Tag Archives: ECM

Enterprise Content Management

Content-enabled applications empathized

Laurence Hart was kind enough to pick-up my previous post on content-enabled applications and add his thoughts to the subject, especially concerning the role CMIS can play.

From my first post: Content-enabled applications should facilitate the convergence of content, collaboration, interaction, and process.

I agree with Laurence (aka JaneDoePie) that content is an enabler, not the center. All content-enabled applications “should be shaped to work with and enhance the process the users use to perform their work.”

Laurence offers case management as his favorite, generic content-enabled application in order to further ground the point that success is determined by the combination of content, user experience (interaction, more than just UI, IMHO) and process (e.g. collaborative workflow).

I’m in the middle of reading Subject To Change, and already I’ve found its message highly relevant to the subject of content-enabled applications. For example, the book focuses on experience strategy and how to develop organizational empathy where the target users of your products or services are concerned. Specifically, in the case of case management, the book would argue that you, as case management application architect/designer, need to actually observe case workers in their native setting to appreciate how case management really works (or doesn’t). Go beyond theory and someone else’s analysis. Experience business activity firsthand in order to model reality into your solution.

Recently as part of the Case Management Solution Framework xCelerated Composition Platform (xCP) released for D6.5 SP1, a sample application for grants management was shipped that illustrates how Process Suite components can be used to build case-based, content-enabled applications. You can download this package from Powerlink (authentication required). The easiest way to run this sample application is to install it using the express installer, which will install all the right components (with their compatible versions) and the DAR file. You can also download the express installer from Powerlink (authentication required).Please see the update below for the correct link.

A goal of a solution framework is to make it easier to build content-enabled applications such as those for case management. A solution framework should allow you to invest more time in becoming empathic in order to ship solutions that resonate well with your users and drive more efficient business as a result.

In this response, I wanted to focus on empathy’s role. Separately, I plan to pick up the CMIS angle raised by Laurence. Thanks in advance for joining our discussion online…

Update 5/1/2009: A PM colleague pointed out to me that the link to the “one click” installer that takes one from state “zero” (i.e. Windows but not database) to state “ready for proof of concept” is as follows: https://emc.subscribenet.com/control/dctm/download?element=2193203 (authentication required). Cheers!

First 100K concurrent user ECM benchmark

Earlier today, EMC formally announced the results of its significant Enterprise Content Management benchmark with Microsoft and HP.

The newly released study is one of the largest-ever benchmarks in the ECM industry, demonstrating 100,000 [concurrent] users of Documentum 6.5 [SP1] engaging in a variety of content management-related transactions and sustaining that workload over the course of a 12-hour workday. Transactions included the most common content management activities.

Here’s a picture of the EMC-HP-Microsoft team:

EMC-HP-MSFT benchmark team

From left to right:

  • Surdeep Sharma – Microsoft SQL Server Premier Field Engineer
  • Pat Kirby – EMC Documentum Performance Engineer
  • Vishnu Badikol – EMC Documentum Performance Engineer
  • Joseph Isenhour – Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center Program Manager
  • Gordon Newman – EMC Documentum Sr. Manager Performance Engineering
  • Gunter Zink (photographer hence not pictured) – HP Integrity Superdome Engineering Group Manager

Here’s another picture that I copied from Gordon showing Pat and Vishnu working with a type of “geek heaven” (i.e. a view of PerfMon on a 64-core machine :-) ):

What a 64-core PerfMon UI looks like

I encourage you to listen to my colleagues Gordon, Pat and Vishnu talk about their experiences configuring and running this benchmark via this video. While you’re watching the video, download the attached joint whitepaper, summary and detailed results, too.

Of course, EMC isn’t resting on its laurels here. In fact, we’re already working to address lessons learned from this benchmark, which will result in even greater scalability. Kudos to my Performance Engineering colleagues!

Update 5/27/2009: The benchmark FAQ is now available here.

Building content-enabled applications

Both Pie and Marko have blogged about content-enabled applications, or what Gartner calls CEVAs (content-enabled vertical applications).

As it so happens, I’ll be presenting there will be a session on this subject next month at EMC World 2009.

Based on my research of what folks label a content-enabled application, two things rise to the top: process (surrounding content) and subject matter expertise (individual or group surrounding process), and context. OK, three things.

For example, Forrester defines content-centric applications as “solutions that put the business’ content to use, and add context along the way–to support line-of-business needs.” Example solutions include customer self-service, claims processing, proposal management, contract management, and case management.

Other CEVA vendors argue that content-enabled applications are process-oriented, not content-centric. I tend to prefer this viewpoint. A claim is valueless in itself. Only once is claim is processed is value realized, including taking a future liability off the books.

Content-enabled applications should facilitate the convergence of content, collaboration, interaction, and process.

Before you leverage your content in an application to generate value, ask yourself few questions:

  • Who uses the content? Why? How?
  • What processes does the content support?
  • If I’m not a subject matter expert for this type of content, who can I involve to design a better application experience?
  • What processes does it support?
  • What context is involved, either centrally or peripherally?

Start with something familiar to just about anyone these days: email (or IM, micro-blogging, etc.). Answer the questions. See how applications, for example, around email have evolved. Think about where current email applications may have untapped potential. Etc.

So, where have all the CEVAs gone (as Marko asks)?

  • I think that we in the content management business do ourselves a disservice by overly complicating concepts (e.g. behind TLAs or FLAs). Although fine as a conceptual catalyst, CEVA is self-defeating, IMHO, as a rallying label.
  • I agree that CMIS has great potential to increase the availability of content-enabled applications, if for no other reason, because application development that consumes the proposed standard should have a greater return on investment by being applicable to multiple content repositories. (ECM vendor partners are you listening?)
  • In the end, it’s the application, not the content or the process or the people. That is, if you’re just adding a document and perhaps a workflow to some code, you may have an app…but it won’t be used. Focus on user experience (i.e. the meaningful, intuitive presentation of content, context and process together).

Back to EMC World…          Orlando, FL - May17-21

I’ll miss interacting with ‘Zilla at the conference. It was at EMC World in 2007 (also held in Orlando, FL) that I first met Mark in person.

If you are able to make the conference and consider yourself to be a “2.0 type,” you may be interested in Len’s advert. Looks like there is even a LinkedIn event established for the conference.

I plan to tweet the conference and otherwise engage with the community. In the meantime, if you plan to attend my session (as presented by others), please feel free to comment (here or ECN) on your thoughts about content-enabled applications and what you’d like discussed or demoed. Thanks in advance.


Earlier today, John Newton posted a nice summary of what the OASIS CMIS Technical Committee (TC) accomplished this Monday through Wednesday. Anyone interested in the CMIS progress will want to read John’s post.

Earlier this week, EMC released its second Early Access bits that support both bindings in the current draft specification.

It was great to spend time focusing on technical issues and discussing proposals to resolve them. Sometimes there simply isn’t a substitute for working with others in the same room! It was also nice to catch up with prior colleagues–John and Dave Caruana–and establish new report with others in the Enterprise Content Management industry.

In particular, I appreciate the effort made by TC’ers from EMC and IBM to get our bits–both REST and SOAP–interoperating together. We did make demonstrable progress–however difficult the technical environment (i.e. lack of viable network onsite) proved to be. (I’ll post my WCF test client (CMIS WSDL endpoint consumer) separately.)

(By the way, if you ever test MTOM content transfer while outputting messages to a console window, think twice about logging all HTTP traffic. I think that folks in the lobby of building 40 thought my laptop was a bomb when I rushed to leave the TC meeting after I couldn’t get my computer alarm to silence or stop–until a hard power-down action was applied. :-) )

Update 1/31/2009: Thanks to Dennis Hamilton, here is a group photo of those physically present at the TC meeting:

090128 OASIS CMIS TC group photo