Category Archives: Ecm

Check out my new blog about managing digital content

I started this blog 5 years ago mainly because it was an important tool to spread information about my own lifesituation to co-workers, friends and family. However, as many of you have noticed I also have a passion for technology in general and enterprise content management in particular. I have decided to split my blogs into two different ones. One where I continue to share experience from my daily life and another one where I discuss all things digital content. So if you feel you are more interested in technology, search, EMC Documentum and collaboration you should change links on your own pages to my new blog.

You will find it at: http://contentperspective.se

The Long Tail of Enterprise Content Management

Question: Can we expect a much larger amount of the available content to be consumed or used by at least a few people in the organisations?

Shifting focus from bestsellers to niche markets
In 2006 the editior-in-chief of Wired magazine Chris Andersson published his book called ”The Long Tail – Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More”. Maybe even the text printed on the top of the cover saying ”How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimted Demand” is the best summary of the book. This might have been said many times before but I felt a strong need to put my reflections into text after reading this book. It put a vital piece of the puzzle in place when seeing the connections to our efforts to implement Enterprise 2.0 within an ECM-context.

Basically Chris Andersson sets out to explain why companies like Amazon, Netflix, Apple iTunes and several others make a lot of money in selling small amounts of a very large set of products. It turns out that out of even millions of songs/books/movies nearly all of them are rented or bought at least once. What makes this possible is comprised out of these things:

Production is democratized which means that the tools and means to produce songs, books and movies is available to almost everybody at a relatively low lost.
– Demoractization of distribution where companies can broker large amount of digital content because there is a very low cost for having a large stock of digital content compared to real products on real shelves in real warehouses.
– Connecting supply and demand so that all this created content meets its potential buyers and the tools for that is search functions, rankings and collaborative reviews.

What this effectivly means is that the hit-culture where everything is focused on a small set of bestsellers is replaced with vast amounts of small niches. That has probably an effect of the society as a whole since the time where a significant amount of the population where exposed to the same thing at the same time is over. That is also reflected in the explosion of the number of specialised TV-channels and TV/video-on-demand services that lets views choose not only which show to watch but also when to watch it.

Early Knowledge Management and the rise of Web 2.0
Back in the late 90-ies Knowledge Management efforts thrived with great aspirations of taking a grip of the knowledge assets of companies and organisations. Although there are many views and definitions of Knowledge Management many of them focused on increasing the capture of knowledge and that the application of that captured knowledge would lead to better efficiency and better business. However, partly because of technical immaturity many of these projects did not reach its ambitous goals.

Five or six years later the landscape has changed completely on the web with the rise of Youtube, Flickr, Google, FaceBook and many other Web 2.0 services. They provided a radically lowered threshold to contribute information and the whole web changed from a focus on consuming information to producing and contributing information. This was in fact just democratization of production but in this case not only products to sell but information of all kind.

Using the large-scale hubs of Youtube, Flickr and Facebook the distribution aspect of the Long Tail was covered since all this new content also was spread in clever ways to friends in our networks or too niche ”consumers” finding info based on tagging and recommendations. Maybe the my friend network in Facebook in essence is a represention of a small niche market who is interested in following what I am contributing (doing).

Social media goes Enterprise
When this effect started spreading beyond the public internet into the corporate network the term Enterprise 2.0 was coined by Andrew McAfee. Inside the enterprise people where starting to share information on a much wider scale than before and in some aspects made the old KM-dreams finally come into being. This time not because of formal management plans but more based on social factors and networking that really inspired people to contribute.

From an Enterprise Content Management perspective this also means that if we can put all this social interaction and generated content on top of an ECM-infrastructure we can achieve far more than just supporting formal workflows, records management and retention demands. The ECM-repository has a possibility to become the backbone to provide all kind of captured knowledge within the enterprise.

The interesting question is if this also marks a cultural change in what types of information that people devoted their attention to. One could argue that traditional ECM-systems provide more of a limited ”hit-oriented” consumption of information. The abscense of good search interfaces, recommendation engines and collaboration probably left most of the information unseen.

Implications for Enterprise Content Management
The social features in Enterprise 2.0 changes all that. Suddenly the same effect on exposure can be seen on enterprise content just as we have seen it on consumer goods. There is no shortage of storage space today. The amount of objects stored is already large but will increase a lot since it is so much easier to contribute. Social features allows exposure of things that have linkages to interests, competencies and networks instead of what the management wants to push. People interested in learning have somewhere to go even for niche interests and those wanting to share can get affirmations when their content is read and commented by others even if it is a small number. Advanced searching and exploitation of social and content analytics can create personalised mashup portals and push notifcations of interesting conent or people.

Could this long tail effect possibly have a difference on the whole knowledge management perspective? This time not from the management aspect of it but rather the learning aspect of it. Can we expect a much larger amount of the available content to be consumed or used by at least a few people in the organisations? Large organisations have a fairly large number or roles and responsibilities to there must reasonably be a great difference in what information they need and with whom they need to share information with. The Long Tail effect in ECM-terms could be a way to illustrate how a much larger percentage of the enterprise content is used and reused. It is not necessarily so that more informtion is better but this can mean more of the right information to more of the right people. Add to that the creative effect of being constantly stimulated by ideas and reflections from others around you and it could be a winning concept.

Sources

Andersson, Chris, ”The Long Tail – Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More”, 2006
Koernan, Brendan I, ”Driven by Distraction – How Twitter and Facebook make us more productive workers” in Wired Magazine March 20

EMC World 2009: Enterprise Search Server (ESS)

To me one of the biggest news delivered during the conference was the new generation of Documentum full text indexing called the Enterprise Serch Server (ESS). This marks the first official message that EMC Documentum will move away from the OEM-version of FAST ESP which has been in use since Documentum 5.3 (2005). The inclusion of FAST back then meant that Documentum got a solution where metadata from the relational database where merged with text from the content file into an XML-file (FTXML) that could be queried using DQL. Before diving into the features of the new technology I guess everyone wonders about the reason for this decision. The main reasons are said to be:

  • Performance. 1 FAST Full-text node supports up to around 20 Million objects in the repository (some customers commented that their experience were closer to 10 M…) and it requires in memory indices. With Documentum installations containing Billions of objects that means 100+ nodes and that has been a hard sell in terms of hardware requirements.
  • Virtualisation. Apparently talks with Microsoft/FAST about the requirement on supportin all Documentum products on VMWare made no progress. This has been a customer demand for some time. MS/FAST cites intensive I/O-demands as a reason why they where not interested in certifying the full-text index on virtualisation.
  • NAS-support.
  • More flexible High Availability (HA) options. Today FAST can be clustered by adding new nodes which leads to a requirement of having the same amount of nodes for backup/high availability.

From a performance stand-point I personally think that the current implementation of FAST lead to slow end-user experience when searching in Documentum. One reason for this is that a search is first triggered to FAST which then delivers a search result set irrespective of my permissions. Instead the whole result set must be filtered by quering it towards the relational database. That takes time. This is also a reason why we have integrated an external search engone based on the more modern FAST ESP 5.x server with Security Access Module which means that acl:s are indexed and filtering can be done in one step when searching in the external FAST Search Front-end (SFE). More about how that is solved in ESS later on.

From a business perspective EMC outlines these challenges they see a need to satisfy:

  • End users expect Google/Yahoo search paradigms
  • IT-managers want low cost, scalable, ease of deployment and easy admininstration.
  • Requirements for large scale, distributed deployments with multiingual support.
  • Enterprise requirements such as low cost HA, backup/restore and SAN/NAS-suppprt.

New new ESS is based on the xDb technology coming from the aquisition of the company X-hive and leveraging the open source full-text indexing technology in the Lucene project. The goal for ESS is to leverage the existing open indexing architecture in Documentum. The idea is both to create a solution that really scales but of course with some trade-offs when it comes to space vs query performance.

ESS supports structured and unstructed search by leveraging best of breeed XML Database and XQuery Standards. It is designed for Enterprise readiness, scalabiity, ingestion throughput and high quality of search as core features. It also provides Advanced Data Management (enables control where placement of data on disk is done) functionality necessary for large scale systems. The intention is to give EMC to continue to develop and provide new search features and functionality required by their customer base.

It is architected for greater scalability and gives smaller footprint than current Full-Text Search as well as scale both horisontally (more nodes) as vertically (more servers on the same node). It is designed to support tens to hundreds of millions of objects per node.

This allows for solutions such as Archiving where there can be Billion+ emails/documents while preserving the high quality of search while still achieving scale. The query response time can be throttled up or down based on needs – priority can be shifted between indexing and quering.

The installation procedure is also simplified and EMC promises that a two node deployment can be up and running in less than 20 minutes. The solution is also designed to easily allow to add new nodes to an installation.

ESS is much more than a simple replacement of the full-text engne. It will focus on deliver these additional features compared to existing solutions:
– Low cost HA (n+1 Server based)
– Disaster Recovery
– Data Mangement
– VMWare Support
– NAS Support
– New Administration Framework

The new admin features includes a new ESS Admin interface which has a look and feel very similar to CenterStage. Since the intention is to support ESS on non-Documentum installation it is a separate web client. The framwoork also supports Web Services, Java API, JMX and it is open for administration using OpenView, Tivoli, MMC etc.

The server consists of:

  • ESS API
  • Indexing Services will have document batching capability, callback support for searchable indication and a Content Processing Pipeline with text extraction and linguistic analysis via CPS.
  • Search Services. This will provide search for meta-data, content or both (XQuery based) as well as multiple search options such as batching, spooling, filters, language, analyser etc. It will return results in a XML format and provides term highlight, summary and relevancy. The thread execution management support multi-query and parallell query. It also includes low level security filtering.
  • Content Processing Services is responsible for language detection, text extraction and linguistic analysis. The CPS can be local or remote (co-located with content for improved performance). It will have a pluggable architecture to support various analysers and/or text extractors. It will include out of the box support for Basis RLP and Apache SnowBall analysers. However only one analyser can be configured per ESS. (My question: Can I have different analysers on different nodes?). Content Processing can be extended by plugins.
  • Node and Data Management Services is the primary interface for all data and node management within ESS. It provides ability to control routing of documents and placements of collections and indices on disk. It deals with index management and supports bind, detach, attach, merge, freeze, read-only etc.
  • Analytics includes API’s and Data model for logging, metrics and auditing, ingestion and search analysis and facet computation services.
  • Admin Services. The example shown was really powerfull very an admin could view all searches made by a user by time and see what time it took to first result set. The one with a longer time could be explored by viewing the query to analyse why it took so long.

Below that the xDB can be found and in the botton the Lucene indices. The whole solution is 100% Java and xDb stores XML Documents in a Persistend DOM formats and support XQuery and XPath. Indices conists of a combination of native B-tree indices + Lucene. The xDb supports single and multi-node architecture and has support for multi-statement transactions and full ACID support. In additon it supports XQFT (see introduction it here) which is a proposed standard extension to XQuery which includes:

  • LQL via a full text entension
  • Logical full-text operator
  • Wildcard option
  • Anyall options
  • Positional filters
  • Score variables

ESS includes native security which means that security is replicated into the search server and security filtering is done on a low level in the xDb database. This means effective searches on large result sets and enables facet computation on entire result sets.

Native facet computation is a key feature in ESS which is of course linked to the new search interface in CenterStage which is based on facets in an iTunes-like interface. Facets are of course nothing new but it is good that EMC has finally realised that it is a powerful but still easy way to give users “advanced search”.

ESS Leverages a Distributed Content Architecture (for instance using BOCS) by only sendning the raw text (DFTXML) over the network instead of the binary file which can be very much larger in many cases (such as big PowerPoint files). ESS also utilizes the new Content Processing Services (CPS) as well as ACS.

The new solutions also makes it possible to do hot backups without taking the index server down before as it is today. Backup and restore can be done on a sub-index level. The new options for High Availability include:

  • Active/active shared data (the only one available for FAST)
  • Active/passive with clusters
  • N+1 Server based

Things I like to see but have not heard yet:

  • Word frequency analysis (word clouds based on document content)
  • Clustering and categorisation (maybe done by Content Intelligence Services)
  • Synonym management
  • Query-expansion management
  • How document similarity is handled by vector-space search (I guess done by Lucene?)
  • Boosting & Blocking of specific content connected to a query
  • Multiple search-views (different settings for synonyms, boost&blocking etc)
  • Visualisation of entity extraction and other annotations
  • Functionality or at least an API to manually edit entity extraction within the index. Semi-automatic solutions are the best.
  • Freshness management.
  • Speech-to-text integration (maybe from Audio/Video Transformation Services)

Personally I think this is a much needed move to really improve the internal search in Documentum and make much better use of the underlying information infrastructure in Documentum. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on Microsoft/FAST ambitions to support the Documentum connector. Maybe the remaining resources (no OEM to develop) can focus on bringing the connector from an old 5.3 API to a modern 6.5 API. I still see a need for utilising multiple search engines but as ESS gains more advanced features the rationale for an expensive external solution can change. The beta for Content Intelligence Studio will be one important step in outlining the overall enterprise search architecture for big ECM-solutions. In this lies of course tracking what Autonomy brings to market in the near future.

Another thing worth mentioning is that I during the past four conferences have heard quite a few complaints about the stability of the current FAST-based full-text index. It crashes/stops reguarly and often without letting anybody knowing it before users start complaing about strange search results.

A public beta will be released in Q3 2009 and customers are invited to participate. Participants will recieve a piece of hardware with the ESS pre-installed and pre-configured and after a few configuration changes in Content Server it should be up an running.

Customers will have the option of upgrading existing FAST full-text index  or run the new ESS side-by-side with FAST. ECM will also market ESS for non-Documentum solutions.

Be sure to also read Word of Pie’s notes as well as my previous notes from FAST Forward 09 around the future of FAST ESP.

EMC World 2009: Reflections from the Momentum conference

A very hectic week has passed by and EMC World 2009 is over. Just as I did last year I felt like reflecting a about the conference.

First of all many thanks to EMC for listening us and improving a lot of things from the last year. I have been to EMC World 07 and 08 and during both these occasions I felt a little lost as a Documentum customer among all these storage and virtualisation people. Back then I heard people referring with love to past Momentum conferences where the sense of community was there. In November 08 I had the chance to go to Momemtum in Prague as a speaker and it was actually a bit different from EMC World. Suddenly all the focus was on Documentum.

Things well done

So the establishment of a Content Management & Archiving (CMA) Community was just what we all needed. We all got yellow ribbons with text “Momentum” to attach to our badges which made us all much more visible to each other. We got all the sessions in the same area which meant no more running around and the chance to bump into people with those ribbons. Intead of having a very thick catalogue with all sessions merged together into a giant schedule we got our own CMA Show Guide which was really easy to use and made life much easier to me. Next to all the sessions we had a beautiful  Momentum Lounge which was manned all day around. You could even meet CMA executives for drinks after sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. It had nice sofas and chairs togeter with soft red lighting which made it quite cosy. In the solutions exhibitions all CMA Booths were gathered in the same area with a separate graphic profile then the rest of the EMC booths. Around the CMA booth you found all the CMA partners co-located. Finally we had our own CMA Party on Monday evening which was well attended as far I saw. In addition to that we finally seem to have a working online community both for Documentum and XML Technologies.

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There was also a great thing to create a Blogger’s lounge where all people who blogged and Twittered could register. Outside the lounge there was a large screen displaying what we all were saying more or less live. And the Vanilla Latte served there was a life saver! On Tuesday their Barista started making mine as soon as I passed the entrance 🙂 What a service! I think EMC actually made social media into a working business tool here. Really something to build on. If you have not done it search for #emcworld on Twitter to see what it was all about.

I attened one Product Advisory Forum (PAF) around the new Enterprise Search Server (ESS) and that was a great experience. Ed Bueche and Aamir Farooq did a great job to inspire great discussions between us customers and the engineering team. I attended PAFs in Prague as well and those were also a great part of the conference.

We had access to wireless internet all around the conference area and that is vital for a conference like this. Especially for us who Blog and Tweet!

Things to improve

First of all EMC is a company which has a payoff saying “Where Information Lives” and touts itself as an information infrastructure company. I assume that all means digital information and is it something we Documentum people care about then it is information management. Then it does make a lot of sense taking notes and searching the web on a laptop computer during sessions. After all we are IT-nerds 🙂 Please get us some rooms with sufficient number of power outlets!

Why not even extend it further and use your own technology to integrate Tweets, Blog posts with the conference schedule so we more or less can interact live around sessions. It would even make sense for me at least to being able to register that I am attending a conference (voluntary of course) using the online profile community that alre which would make it even easier

There seem to be fewer sessions in general and especially I believe the number of developer oriented ones have become significantly fewer. I am not a coder myself so I actually think it makes sense to have sessions focused on people writing code and other with different advancement levels for us focusing on architectures, features and business cases. Another thing I noted is that there are no call for papers to EMC World the same way it works for Momentum (Europe). I think use cases from customers are an important part of the conference and it would be great to find a way to get them back in.

Please also have a look at what Word of Pie had to say about this year’s conference.

See you next year in Boston!

EMC World 2009: What is new with Digital Asset Management

Media Work Space
Controlled release in June 30th targetted at internal use at EMC Marketing, General Availability will come later this year. Still licensed with DAM. The new release will support Images, Presentation, Audio and video.

It will introduce a new gridless view which lists all objects as list with columns for attributs. Gridless view also can can show thumbnails at the left end of each line. There will also be a storyboard view much like the one existing in today’s Digital Asset Manager.

MWS will now have support for comments – which can interact with CenterStage comments.

Personalised Dashboard include the following views:

  • QuickFlows
  • Most Popular Assets
  • Recently Viewed Assets
  • Recently Updated Assets

To met that looks like they have starting to think in terms of Information Analytics…There is now also a feature to show the accumulative rating among users.

They see a need for customisations and an SDK or similar will be released during 2009

The Inbox allows to open a quickflow which actually was really nice-looking with attached images as thumbnails below. Looked rather similar to an email message which is the right way to go I think.

QuickSearch now supports searching on any index data.

Advanced Search has a tab called General and then for Presenation, Video, Audio and Images which allows for a higher level restriction of search.
Search on properties for instances image with a certain pixels…

There is new Presentation slide view which looks way more flexible than current PowerPoint assembly. Looks actually like viewing/reviewing slides now can be done completely without opening the application.

The view below the preview of the slides has tabs for Metadata, Versions, Rendtions, Comments, Permission Relationships

Slides can be rated and metadata can be editied just by clicking in the fields.

Video view supports thumbnails but also preview of the video utilzing FlipFactory. Looked like the previewer was using Flash.

FileSharing Services, My Documentum and Documentum for Outlook will be merged into a new MyDocumentum product and then moved into the Knowledge Worker group. Documentum Connector for InDesign & Quark Xpress are also part of My Documentum but from a Digital Asset Management side of  the house.

Many companies have 3D-data which comes from different CA-systems. Therefore they have started to develop CAD Integration with in Documentum with support of Right Hemisphere Integration (press release) which supports viewing data from 80 CAD/PLM-systems.

The solutions allows customers to request and repurpose derivatives
Flat Iron Solutions have a demonstration in the exhibition area at EMC World 2009.

Content Transformation Services

There are mainly bug fixes and some Improvements on the performance for the OEM products they are using mainly on the image side of the house.

CTS now includes support for for Adobe CS3 & CS4
There is an SDK for CTS which can be used to handle custom encoders….from my point of view the obvious question is whether or not i make sense to develop support for GIS-formats?

The next release of MWS will probably be available in September 2009.

There is available technology in the the platform to support annotations on video files but not yet exposed.

Aility to show forms in a Flex environment is something they are working on and it seems fairly important especially for us who use both TaskSpace and DAM with Forms.

VISION
The main areas which they focus on are:

Web Experience Management
Customer Comms Management (build websites based on preferences)
Customer Intelligence Management
Marketing Process Management
Brand Management include:
– Presentation
– Video
– Image
– Collateral
– 3D Image
– Agency Collaboration

MidYear
– New version of Presentation Assembly

End of Year
– MWS Pro
– Integrated Collaboration and Publsihing
– Campaign Management
– Marketiing and Web Metrics Tracking
– KPI
– Rapid and Setup of Brand

D7 – 2010
– MWS Field Editin
– SalesForce integration
– Support of Personalised Customer

MWS Pro
– Different Libraries as Tabs

Q1 2010 MWS & DAM Sp3

Where the FAST Enterprise Search Platform (ESP) is going now…

I have spent the last week in Las Vegas attending the FAST Forward 09 conference. About a year ago the Norvegian company FAST Search & Transfer was acquired by Microsoft and like me customers all over the world wonder what would happen. Some thought it was great to have a huge company with its R&D resources to take the platform forward while others like me feared a technology transition which would include cancelling support for other operating systems and integration with nothing but Microsoft technology.

It was very clear that the Microsoft Marketing department had a lot to say about the conference and what messages that were to be conveyed. Somewhere behind all that you could still see some of the old FAST mentality but it was really toned down. To me the conference was about convincing existing customers that MS is committed to Enterprise Search and to give Sharepoint customers some idea of what Enterprise Search is all about.

It is clear that the product line is diversifying in a common Microsoft strategy:

Solutions for Internet Business

  • FAST Search for Internet Business
  • FAST Search for Sharepoint Internet sites
  • FAST AdMomentum
  • Solutions for Business Productivity

  • FAST Search for Sharepoint
  • FAST Search for Internal Application
  • FAST Search for Sharepoint won’t be available until Office Wave 14 (incl Sharepoint) will be released so in the meantime there will be a product called FAST ESP for Sharepoint that can be used today and will have a license migration path towards FAST Search for Sharepoint. That product will have product license of aroudn 25 000 USD and then additional Client Access License (CAL) will follow in a standrad MS manner.

    So what does all of this means for us who like to see FAST ESP continue as an enterprise component in a heterogenous environment? Well, MS has commited to 10 years of support for current customers, I guess in a gesture towards those who are worried. Over and over again I heard representatives talking about how important those high-end installations on other operating systems are. The same message appeared when it came to connectors and integration with Enterprise Content Management systems like EMC Documentum. Still, most if not all demos was connected to Sharepoint and/or other MS-specific technologies.

    The technical roadmap means that the past year has been devoted in rewriting their next generation search platform from Java to .Net. The first product that will be released is the Content Integration Studio (CIS) which consist of Visual Studio (I guess earlier in Eclipse) component and a server-side execution engine. This will only be available on Windows since it is deeply connected to the .Net-environment. It looks like a promising product with support for flows instead of linear pipeline to handle the processing of information before it is handed of to the index engine. CIS therefore sits in-front of FAST ESP and a combination of actions in flow and in old pipelines can be executed. Information from CIS is written to the ESP which then creates the index and also processes queries to it.

    What I think we can expect is that new innovation is focused on creating a modular architecture where CIS is the first one. Features in ESP will the be gradually reengineered in a .Net-environment and thus creating a common search platform some years into the future. It will likely mean that we will still see one or two upgrades to the core ESP as we know it today to enable it to function together with the new components. Content Fusion will most likely be the next module that will extend ESP but on a .Net-architecture.

    When it comes to the presentation logic where we today have the FAST Search Front-End (SFE) we will see them either as Web parts for Sharepoint or as AJAX Aerogel from MS. These are currently developed using Javascript but will include Silverlight later on.

    These will initially be offered in both a IIS and a Tomcat flavour and possibly others if there is demand. They will intitially integrated with ESP and Unity and thus opening up for a new approach of developing a search experience on top of them.

    I general I don’t like the Microsoft approach of insisting of owning the whole technology stack by themselves and refusing to invest in other standards-based projects. Instead of developing their own AJAX libraries they could have used ExtJS or even Google Web Toolkit. While it is not open source MS argues that it is a very Permissive licence from MS that has many of the same qualities. A good thing is that MS was comitted to make sure that this framework works on all major browsers including FireFox, Safari and Chrome. It is interoperable with JQuery.

    In summary I think it is kind of a mixed experience. The new features being developed are truly needed to make FAST keep being one of the most advanced search engines available. I think many of the features look really promising and I can’t wait to get my hands on then. On the other hand it is clear that things are going proprietary (FAST ESP had a lot of open source in it), it is being aligned in a Microsoft stack and thus gradually minimizing options. That includes how new technologies are being implemented (MS-ones instead of open source), what operating systems it will run on and how the support for developing presenation logics look like. It means I have to have people how know both Java and .Net, both Flash and Silverlight (possibly JavaFx) and both ExtJS/GWT and MS AJAX/Aerogel.

    We are deeply invested in the EMC Documentum Platform and would of course like to continue use ESP as a way to add advanced capabilities and performance to our architecture. However, I think I will over time get sick and tired on Microsoft sales people trying to convince me to use Sharepoint instead of Documentum. For anybody who know how both platform work it is almost a joke but I will most likely have to keep explaining and explaining. I just hope that we can have decent connector developed for Documentum.

    Too read more you can go to the FAST Forward Blog which has many interviews, look at videos at the Microsoft Press Room and check out the chatter on ffc09 tagged tweets on Twitter. An finally here is what CMS Watch has to say about it.

    Speaking at Momentum 08 in Prague on Tuesday

    I have arrived to Prague today to attend EMC’s Momentum 08 conference which focuses around their Documentum product line. I love travelling and especially flying and have no problem at all spending time at big international airports. However, being by yourself in big towns when heading for a dinner is not always that nice. However, now I am having a great time after a warm bath and lying in my bathrobe watching BBC World and using my computer.

    On Tuesday at 0945 I will be speaking at the conference. My session in the Software Development Track is called “Active Knowledge Management using Documentum D6.5”. The full description looks like this:

    The Swedish Armed Forces uses EMC Documentum D6.5 at the Joint Concepts Development and Experimentation Centre to develop staff procedures for a next-generation operational HQ. Based on the knowledge support concept, a customized EMC Documentum solution, using multiple user interfaces to access all kinds of digital content, has been developed.

    My presentation will cover our workflow implementation using TaskSpace and BAM, our customized relationship object, graphical visualization of relationship and our integration with external search engines and GIS-systems. It will be interesting to get some reactions to our concept and how we make use of the Documentum platform. I hope for reactions not only from EMC employees but also from other big customers.

    Download the full conference programme

    Reflections from a busy week

    For the third year in a row I have the busiest week of the year when we are conducting what we call an “Experiment” at work. What it means is that we bring real people in to work according to the outlines in the concept we are developing. It is as interesting as it sometimes is tiresome. Since I am more or less the “mum” of the design of our information technology platform I struggle hard to make it work as much as I have previously “advertised” to my colleagues and participants. This year I think we have made a really interesting (and cool) integration of Documentum 6.5, a 4D-database tool called Beata (space+time), FAST ESP 5.2, IBM Lotus SameTime 8.0.1, Carmenta Server and the portal based on InfoGlue.

    This week meant luckily that I could stay at a hotel in Enköping so I did not have to drive two hours back and forth each day. Since the traditional Viking-exercise was going on at the same time in Enköping there where a lot of military officers from other countries staying at the hotel. I wrote about my experiences at at a previous exercise before and this time it was nothing like that at all. I could wear my nice blue uniform with a skirt which makes me feel both pretty and comfortable. I was together with a colleague more or less in control of all that happened and the experiment participants have been really nice. However, at the hotel I had somewhat of a deja vu some mornings. Maybe it was my uniform or the sounds of my heels, I don’t know but with all these mostly male officers from all over the world I felt so stared at that it became uncomfortable at times. During the evenings when we usually had some food in the bar it felt much better, maybe because I was sitting with somebody all the time. I told a friend of mine about it and he just told me that they were only looking because I was so good-looking. Hmm…I like to believe that but there is that something in people’s eyes that says something. Maybe it is because I am a female officer – I know other women in the Armed Forces have told me similar stories.

    First impressions of Documentum Digital Asset Manager 6.5

    Before going on my planned sick-leave I played around with DAM 6.5 for a while. I will try to summarize a few reflections I have on this brand new release.

    Good things
    The interface have got yet another refresh but rather small modifications that I guess I won’t even notice in a couple of weeks. The biggest change is that some functions have got modal windows meaning that when you click on properties you no longer see the big full screen page but instead a new browser window that allows you to see where you where when you clicked. A great improvement I think. The import/export/check-in process also has small modal windows with a nice looking update progress bar.

    A thing that I just love is the new clusters/facets features which appears when performing a search. Your results can then be drilldowned based on user, topic, date and so forth. Will improve findability hugely. We had these installed in D6 SP0 but they did not work then and seem to be connected more closely to ECI Services back then.

    In general the interface is prettier and looks more distinct and modern. The icons have been slightly improved as well.
    Another small improvement is that attributes which have both value assistance (dropdowns) but also allows entering of an own value now have the correct width.

    I guess it is not really connected to this upgrade but I finally manage to find how one creates Presets (rules) for specific folders and users which was great. Look at the three structure in DA – not in the menu.

    Bad things
    The left tree structure has been cleaned up with clearer icons and the update is based on AJAX (or should see bad below). This works fine in Documentum Administrator 6.5 but for some reason they seemed to have missed something in compiling DAM because there is small refresh anyway when you click on a folder. Our partner suggest that they simply have inherited from the wrong WDK-class.

    Another interesting thing is that some features that are highly marketed at EMC World are turned off by default in the configuration files. Those include Deep Export and OLE-linking support (resolving links in Office documents and imports associated files if desired). That is rather strange I think since those are really handy features. The OLE-linking can also be toggled on/off in Preferences. The effect of that is that there was no folder export available at all which is fairly strange. We also had some issues with getting import of more than two folders working.

    We also have a an irritating issue around thumbnails. It seems that those can not be created for PDF-files at all which also means no storyboarding. When reading through the release notes this is noted as a known bug and it seems that despite our bug report from earlier this year nothing has been done to fix it. From a usability standpoint that is not so good.

    EMC Documentum CenterStage

    If you haven’t done it already I recommend a look at the site for the beta of EMC Documentum’s new web client called CenterStage. This modern Web 2.0 client has earlier been called both Magellan and IntelliSpace but EMC now seem to have settled on the name CenterStage. It is kind of funny because I associate CenterStage with a TV application for Mac OS X which is found at the CenterStage Project site. Anyway it is interesting to see how the interfaces and feature looks for the free CenterStage Essentials (included in any Content Server license) and the paid version called CenterStage Pro. I have long waited to for a good application that both can do “Facebook for the Enterprise” while still having all the features of an advanced and full-fledged Enterprise Content Management platform. This seem to be a big step towards that. The key thing is to be able to collaborate both around content (documents etc) but also around people, groups and projects. Although there are good collaboration platforms out there such as Clearspace which has some basic integration with Documentum it is still creating a lot of duplicate information in separate “stove-pipes”. I want the content objects found in the Clearspace platform stored in Documentum but this is not the case today. What we are looking at is being able to search Documentum content from Clearspace for the immediate future.

    Again, back to Centerstage I believe it will provide a lot of organisations with a client that will be a lot more intuitive and useful out of the box than we have ever seen from Documentum before. This is thanks to an ambitions usability project run by Gideon Ansell in the Documentum User experience group. However, after having had a looked at the project release matrix found in the beta community it looks like the beta of CenterStage essentials will not have enough features to be the flexible collaboration client I need. Those features will be added later on this year. We just have to wait for the full CenterStage Pro version I think. I also hope that the few missing pieces like a full fledged personal profile, expert location and integration with external presence/Instant Messaging systems will be on the schedule for the next update of it.

    This week I will be able to play with the Documentum 6.5 release for the first time since it is being installed by our Documentum partners at work. I especially look forward to see the new Digital Asset Manager (DAM) 6.5 client and TaskSpace 6.5. I also hope that I can get some further information about what release of the embedded FAST InStream Search engine is used in this release.