and case management.

Walking with hundreds of people in one little street and looking at hundreds of carpets with stuff, how do I see what I need and where I really should steer away from? There are some basic rules. If it is dirty, stay away. If it is boy stuff, probably not interesting; if it is all black and army green, same thing. If it is pink, white, light blue, stop and have a look; if there are two girls in the age of 10-14 sitting on the carpet, same thing. So in less that an hour we where able to ‘do’ the street and my daughter was some good stuff richer.

And doing good case management is all about this. How can I, as a designer, setup a page of a case or a task, in a way that the person looking at it can easily make a judgement on the case within seconds. Working with our user designers at Informed Consulting, I notice they use these same concepts I just described to create the PERFECT page:

  • Simple and serene look and feel;
  • Try to identify blocks of data that have some sort of understandable relationship within the whole case/task;
  • Use colors and/or icons to show states and actions;
  • Distinguish between viewing and editing;
  • ‘Important’ stuff should be in the top center;

And the list is longer, but when a good UI expert is finished, it all sounds so natural, so logical. It is super but sometimes also a bit frustrating to see the reactions of the users. I did spend hours and hours, to define all the requirements SMART and good, came up with the perfect solution and set of functions needed per role. But only when they have seen our mock-up, the users are getting excited: This is what I want, this is what we need! When do we get it?

Suddenly, that system that helps them do their tasks in the way the company wants them to, is actually fun to use and simple and easy. Things I did not hear a lot when developing a WebTop solution.

At our booth in the Momentum area we are showing our great products SPA4D and LoBConnect, but if you are interested in good xCP2 design or a good mock-up, please step up to our booth and I will show some great examples.

9 days to go to EMCW: why is case management so cool?

April 26th, 2015 1 comment

I was just trying to finish my last tasks before World. One important task is finishing a mock-up for a client. A mock-up for their new xCP 2.1 application. Doing this I more and more wonder about this new concept CaseManagement. Is this just an other buzz word or does it realy introduce a new paradigm in ECM?

The basic functional difference is the ability to create an object with relations, transactions (sorry have to say stateless processes, very good name……?) and have structured datasets (contentless objects, another perfect name to explain to an end user….?). All nice technical functions that I really like but does it make that much difference to the end user? Is this the ECM chicken with the golden egg or just some extra nice modern features?

Where it gets interesting is looking at the challenges of a case. Simply put, a case is a large amount of related information about a set of tasks that have to be performed or a goal that has to be reached. The challenge for every user within a case management solution is the overview. How do I see within one glimpse what the case is about and what am I supposed to do with it? With all those great technical options, relations, transactions etc.. it is so difficult to see the tree within the forest (nice Dutch expression, but I think everybody would understand this one instantly).

So why is Case Management a gamechanger and what is the basic necessity for a good Case Management system? In the end it is easy, maybe not for the average Documentum consultant, but the answer is: USER EXPERIENCE. Simple but so true. To be able to give an end user a system that is workable, it needs to have such a perfect user design that within seconds a caseworker knows what it all is about.

A normal Documentum consultant who was used to work with WebTop did not really know or want to know what User Design was, for the simple reason that designing any good user experience in WebTop was a challenge or should I say impossible.

But now we have xCP. This gives the designer a real flexible tool to fully design the interface and give the person the right display of information to work very efficiently and like what they are doing. The interaction, or should I use an other buzz word, the agile approach, you can have with the usergroup before you start to create a technical solution, but simply create a mock-up is baffling. Users cannot wait to get the system, workshops are actually fun to do and the results using tools like Axure are super. So far my thoughts about the new xCP and tomorrow some more detail about the options of a good design. (As far as this simple Documentum consultant understands it).

EMC Elect is getting ready for EMCW-Momentum 2015

April 25th, 2015 Comments off

It is less than 10 days until I fly to Vegas again. Ready for a week of knowledge sharing and showing the world the wonders of SPA4D and LoBConnect. It will be different from the previous years. A number of reasons:

1) We have two very cool products. We see how happy our customers are already reacting to them, but are excited how the Momentum crowd will respond.

2) I cannot wait to finally see a glimpse of all the new things of ECD: What will the new Capital Projects UI look like? Is the 3th gen platform getting the traction it deserves? Is LSQM ready for the next step and will the multi tenant solution for Life Science be a good competitor for Veeva? What about xCP and a rules engine? D2 and xCP, you see they are more and more growing to each other, but when will they become one, now or never or anything in between?

3) Being EMC Elect. I don’t know if anything will be different, but I feel obligated to write a blog per day to give my ideas and thoughts.

Please drop by our booth and share your thoughts. I’m always in for a good discussion.

What you tell me in Vegas, might end up in my blog 🙂