I spent this past week in Orlando, Florida at EMC World 2009. This year enterprise content management vendor EMC (news, site) put their best foot forward in an effort to make Content Management and Archiving (CMA) attendees -- otherwise known as Documentum users -- feel like they were attending a conference that was addressing their needs.

For the most part, they succeeded. Here's a summary of what transpired.

A CMA Community Focus

In years past, it was common for the average CMA attendee at EMC World to feel lost among all of the storage-focused sponsors and attendees.

EMC tried to create a virtual community last year to offset this feeling, but realized that it didn't accomplish their goals. This year, EMC took several steps to help the Documentum community connect at EMC World:

  • Badge Ribbons: The first step was the handing out of yellow badge ribbons labeled "Momentum" that identified all of the CMA people.
  • Momentum Lounge: The second step was creating a lounge specifically for the CMA community to go and relax between sessions. To encourage attendance, EMC hosted two Happy Hour events with Mark Lewis and Whitney Tidmarsh.
  • Consolidated Sessions: All of the CMA sessions were located next to each other. This allowed attendees to run into each other between sessions and enabled them to move their schedule around without having to run to the other side of the conference.
  • Grouped Vendors: In the conference exposition, all of the CMA partners where grouped together, including a booth area specifically for the CMA offerings.

All of these efforts worked together, along with the return of the CMA party, to provide a much better experience for the CMA community.

While CMA is still a small part of the larger conference, EMC improved greatly on making the average Documentum feel like part of a community.

ROI = Return on Information

Mark Lewis delivered the keynote which set the tone and theme of the conference for the CMA group. His message was focused on ROI, which wasn't just Return on Investment but also Return on Information.

He then laid-out a five prong approach:

  1. Information Governance: This focused on Compliance and the new SourceOne offering around archiving and E-Discovery. This also turned out to be very popular with attendees as most of the SourceOne sessions were standing-room only.
  2. Information Centric Applications: This reflected the push towards more configurable applications built from components. EMC's initial push in this direction is their new xCelerated Composition Platform (xCP) which is designed to allow faster development of Case Management solutions on the Documentum platform.
  3. Information Connectivity: The concept of a virtual repository had larger exposure this year. The ability to search remote repositories and control records in other systems was pushed as EMC tries to put forth the image of Documentum managing all content, regardless of location.
  4. Information Access: The highlight here was their delayed CenterStage product. Scheduled for a June release, EMC is hoping to stop the slide of eRoom customers to SharePoint. They also introduced a Blackberry version of the application which is slated for a Q3 release.
  5. Information Infrastructure: Like all vendors, EMC is jumping into the Cloud. Their ATMOS cloud storage offering was very prominent throughout the conference, as was the concept of using VMWare to build local clouds.

    The CMA group is still trying to determine the business model for getting Documentum into the cloud, but EMC as a whole is jumping in feet-first.

The one thing lacking was the articulation of a clear vision for ECM's future.

The focus was clearly on providing ROI in today's economic climate. The future direction of the products was fuzzy. There were solid plans presented for the next six months, but one was left with the impression that the long-term plans were still being decided upon.

EMC's Social Strategy

A final focus for the conference as a whole was the spread of Social Media tools as a means for EMC to communicate with customers.

Len Devanna, the Director of Web Strategy for EMC, set up a Blogger's Lounge in the main entrance to the show floor. Its distinctive shape was seen by all as they made their way to the keynotes, expo, registration and meals.

Set up exclusively for bloggers and tweeters, it feature much need power strips and a manned espresso machine. Amusingly, many attendees quickly joined Twitter in order to gain access to the Lounge.

Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr were filled with content from both EMC and attendees of the conference. EMC centralized these sources in their Online Newsroom. Panel discussions were driven by the tweets of attendees and it wasn't uncommon to see someone Tweet a problem/question and have it solved within minutes.

A Summary in Video

EMC did a good job of daily video production -- mixing the useful with the entertaining with the banal.  Austin Powers cameos are a little bonus...for some of you. Enjoy!

EMC World 2009 -- Day 1

EMC World 2009 -- Day 2

EMC World 2009 -- Day 3

EMC World 2009 -- Day 4

Additional Information

For more information, check out the following sources: