In my previous post, I shared a copy of Mark Lewis’ CMA keynote presentation from EMC World 2009. It made me realize that I needed to crank out this post on EMC’s vision and Mark Lewis’ delivery of that vision. This is going to be a little devoid of facts for a couple of reasons. One is that the raw facts are captured in the presentation, SlideShare and YouTube, and in my notes. The second is that no vision was delivered at EMC World!!!
The Missing Vision
This was a problem last year, but when you went to a lot of sessions, you started to get a feel for where things were headed. This year, no such luck. Every presentation went very vague when talking about dates and features after 2009. D7 was pushed out to 2010 and everyone tossed in a few extra qualifiers when talking about the future.
One comment I heard was that customers had pushed-back on the rapid version releases and low service pack count. D6 only had one service pack before D6.5 was released. I concur with that feedback to some extent as I won’t let my clients deploy until that first service pack hits, and I know practioners that prefer to wait until the second service pack. D6.5 felt more like a service pack than a major release from a functionality/architecture stability standpoint. Yes, they added High-Volume Server, but that could easily just been labeled sp2.
Of course lots of releases also means lots of certifications to be renewed with each new release of the product. That is no small matter.
It felt bigger than that. It was as if the Documentum ocean liner was changing course and they weren’t sure of their final direction. Rather than guess, they told you about the great shuffleboard tournament on the Aloha deck. I hate shuffleboard.
Marks’s focus was Return on Information. It was a five-prong approach focusing on Compliance, Composition (Configure not Code), Customer-Centric Applications, Collaboration, and Cloud Computing. You can refer to my notes or to my article, Field Notes: EMC World 2009 in Summary, that I wrote for CMS Wire for more details. The point was getting return on your investment/information today, not what you can do in a year. It was a shuffleboard tourney.
There was ONE nugget of future information in the presentation, and that was the Master Content Management item on slide 26. It is in the part where Mark is talking about Virtual Information Management. It sounded a little like Skynet to me and was just mentioned, not elaborated upon. Sounds like EMC wants to rule all the content, even if it doesn’t control all of it in Documentum. That might have been a vision, but it was just three words.
Candy and Aspirin
I was talking to Cheryl McKinnon of Open Text about a month ago. She was telling me about their Enterprise 2.0 strategy that is marketed under the name Bloom. It is a good concept, nothing super innovative yet as the key components aren’t due for release for another month, but it was a refreshing message to hear from an ECM vendor.
The key concept we discussed was Candy and Aspirin. Her colleague, Bill Forquer, described it best as, that balance of the attractive things that people want, with the necessary risk reducers that they need.
Cheryl told me how Open Text had all the Aspirin products that people need ready to deliver (like EMC), but was making a point to talk about and develop the Candy that people want. The recession won’t last forever and the market will shift. Those that have their Candy dishes full will be in good shape.
I think I’d like to know that there was some Candy on the way from EMC. The Aspirin is there, with more on the way as the SourceOne suite grows. CenterStage is nice, but it is taking a long time so my excitement dwindles with every passing month. The potential of a mobile CenterStage is also nice, but like the core product, it doesn’t feel real and it isn’t the primary message from EMC. Oh, Mark talked about it in his keynote, but it was about delivery, not about being social.
A Note to Mark Lewis
The deficit of strategy aside, I do want to say that Mark Lewis gave the best presentation I had ever seen him give. I’ve been critical in the past of his delivery. Maybe he was off his game before or maybe he has gotten better. Regardless, given the material he was presenting, I was surprisingly engaged for most of the presentation. I wasn’t excited or sucked into the presentation, but that was the material’s fault, not Mark’s.
I’m not sure if I specifically said this to Mark when I spoke to him later, but I will now…
Mark, thank you for making your keynote enjoyable and please keep doing whatever it is that you did to improve your style, even if it was just getting more sleep. Your joke delivery needs work, or maybe the jokes themselves, but that isn’t something I expect from you. I expect you to make me excited to be there, to be working in our industry, and to be using your product. Given the message that was being delivered, you did an admirable job.
Now, about that message…
…Maybe EMC should just buy Jive and give us Candy from their dish.