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D2 Application Building

November 6th, 2012 Comments off

At Momentum 2012 in Vienna there are 3 numbers that pull the attraction: 2, 4 and 7.
Although the target is still the New Normal (Peter Hinsen), the user that mixes work and private in a 24/7 (see the numbers…) economy, it refers to the 3 major products of EMC. It’s xCP 2.0, D2 4.0 and Captiva 7.

Side note: for those that linked 7 to the new Documentum stack, which has reached version 7.0, I must admit that it is tempting to do so. However, that stack sits underneath xCP and D2 and I believe that it will be a matter of time before it becomes irrelevant for the normal user.

From the 3, D2 is the one that is of particular interest. With version 4.0 being available (4.1 is due early next year), demo’s, the tutorial and the hands-on lab all show one thing: this is the foundation for all user-interfaces to come. It will be very simple and tempting to configure a Webtop clone using D2 or in the future, replace e.g. TaskSpace with the paradigm of D2.

The question is: should you configure that Webtop clone in D2 or not?

I believe you should not. D2 is the tool-set that allows you to configure whatever (within limitations) interface you need. Or better put: the interface the new user needs. The business user.

All of a sudden we’re no longer tweaking an interface (Webtop) to meet the business user half way. No, were creating a specific interface for a group of business users to do their work. Doing so also means that it can no longer be the average Documentum consultant — you know that technical guy or girl that eat and drinks DFS, Content Types, ACL’s — but you do need to bring a different consultant to the table.

You will need a skilled user experience consultant to sit with the business user and have her working towards an interaction design for the solution. Only then you’ll be able to deliver the solutions that the business needs. At Informed Consulting we’re glad to have that expertise already at hand. It’s more common in a SharePoint world and for us as a C3P partner that is EMC’s go-to-partner for SDF — SharePoint Documentum Framework — we’ve seen the challenge of creating a bridge between the business and IT tools. We’ve seen the risk of creating a language barrier by putting the Documentum guru next to the business guru. We’ve seen that creating a design document is not enough. Most business user find it hard to visualize from words. It goes without saying that a picture paints a thousand words.

It’s here were the user experience consultant steps in. Not only for retrieving better requirements, but also for creating mock-ups, screen layouts and other visuals to validate that the needs of the business are fully understood before we’re starting to configure the application.

So, to tame the beast of D2, take care of your application analysis first.