Momentum 2010 – Cloud Strategy for xCP

Apologies for the delay in this post but following Momentum I had a week off to spend time with the family, and I wanted to make sure that time was spent with them and not writing more blog posts.

This is the last post on a specific session and covers a session which was presented by Randy Hodge on Wednesday, it was a late session but was still relatively well attended. Randy is a knowledgeable guy and the presentation was good in that it came across as someone who knows their stuff and not necessarily someone who has been presented with a message to give.

Firstly I must say that this was really a presentation on strategy so there is no commitment that what was presented will actually come to fruition.

Firstly Randy justified the move to cloud as a need to reduce the pain which customers feel and to reduce the crippling TCO. Reducing this TCO of services will stop the current situation of too much money being spent on maintenance and not enough on investment opportunities.

In talking about Cloud Randy then talked about how to consider the EMC IIG stack and the message I took is that xCP is PaaS and something like the Investigative Case Management solution is SaaS. Generally I agreed with the messaging here but there were a few things which we could quibble about, e.g. where does Captiva fit in. EMC are seeing customer demand for the cloud especially in xCP and customers are making moves to deploy xCP applications to the cloud in areas such as Justice, FS and Health. Similarly IIG want to move customers to the cloud.

xCP for the cloud will:

  • evangelise xCP on VMWare;
  • drive down TCO and increase agility;
  • revolutionise the way applications are developed and deployed;
  • evolve the ecosystem model;

He then announced that xCP is now VMWare ready.

He described how xCP in the cloud will drive down costs, Virtualisation can do this too but Cloud can further drive down costs.

The characteristics of a successful cloud solution, as defined by NIST, are:

  • Rapid elasticity;
  • Resource Pooling (multi-tenancy);
  • Measured Service;
  • On demand self service;
  • Ubiquitous network access

He then talked about multi-tenancy and how that can be achieved. This was interesting as Randy and I had discussed this earlier in the week and I think this still needs a bit of refinement, my belief that the number of tenants does not drive whether a solution should be considered multi-tenant or not although it is one factor. Imagine a scenario with two organisations wanting to share an ECM repository but with different business processes yet the content subject to the same Policies for retention. Randy talked about the Dedicated Repository Model or the Shared Repository Model, my problem below would need some thinking about how to resolve (perhaps Federated RM is the way forward there?).

Another interesting statement was that EMC want to provide services which can be consumed elsewhere, so the EMC app may not be the primary application which users interact with but could provide an element of the overall business process. I am seeing this more and more and the introduction of CMIS will, I think, increase the number of scenarios where this is applicable.

Finally Randy showed a diagram and used it to explain the various models which xCP in the Cloud will be delivered. Unfortunately my notes do not do justice to the diagram so I will attempt to describe it instead:

  • Traditional model where SI’s build an application based on xCP and deploy it to the Cloud which is then accessed by end users;
  • A model where ISV’s develop apps built on xCP and deploy these to an App Store from where they are purchased and accessed by users;
  • A model where xCP is deployed within the Cloud and the services are exposed and then consumed through custom applications which may or may not be deployed in another cloud.

As I say that doesn’t really do the session justice, I felt as though it was an interesting session and given that I have asked EMC before about Cloud it is something they need to get moving on and get moving quickly.

Momentum 2010 – Summary

I’ve still got one or two more posts on individual sessions to crank out but given there has been one or two summary posts already, from Andrew and others, I wanted to get down my overall thoughts on the few days in Lisbon. I’ll go through each day and then bring it all together.

Day 1 – Partner Conference

The first day brought a feeling of change, with new people like Fred Monjazeb, Chris McLaughlin and Jeetu Patel taking to the stage it did feel as though there was a change in the senior positions. Coupled with the announcement the previous Thursday on the departure of Mark Lewis I was looking forward to the following day’s keynote. The venue itself was great, nice to have a bit of warmth in late October and there was a lot more space in the exhibition area. I had a great chance to catch up with a lot of people in the afternoon and then evening over dinner before the night was brought to a close listening to some Fado music in the centre of Lisbon. If you ever go to Lisbon find a bar which plays this music, it is a great experience.

Day 2 – Keynotes and Architecture

Now I have already posted about both the Architecture session and the morning Keynote. Jeroen really got people to sit up and take notice in his architecture session, it was a bit of a slow build up (necessarily slow as this was a deep dive), but I just wish Jeroen had timed his presentation, he clearly needed two hours and not the allotted 45 minutes. As a result he did a second part in the late afternoon which I couldn’t get to due to other commitments, Virtual Momentum will have to do for this if it is one of the sessions on there. Enough has been said on the keynote, although I will come back to the overall message at the end. However there was definitely a buzz starting to go through the conference following some of the sessions. Personally I was also starting to get busy as the number of customers who wanted to talk with me started to increase. The Cultural Evening was good fun but the location was not great, nearly two hours on a bus wasn’t the best way to start the evening. Still, a positive day overall.

Day 3 – Presentation Day

Day 3 was when I was due to give a presentation on SharePoint and Documentum, but first I attended the Fatwire presentation to understand EMC’s direction on integrating this product. This was interesting and a colleague of mine, Jeff Quiggle, gave a good insight into how customers can look at migrating content from Documentum to Fatwire. However I did get a bit of feeling of ‘so what’ from this session, we were shown a numbver of websites which were produced using Fatwire but to be honest they could have been done in HTML. I would have loved to have seen how the content was managed, or how the customer feedback was brought back into the repository or how Social Media really could have been linked into the overall solution.

I then did my presentation with Jon Ludwig. This was a well attended session, still waiting for the exact numbers, and it was good to get up in front of people with this being my 3rd Momentum and something I had made a promise to myself back in Prague that I would do. The feedback afterwards was positive and I look forward to finding more stories to tell to customers and partners at future events. The other theme on the Wednesday was the number of customers who I spoke to, I counted nearly a dozen different customers who wanted to talk to me in detail about SharePoint and Documentum. This was great fun and a great way to help understand the challenges they face and the types of solutions they are looking for. There is no doubt that there is a real need out there to understand how to embrace SharePoint and how to get the two technologies working together, looking forward to helping people to achieve this.

Finally I attended Randy Hodge’s presentation on getting xCP to work in the Cloud. This was very interesting and I will post details on the session in the near future. I had spoken to Randy earlier in the week and it was great to hear him describe his role and the important which EMC are placing on getting xCP 2.0 right and getting their vision of Cloud right. We had a good discussion on the Use Cases I am seeing in the UK and I look forward to seeing the results.

Day 4 – The End

Whilst this was my 3rd Momentum this was the 1st time I had made it to the final day, other commitments in previous years meant I had to leave early. The last day is clearly wind down time and while there some interesting sessions I do think it must be hard if you are given one of the speaking slots on the Thursday morning. They final keynote itself was a summary of the week, perhaps it needs a bit more oomph in its message but I guess most of the attendees don’t make it to this session.

Summary

So I have to agree with Andrew that this was the best Momentum, certainly that I have been. And it could have been better still. Why?

1. There is a feel of change at the top, not just Rick replacing Mark but also some of the management team, have brought a new impetus to the organisation. I was very impressed whenever Fred Monjazeb or Jeetu Patel spoke and look forward to meeting them more in the future.

2. The keynote, this should have been so much better. This is not a criticism of Mark directly as the delivery was not the main problem in the session. It was the message. As Andrew said in his blog the EMC IIG tanker has slowly been moved in a new direction and I felt this was the first time they could talk about this new direction yet this message came from the other sessions and not the Keynote. The move to xDB and the Next Generation Information Server, the strategy around Cloud, the release of xPlore, the focus on business solutions, the reduced reliance on 3rd Party products, the rationalisation of the User Interface suite, the focus on faster and easier deployment….there was so much which could have been said and wasn’t in that one session.

3. The next few years will see a huge change in the EMC IIG products. The release of xCP 2.0 next year is the first milestone but the move to the NGIS will be massive. The name itself marks a change in the products but if EMC do succeed in making it truly an information server and can combine it with the Process Management and Governance capabilities elsewhere in the product set then it could be a game changing release.

4. SharePoint. Okay so I did present on it but it is a much discussed subject, I spent well over 12 hours discussing with customers, partners and EMC themselves the different approaches to take to harmonising their existing Documentum environments with the SharePoint world. It appears that there are more than a few organisations who are scratching their heads on how to get the technologies to complement each other.

I’ll follow up with a post on what the future may mean for people and what I hope to see at Momentum 2011 in Berlin.

Momentum 2010 – Keynote

Right so it has taken a couple of days to get this write up done, mainly due to the huge amount of time which I have spent at Momentum talking to customers, more on that in another post.

As I said in my post on the Partner Day I was really hoping that IIG would use the Keynote to make the change from Mark to Rick and to show a vision for the next 5 years and a plan to execute on that. So did the Keynote achieve this, in my view it missed the mark by some distance on those points. I’m not actually going to go into too much detail on the presentation as I got the feeling that it was Mark’s view on the IT primarily, and a vision for IIG secondly. Now I may be being too harsh here and Mark did say at the start that this was a 2 part session to a degree, with Rick and Jeetu’s in the pm session. I guess my problem is that IIG had the chance to set the tone right from the start, for Mark to do a short piece on his achievements and for the stage to be cleared for Rick to deliver the impact statements. Either the announcement was badly timed on the changes in position or somebody did not really consider the impact of not having Rick doing the majority of this session.

What made this worse is that prior to this session I had been to Rohit and Jeroen’s session on Architecture and had come out of that session with strong belief that IIG were making a major move to a new vision, the Keynote was a big letdown following that session.

In the keynote itself Mark introduced the 3 layer stack which I have mentioned previously. He reiterated the Mission was to “help customers get maximum leverage from information”. He also said EMC will be:

- cloud optimised;

- an Information Intelligence platform primarily composed of Case Management and Information Governance (note no note of ECM);

- a next generation UI framework;

Mark had 7 recommendations for IT people:

1. Reduce Opex;

2. Support User Choice;

3. Simplify Provisioning and User Experience;

4. Ensure Governance and Compliance;

5. Create and Leverage a 360 degree view on customers;

6. Force IT to move away from low value to more strategic services;

7. Look to IT for delivery of transformative business solutions.

We then had the usual invited guests, one customer and one analyst, before Whitney wrapped up.

As s disclaimer I must say I did not attend the afternoon keynote from Rick Devenuti and Jeetu Patel, so if the impact message was given there then my view on this is not complete. But actually I think that even if it had I feel this was a missed opportunity. Mark Lewis has no doubt put a lot of effort into EMC IIG and he deserved the recognition for his efforts, however in this Keynote that should have been the start and would have enabled Rick to really launch the new dawn of IIG. I wanted more on the vision and I wanted more on the plans to get there, the messages were too generic in my view and a number of them would have been applicable at many different software and hardware vendor presentations.

Its a real shame as I have found the conference since the keynote to be excellent and there is a real buzz about the new direction, unfortunately the buzz was not there as the main auditorium dispersed for lunch on the first day, it has grown in the time since then.

Momentum 2010 – Documentum Architecture

So the Documentum Architecture session has traditionally been one of the busiest at the Momentum conference, and in spite of the 8.45 am start this was the case in Lisbon as well. The session was presented by Rohit Ghai and Jeroen van Rotterdam. Rohit started by saying that the session wasn’t at the right time as it was going to provide more detail on the technical keynote which had not yet been given. (Note to conference schedulers, put the sessions in order and give this highlight session the slot it deserves).

Rohit put some context onto the development of the products, some Business and some Technical. He explained that they had identified three waves of focus in each of these. The Business Context was Collaboration, Compliance, Content and IT. The Technical Context was Datacenter Architecture, Application Architecture, Web and UI and Endpoints. For each of these Contexts Rohit described how the world has evolved and what this means – so for example content has moved from paper digitisation, through word docs to rich and social media.

Rohit then introduced the new stack:

UI Layer – Modular User Interfaces

Composite Application Layer – Case based applications

Information Services Infrastructure – Cloud, Information Types

Interestingly Rohit mentioned that EMc want to provide the compliance layer for all information, and he touted the idea of using EMC as the Compliance tool for information such as Googledocs, I’ve mentioned in the past how Googledocs could do with this…didn’t think EMC could play in this area but nice idea.

Jeroen then took to the stage and said he wanted to give us a sneak preview of where they are heading, this was not intended to be a roadmap. Currently EMC provide a centralised architecture, they want to move away from this:

- to be the platform for hybrid cloud deployment;

I’ve heard cloud mentioned a few times at the conference and sometimes too many people think cloud is virtualisation, Jeroen was clear on this…it is more than that, and yes we need multi tenancy.

Xplore

Jeroen then gave a brief introduction on XPlore, GA on 1st November! He talked about the current architecture and how the new architecture is very similar and the existing XML extraction technology will be used as well as the existing DFTXML format. Interestingly XPlore has been built as a standalone search engine, it will not need Documentum to run. Lucene is heavily embedded into the architecture, but is deep within the architecture. For more info on XPlore Jeroen recommended one of the XPlore sessions.

UI

After a quick recap on the Centerstage architecture Jeroen confirmed that xCP 2.0 will be built on the RCMP model, however he did note that they will not forget their WDK users and will look to achieve backwards compatibility…although this will be a challenge. He talked about the performance challenges in Centerstage 1.0 but these have now been resolved. MediaWorkspace and Centerstage will in the future work on the same technology and with data tables now in Centerstage they will look to help customers migrate from eRoom to Centerstage. Basically it looks as though we will finally see a rationalisation of the user interfaces which EMC provide. The Long Term UI strategy is:

- Client – Native RIA

- Developer – Spring IDE (Eclipse)

- Admin – Hyperiv + vCenter

Jeroen then described the EMC Cloud Information Services Strategy, and for this cloud means:

- scale out;

- multi-tenancy;

- no 3rd Party SW components, yep thats right, no more reliance on Oracle or MS for the DB or on other vendors for the App Server…simplification and cost reduction, yay!

- no downtime;

- dynamic provisioning;

- virtualisation;

- billing & metering;

Unfortunately at this stage Jeroen had ran out of time, despite a whole host more material to cover, some things I picked up on were XACML in xDB11 and even more interesting is the end of the Content Server, it will be the Information Server in the future. If this means the ability to do true structured and unstructured in one repositoy with one set of policies to manage this…well that is exciting.

Overall this was an excellent session and for anyone who has worked with Documentum for a long time should be enough to give the taste of the future, and it sounds incredibly bright. I will do more to write my opinion on the session in coming days but its been a busy day and I still need to write up the morning keynote from Mark Lewis.  I won’t get all my write-ups done this week so some will need to wait, and I look forward to reading other people’s views on the conference. Day 2 is now done and I am pleased with what I have seen thus far. So in answer to the question posted here, the thing I most enjoyed about Momentum on Day 2, for me, was the passion and excitement which the EMC team demonstrated in their vision for the future of IIG and a realisation that there will be change, and it will be a change for the good. If EMC can demonstrate and maintain this passion while delivering these changes then as a partner I can help to get customers excited and help to get them investing in EMC solutions. Good stuff.

Momentum 2010 – Partner Day

So nearing the end of the first day of Momentum 2010, and apart from the heat in the conference centre its been a good day.

First up there was the chance to meet some old faces and encounter some new ones but we soon got cracking with the Partner conference. This was hosted by Mike Kan from EMC who introduced Mike David from Ovum who gave, a somewhat already convinced audience a presentation on what it takes for Information Intelligence to be derived from an organisations information assets.

Things really picked up when Chris McLoughlin took to the stage. Now James recently commented on Twitter that he had seen a change in EMC’s approach to partnering, the reason has been Chris. Chris is the VP for Partners and Channels Worldwide and his presentation demonstrated his determination to put Partners at the forefront of EMC’s plans for the next few years. Yes it will mean as Partners we will have our share of work to do but it should mean we get more support from EMC. One of the key messages he gave was that EMC need to move from selling IT to selling business solutions, something which I have been looking for for a while. He put up one slide which really summarised the current situation well:

- xCP is not currently broad enough;

- there is a lack of incentive for the EMC sales team to partner;

- there is too much conflict with EMC PS and partners;

- there is a lack of a proven methodology for working with partners;

- they need to improve their accreditation and certification programme.

A couple of other things which he mentioned of interest were:

- EMC will revitalise the Designed for EMC programme so solutions from partners can seek to attain that badge;

- technical support will provide a dedicated support person for new implementations (oh how we could have done with this one).

John  O Melia, head of EMC Consulting WW then took to the stage and gave a short presentation on how the EMC Professional Services group will help partners to work with them.

Finally, on the presentations front, Rana Ghosh Roy of BG Group talked about how they are using Documentum. Interesting for me as Rana recruited me into my current position before he moved on.

Finally there was a Panel discussion involving a number of EMC senior execs. Most of this was around partnering but there was one question around how EMC IIG will embrace the cloud which Jeetu Patel (CTO) answered. With this one response I started to see a vision for the future for EMC and started to see some real positive signs for the future. Jeetu talked about two things:

 

- cloud enabling the current EMC products, and this was from virtualisation through to multi tenancy;

- using the IIG products as the governance layer for an organisation’s information no matter where it is stored, on premise, private cloud or public cloud. Having one policy administration layer across all information;

I’m hoping there will be more on this vision as Jeetu’s answer, and the way he delivered was a taste of a bright future for EMC.

Overall the first day was interesting, with people like Chris McLoughlin, Fred Monjazeb and Jeetu Patel I see a new face for the EMC IIG group and a new direction which is promising. I am really hoping this morning’s keynote will reinforce this, I am still not sure who will be delivering it but EMC IIG have a chance to move forward this morning…lets hope they do that and do not look back.

Back to the Blog

I’ve been extremely quiet over the past few months in terms of my contribution to this blog but extremely busy in what I have been doing at work, plus there has been the small matter of 3 small children at home. I hope to get back to some posts and will start with my usual accounts of the EMC Momentum event, this year being held in Lisbon.

I’ll attempt to get posts up as soon as possible after the sessions but some will be delayed as my diary is already looking pretty full for the week with planned discussions on xCP and SharePoint/Documentum integration. Plus I am doing a presentation on the latter on the Wednesday.

I’m expecting a really interesting conference this year, and I think it is time for EMC to really start putting some weight behind some of their thinking around xCP and other product developments as well as giving us a vision which will provide a clear roadmap for the next 5 years in the face of some very stiff competition in the marketplace.

The news of the leadership change, announced on Thursday and commented on by Pie, will provide an interesting start to the conference, Mark is supposed to be delivering the keynote on the Tuesday but I would hope that this keynote now delivers a passing of the reins on to Rick and an opportunity for him to deliver his vision for EMC IIG.

Pie has set some very good rules on blogging at conferences and I will be sticking to these. Open presentations will be reported on, when I get chance to attend and write them up. Conversations that I have with individuals will not be commented unless I specifically ask the individuals concerned.

This is my 3rd Momentum conference and I’m delighted to be presenting this year. The bulk of the presentation was given earlier in the year at EMC World by a colleague of mine, Jon Ludwig, however we are adding to it with two topic areas. One will be a more in depth Case Study based on a project my team in the UK are delivering, the other will be based on an exciting announcement which will be released in the next 2 days. However it is the networking which is the real benefit of Momentum, hopefully this year will be as productive as the previous two.

The Fallout from EMC World

I’ve had a bit of time now to chew over some of the output from EMC World, and time to get these thoughts down. First things first, I was not in Boston so much of what I know is taken from people who were there rather than my own experience.

There were a number of announcements, directions given last week in Boston and the one which had the biggest reaction was Mark Lewis’ keynote. A number of people have already reflected on it including Pie and MacGirlSweden.

It wasn’t the rename of the group which has stoked the fires but the alignment of the core Documentum Content Server. It would appear that there is an absolute focus on Case Management through the xCP product range and that the Content Server is now within this family.

Its important to understand why this move has happened and there are a number of factors which lead to one. The emergence and growth of SharePoint 2010 and the emergence of open source Content Management are two key ones. I also think there is need to mention Google Apps and the probable increased usage of these in the near future. These have led to the commoditisation of Content Management and have removed a number of barriers to entry level content management. This makes it hard for a heavyweight product set to play in this space; lets not beat about the bush, implementing Documentum can be complex, just installation alone is not straightforward compared to the likes of SharePoint and this is one factor causing people to ask the question why.

There is no doubt Documentum needed to do something to set themselves apart, to really highlight the added value which the products they have can bring. In the past 18-24 months I have spent a bit of time looking at the OpenText product as a result of some growth we have had with that product in our company. The one thing which this has come across from this is the number of vertical solutions which the product is used in, just have a look at their website and you will see they advertise solutions for Plant and Facilities Management, Contracts Management, Accounts Payable etc… These solutions sell much easier than a strong Content Management platform. These solutions deliver value to organisations which is much more recognisable to the business, they want to buy a solution such as Capital Projects in Construction. EMC touched on these but they were never core to their business; they needed to change to bring this value into their product portfolio and to enable their sales people and their partners to sell solutions and not products.

So how have they done this, they have aligned very strongly behind Case Management and it would appear at the detriment of the core product. This is so wrong, for a number of reasons:

1. Case Management are not the only solutions which can be built on Documentum. Just looking at the ones above there is an argument for Accounts Payable and Contracts Management but is Plant and Facilities Management a type of Case Management solution;

2. Don’t forget the platform. Whilst the solutions are important it should not be at the detriment of your core. Talk it up, talk about the fantastic features which can be verticalised through the xCP platform…or which may not be. Documentum is a fantastic ECM platform and whilst it is not easy to sell such a thing there are still customers out there who want it;

So what does this mean for us the partners and for customers? I think for partners it will mean more work, more work to sell those non-case related solutions which can be built from Documentum and more work to sell the platform. Admittedly there will be some instances when it is easier to sell those case related solutions. For existing customers I think this means a worrying time as they grasp how non-xCP solutions will continue; having said that the customers should note that xCP as it is now is a collection of existing products and not much new so this may not be a worry. For new customers, well for some new customers this is a positive move as I can see a rise in business solutions which they can see the value in much easier. However for a large chunk of customers I think this could potentially alienate them, does it become so simple that if you’re not after Case Management you shouldn’t be looking at Documentum? I hope not as the product is too powerful for that.

So another worrying output from EMC World was the interview which Mark Lewis gave and which has been posted on Fierce Content Management. Whilst I fully agree with a lot of what Mark says, particularly about ECM becoming a capability such as databases, I have a couple of gripes:

1. It would appear that EMC have given up on those solutions which require Basic Content Services, the quote is “Our job should be not to win a race with Microsoft with entry-level features”. Fine and yes this is a hard battle to win, but what about those customers who want to go on a journey from basic featured to advanced. Do these customers not matter to EMC anymore? Getting a basic platform in and then exploiting it through product enrichment could be such a valuable revenue stream to EMC both now and in the future.

2. Cloud. Mark suggests this is not an area where EMC want to play. Sorry but for an organisation which is part of the VCE coalition this is remiss to say the least.  With the combination of VCE, RSA and Documentum, EMC have a platform which could have huge potential in the future. Okay so the article talks about this for Basic Content Services again but once customers have this content in the repository the opportunity to exploit it becomes so much clearer.

On the positive side from EMC World was the announcement on the tie up with Informatica. It may be early days here but I think there is a lot of potential in bringing the structured and unstructured world together. Ironically one of my concerns about using Documentum for Investigative Case Management is the need for a large degree of structured data, i.e. the POLE model (Person, Object, Location, Event). An innovative solution in the partnership with Informatica could really bring value here. Also on a positive note was the possibility of replacing the database which supports the Content Server with XDB, bringing the overall solution closer together under one vendor would no doubt drive down costs and complexity. Wonder if there is anything they could do around application servers?

As with people like Pie and Alexandra (macgirlsweden) I believe in the Documentum products. I think they have an excellent product suite and given the right direction it can continue to be so. As I say above a change was needed to try and demonstrate real business value to customers but this could be done a different way. Drop the Case Management message and promote xCP as configurable solutions, align these as either horizontal (i.e. cross industry) or vertical (industry specific). Push the value that these can bring to organisations and also reinforce that these solutions are built on an industrial strength ECM solution which can be leveraged in its own right.