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My speech at the Software Development Track at Momentum 08

by alexandra on november 18th, 2008

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.

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