EMC World 2009 – Marketing Teams Get Some Attention

EMC World 2009 – Day 3 Recap and Day 4 Plans

Today was WCM/DAM day for me here at EMC World. I attended two WCM-related sessions and spent some time down in the Exhibition Hall with the DAM team. Overall, what I learned is good news for marketing teams.

EMC is targeting marketing teams by investing in two of its solution suites: the Web Content Management suite of products and the Digital Asset Management suite of products. The biggest investment, and the most impressive results, seem to have come on the DAM side with big improvements to Media Workspace, EMC’s next generation DAM client.

Media Workspace was released last year as a simple client for image browsing and annotation. Developed using the FLEX platform, Media Workspace provided a glimpse into EMC’s future direction in rich web-based clients with a Web 2.0 feel. We evaluated Media Workspace earlier this year, and frankly, it left us scratching our heads. The product didn’t seem complete – it had a very limited set of features, and we couldn’t think of a single real-world scenario where Media Workspace was a better choice than Digital Asset Manager.

Well, I’m happy to report that all that has changed. In my opinion, the previous version of Media Workspace was released a bit prematurely, but the new version that I saw today looks a thousand times better.

The new version of Media Workspace is a fairly full-featured DAM client. In addition to supporting images (as the previous version did), this version also supports video. It has support for workflows, collections, thumbnails, transformations, ratings, annotations, and all the expected library services (checkin/checkout). I can see how a marketing team could use the product to handle most of their digital asset management use cases, and I think the product really shines if you are managing video. There’s even a built-in video viewer so that you can preview a video before downloading the high-res rendition. The overall user interface is improved as well – this version seems a little more polished than the previous version, and I was told that this is one of the advantages of using FLEX – it’s easier to update the user interface than it has been with WDK.

So what will become of Digital Asset Manager? It is still required for all the DAM-related administrative use cases, such as setting up transformation rules, and there are probably some power-user use cases where DAM is better than Media Workspace. But it appears that EMC’s vision is that most marketing users will spend their time in Media Workspace.

The Web Content Management products have seen similar improvements. EMC is releasing a new version of the Contributor UI, a simple client aimed at content authors and reviewers. Like Media Workspace, the new Contributor UI has been developed using the FLEX framework and has a completely new user experience and look and feel. This is a brand new application. Pagebuilder has also seen improvements, and there’s a new FLEX-based Web Publisher Editor. The Web Publisher Editor is the form that authors fill out to create a piece of content. It’s previously been a Java Applet, and many people find it difficult to use. The new editor has two interesting new features:

  • A template form can now have multiple tabs, so that instead of the super long form that was required in previous versions, developers can group form fields together on tabs, giving a sort of wizard-like authoring experience. One big advantage of this is that if your page is laid out in “blocks”, you can group all the fields for one of those blocks together on their own tab.
  • A template form can now be laid out horizontally as well as vertically. This means that you can have fields side by side, saving space over the previous version that forced fields to be stacked on top of each other in an endless list.

You’ll be able to call the new editor from within the new Contributor UI, the standard Web Publisher client, and Pagebuilder. All this will be available in version 6.5 SP3, which is scheduled for Q1 2010.

Other improvements have been made to the WCM Edition’s publishing capabilities. Site Caching Services (SCS) and Site Delivery Services (SDS) have been renamed and enhanced. The new product, called Interactive Delivery Services (IDS), includes an XML datastore in addition to the relational database that SCS has always provided. Based on the X-Hive product acquired in 2007, this XML datastore provides new options for delivering content to your web properties. Another new feature of IDS is the ability to take user-generated content from your web site (such as ratings or comments) and ingest them back into the Documentum repository. This is done by first writing them into IDS which will then write them into Documentum.

Perhaps the most anticipated improvement that comes with IDS is a completely new architecture for delivering content to a cluster of web servers. SDS has given administrators fits for years, and I can already hear people rejoicing that there is a replacement.

Tomorrow, I’m planning on attending these sessions:

  • WEDNESDAY 8:00 – Beyond EMC Documentum 6.5 – A Product Roadmap
  • WEDNESDAY 9:30 – EMC Documentum CenterStage – A Technical Review
  • WEDNESDAY 11:00 – Best Practices for Moving WDK Customizations to EMC Documentum CenterStage and/or Next-Generation Documentum
  • WEDNESDAY 2:45 – Smarten Up Your Content with EMC Documentum XML
  • WEDNESDAY 4:15 – Best Practices for EMC Documentum xDB and XML Dynamic Delivery Services

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