Månadnovember 2008

The result of Google’s acquisition of Marratech…

Swedish company Marratech made inroads in the market with their virtual meeting application which ran on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X 5-6 years ago. The had many customers in the education market to do virtual training and lectures. A powerful feature of the application was the ability to have over 100 different people in the same room with many of them transmitting video. The bandwith issue was controlled by setting a max bandwith on the room and the quality adapted accordingly. However in 2007 the company was bought by Google and then nothing was heard about the technology for a long time and Google refused to comment around future products. However, with the release of Google Voice and Video we now know what they used the technology to. I really hope it will be more than this in the future though…


My speech at the Software Development Track at Momentum 08

On Tuesday it was time for my speech at Momentum 08. It was a first for me at a conference of this kind. I found my room at the top of the conference and it was huge and had seats for around 200 people I would guess. The projector screen was of the back-projection kind and built into a wall with some elaborate theme in blue/gren and yellow details. There was a speakers booth but I almost immediately decided not to use it. I know my voice isn’t the strongest one so I was happy to see a wireless Sennheiser transmitter lying there on the booth. The computer was preloaded with my presentation so it was just to get going. Did not actually feel nervous this time and it feels great to be able to enjoy these situations now. I guess it helps that I am completely passionate about the subject and feel we are doing really cool stuff with Documentum.

My speech started with outlining how Sweden have changed its focus from a neutral country preparing for a Soviet invasion to an expeditionary force taking part in multi-national peace support operations all over the world. Next I wanted to stress that our project is not driven by the IT-department but rather from the ”business” side although the concept of that is a bit strange in the Armed Forces where actually not make money but anyway.

Because of that we base our ideas and the architecture based on challenges at an operational level military HQ that we have identified and what we think needs improvement. The main ideas is to be able to put context around all the information that needs to be handled in the HQ and use that context to provide a flexible structure of all pieces of information. That structure allows us to handle a vast amount of information in ”all” formats and be able to ensure traceability and reuse of it. To do that an advanced ECM-system like Documentum is crucial.

So what have we done to do that then?

Digital Asset Manager
DAM 6.5 is our main client and we have made a couple of customizations to that. Some small ones include filtering away object types that users don’t need to see, putting a number in brackets on the Inbox in the left tree structure and to simplify setting object level security. The bigger ones include a new relationship object that extends dm_relation but with a lot more attributes which we expose in a new relationship dialogue. If there are relationships on objects that is also visible in the folder view and clicking on that link called ”View Rel” allows the user to explore objects which are related, edit relationship properties and continue ”surfing” the relationship paths. One big nuisance is that the current release of DAM has a bug (possibly related to the IP-rights integration) which has a significant impact on performance. At least ten times more queries than WebTop to view contents in a folder. Will be fixed with DAM 6.5 SP1 in January 2009.

Documentum Reporting Services
So far the information or content analytics in Documentum has not exposed in any obvious ways. However, thanks to the advanced repository all the information is available – it is just a matter of visualizing. Reports which uses Crystal Reports technology provides a really powerful way to create great-looking outputs based on queries to the repository. We use it to report on user behaviour which can tell us how users or groups interact with the content. Another set of reports focuses on the characteristics of the content such as what formats are used but also based on our custom attributes to see trends on how different kind of content is used and created. Finally, reports provide a way to create nice looking template-based outputs on the actual values of all the attributes. An object whose attributes represent organisations can through reports provide documents of all organisations in alphabetical order for instance. In discussions with EMC representatives I found out that information analytics is one of the areas that EMC is now investing a lot of resources into. Based on what we were talking about I really look forward to se the first outcomes from that effort. It will truly make the power of advanced ECM much more evident for everyday users.


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.