EMC World 2014 – Post Conference Thoughts

I’ve had a week now to gather my thoughts since EMC World, as well as to catch up on some sleep and get back into the UK timezone! Before the conference I posted about
3 things which I hoped I would find out more about so I’ll address those first:

Syncplicity – Clearly the rising star in the EMC IIG portfolio but the integration of the product into the rest of the brand is not yet there. Whenever Syncplicity was
pitched I still got the feeling its a new shiny product which is very good at what it does but is not fully integrated into the rest of the stack. I know it is
technically integrated but perception is as important as the technical aspects.

InfoArchive – This came across as one of the big plays from IIG, largely due to the compelling business case which can be generated for the product. The success
stories which were quoted were very compelling. The question of Pivotal remains though and while I did see it mentioned a few times as an area to investigate the
answer is not there yet. Having said that the impression which I came away with was that the product is seeing such strong momentum right now that its going to be
around for a few years.

Social and Collaboration – I was surprised to see the eRoom brand on the screen in the keynote, again its not because it is a bad product but more that its been
discussed as potential end of life for 10 years now. Despite a lack of, perceived, investment it remains part of the portfolio. I didn’t hear anything which suggested
that the Social and Collaboration space was an area which EMC would focus on.

So those are the things I was hoping to hear about, what did we actually hear about:

General – The theme of the conference was about how EMC can help customers manage the 2nd platform, bridge the gap to the 3rd platform and ultimately be the
Information ‘Fabric’ for the 3rd platform. Fabric’s my word and wasn’t used by EMC I should add! Pivotal was at the centre of this and in Joe Tucci’s keynote the
Pivotal brand was strong.

xCP – This is a product which I have followed for some time now and the information provided on xCP 2.1 whilst not completely new to me was still interesting and
highlights the advances EMC have made in the platform. At present this remains a 2nd platform play in EMC’s eyes.

InfoArchive – I’ve mentioned this already and this they see as the enabler for the bridge from 2nd to 3rd platform. Helping customers to move from the 2nd platform
through removing the applications but keeping the information.

APaaS – this was the new play from EMC. Well I say new play and a lot of the detail is new but some of the concepts have been kicking around for a while now, Next Generation Informatoin Server was something which was first touted back in Lisbon. Firstly, what is it:

APaaS

The idea is to move Content and Collaborative Apps into a true SaaS platform, with multi-tenancy and exposed on top of similar technology to the Pivotal stack, ultimately helping organisations to bring together their Data and Content Services. The focus is very much on solutions and apps. The strategy from EMC is not to release the platform but to build a number of content based solutions on the platform to help them develop the core services. The first of these is the Supplier Exchange.

This is a big move from EMC and while the people I heard were keen to stress this is not the end of Documentum I would envisage that if they get this right then in the future there will be much fewer customers using the traditional Documentum platform. But this takes time and as I said its been over 3 years since NGIS was first introduced. The tactic of releasing apps based on the platform before the platform itself will give the impression that things are moving quicker which is positive.

APaaS was my biggest takeaway from Momentum 2014 but some of the other snippets I heard/was interested in:

- some frustration and the lack of alignment between D2 and xCP, it would be much better if there was a true single UI;

- continued investment in Captiva and a continued push to get customers to exploit the capability in Captiva including Mobile Capture;

- a desire to move forward solutions on IIG technology which are more innovative, higlighted by the keynote and the impressive demo for Patient Care which was given in the keynote;

- a definite move to align things with Pivotal, APaaS above shows that but I understand there are other moves in place such as how InfoArchive aligns.

So on that last point, and one question which was mooted before the conference, was whether EMC were considering selling off IIG. My take in the short term is no but the alignment with Pivotal is a very strong signal of what might happen. If anything I don’t foresee a selling but a realignment within the EMC Federation which was a very strong message within the overall EMC World conference.

EMC World 2014 Pre Conference Thoughts

I’ve written this post while on the long flight from Manchester to Las Vegas to attend EMC World 2014, and specifically the Momentum conference. This is the second time I will have attended EMC World and I’ve got a much better view of what to expect from Momentum being part of a wider conference. Since the last time I was here, 2 years ago, EMC IIG have executed on their plan. 2 years ago the focus was on business solutions and the new version of xCP. We can see from their products that there has been an increase in the number of business solutions which are available and we have also seen the successful release of xCP 2 which has enabled partners like ourselves to rapidly deploy Case based solutions to out customers. Whilst on the flight though my thoughts have turned to whats next, how do EMC continue to evolve IIG as the market evolves at an increasingly rapid, and sometimes fraught, pace. @BrilliantLeap posted her thoughts last week and they are interesting read. Here’s my take on what I’d like to see come out of the week:

Syncplicity – 2 years ago EMC announced the acquisition of Syncplicity and since then the product has gone from strength to strength, I understand it is one of the fastest growing products in the EMC portfolio. At the moment though I feel it is a product which sits on the side of the EMC IIG portfolio, positioned as a competitor to the likes of Box and DropBox. I’d like to see more of Synplcitiy being brought into the EMC IIG family. What does this mean? Well aside from the true integration into the core Documentum product I’d like to see more than just file synch and share activities being made available. One thing which I know a number of customers struggle with is offline Case Management, from the concept of task creation though to full task management. I’d love to see the product being brought closer into the xCP product and the functional reach being extended to included some of the xCP functionality.

InfoArchive – This is a product which I have been watching closely for the past 2 years. It really does start to bring together the concept of Information Lifecycle Management, combining Data and Content. However there is a cloud on the horizon and one which needs to be addressed. Big Data. Info Archive could be considered the single repository for all ‘old’ data in an organisation while solutions such as the Data Lake form Pivotal are being considered as the single repository for ‘all’ Data in an organisation. Bringing alignment and a single vision to these products would be an interesting play. I do believe that the question of compliance is one which Big Data is even to consider, never mind address. Whilst Pivotal is not necessarily EMC there is a great opportunity to address potential chalenges in this area ahead of any competition.

Social and Collaboration – Putting Syncplicity to one side this is an area of weakness in the EMC product suite. Funnily in the past week I have heard of one organisation who are still using eRoom and one organisation who use Centerstage. Any move EMC make into this market place will be difficult, as a brand they are not associated with these solutions and the likes of SharePoint, Jive and Alfresco have a much better reputation. Are they going to address tihs or are they going to continue to leave this area untouched. The challenge with the latter is where does this leave Syncplicity, which I have already mentioned. If customers are truly embracing Syncplcitiy then there is an opportunity for EMC to use this brand, and the customers who are using it, to improve their offerings in this space.

These are just three ideas which have been giving me food for thought, will be interesting to see what is discussed and disclosed. There has been suggestions that EMC would consider selling the IIG division, if they do then oneplace for them to go would be Pivotal. I can’t see that happening just yet but don’t rule it out!

Information Management Trends

I was asked this question in a meeting the other day and to be honest it caught me on the back foot a little, I’ve probably been too close to detail over the past few months to really take a step back and think. The question was ‘What do you see are the current trends or hot topics in the Information Management world?’. Whilst I gave an answer which I believe was acceptable I decided it was time to take a few moments to reflect on what I am seeing in the market. I’m sure there are other things going on out there but I thought I would share some of my views:

SharePoint 2010 – there is no doubt that this continues to be the product with the biggest influence over the market. More and more customers are starting to explore the features which SP2010 delivers and it is starting to find its home within the overall market. It won’t, in fact can’t, do everything that everyone wants but there is a strong discussion to be had on why not SharePoint!

SharePoint 2010 – this time I am considering the impact the product has had on the other vendors in this space. Whilst I think it is too far to suggest that the likes of OpenText, EMC, Oracle and IBM have given up on their core Document Management solutions they have realised that this is a difficult fight for them if they go toe-to-toe on the basic content services when compared to SharePoint. As a result they are all trying their utmost to find their space in the market. IBM and EMC appear to be placing their bets on the Case Management style solutions and OpenText appear to be focussing on the Social Media and Web 2.0 space.

Convergence of Data and Content – this is happening in so many different ways. Top of the tree is Big Data as more and more people are seeing that Big Data is not just about Big Databases but about the amount of information, structured and unstructured, which is generated. Furthermore we’re seeing an increase in the world of Content Analytics and the desire to look into the unstructured world to get more intelligence from this information. This also leads to a desire to act on this information – moving us to the area of BPM which is embedded into the IM world.

Cloud – well everyone talks about it! Its still early days but we’re starting to see more and more moves towards consuming IT as a service and Content is an obvious choice to play in this space. The big vendors are still getting their heads around this area but as this progresses and the customers start to demand this more and more then we will see a change. Whilst the change will be interesting in itself I also think there will be a future challenge in how customers govern this information.

The New User – As per a recent post from Pie I don’t think this is Mobile but I also don’t think it is BYOD as we’re not seeing that happen widely enough…just yet! But there is an increased expectation from users on the IT service they receive, the way they interact with IT and the devices on which they can do this.

Demise of Portals – Strong and I don’t mean all Portals but the traditional JSR Portals are on the way out. They’re either being replace by SharePoint, see above, or more flexible architecture models. I’ve delivered a couple of programmes using the JSR Portals and they can work but its just too hard.

BPM/ACM/DCM – I don’t care what you call it but its out there. I’m of the opinion that the process is not so important but the information is the key. The need to use information to make decisions, the creation of information during the life of a ‘Case’ and the dissemination or retention of information once the process or case has been completed (I’m sure Max would say this is when the Goal(s) has been reached). The way people access, create or process this information will change but the information itself will typically remain the constant. Their is a bit of tension between the pure BPM camps and the ECM camps but we’re also seeing convergence, e.g. Kofax purchasing Singularity.

Changes in WCM – This has been coming for a while and I think the change has happened. Not so long ago the traditional ECM vendors tried to do WCM as well, the best example being EMC. Their product was suitable for only a small number of WCM Use Cases. We’re now seeing the specialist products take a firm hold in the market such as SDL, CQ5 and Fatwire. Interestingly two of those have been acquired in the past 2 years. Adobe have made a big bet on CQ5, it will be interesting to see what Oracle do with Fatwire, I would recommend keeping it separate from their UCM products.

I’m sure there are more, these are just my personal views but it just shows what happens when you take that step back to look at what is going on. There’s lots going on and the pace of change is quick.