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.

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 – xCP Configure not Code

One of the goals I had in Athens was to be convinced about xCP. So far some of the messages I had heard up until the Tuesday afternoon had been positive and I was keen to attend a session about xCP to get more info.

This was being presented by Dan Ciruli the Principal Product Manager for xCP; there does seem to be a large number of people involved in the Product Management for xCP, it did confuse me a little.

Dan started by talking about why xCP is so different and although he did not say it directly the message I got was that it is not that different but an evolution or a change of perspective. There was then some talk about the justification of Case Management as the right direction for EMC to take; I’m already sold on this one.

Dan then went through the products which make up the xCP platform and touched on each briefly.

So what differentiates xCP from the crowd, these are the claims:

- Fully integrated solution from Capture, Process, Dispostion and including Reporting;

- Speed to development is 50% quicker (I’d like someone to back this up with facts, given that xCP is not a new product this does some like a bit of a stretch);

- Agile and Flexible; Easy to Build = Easy to Change.

Finally, and this is the best bit, Dan talked about the future of xCP and gave some ideas about xCP 2.0. There will be two point releases of xCP next year followed by the next major release in 2011 along with D7.

xCP 2.0 will be based on a number of things including:

- Extended Case Capability;

- Improved App Development;

- Vastly improved user experience;

Now my notes started to suffer a bit as Dan unveiled a lot of planned features including more use of Smart Containers, the ability to model relationship between objects, better roles, inherited properties, automatic document generation, increased collaboration and integrated capture. He also unveiled that they would be looking at a single integrated development environment. The new products, including the point releases, will be much more services focussed with proposed support for CMIS in 1.5.

Finally Dan showed a screenshot of xCP 2.0. This is clearly based on the CenterStage UI experience and looked extremely powerful. The screenshot was of a Claims based xCP implementation where claim details were displayed alongside a widget which showed the location of the incident via Google Maps.

All in all this was a presentation which covered a lot of existing ground in the first part but then the last 2-3 slides on the roadmap of xCP and planned features was where things took off. They really gave a flavour of how powerful xCP could become, and yes I was convinced.

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.