A somber week in retrospect…

The week did certainly not start in a good mood but it got somewhat better. Not on Wednesday though when my technical project leader asked for the evaluation report and I explain why I had not been my usual ambitious me lately. He told me he felt sorry for me but could not help himself to twist the knife a little bit although with a warm smile: “Alexandra…and she was a system architect and all…”. Fortunately our physical training officer had a planned a common activity for all of us in the afternoon, bowling. I was a bit hesitant at first but when I was there and started scoring it felt great to focus my mind on something else. Had another “first time experience” again. When I lifted the rather heavy ball I noticed that my breasts became more apparent than usual. Not that it was a real problem but it was just that the feeling of bowling just got a little bit different. Could not help smiling a bit but I decided not to share the excitement with my colleagues 🙂

I was also saved by work that afternoon when I was called in to prepare a document for a meeting one of my colleagues could not attend. I was very energized by the whole thing and managed to bury myself totally in work that evening. The next day I attended the meeting and got tremendous feedback which felt good. After all this was the subject area I have been working with for the last years and it felt great to get some really positive feedback on that from the top management. Tried to take in that feeling as much as possible and it seemed to work. This Friday I had an appointment for diathermy again and as usual it took almost 3 and half hours from start to end. Managed to to some work before and after but I think it deserved to have some time off after my earlier late night work. Even though I was completely exhausted I had a chance to get some company from Mikael at Espresso House and later Martin for a nice dinner in Vasastan. It is so nice to spend the night having dinner with friends. Ended up chatting a little bit in the evening and was called both wise and funny. Tried really hard to believe that.

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.

Wonderful workmates…

Earlier today I got a phone call from a flower shop telling me there were flowers waiting for me. I was of course a little bit curious who had sent them to me and had a few options. A few minutes ago I got them from the delivery guy and it turned out to be from my collegues at work. This is so sweet, thank you so much! They are really beautiful! It really means a lot to me since I guess I am the only woman in the Swedish Armed Forces (as I know of at least) who have a transsexual background. Having this kind of support is just wonderful and means more than you think. I guess this also makes it one of the more public breast augmentation surgeries since most women tend to try to hide those things 🙂

Flowers from work

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.

Surgery on August 18th

Today I finally got the envelope from the Karolinska Hospital telling me that I have got a date for my breast augmentation surgery. It will be on Monday August 18th. After the surgery I will on a sick-leave for around 2 weeks. It fits perfectly in my schedule (after EuroPride and before work sort of) so that feels great. I am on vacation until August 11 and then I will go on a business trip to the UK again. Hmm…hope we will have great weather in the beginning of September and maybe I will be able to wear my new bikini even though I might not be allowed to have a bath so early. Anyway, if nothing goes wrong this will be my final surgery.

I will be a speaker at Momentum 08 in Prague

This weekend I got a nice surprise in an email from EMC which confirmed that my speaking proposal had been accepted. So now I guess I will be going to Momentum 08 Prague as a speaker! It feels great and I look forward to it a lot. Unfortunately it is in the middle of a very important week at work but I got confirmation from my commanding officer today that I can at least fly down for the day to give the speech and possibly also check out the other sessions that day. My sessions is entitled “Active Knowledge Management using Documentum D6” and will be focusing on how we use Documentum as a foundation to work proactively to support end users in finding, organizing and utilizing their information in a military HQ. Fortunately it looks like we are going to do another major step in taking our platform forward and that will not only include a very early upgrade to D6.5 but I will also get my data-deduplication feature 🙂 It sure will be an interestung autumn.

A great trip to Malvern, UK

Today I got home from a business trip to Malvern in the United Kingdom. It was a great trip and the adventure started at Heathrow Airport. I boldly told my commanding officer that I liked to try driving on the “wrong” side so I got registrered as an additonal driver on our rented cars. He also decided to pay a little more (of his own money) to upgrade the car and I did not really got what car it turned out to be. Until we arrived at the Hertz parking lot and found the car – a large Mercedes SUV! So here I was switching from driving a Mini Cooper S to a huge car and on the left side to add. I took it very careful when I left the parking lot and it felt rather weird. Not to mention handling the round-abouts where everything seemed to spin in the wrong direction. However, after a little focusing it turned out ok and soon I was driving fast on the highway westwards.

Anyway we arrived there safely and settled in our rooms at the lovely hotel called The Abbey. Nowadays I am not at all nervous traveling abroad but I must confess that this business meeting was making me just that. We were scheduled to meet ex-military people and of course I was worried that they wouldn’t be as open-minded about me as I wanted. On top of that I was scheduled to give a speech for them as well. I had my nice Karen Millen outfit on and actually almost forgot my nervousness after a short while. I was really prepped for my speech and felt very engaged and energetic when I was talking. It looked like the UK people were both interested and seem to like what I was saying and afterwards I got praise both my Swedish team and the UK one.

In the evening they had made reservations at a local pub and I must confess I was a little worried about that too. You never know what happens when there is alcohol around. However, it turned out to be the best evening out for a long time. I actually managed to enjoy myself all the time and the UK people were just great and treated my like a lady 🙂 It felt just wonderful to engage in vivid discussions in English and just be myself. To me that is a big thing because ten years ago I would have been almost scared in an environment like that. That IS progress.

Visa större karta

EMC World 2008 Reflections

This was a great conference I think which does not mean that things can’t be improved but let me come to that later on. I like the fact that the conference is very technical because it gives me a way to find out what can be done with this large toolbox that Documentum is. I found most more business-oriented presentations to superficial and the key point of all of them is usually reduced to: save money, do things faster, do things more efficiently and sell more stuff. All of which is pretty self-evident. I think it is great to have the ability to meet the product managers and ask those tricky questions that you have collected during the year. EMC also seem to be a fairly open company so roadmaps are frequently presented and discussion.

So how do I feel about Documentum now then. To sum it up: Finally, they understand the importance of sleek, nice and usable user interfaces. I have heard many saying that Documentum is a great platform but with rather crappy user interfaces. Now that is definately going away. It was so great to see the new Magellan interface which actually addresses many of the real capabilities that modern so called Knowledge Workers need. The MediaWorkSpace application which soon will have DAM capabilities is even cooler. A lot of the design is also inspired from a great company in Cupertino, California called Apple. MediaWorkSpace almost feel like a server-based version of iPhoto sometimes. Everything is getting service oriented which is just great for the integration efforts we all have. WebTop/DAM is also getting a visual overhaul which makes them on par with what you can see in Alfresco for instance. TaskSpace is getting even cooler in 6.5 and the configuration of the interface can almost be called easy now. So Documentum is definately looking better than ever now.

What can be improved then (and here I agree with Word of Pie a lot):
– Strengthen the Documentum (CMA) community by having all of us wear the yellow tag so we know who we can talk to about these things because the 6000 storage nerds does not seem to be interested at all in software.
– Move all the sessions into one area with a soft hang-out area in between.
– Previous year they apparently had something called “Meet the speakers” and that seem like a great event.
– I would like to have more focus in the sessions on particular products so you can plan for getting updates on all the ones you are using. I would for instance have liked a designated one about the DAM client. Combined them if necessary but state explicitly which products that are covered.
– More plugs for my laptop powercord. After all this is an IT-conference I really like to take notes on my computer. Even with double batteries for my PowerBook it is hard to last from 8.30 am to 6.15 pm.
– Bigger screens. Some rooms are huge and it is real hard to read the presentations from the back.
– Why not record at least the CMA sessions on video. After all EMC is all about digital content and it could be a nice show case of the rich media capabilities.
– Case studies are better than overview sessions. Always to hear more concrete experiences from customers.

Next year it is in Orlando. Maybe I am giving a speech then 🙂

Other EMC World 2008 references

I love air conditioning systems but they once again seem to have given me cold so I am sneezing and coughing all the time and use aspirin (Alvedon in Swedish) to get along. It is a bit sad since I just love being here at the conference.

Another reflection is that conferences like this involves a lot of walking. These three days I have been walking around 5 km a day at least. Actually more than I walk a normal work day 🙂

Met Laurence from Word of Pie the other day and he has been writing excellent notes from other sessions that I recommend reading:

EMC World 2008: ECM Shared Services in the real world
Random thoughs and Keynote
EMC World 2008: Documentum Performance, Scalability, and Sizing – Part 2
EMC World 2008: Introduction to EMC’s Next-Generation Knowledge Worker Client
EMC World 2008: Web 2.0 and Interactive Content Management
EMC World 2008: Documentum Foundation Services (DFS) – Best Practices and Real World Examples
EMC World 2008: Social Computing Meets R&D
Thoughts on EMC World 2008 and the ECM Professional
EMC World 2008: Best Practices for Designing and Deploying an Enterprise Document Capture Solution
EMC World 2008: Documentum Architecture Deep Dive