Momenum 2012

I can’t believe it is Momentum Europe again. Here’s my teaser video.

I’m presenting the Documentum architecture direction on Wednesday and the closing key note on Thursday showing what’s in the lab and what will drive innovation within IIG. Don’t be distracted by Marketing making me wear a white lab coat. After all it’s all about the content…..

This quarter we are delivering new products across the organization, a phenomenal achievement by the product organization. The biggest simultaneous launch in the history of IIG with a very consistent strategy over the last few years focusing on pervasive governance, the new user, business transformation and the cloud.

I’m particular excited about the new capabilities in xCP, D2, Content Server, Syncplicity and Captiva.

Currently we are accelerating our journey to the public cloud and our solutions strategy in key vertical markets.  It’s easy to say that the future is bright however today the sun is shining in Vienna with all the new goodies we are announcing this week.

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EMC World: What Was I Thinking…..

In a brain dead moment several months back I decided to do a slew of live demos at EMC World.  Inspired by the “no-ppt” movement you see these days I thought it would be way more interesting to demo some of our advanced developments.

The IIG Momentum organization embraced this initiative and signed me up for the following sessions:

Mon 10:00-11:00 EMC Documentum Architecture Overview
Tues 3:00 – 3:30 Buzz Talk: Livestreamed Q&A -Outside Bloggers Lounge
Wed 8:30-9:30 The Innovation Engine
Wed 1:30-2:30 EMC Documentum Architecture Overview
Wed 4:15-5:15 Next Generation Information Server Demo Session
Thu 10:00-11:00 The Innovation Engine

I don’t know who said that “real men do live demos on stage”, but there is a reason why there aren’t that many real men.

Here are a few lessons I’m learning as I’m writing this:

  • Demonstrations of Advanced Development projects are guaranteed to fail
  • The number of demos you can show in an hour is limited by the startup time of a virtual machine
  • It is not a good idea to run virtual machines inside a virtual machine
  • You cannot extend the memory of a macbook air
  • Running many virtual machines will exceed the memory of a macbook air
  • The more time pressure you have the longer it takes to order new hardware
  • The chance of receiving a laptop in the right configuration is highly correlated with time pressure in a negative sense.
  • Virtual machines are big and when you give many demos then you will exceed your hard disk capacity of your laptop
  • You cannot beat the sneaker net for transporting large virtual machines across the world.
  • Nobody test demos without an internet connection
  • Demos fail without an internet connection
  • You should create recordings as a backup for your demos
  • Advanced demos will never be done in time to do recordings.

Anyway, it’s going to be an interesting EMC World for me and if I succeed I will definitely show you some fireworks.

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Enterprise Social

At my technical plenary at Momentum Berlin I spent a bit of time talking/thinking about the impact of social media tools for the enterprise. I also announced that we are working on a prototype to integrate SocialCast into our clients such as the D2 product.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with SocialCast, it is sometime defined as the twitter for the enterprise and it offers the ability to push content to an activity stream. End-users can then subscribe to an activity stream and see the content popup.

It’s interesting to see how we can use enterprise social tools to improve efficiency. Just pushing content to an end-user has limited value in my opinion. I’m personally overloaded with push content called email and  I can hardly keep up with the volumes. The last thing I want is to stare at an activity stream all day to see whether something interesting pops up. That said activity streams can help knowledge workers to collaborate a lot if we give it some smarts.

An important aspect of that is to place the activity stream in the right context. A context might be an activity I’m working on, a document, a container for content, a user and so on. SocialCast allows you to integrate in your user interface where you simply show a particular stream for such a given static context.

That is far from good enough in our opinion because we want the activity stream to be smart. A user’s context is far from static and within an ECM environment we know quite a bit of the end-user. The activity stream should  therefore not only show content that is relevant for the static context, it should filter content that is relevant for my dynamic context as well. As shown in Berlin we developed a  recommendation engine that monitors end-users behavior to determine a dynamic context for the end user. This dynamic context depends on my activities and interaction with the system.

Filtering content in activity stream is only part of the fun. It will interactively give me the right information for my context. However in an enterprise social environment you typically want to take some sort of business action based on information. In the prototype we therefore give you the ability to e.g. kick off a workflow from an activity in the activity stream. The type of actions I like to take from an activity stream highly depend on the content as well as the static and dynamic context of the end-user.

I expect to go that route where we will analyze the content to extract entities from the content offering actions based on these entities and the user context.

Let’s have a look at an example.

Assume that I’m a business analyst of a venture capitalist, and the organization asks a team of business analysts like me to evaluate a potential acquisition target. To do that I will logon to the ECM system and will open up a collection of documents related to this acquisition target.

That activity immediately changes my static context. The system now knows that I’m interested in this company. Based on that either the system could ask me several questions about my objective refining the static context I’m in or it could monitor content I’m viewing to learn my objectives and define a dynamic context.

Since I’m working with a team in a given context the system will show me an activity stream in the User Interface where team members can post their findings of this company. Now let’s assume that I’m in charge of evaluating the technology of that company. For the moment I’m totally not interested in the financial aspects of the acquisition target. If other business analysts post messages to the activity stream then the system knows their static and dynamic context as well. It could therefore classify activities posted in the activity stream and filter out messages that are irrelevant for my objectives.

It could also enable actions from within the activity stream that are relevant for my context and objectives. Let’s assume a colleague business analyst posts the following message:

“seems like the company is using the XYZ open source technology which is based on Java, see http://company/blogentry”

From that I could kick off a workflow to investigate the open source license terms by our corporate lawyers.

The above example is purely illustrational but it shows how enterprise social tools in an enterprise context are different from classic old school social tools. By understanding the user’s objectives, the context and the content in the system social tools can become a real useful tool rather than a bulldozer of low value information trying to steal your valuable time.

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Top 5 IT Surprises of 2012

Below are a few IT surprises that might happen in 2012.

Knowledge worker productivity drops due to mobile adoption

In 2012 there will be a dip in productivity for knowledge workers due to increased mobile usage. Mobile applications are simply not mature enough to add enough value to the knowledge worker. However knowledge workers massively increase usage of mobile devices. This will lead to a temporary drop in productivity resolved in 2013 when mobile apps mature. Continue reading

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Top 5 ECM trends in 2012

1.  Enterprise social matures

Enterprise Social will become an important aspect for Enterprise Content Management solutions in 2012. Enterprise Social is currently in its infancy and poorly defined. It is very naïve to think that social tools will be the same in an enterprise environment and I expect lots of innovation in 2012 around social tools in an enterprise context. Let me illustrate this by a few examples; “Friends” and “Activity Streams”. All social tools focused on consumers have a concept of friends and circles of friends. Most of them support capturing activity streams like Twitter or some sort of integration with Twitter.

The traditional consumer oriented services like Friends and Activity Streams have little or no value in an enterprise context we should rethink the concept. The “Friends” concept in an enterprise context is diverse and you need different services associated with it. Continue reading

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Next Generation Information Server: Traits Explained

The Next Generation Information Server is being built around the concept of data model composition through so called Traits.  This video explains the base principles of Traits.

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Never Carry a Laptop Again

Here’s a sneak preview of the laptop of the future!

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