Conversational Collaboration at EMC

Thought I would let me next post on security in ECM percolate for another day and share something that Jed found. He found a second blog by Chuck Hollis chronicling EMC’s adoption of Social Media as an Enterprise 2.0 effort. The blog started in August, so I started reading there as Jed recommended. I’m going to chronicle my adventure through his blog.

These are posts that I found particularly insightful or useful. If you don’t have time to read the whole sequence, you can jump around.

  • Why Me?: Chuck starts with a simple introduction to himself, explaining why he is leading the initiative and his initial strategy in getting started. My favorite line is, I had to informally recruit (hijack!) a few people who were as passionate on this topic as I was becoming, especially during the formative stages. Having recently started leading a few initiatives in my own company, I like the accurate portrayal. The key is to recruit those that will contribute, but may have been hesitant to volunteer due to various reasons. I’m trying to make sure that they get credit and rewarded for that work so they are still willing in the future.

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Defending Enterprise Content Management

So the other evening, I was out at a Web Content Mavens gathering, and someone asked me what I meant when I talked about ECM. This person had years of experience in Web Content Management and a few years working with a leading ECM provider before returning to their roots in WCM. His basic premise was that ECM was a marketing ploy cooked up by the vendors, analysts, and consultants out there and that there is no rational reason to force them all into one system.

This was, at the same time, one of the best, and most painful, conversations I have had in quite a while. On the one hand, it is good to have to occasional defend your convictions in order to make sure that they are still on solid ground. On the other hand, sometimes you want to hit your head into a wall when someone doesn’t get it. However, I can see why that opinion exists. The vendors and analysts are to blame.

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Fitting SharePoint into the ECM Picture

Previously I compared eRoom and SharePoint. I noted several basic features, but didn’t really say that either was dramatically better than the other. They are both solid collaboration options. That is the key here. SharePoint measures up well to eRoom because they are both the same thing. They are Content Rich Applications that focus on Collaboration. They are not ECM solutions. eRoom admits it. SharePoint doesn’t.

SharePoint doesn’t appear to deliver on its promises with its out-of-the-box functionality. As was predicted and then observed, SharePoint requires multiple third party components and other customizations to achieve its true potential. The core problem that comes from this approach is managing components from multiple sources.

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Comparing Features of SharePoint and eRoom

I have had access to a SharePoint installation for some time. I had promised readers of Ask Johnny! that I would do a more thorough comparison of eRoom and SharePoint a while back. I’ve had a chance to play with it some in order to form an initial impression of its capabilities. What follows is a comparison of the out-of-the-box functionality of eRoom and SharePoint.

Disclaimers: I have been working with eRoom for years, so have a natural bias. I am also still learning SharePoint, so I am sure I’ve missed some things. My client environment is a fully patched IE 6 running on Windows XP Professional with Office 2003 Professional. I also only had administrator rights to my site, not the installation as a whole.

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One Little, Two Little, Three Little Interfaces

Several weeks ago, I promised a reader [EDIT: Read the comments here.] to discuss why I would think twice before adding a TaskSpace interface to a solution that already included an eRoom interface. Aside from the obvious that TaskSpace is a brand new interface and could most likely use service pack or two, I am always hesitant to provide too many interfaces into a solution. There are times for it, but it is important not to add them just because you can.

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SharePoint vs eRoom, or Microsoft vs the World?

I’ve been discussing this topic of late. I haven’t been able to dive into SharePoint since my last post, but I have had some rather interesting things come up on this topic and wanted to share.

Josh Maher came up with quite an interesting view in his blog. SharePoint is for Microsoft people, and eRoom is for everyone else. His arguments seem sound until one detail comes forward, eRoom only works on Microsoft platforms. I don’t want to address the future here, just the present. eRoom requires:

  1. A database. SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005, or an embedded SQL database that installs onto windows.
  2. Windows Server 2000 or 2003 with Internet Information Services (IIS) installed.

Doesn’t sound very anti-Microsoft to me. The difference here, as Josh points out, is that SharePoint works closely with all the latest Microsoft products. However, the latest SharePoint server also needs those newer products to fully garner all of the benefits. Microsoft wants you to upgrade your Office suite. That is more money in their pocket. When eRoom makes a release, they don’t typically require you to have the latest version of all the integrated products.

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SharePoint and EMC

One of my favorite Documentum bloggers outside of yours truly, Johnny Gee, has been blogging of late on SharePoint and Documentum. He ran a three part series comparing the two. Yesterday, he posted an entry comparing SharePoint and eRoom. This was even commented upon by an Enterprise Architect blog that I regularly read by James McGovern. I read the entry, and it has drawn an interesting, and very dead-on, observation. The latest post has a very decided pro-eRoom stance. In Johnny’s defense, he was just posting some observations from a reader and not taking credit. One the other hand, it is a very biased view of the world.

First, let me say that I do not have the depth of knowledge to take up SharePoint’s defense in detail. I am also not as inclined to do so being a little pro-EMC. However, I will make two statements about eRoom and SharePoint:

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