Sitting in a plane going back home after four long days of bathing in the Documentum information, discussion and fun I’m ready to make up a final view of the vision of the IIG team the challenges and opportunitees I see and whatever more was there.
First of, I have to thank the EMC and IIG marketing teams for organizing a very good venue. Overall all went more than smooze and only getting in and out of ballroom A with 12.000 people demanded a little patience. The party at TAO and the Imaging Dragons are not easily forgotten.
The fact that (almost) all sessions for us Documentum geeks were on one level, the perfectly located Momentum lounge in the middle and the seperated area in the solution pavilon made it almost as the Core freaks were not there :-).
Now about the content.
Before the conference there was a lot of talk about potetial major announcements about selling IIG or moving it with an other subsidary (Pivotal). But I have to say in all the discussions I had with IIG management there was no mention, referal or any unease about this statement . So CMSWire sorry but not at this conference.
What was good about this statement is the fact that we had to look at Pivotal and think about the added value of IIG within the whole of EMC.
My personal opinion is that EMC cannot do without IIG. EMC is still seen as a thoughleader in the Information Management space and althou the revenue of IIG is not to compare with EMC Core, the added value of this intellectual property (enterprise content management) is still enormously valued. If EMC did not have software tools like Documentum, Pivotal and VMWare the fact that they have a vision on the total Information Lifecycle will be much less interesting to the rest of the world.
From Pivotal I have seen a lot of cool stuff. They real are creating a base for the new ‘big data’ solutions of the future. Cloud Foundry is the base for the public cloud offering of IIG, based on the new Documentum platform with Greenplum. That total package is the perfect offering for a real business ‘big data’ solutions and having this will take Pivotal out of the IT only discussion where they now reside in. In the ‘Area 53’ session they showed a mobile app. It was a great app, but with Pivotal only they will miss out of a lot of needed core functionality available in Greenplum, Documentum, Captiva and DocScie. Pivotal had a booth in the Core section of the solution pavilon. Seeing the questions they got, a lot of focus for them is still on the base technical trick instead of the real business solution that they are able to offer.
When a real enterprise looks at added value, the fact that EMC has the fastest most secure flash disks (DSSD) is of no interest at all to the business managers. For the IT department and the overall budget this is great but it does not solve any business challenge. To get the interest of the business decision makers EMC needs IIG. In that fun demo at Area 53 they showed the added value of EMC at a insureance company. But the real added value was not the technical trick of Pivotal, but the ability to get all case related information In Context and give all parties involved (including the client) real-time acces to view and update any piece of information. This is only possible for EMC if they have a total solution.
Looking at the NextGen platform. (Oh no, I cannot call it that anymore… The 2de platform will not go away, so this is the 3de platform and based on the Information Server) anyway, this public cloud offering is realy based on all the good stuff EMC software (and subsidairies) have to offer. This together with a lot of open source sofware makes this the perfect solution for EMC and EMC only to show real Information Management in action. And that is what all business decision makers are waiting for to see.
Now all the cool stuff from IIG. Ofcourse I need to start with the aPaaS. This is really becoming a shot in the bullseye. As said in the previous you see that this is as a real multi-tenant public cloud solution should be. Jeroen van Rotterdam got a lot of laughs when he said Documentum was not ready for the public cloud, but I hope the people that where laughing will make there appologies to Jeroen. Looking at this he knew as one of the few in the whole industry that a real public cloud offering is something totally different than a 2de platform in the cloud. The whole architect team took a long time to define the perfect set of modules that combine a whole public cloud solution and in my discussion with Mister Viltard (with a D at the end :-)) he explained to me that this platform is not an ECM soley platform. This is real Information Management. As I’m not to old to learn I can only agree with him! The solution looks great but will need to prove itself in real life and the first version might still miss some mandatory ECM functions (I can understand you cannot build it al in a day). The solution design is based on the xCP Designer. A perfect choise but they need to make sure you are able to use the basic page design functionality of xCP. The current idea is to give only the ReST API to create your own interface based on tools like AgularJS and Bootstrap. Great tools but composition of only the model is not enough. Page composition is equally important in the current world. After I have some more time to investigate all the details of this holy grail I will make a seperate blog out of it.
Now moving to the other super star within IIG: xCP 2.1. As in my previous blog the new features of this composition platform are great, but having seen the easy of development using ReST it has an extra option for the BYOD lovers of this world. I invision a great xCP solution were most of the work is done via the normal xCP interface but for specific tasks a custom mobile interface can be build. I think that somewhere in the future the development of these mobile solutions as part of the Designer interface (maybe not for the i.. devices in this world as Apple is still difficult to allow development on a other platform). It should not be so difficult to create an extra tab in the Designer that allows you to define specific mobile pages based on AngulaJS and Bootstrap.
The biggest challenge using xCP from a design perspective is not about how to create the solution, but is about what strategy I will choose composing the solution. With the new page fragements, type fragements, all event handeling and the old stateless processes and business objects the number of potential ways to compose the solution are enormous. I have already seen some competitors make realy stupid choises that will have a great impact on future composition and flexibility. I think there is a challenge for the training department of IIG to come up with a good design pattern course for xCP solution. (They know where to find me:-))
The products, the important new aspects of IIG: Healthcare/Pharma and Engineering. Both have now multiple solutions available and a large group of clients using the products.
Important comment: none of the clients I spoke complained about the long development/implementation process for their solution. This used to be the No1 complained about Documentum and that was completely gone. Not that there was nothing else to complain, but he, you always need something to complain. The Healthcare solution that was demoed during the keynote was impressive. With xCP in the center of all information this solution combines information from multiple information source including all different medical system and showed them all in one central interface, both via desktop as via iPad. A perfect solution for all doctors of the new normal.
For Phama and Engineering the new ‘Express’ versions are coming this year. Both based on the private cloud offering of EMC (OnDemand), but with a pay per usage model, they will give the mid-market in both area’s a perfect opportunitee to get access to the rich functionality of a Documentum vertical solution for a limited price. Specifically the TCO for these companies will be interesting as the support of these type of products is often for the mid-market an expensive investment. As a large part of the customization and all configuration is still possible, this gives them a great ROI.
I have already mentioned it in my other blog but I cannot emphasize enough that for engineering it is not acceptable that Capital Projects is still based on Webtop. In the mid-market the competition is often a small local vendor that has created a new siloed tool for an specific customer in the past 6-12 month. This always mean that it looks nice. It might have a lot less functionality but it will look so modern and that is what always sells very good! So mister mcLaughlin, please give this a high priority as it will give an easy ROI.
An other challenge is the solutions based on D2. As the business often demands that the solution is customized to fulfill the compliancy demands there will be changes in the configuration files of D2. Once you deploy a new version of D2 and a new version of the solution these customizations are gone and need to be manually redone. Not the best approach! This is already known with Engineering but is not solved yet.
There was more news about other modules like Captiva and D2. Captiva has a new mobile API. It will give a lot of potential for real end-user app’s like scanning via a smartphone.
D2 is always a problem for me. I do not like a configuration tool that is based on only a matrix structure as this will always become way to complex when solution become big, but now looking at the stories in the keynotes and the aPaaS solutions, D2 has within IIG also lost focus compared to xCP. With the new functions (page fragments and seamless editing) all extra functions that were there in D2, are now also available in xCP and all business logic is in xCP where it should be: on the serverside not in the interface! My opinion is that D2 should be the interface for the Pharma client (very specific Document management demands) and maybe some other verticals, and thus only sold when buying specific vertical solutions from IIG, but xCP should be the standard and primary interface for Documentum. Clients who do not buy a vertical solutions of IIG should ready think twice (or three or four times) before choosing D2 over xCP.
Last but not least InfoArchive. The new cashcow from IIG, or so they make you believe. An easy solution to get rid of legacy application/ECM systems and a perfect tool to move to the cloud. It sounds all great but I need to investigate this way more.
All in all a great Momentum this year where IIG again has shown that it is the absolute thoughleader in the ECM space and the IIG management team has restructured the team to be able to put the right people on the right functions and so make sure the money, speed and focus is where it should be. The main challenges are:
– Fulfill the promise of the great aPaaS solution somewhere this year
– Page composition in aPaaS
– Full Processing capabilities in the aPaaS
– Page composition in aPaaS
– Capital project with xCP21
– Design paterns for xCP
– Adative business rules engine in xCP
– Problem with new version of products based on D2
– Connecting SharePoint to all products. (But we will help IIG with that)