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.

EMC Momentum 2009 – Summary

So its nearly a week since the event in Athens closed and I’ve had enough time to gather my thoughts, and write up some of the sessions, so it is time to summarise the 3 days which I spent there.

To put the conference into perspective I think we need to understand the market and past 12 months of EMC CM&A.

ECM Market

SharePoint continues to be the young pretender breaking into the market. They have no doubt increased their market share in the past 12 months, no figures to back this up unfortunately, and the release of SharePoint 2010 will be a major milestone in the marketplace in the next 12 months as it increases its DM and EDRM functionality. IBM and FileNet continue to be a confused product and player in the market, the traditional strength of BPM in the product is diluted by the integration into IBM and the Process Server product. OpenText remain strong and their relationship with SAP will see them continue to play strong in this area, whilst some of their SharePoint and Microsoft products are attractive. Their big strength though is their solution focus and they are very good at going to market with solutions which focus on business value. Adobe are making a strong play in the market with their forms product and the tie up with Alfresco is certainly interesting. The Open Source market will continue to grow.

Where does this leave EMC CM&A?

I believe they are still strong, going into Athens I believed they were in a strong position, coming out I believe the steps they are taking will ensure they remain a leader.

Momentum Summary

The messages I came away from Momentum with were the three new groups within CM&A:

- Information Governance

- Information Access

- Process

Of the three I see Process as being the one which can lead EMC to success, with Governance not being far behind. Why?

Information Access – of the three groups I believe this one will be impacted most by SharePoint 2010. Organisations will become less likely to look to another product to manage their documents when SharePoint can be considered good enough. When it comes to collaboration SharePoint is strong, no doubt about that, yes it has flaws but it is a product which does a job well. At Momentum 2008 EMC’s message was all about Centerstage; this year I did not get much of a feel for that (although I did spend more time on xCP sessions). Plus Centerstage has been delayed a number of times, I just think it will be a hard sell to push this as a Collaboration play within an organisation who are remotely interested in SharePoint.

Information Governance – the acquisition of Kazeon could be key to the success of this group. EMC can now deliver a compelling message about managing records in-situ, finding information to assist in meeting compliance needs and also about moving information to the appropriate storage tier. eDiscovery has been banded around in the market a lot in the past 2 years but I see this becoming more and more prevalent as organisations begin to act on the risk threats they perceive.

Process – as I said above, this one caught my eye the most. I went into the conference unconvinced about xCP, and to be honest version 1.0 is still nothing more than a collection of products, no matter what the marketing hype. However the ambitions which EMC have for this could really start to drive some opportunities. As I said above OpenText are very good at selling business solutions, the xCP programme where partners and EMC develop business solutions together, will put EMC in a position to challenge OpenText on a level playing field, except the BPM capability of Documentum is greater than that of OpenText. Also by moving the xCP platform onto the Centerstage paradigm it will enable more composite solutions to be built as this is much more aligned with Portals. From personal experience the ability to show Documentum information/content alongside other important information is something customers do wish for and the solution until now has been to bespoke this using a Portal solution or something similar. Also by improving some of the underlying architecture to support things such as relational objects will make developing these applications so much easier and instead allow us as SI’s to focus on the business value of the solution rather than how we relate a vehicle to a claim.

 

Was it worth attending the event?

Yes, definitely. Again this was an excellent networking event and I have made a number of contacts which I will work with over the coming weeks and months. Its also nice to catch up with some old faces such as Andrew, it would be great if Pie could find his way to europe one year although it could be said that I need to get stateside at some time. There is a lot more which goes on at these events than the presentations and these sometime become as important as the session. I enjoyed the news on xCP and will just have to be patient for this to be realised, if EMC can execute the plans in this area successfully, and importantly, in a timely fashion then I can see the product set breaking out of the pure EDRM mould and starting to play in areas of business where they have sometimes struggled.

EMC Momentum 2009 – Keynote

Whitney introduced the keynote, reinforcing the theme of ‘Inspired by the past…Primed for the future’, before handing the reins to Mark Lewis.

Mark set the tone by reinforcing that the future is bright for EMC CM&A. He quoted an example of his personal experience of visiting a doctor and having to complete the same details multiple times. He then talked about Business Value, and the need and desire for EMC to drive Business Value. He then introduced the three pillars of the strategy for EMC CM&A:

- Value. Covered by Access and Process.

- Efficiency. Covered by Governance, Access and Process.

- Compliance. Covered by Governance and Access.

He also talked about a move from Application Centric to Information Centric, and a move from Static Placement to Dynamic Movement, see my earlier post on the Future of ECM to see my views on this.

Back to the earlier themes of Governance, Access and Process. Mark introduced these as the three main product groups in CM&A.

Governance

These are the products covering Archiving, EDRM and Search/eDiscovery.

Access

The theme of this group is having it your way and includes the stages of Capture, Communication, Collaboration, Context and Cloud.

Process

This is about building the custom solutions, interestingly Mark talked about Content Enabled Applications, note no Vertical in the title. This is where xCP fits in, Mark described it as the Case Process Platform. He claimed this is the first for the industry, I’m not sure this is true but it could be a major step forward for EMC.

 

Mark then handed over to John O’Melia who conducted an interview with the CIO of Eurobank, but the main chunk of the session was Mark’s message. Mark’s message was clear and the alignment of the products was clear. He showed a lot of belief in the future and especially in xCP, I left the session needing to find out more about how XCP was going to be executed.

EMC Momentum 2009 – Day 1 Part 2

Following lunch there was an opportunity for Partners to decide to attend a technical session or a business session, based on discussions with colleagues of mine I attended the business session and I was pleasantly surprised. First up was a session on Public Sector. This focussed on the high expectations of our customers which sometimes work against the budgets which they have to deliver against these expectations.

Then we came back to the xCP subject. I admit to being, shall I say, reserved about the value of xCP but this session crystalised in my mind how this will work for EMC, for their partners and their customers. For some time now it has been a common criticism of the EMC CM&A products that they provide an excellent platform for building solutions but the cost, effort and time involved in building these is greater than their competitors. This is clearly their move to resolve this, the points which resonated with me were the following moves:

Technical –> Business

Tactical –> Strategy

Project –> Programme

In summary, it is about putting the product closer to the business value which customers are focussed on.

To bring this through to the message on xCP we then had a presentation on an ECM Roadmap Strategy (ERS) which reinforced the need to answer three pivotal questions:

- Why are you doing it?

- What does success look like?

- How are you going to get there?

In general this was a good, knowledgeable description of the concept of the journey customers need to take; although the journey when it came to systems development looked altogether too much like waterfall for my liking, but that could just have been the slides!

 

We then had a presentation about how EMC Professional Services are trialling the xCP programme and how solutions can be taken by partners through this to achieve a solution which can be repeatable and saleable. Again building on the earlier messages about business value this is very much XCP as a solution platform rather than Documentum as a technical platform. Something which I had perhaps overlooked was on the theme of xCelerators, the key components of the xCP platform; the message here was very much that the xCelerators need not just be code, they can be other artifacts too including Best Practice guides and Sample Applications. Whilst I agree with this point I think it is important that the xCelerators do involve a level of components which can be taken by customers and partners and deployed, with some configuration, to meet their specific needs. This was one of my concerns about the current xCP release but I believe that things are moving in the right direction.

So how do these solutions get built, well here’s the neat thing from EMC perspectives, they are proposing to build these as joint ventures with their partners. Partners need to take the propositions to EMC who will then churn out a more packaged, repeatable solution which can be applied to other similar customers. In principle this is a great idea but I also understand the potential problems where Partners may be reluctant to release IP into the wider Partner world. Also, as mentioned in the session, there is a need to put in place a commercial and ongoing support model which meets the needs of all the stakeholders, most importantly the customers.

Overall I came away from the session better informed about the direction of xCP and reassured that there is recognition within EMC of where they are on the journey and the work they need to do to progress this further.

Day 1 done and dusted on the sessions and this was a much better organised Partner day than last year in Prague. So far, so good and now a time to take a walk round the Exhibition and meet some old, and new, friends.

Momentum 2009

Its Saturday night and everything is just about packed for the trip to Athens for EMC Momentum 2009. It will be a long today tomorrow to get there, leave the house at 8:45 and arrive in the hotel around 19:00, so hopefully the sessions will be worth it.

I’m going to attempt to write as many posts and tweets as possible in the next week, some posts will need to wait until the week after and some things will just get missed as I have a lot of things lined up in the next few days outside the actual sessions.

I’ll try and get notes up quickly in the day or so afterwards and then post something more reflective later on. I won’t be posting things which are told to me in confidence but will just comment on the public aspects of the conference.

Keep coming back for updates during the week and do not forget to visit me at twitter.com/leecsmith.