fbpx

The Future of Web Content Management: Andy Simmons and Greg Dierickse

Download the Audio Interview (17MBytes)

Andy Simmons:

I’m Andy Simmons, I’m the General Manager for the Web Content Products, and that gives me responsibility for PNL of the product line and I have product marketing, product management, and engineering reporting to me.

Greg Dierickse:
Hi, I’m Greg Dierickse and I am the Marketing Manager for Web Content Management at EMC Documentum and I report to Andy Simmons as the overall general manager of the product business unit.

Blue Fish:
For folks that might be new to Documentum, [or] WCM, people traditionally think of it as it relates to Documentum. They think of Web Publisher but it’s a lot more than Web Publisher – so if you could just walk people through the whole WCM stack.

Andy Simmons:
Do you want to do that?

Greg Dierickse:
Sure. Our Web Content Management solution has really been built off of the core Documentum, so if we kind of start at the very fundamental. We are taking advantage of the Documentum repository and all of the good content management services. What we uniquely do is we build a client or an application which we call Web Publisher. This is a user interface to be able to create management published content out to your websites. A second critical component of publishing content is delivery – so what that is, is we have a set of content services called site delivery services which rides above the cashing of content and also the deployment which is the management of the server environment [or] the server farms, to deliver and publish content out to multi-channels. It could be websites which are traditionally apt-server or web-server to portals and also finally [it could be] new mediums like mobile devices and so forth.

Blue Fish:
Great. So, in Barcelona, we interviewed Howard Shao, CEO and founder of Documentum. He talked a lot about new technologies that he felt would impact the whole field of content management. He mentioned things like wikis and other things like RSS and opera and things that are built around more community type forums that feed content like feed systems. In the WCM space, are there things [like] technologies or movements within the net community that are impacting your strategic roadmaps – whether it relates to either offering or workflow, or anything that relates to publishing or offering content on the web?

Andy Simmons:
With respect to those technologies?

Blue Fish:
Either – he had just mentioned those as an example but just talking about the fact that you (have) a lot of emerging technologies, especially recently, that are changing the whole face of the game.

Andy Simmons:
This could take the whole time.

Blue Fish:
Sure.

Andy Simmons:
Let’s try to cut to some of the key things. Let’s talk about some of the things that you mentioned like blogs, wikis, syndication feeds. What we’ve done very well is the architecture for Web Publisher and Web Content Management is based on the XML – so, even with the product that’s shipping today – supporting our assess feeds is fairly easy to do, it isn’t out of the box. (Basically), you can take the content – define the right kind of XSL transformation against it, and support transforming that content into the format that’s required by syndication feeds, and the pieces that are missing is how you deploy it to a syndication server and automating that – although some customers have done that on their own. [Next is] the mechanism for automating the up-data-vac, the pieces are there – but we just haven’t provided the sort of out-of-the-box wizards and glue if you will, but it’s not that hard to assemble that kind of solution. With respect to wiki’s, one thing we’ll be talking about more and more is our portal builder which has just entered QA and is scheduled to be delivered and available in December of this year. There are several templates for the portlet builder – it’s a wysiwyg that lets you navigate the repository and generate a JSR-168 compliant portlet. One of the things that we’re looking at doing that we will introduce later on would be another template that would support a way for a portal user to interact with a wiki-syle portlet based on a new template that we would produce [which] would allow [others] to add annotations or comments to content – and then maybe eventually bring that back into the content management system. There’s a little bit that you need to do by way of cashing – especially if you have a large user base. (That’s what) we’re looking at solving right now, but the ultimate goal would be to have a wiki-type of façade, that would work against the Documentum platform. So, that’s something that you could expect to see in the next year or so and I expect before we get it out some customers will figure out how to do it because again, the basic parts are all there, it’s just a matter of adding some of the glue code and some of the automation around the development and deployment of those kinds of applications. We do have a lot of customers who have been asking about some of our assess fees. Syndication seems to be something that a lot of customers are very interested in [having us] provide. So the idea is they could syndicate content from the repository or content from the repository and external sources (and) we will probably have some more automation around next year as well. As far as other trends we’re seeing, we’re seeing more and more people becoming interested in and [who] are likely to respond to at the end of next year or so, or the next couple of leases, – things like dynamic support to provide a personalized capability for the customers of our customers. [For example], if you want to produce a portal or website that can tailor the content to a specific user based on their profile or their LDAT profile, and essentially assemble a page on the fly – that’s another area that we see a lot of interest in.

Blue Fish:
That’s on your whole thing as self service?

Andy Simmons:
Exactly.

Blue Fish:
Your presentation in Barcelona.

Andy Simmons:
Exactly right. And you’ll see some interesting things. We’re going to dissect iTunes a little during our presentation tomorrow – talk about what they’ve done well, what they could be doing more, and how web content management could help facilitate that in future releases – so that’s going to be a fun presentation. [However], around the idea, like your saying, around self service portals, custom content based on the users credentials or profile information – and the idea is we support that again, right now, but not out of the box, some assembly is required. The idea is that it’s currently a vested breed solution – so you might use IBM’s portal, their personalization engine, or BEA’s personalization engine – and they have a whole developmental environment around those server technologies. We would then produce the content and provide the elements [for you] that would be assembled by the personalization engine. What we need to be able to support going down the road is more automation so a non-programmer – and that’s one of our theme’s moving forward [as well as] another trend, another segway – the original thought behind Web Publisher is that IT developers, programmers, web developers, people who were literate in HTML, XML – what we’re seeing is a new trend is that more and more content contributors who are not programmers, who do not have programming skills – definitely want to have a say, or in fact, be the person who defines the look and feel of the website and the usual organization of the website, need to be empowered so they can assemble not just the content – not just create the content, but assemble the content into web pages, websites and portals. So that’s a major theme – that’s our big push for the beginning of next year, the releases in December [as well as] the releases in the first quarter, to address that, to make it easier for someone who doesn’t have programming skills – to actually be able to not just create content, but assemble it into a page and into a site.

Blue Fish:
So would they necessarily still use Web Publisher for that?

Andy Simmons:
Oh yes.

Blue Fish:
Because remember – one of the things you talked about at Barcelona was that you wanted to provide people with the ability to author content and put things into a repository from anything, right? Not just Web Publisher but from everything from a location to wear a device to a form to even another systems tool that might generate some XML. So from your standpoint, is the strategy for the WCM stack still tied to Web Publisher or is it going to be more accommodating moving forward?

Andy Simmons:
The way I would maybe restate your question is: the strategy is to have [the stack] tied to the platform and as we broaden the platform services and the theme we had in five 3-RAM unification, (you’ll) have things like ECI that lets you search out other sources and support for web services – both in publishing a web service (and) consuming a web service. Those are the kinds of things that we’ll be exploiting, so, the idea (is) [not only] using things that are in the repository but also things that are out of a virtual repository are things that again, we’re hearing the customers want us to be able to support. You’ll see them being produced over the next year or so.

Blue Fish:
Okay, okay.

Greg Dierickse:
And just to add (to) that – it almost plays into the whole kind of fundamental architecture we have, so again, built on the repository and all of the content services, we have an application and Web Publisher [that] is that application, so from that context, it’s natural that we actually evolve that application and build in some new paradigms to manage or create content and of course, the newer ones are more round, enabling a content provider to become almost like a site developer. You start bringing more and more development like tools into a publisher so that they will have that context to be able to build in how the content is actually displayed, where it is displayed, [and] some of the personalization rules or business logic that you want to have. Fundamentally circa 1999 through 2004, the big mantra used to be: separate content from layout and really enable the publishing process. All of that stuff is still true and works very well today but what we really see is when people are building next generation websites (lines) of Business Manager – the knowledge worker wants to have greater control and context [for] exactly how that lays out so now the next mantra is about providing the content – providing the ability to have context.

Blue Fish:
That might be a good segway – when you talk about control – so one of the themes on the Documentum website, and [an] emerging theme in the general industry, is compliance. First of all, if you could define it from your perspective, and [explain] how it (impacts) your users?

Andy Simmons:
It’s a very good question. I think the generally understood meaning is complying with usability requirements that you’re seeing mostly in Europe [which] are starting to make their way into the United States, especially for government websites. The idea there is that you’re using the right kind of fonts [and] color schemes, so that people with disabilities can still utilize the website. Things like automatic readers can essentially create synthesized speech correctly from how the website is set up or the fonts can be zoomed in or magnified so that somebody who might be (visually) impaired can view the website a little bit better. (There are) several – I’m trying to think of the right word, regulations that exist around that more and more companies are feeling pressure to adhere to. Our current approach to that right now [is difficult because] we don’t have any specific support, although our products, even the webtop products, things outside WCM, go through a compliance analysis. We go through a third party who performs this certification for us and then lets us know where we’re not in compliance and then we correct that. Other companies do the same thing but there are automated methods where you can essentially run a utility through your webpage and it can report that same thing. One of our partners produces that is WatchFire.

Greg Dierickse:
Absolutely. And just to add to that, fundamentally, I mean, if you want to create compliant content, a great place to start, which a lot of our customers have done for some time now, is to enforce the right templates, and style sheets, and so forth. If you actually (have) the BBC and other customers needing to comply to visually impaired software, they build the template so that when a content provider enters the content end, [which] is originally being built in a compliant UK accessibility act in that case and manner. So, the next component – the next piece of that is also very advantageous as Andy mentioned [which] is to scan the sites to make sure the checks and balances are in place. Even though you create the right templates, sometimes content can get in there that is non-visually impaired and (images can be pased that are not viewable) so it’s very important to do the checks so that (is) our strategy and [it takes a look] at how we’re going to deliver that part of the compliance.

Andy Simmons:
Then there’s another part of compliance that I don’t think people have really realized the issues around yet but as we move to more dynamic sites there’s a compliance that’s very similar to what people understand for enterprise content management which is auditing who has seen what content [and] at what point in time. You have an interesting issue with dynamic sites now [because] if I have a certain profile, certain LDAT privileges are volatile [and] they may change over time. (There is) a legal issue about who saw what information and what time, [for example], how do you go back and prove what I was able to see three weeks ago? We’re looking at some interesting capabilities of integrating our stuff with things like virtual server software from VM Ware and some of the incremental archival capabilities they provide so you can provide sufficient backups and recovery of the whole server state, not just the content. You [now] have this new dynamic server site that is very interesting and provides huge benefits, as we were talking about earlier, but they also have to bring with it, a whole new set of problems and one thing that’s really nice about Documentum being part of EMC and the recent acquisition of the VM Ware is we’re uniquely positioned to exploit stores resource management, the VM Ware capabilities for virtualization, as well as our content management within Web Publisher to produce some very unique solutions to help solve those problems.

Blue Fish:
Could you give me a little bit of information about what feedback you’ve gotten from the release of 5.3? What are you thinking about in terms of what’s going to be in 5.4? I know 6 is on the horizon at some point, will there be a complete redress of architecture at that point or what are your current thoughts about it?

Andy Simmons:
Let’s see, let’s start with 5.3. I think we’ve gotten [a] very good response to 5.3. We’ve made steps toward unifying all of these acquisitions we’ve made over the past few years so things like supporting the collaboration edition within the server [in addition to other] things like more integration with records management, and we’ve made an effort to exploit some of that within what we surface to Web Publisher users and [which] we’ve (received) [a] good response to. In 5.4, a focus, which is still a hole we have in the product, is this sort of change in the market, from a programmer target audience to a content contributor who doesn’t have programming skills. We’re very quickly trying to fill that hole and like I said, in December, we’ll have the release of Portlet Builder and in the first half of the year, hopefully in the first quarter of next year, we’ll have our new Page Builder product out, which is a wysiwyg in-browser, in-context, in-site editor and that is probably the number one request that we’ve heard in the last year or so – so we hope to be able to address that very quickly in the first quarter of next year. We’ll at least go into beta if it’s not available by that time. Page Builder is unique in that it provides a lot of the capabilities as popular wysiwig web development tools like FrontPage, Dreamweaver, and Tribute, but it all runs in a browser so you don’t have to install any applications on your PC. If you know how to use Word or PowerPoint, you’re pretty much ready to go. There are a few little things you have to learn. There is another area that we’re trying to address that’s sort of complementary with that we call the Contributor UI and we’re going to try to get that out as soon as possible but right now the plan is around the 5.4 release timeframe and the idea of Contributor UI is that it’s a slimmed down version of the current Web Publisher UI that is role based and can be set up and configured based on your roles so you only see the facilities or the directories that you need to see. (You are) not given everything and all the features which should make it a lot easier for people who are only focused on one aspect of the web development instead of having everything available. It should make it easier to learn, easier to use, [with] less error probably.

Greg Dierickse:
And just to add something as well, part of the road map [that] prompted Andy to go a little bit deeper into is also this desire to provide more capability in terms of how we deliver content. So one of the things we’ve actually heard from customers and also through the industry themselves is part of the context that they want to do in terms of setting up rules and business logic in terms of how that context is actually delivered, which has typically been hands off in terms of my WCM perspective as we’ve traditionally just published content out to a personalization engine or portal server to be able to manage all of those things. As a knowledge worker, a content contributor wants better control, they want to set some of the rules in business logic as they create the content that’s also part of the bi-4 into the 6 perspective of what our roadmap looks like.

Andy Simmons:
We have a couple of screen mark-ups which you’ll see in the presentation tomorrow that I didn’t show in Barcelona. We’ve done some thinking about that since then. Moving into the horizon to 6 and beyond, again, if you see this trend from going from a static site to a very dynamic site to something that is very dynamic and very sophisticated business logic, it’s very hard to differentiate a personalized website from a web application, so, let me take a step back. We’re seeing a trend in the industry, in the software industry, of a lot of applications like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM, database administration, our web-base. The clients are not installed in a type of client server environment anymore, but the application as a server that provides a user interface in a browser, that way it’s easier to install and it’s easy to deal with people of a geographically distributed [area], you can bring in your clients and partners a lot more easily since everyone doesn’t have to have the same environment. Basically the standardization is around which browser you use and [while] it’s reasonable, we still have a long way to go and it’s easier than installing on everyone’s laptop, in every configuration – hardware and software, etc. What we’re seeing is this trend of this merging of a web application paradigm with a web publishing paradigm where the two end up being one of the same. Just to give you a preview (of) what we’re thinking for the 6 and beyond timeframe – and there is a likely possibility that we’ll get little bits and pieces of this into 5.4, is if you look at building enterprise content driven applications, so where web publishing is a class of content driven application with maybe a little less sophisticated logic, maybe it’s not as transactional in orientation – although you could argue that something like Amazon is the ultimate personalized content driven application because you have the reviews of the product, the product literature, and then ultimately you click on it and enter into a transactional mode and actually execute a transaction to purchase the product – so, the idea would be support that with an underlying infrastructure or framework and then a set of tools that would help you build and assemble applications from that.

Greg Dierickse:
And Andy, just to add to that as well since this is a developer audience, this is also an overall Documentum strategy or roadmap item around developer tools, so just as we’re looking to evolve our web content management development type of environment, the overall direction of the product for all of our stack or our total ECM platform is to move to more of the eclipse-like document tools. Maybe you can comment a little more on that.

Andy Simmons:
The thinking that we have right now is to provide three layers of abstraction in the type of tools we produce. The first one is what we have today which is really just user favorite 3GL, Java, or JSV development environment against the interfaces that we provide in the underlying infrastructure – WDK (Web Development Kit) and DFC, etc. That will always be, there will always (be) API’s – you may see them start to consolidate around some of the emerging standards like the AIM web services, surface oriented architecture, or API’s that we’re working on right now with that AIM group. The next level is a visual basic level like abstraction – so kind of a power user of Office or Word [which] can bring up a VB environment and can actually obstruct a user interface from a bunch of gooey building blocks (where) each of those building blocks has a set of properties that you can set. You can expect to see something like that as well based on content management objects – whether they be an asset, like a video, or an image or a document, or what I’ll call a facility or utility – like a taxonomy or directory so you drag and drop those onto a canvas to form a user interface around them and there’s underlying functionality based on the framework components. The highest level is what we’re showing in Portlet Builder and Page Builder which is kind of a wysiwyg editor you have – you don’t need to know anything other than what you want to see and as you look at the pallet of components in addition to your documents and the objects managed by the content management platform – drag and drop them onto the canvas and they will render themselves – wizi will pop up: “do you want the content in place? do you want a link to it?” and then the different kinds of functionality, sort of embodied in a component will show up in a selection, so if you drag a directory of taxonomy it will show up as a combo box perhaps or a button, but then it will bring up another wizard to the user. That’s some of the things that we’re thinking about for around the 6 and beyond timeframe.

Blue Fish:
With respect to collaboration, as an integrator, one of the things we hear a lot about is that they want a better way of allowing authors and contributors to collaborate on content – and not just from a workflow perspective, but from a true, kind of e-room-like perspective. Are there things that you guys are looking at to better support collaboration for that type?

Greg Dierickse:
So, as you’re probably aware, with our 5.3 release, that’s where we unify the platform. The first step for unifying the platform was what we called ‘Documentum collaboration Edition’ and the Documentum collaboration edition is meant to expose e-room capability at least to all of the applications so: web content management, web publisher, web asset manager, web talk, and so forth. What we did in that first release of 5.3 was expose e-rooms and discussion threats to just the first fundamental level of e-room-type capability. So then part of our road map is to do the full exposing just as web-top has, which they’ve done the actual rooms and so forth, so fundamentally with what we’ve done with e-room itself is we’ve taken that great technology and went on two paths. One was to take all that learning and build it into our WEK components and expose all the goodness of collaboration into our Documentum application. The second was to maintain an e-room as a stand alone product so we will continue with that strategy within our clients – like with Web Publisher, and second, keeping e-room separate for customers who want to have just a stand alone e-room environment.

Blue Fish:
Let’s talk a little bit about the competitive landscape – so three years ago, let’s say, if you’re looking back in time, the web content management platform for Documentum was behind the curve, right? You had tools like the Vignette, Interval, – Percussion was emerging, and they had really good authoring tools, but they really weren’t tied to a robust content management platform, they didn’t have all the bells and whistles of content management. Then you guys got the magic fourth quadrant from Gardener, and you guys are now known as the major player in this space. Obviously the competitive landscape has changed quite a bit. Where do you guys see it now in that context?

Andy Simmons:
Want to get it?

Greg Dierickse:
Sure, I’ll start and then of course Andy can add in the color. It was a good way you set that up because you can almost look at the web as three different generations – the first, the second, the third. The first was typically dominated by the Interval, the Vignette. Then the second generation, which was really clear that that’s where WCM became a component of ECM – so it was no longer stand alone, that you were wanting to use a whole structured infrastructure, to be able to manage all content types and so fundamentally our architecture and our ability to address this from that standpoint proved to be a big differentiator for our customers so that we had this real enterprise grade and were able to expode all of the content services and so we had that success and that’s what propelled us into the kind of leadership position with Gardeners and Foresters and so forth. Now we’re entering the third generation of websites. In fact, it’s interesting because it has renewed spend back into and WCM and web content management. So if you believe in the surveys and what analysts have to say, and we honestly recognize this from our own customer base, there is a lot more web content management projects going on because they’re looking to build their customers, build their third generation website. The third generation website really is playing into our roadmap, but with that, just like in all competitive areas, some very nimble, smart-minded companies have popped up in the past couple of years. I have addressed some of the issues that Andy already talked about – dynamic content and casual user contributor, UI’s, and so in some sense the competitive landscape is also being seen from a lot of niche vendors offering stand alone things like – and I’ll name a few like Tridian out of Europe, Day Communications – another European based customer…

Andy Simmons:
Competitor, not a customer.

Greg Dierickse:
I mean competitor. Ah, very good. FatWire and so forth – so some of these niche vendors who have really been able to focus on these particular problems either it being dynamic delivery or being contributor interfaces with more power around the context and development-like environment, and that’s where we’re hoping our roadmap is going to maintain our leadership position and hopefully extend that.

Andy Simmons:
I don’t think there’s much to add, other than what we’re focused on is the scalability and exploiting the content management platform and the unification – the customers that have chosen the product and the features that they are looking for. The way the implementation of the strategy is played out to this point is the focus on unification and getting a very robust, scalable platform and web publishing capability put together – that’s behind us, so the next focus is on improving usability and after that, supporting dynamic content. We’ve put it in that order because, again, we’ve seen the target market change – that people without programming skills are sort of the people looking at assembling content into websites and portals, more so than we’ve seen in the past. [In the] dynamic content there are still some issues about how you do that when you’ve got personalization capabilities in big players like IBM, Oracle, and BEA. A lot of our customers really want to use those personalization engines as opposed to, yet another one. One of the problems that exists around that right now that we may start to look at a little bit more is there are no standards around the symantecs of personalization, they’re all done differently so if you build your application for BEA portal, you can’t easily port it without re-implementing the business logic for an IBM portal. That may be an area that we may have an opportunity to address in the near future.

Blue Fish:
In this months Wired Magazine they have an interview with Tim O’Reilly, the famous publisher. In the article they talk a lot about this concept of “the architecture of participation” where the sharing of content increases its value intrinsically and the true promise of the web. He [also] talks a lot about Web 2.0 and what does it mean, (however) the real future of the web or the promise of the web is the potential value of this type of participatory process. E-room kind of addresses that, but not really. You have content that is created, you have value that is created within a room, but it sounds like from what you’ve talked about that the things that you’re planning to do with the platform are things that would make it easier for people to contribute on the whole, right? But they wouldn’t have to be tied to any particular device like a browser, they wouldn’t have to be tied to any technology, that the whole future is moving towards this theory of: make it easier for people to contribute, make it easier for people to participate. Do you think that’s a conscious effort to address what guys like O’Reilly are talking about or is it more like a natural result of the way products are moving?

Andy Simmons:
I think it’s kind of like “build it and they will come” and as we start to get more sophisticated about how we can distribute content over the Internet, I think it’s more just where we are in the evolution of the sophistication of the Internet and Internet technologies. First it was publishing static content to the web, then it was publishing static content to different mobile devices like WAP, and then there was the dynamic content probably around the same time, the idea of syndication feeds, so you have this mobile multi-channel distribution technologies that emerged and are being utilized in a bunch of different ways. The next thing that I think you’re starting to see is the emergence of wikis and blogs – so this is what you’re talking about, or what O’Reilly may be talking about, where people have the ability – not from the authoring perspective, but from the web user perspective. I bring up my browser, I go to a site, I read some information, and I can comment on it, and have those comments retained on the site to be viewed by other people and so whole sites are showing up around the idea. You’ve seen threaded discussions and instant messaging as one type of technology that’s been around for a while and is maturing. Now the same thing has started to happen around portals and web pages. We do have customers that come out with requirements that they want to have some information on, for example, an information type portal within their company and be able to allow people to add comments on it and ask questions and have the questions and the answers posted like a FAC, essentially a living FAC. I think as we start to become more sophisticated about being able to author content or contribute content from the deployed website or portal site itself then we’ll find people coming up with new and innovative ways of actually applying that to do things that they cannot do and solve problems that they are faced with today.

Blue Fish:
I mentioned Web 2.0 and it’s a thing that means different things to different people. There is a Web 2.0 conference now and for some people it means that we’re basically going to perfect a lot of the things that we didn’t get right the first time. Other people think that it means more, it talks more about the back bone of the web itself. From a WCM perspective where you guys sit, what does Web 2.0 mean to you guys – is it something that you guys talk about? Are there things that get you excited about? The type of things they talk about when they talk about Web 2.0 that you might want to think about with respect to 6.

Greg Dierickse:
That’s kind of a fun thing if you remember when I responded, I talked about third generation and that’s another way of calling it 2.0. From that context and from prompting Andy, I think what our vision and what we’re trying to do with the product is very in line with 2.0 in terms of this simple metaphor in terms of how we are looking to deliver content through to targets. There is a variety of different targets and how we provide the tools. How we’re providing the sources and how we’re being able to bring in new content sources seamlessly and being able to open the web up to a variety of sources. Lastly, and because you already mentioned web compliance, the web is just the tip of the compliance iceberg where by we will see more and more compliance requirements being put on the web – it’s so pervasive, it’s so dynamic that inherently, it’s going to attract more compliance issues so there is compliance archiving and reporting. With that, I’ll turn the floor back over to Andy.

Andy Simmons:
It’s interesting, as I talk to customers and we’ve had some discussion with them about future directions and trying to work, one thing that we do do with our customers is we’ll get together with them to share ideas about where we think we’ll be in a few years with the objective in mind that we’re going to converge our plans. By the time that they’re interested in doing something, we’ll have a product that supports it. That’s something that we’ve definitely discussed a lot. We haven’t talked about Web 2.0, under the moniter of Web 2.0, but we’ve talked about using the web in quite different ways and I think people are thinking about it right now so I’ll give you a couple of examples. Some that are very obvious and there is a solution that EMC sells that is put together by Ericsson as a systems integrator in partnership with BEA and a company called Mobileaware for doing media content distribution services so it’s a way of using Web Publisher technology in addition to the BEA application system and portal server and the underlying storage management systems at ECM to distribute things like ringtones, things like sports scores, so there are a couple of deployments of that in Australia and Europe and I think you’ll see us package that kind of capability more and more and think about having a corporate version of a media content distribution server very much like an e-mail server. Something along those lines is what I see as an evolution. A real existence proof of that kind of technology is Apple and iTunes. You have to download a rich client but it has the browser technology and an Internet technology in the middle of it so you can go out to the site and see what the latest catalog looks like and lets you search those catalogs. It actually has a content distribution capability – it’s focused on music, but it’s digital content. So, like I said, again in our presentation tomorrow we’re going to dissect that a little and use that as an interesting example. Imagine having that on a corporate bases so instead of an iPod you have your phone it gives you the ability to call content that’s very much like navigating iTunes or navigating an iPod. Instead of having to have the information with you and carrying it around on a laptop, you have the ability to call it up and maybe mediate where the stuff should be sent so that you have it at your fingertips and with just a simple punching of buttons just like you would on an iPod, you can pull up a brochure, or financial information and if you’re trying to report financial results, or answer questions about the financial status of a company, there’s all sorts of applications for that. The whole idea here is you’re using the Internet in quite a different way than just allowing customers and users to log on to a site and browse content that’s already been a priority published, but it also becomes an intermediary to the content management repository itself and it facilitates things like mobile distribution and mediation so a brochure can be sent by e-mail or maybe even Blue Tooth from a mobile device, to a projector, to a PC.

Blue Fish:
That’s interesting, so those are some scenarios you described. In general, are there one or two scenarios that you get from talking with clients where they say, “hey, 5.3 doesn’t really address what I need in terms of web content management, you really need to have this in 5.4.” Are there one or two that are consistent?

Andy Simmons:
Well, the most consistent response is what we’ve been talking about which is improving the usability of the tools so it can address a larger audience than just programmers. I think that’s the number one feedback we get from people that would help them deploy Web Publisher to a wider audience within their companies – so that’s why we definitely have that as such a high priority and we are working to get it up quickly. I think that’s the number one thing. After that, you talk to different customers, and this is a typical problem we have, is that each customer has their own agenda and trying to find the intersection of that is sometimes challenging. Some people are very interested in dynamic content, some people are very happy with the way we do it, some people want more compliance automation, some people are happy going to a third party. So at that point it’s all the typical things you would think about through the process of publishing a website or a portal and even more than that. Even as far as providing integrated clip-stream analysis as opposed to going through a third party. What I think we’ll see as far as the high level features – definitely usability, than after that, automatic site navigation and automatic link management so it can set up the links for you and if you break a link, it will warn you about that – things like, administering the site with more automation so that someone that’s less sophisticated in as far as programming skills or web administration skills can really handle developing content and publishing it out to a site. I think those are the things we see at the top of our list right now.

Greg Dierickse:
One other thing to kind of add to it is we still need to make improvements on the fundamental of the ECM platform itself – how we exploit that. Customers are really pushing the envelope in terms of how they want to have global sites, how they want to be able to deliver that in a replicated, distributed manner and with multi-language. You’ve got hundreds of sites being replicated and distributed and all of that is really sophisticated, highly scalable environments and we really still have improvements that we can make to the platform and how we can be able to help the customers be able to deliver those types of things so I think that’s actually an interesting point – a lot of these other visionary thought leaders are bringing innovation to the web, which is great, but sometimes they really haven’t thought through that whole scalability and enterprise type grad of infrastructure that has to accompany these types of visionary things so just like all this technology, some of the leading edge stuff is really creative an innovative, but is it really practically implemented today? Our customers, in the typical customer way, will come up with: “yes, this is really interesting – I want to pilot it and I want to test it.” As scalability and enterprise catch up, that’s when they can implement it.

Blue Fish:
How do you guys fit into EMC software as a whole and are there going to be plans to expand the offering across other EMC products or integrate with other EMC products?

Andy Simmons:
Well I think around the D6 timeframe if not a little sooner, you’ll see us start to exploit things from the stores resource management, VMWare, and Legato site. Primarily in the area like I said earlier about the archiving capability, where you have to archive the entire server state and do that an efficient manner. That’s one area you’ll see that will have great benefits – definitely it’s a very unique combination of capabilities between storage resource management, server virtualization, enterprise content management, and web publishing, that I don’t think any of the other vendors have. Another area that we’d be looking at is in site distribution, which is another core competency that we have in the storage resource management areas and Legato and EMC. We have a site distribution services right now and it handles the fundamental requirements, but I think there is more sophisticated things we can do and exploit the core competencies that we have within those other organizations within EMC. Things David Wall talked about this morning as far as the futures of making appliance and making EMC appliance and perhaps maybe adding web publishing. Not so much that “I’m going to sit down, I’m going to construct a site” but more that it might support this idea that I was referring to just a few questions ago where maybe I need to make certain content available on an ad-hoc basis and what ends up happening is a portal gets generated automatically if I have access to certain information and I want to request it and I want to make it available to someone as essentially, a web experience so we could see automating that by saying “okay, publish this stuff.” There’s already been templates that have been designated a priority and I just point to the cabinet or folder that I’m interested in or the set of content objects I’m interested in and that’s all I have to say, “publish those,” and then they show up as a portal. We’re talking to customers about how that might solve certain problems that they may have and it sounds like something that you could maybe look forward to seeing in the next year or so.

Greg Dierickse:
And another comment is, which is great for the question of how we fit in the overall enterprise software group, is much to the exaggeration by our competitors, the spirit of Documentum is alive and well and doing very well in the ESG organization. Part of the way to do this is to have it as the distinct product business unit, Andy being the product business unit GM or general manager for WCM. He has the loose, go to market P&L to bring the product to market so we have this market focus which has engineering, product management, product marketing – all the good stuff to bring the product as an independent little business as well as leveraging the greater ESG offering which is, by the way, over a $2 billion software company, it’s sort of like number seven in the terms of software companies so it’s got a lot of resources, a lot of strength, a lot of technology we can leverage. On the same token, we balance that with another product business unit structure so we can make sure we have focus and deliver to our customer commitments to try to move the customers forward on their visions.

Blue Fish:
Those are all the questions I have. Is there anything that you guys want to cover?

Andy Simmons:
I think we’ve covered everything.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment