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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.

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.