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.