My Day at AIIM Expo 2009 with CMIS

Okay, let’s be clear.  I didn’t travel around with CMIS all day. On the other hand, CMIS got me to the AIIM Expo this year, opened a few doors, and started many a conversation. It is amazing what standing on a soapbox for a year and a half can accomplish. It was an interesting day that was well spent and I wish I had two days at the conference.  I was always rushing trying to get to see everyone and talk to everyone, and I failed. I did accomplish my primary objective, and that was a success.

The Google Keynote

Okay, let’s be fair. On the third day of any conference, the “keynote” is usually the 3rd, or 4th, string presenter. From what I heard from everyone else, this time was no different. I was there and wasn’t impressed. I heard good things about the other keynote speeches, so I didn’t really ding the conference.

The speaker was Rishi Chandra from Google.  He is the Product Manager for Google Enterprise and was talking on Collaboration in the 21st century.  I like to think I know a little about collaboration so I was mildly interested. I also had nothing else to do in Philly until the Expo opened at 10am so I went.

What did I learn? Well very little, or a lot, depending on your point of view.  The highlights were as follows:

  • The Cloud is really cool and nobody can handle scale like Google can handle scale. Your content would be a drop in the bucket by their standards so they can take it. Of course, this could be translated into the fact that we are meaningless to Google and if they only loss 0.001% of their stored data, they would be doing well. The fact that it might include all of your or my content is irrelevant.
  • Collaboration in the 21st century is going to look a lot like collaboration from 7-10 years ago, but in the cloud. Hmmm. Tony Byrne of CMS Watch had a great observation on this. If it is so great, why do we only get to see screen shots? Isn’t his stuff available where he needs it?

I left after that.  The whole Google spin reminded of a line from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. With no artistic ability, and an apology to Douglas Adams, we can substitute Space (as in outer) with Google and get:

Google…is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindboggling big it is. I mean, you might think think it is a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to Google.

That is enough commentary on this keynote.  Anything else would just be mean and Google isn’t that bad, as far as we know. I’m sure that there were lots of attendees that got a lot of value from the presentation. I just wasn’t one of them.

CMIS Takes the Stage

At 11:30, David Choy of EMC, and chair of the CMIS OASIS Technical Committee, spoke in the expo about the standard about how great CMIS is. He was right on every point and you can go to many vendor sites to see them reinforce the message. Afterwards when there was a short panel. Moderated by Thomas Pole, the AIIM iECM Committee chair, the panel consisted of vendor representatives for some of the major ECM players participating in the standard, and me.

Thomas showed a quick demo (the most recent version includes Alfresco, EMC, and Nuxeo) and then I talked about building the search federator. Atle Skjekkeland from AIIM took a picture of me speaking. Seated to my left are Thomas Pole, Paul Hampton from Alfresco, Florent Guillaume from Nuxeo, Tracey Caughell from Open Text, Ethan Guresh from Microsoft, and lastly, David Choy from EMC.

CMIS Panel

Most of the story I covered is discussed in a previous post, but I want to add an update. A little after 7pm Wednesday night, I got an email from Nuxeo that their system was ready. It took me one hour to get it to work. ONE HOUR!!! Yes I could leverage previous code, but that is the point.  I didn’t have to learn anything outside of their beta CMIS implementation quirks. I figure in a mature system, it would have taken 15 minutes.

THAT is the value of CMIS.

Other Random Conference Notes

So there was more to AIIM, and here are some observations:

  • If you are only going to go one day, the last day is not the day. It was the shortest day of the Expo and people were leaving town. I didn’t have a choice with the panel on the last day, but for those who do, you have been told. That being said, the last day had light foot-traffic in the Expo so I could get the attention of the booth people.
  • Jesse Wilkins is a pretty cool guy and I can’t wait to chat with him again in RL when I’m not in a rush.
  • Open Text and IBM didn’t have booths.  IBM did have a meeting room. Autonomy was there, but it was just a little stand in the Microsoft Partner pavilion for their iManage product. This was Open Text’s 2nd year without a booth. Read into it what you will.
  • I’ve decided that I really like the CMS Watch crew. I got to have a pint or two with some of them and they are all fun and smart people. If you didn’t see their press release during the show, you should. It was meant as a joke, but it feels very real to me sometimes. There is more unmanaged content in the world than when I started in this business. That was not a pleasant realization.

On that disturbing thought, I think I’ll stop.

3 thoughts on “My Day at AIIM Expo 2009 with CMIS

  1. Great photo, wish I was not working for such a ‘cheapskate’ company and I would have been their for those pints with you and the CMS Watch crowd – if Alan was there you may have noticed we had the same accent ? Actually not blaming my employer for not paying for conferences in this economy !

    So, having done so well with the very document centric initial CMIS, with your ‘insider’ information, when do you think it may widen out to WCM and other ‘CM’s ??


  2. Thanks for the kind comment(s) about the CMS Watch crew. Sorry I missed you; I was leaving the day you came. Drat.

    I manned the CMS Watch booth on Tues-Wed, and in my opinion, Wed was the better day for booth traffic. Day One seemed to trail off quickly after the first hour or two. Overall attendance was down this year, but the quality of attendees seemed high. Discretionary travel in this economy is gone, so the people who showed up at AIIM this year were those with legitimate, pressing business needs.

    It was a worthwhile event, but the impact of the economy was clearly felt.


    • You just need to get to DC for business.

      I like your attendance observation. The “quality” comment wasn’t one I had heard, but that helps reconcile some of the things that I heard about the attendance.


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