This year was the second year where I “felt” that there were less Documentum sessions than the older traditional Momentum conferences. This is strange as there are more components to Content Management and Archiving, Documentum, than there were even two years ago. Luckily, I have the conference handbooks for the last three EMC World conferences and I can check numbers while I watch a new repository build.
The EMC World 2007 conference, while under EMC World’s wing, still felt like the session count wasn’t that far off. I remember a few grumblings, but nothing documented, so I’ll just use that as a baseline with the understanding that the previous year was at least as good. I believe 2007 was the year that the long-standing pre-conference tutorials vanished, so calling it even is a throwing EMC a bone.
Let’s See Some Numbers
- 2007: “Momentum Sessions”=120 Sessions, Content and Information Management Tracks (includes Momentum and lots of Developer)=178 sessions.
- 2008: No “Momentum” grouping, just a Content and Information Management similar to above…104.
- 2009: Counting the sessions in the Momentum book, which includes “Developer” sessions…88. Using the previous methodology from 07 and 08, you get 96.
2007 to 2008, WOW!!! That was impressive. We spent so much time running around that we were just happy to find our session, much less worry about an alternate session to attend in 2008. The 178-104 is a fair comparison as those are both identical EMC categorizations. That is a 41% drop! No recession talk a year ago, much less the 6+ months before when they planned it.
The drop from 2008-2009 is less severe and I’ll even call that a recession downturn with a drop of 7.6%.
So let’s get to the meat. 120 Momentum, non-Software Developer Conference, sessions in 2007 and a recession adjusted 95 sessions (88*1.08) is a drop of 21% over 2 years. WAIT A SECOND!!! Those “95” sessions INCLUDE all the CMA developer sessions (these 17 Documentum ones) that weren’t included in the 2007 Momentum count of 120. Taking out the 17, and keeping the recession adjustment consistent, that is now 120-77 which is a 36% drop!!! Over a third of the Momentum sessions gone!!! (Non-recession adjusted 120-71 gives 41%!!!)
Now, anyone with better numbers (*cough* EMC *cough*), please contribute. I am not counting double-sessions or Birds-of-a-Feather sessions.
Where Did The Sessions Go?
If anything, there should be more sessions. EMC has acquired more technology under the CMA umbrella. The X-Hive acquisition by itself adds a few sessions. So with the same number of sessions being offered, there would still be a hit to the core sessions. Even with the advent of SourceOne, which is home grown, we still see a decrease.
I’ll tell you right now that there are more options and technical details for a developer to learn than there were just two years ago. DFC and WDK are still here and not going away, but we now have TaskSpace. There is xCP and DFS. Composer isn’t easy yet as it is still maturing. Developer sessions, just in themselves, should be growing, yet they aren’t either. Shoot, there were 15 breakout session slots filled, plus 2 un-filled, by the CMA. If it wasn’t for a few long sessions, 2 of them I think, you could single track and hit all of the CMA Developer sessions!!!
Anyone miss the “Meet the Speaker” socials or the “Meet the Experts” gatherings? How about those pre-conference tutorials?
For one thing, there is no longer a Call For Topics. For the past two years, EMC has not allowed users to submit topics to present. We, the attendees, got a lot of case studies and real-life examples. There were more business users telling their stories, and TRADING their stories with each other. I learned a lot from those people over meals and between sessions. I might only see them at Momentum, so I valued that time.
I see other consultants all the time and only the ones that you know well share their mistakes with you. We are in competition, so it pays to play it close sometimes. Users share because they can.
Each year, there seems to be less business users attending, and they are the ones with the problems we are trying to solve. Content Management is not an IT problem. Documentum is not used by IT. It is used by the everyday, to steal a term, Knowledge Worker.
Go to 10 companies with Documentum. In 8-9 of them you will find end-users that know the name “Documentum”. Go to 10 non-IT companies owning primarily EMC storage, and no Documentum. I bet that in 8-10 of them, the everyday end-user, ones whose only interaction with IT is the helpdesk, won’t know the name EMC.
Different products, different users, different stories.
Storage can be measured in tests. There is a lot to it and I don’t want to take away from anyone on that side of the house. Content Management is about people. It is about managing change, defining processes, and getting people to buy into the technology. It is not just how to deploy the technology.
We don’t only need to know what the next features are in Documentum. We need to know how people are successfully gaining user adoption. How are they selling the ROI to the managers? How they are getting the system working with legacy systems, and the political hurdles they overcome. I know DFS can do things, but how did Uber Pharma make it work with their legacy testing system? How did they upgrade from 4i to 5.3 to 6.5? What were the lessons learned? How did they manage the risk?
Fill the gap. Bring back the Call for Topics. Bring back the business users.
Make the conference about users again.