The Home Depot on EMC Documentum

October 19th, 2006 |
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The Home Depot discusses standardizing on the EMC Documentum content management platform. In this podcast, you’ll learn what criteria The Home Depot used when choosing EMC Documentum as their Enterprise Content Management platform. In this episode, you will hear Lee Dallas, systems architect at The Home Depot, discuss his experience building content management applications, meeting the needs of business users, and planning for long term success with the EMC Documentum platform.

For more information see:

www.emc.com

www.homedepot.com

Transcript:

Host: Bryan House – EMC Software

Guest: Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Bryan House – EMC Software

Hello and welcome, my name is Bryan House; you’re listening to the enterprise content management Podcast series ‘When Content Matters’ from EMC. I am excited today because we have a very special guest joining us; Lee Dallas, system architect from the Home Depot. To discuss their ECM deployment and why the Home Depot choose EMC’s Documentum. Hello and welcome Lee.

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Thank you Bryan.

Bryan House – EMC Software

So, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at the Home Depot?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Well, Bryan I have been with the Home Depot since 2002 and I am responsible for strategic planning, architecture and review of all content management systems. Our deployment here includes full range of Documentum products, Web Publisher, Digital Asset Manager, WK custom applications; we also have implementation of eRoom and Captiva. There are several other legacy implementations and related technologies that evolve under our area; translation memory, search and the like. Prior to the Home Depot, I have spent ten years in image and content services for Delta Airlines, primarily working in the engineering and technical publications area.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Well as you have quite an extensive experience working in the content management space, so can you describe for our listeners the Content Management platform you’ve implemented and the business processes it addresses today?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Here at the Home Depot we really tried to take a platform rather than a project- driven approach. We recognize that the need for content management capability is surfacing in every major initiative and many of these initiatives didn’t recognize their own need or at the very least didn’t appreciate the complexity of the content management part of their project. Many of the projects we’re pursuing different vendors and had the process continued, that would’ve resulted in a colossal duplication of effort on almost every front. We have sought to consolidate really on a common product line that would meet the largest number of needs for the greatest number of projects and at the same time be able to handle the job at Home Depot volumes. To meet these challenges, we selected EMC Documentum and then we started to deploy a set of common repositories and applications to serve the needs of the different initiatives with repositories dedicated to communications, products, web content management and the like.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Great, so it sounds that you guys have a pretty expansive vision for content management at the Home Depot. What specifically did the Home Depot and what reasons did the Home Depot use to choose EMC Documentum for their content management platform?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Well Documentum was selected because it provided the broadest capability on a common platform. Virtually everything we could think of, that we would ever need to improve information life cycle management in general and content management specifically, is handled at some level in this package. The approach is that without its challenges, is a platform not a point solution. So, that means for each point in the enterprise whether it be web content management, collaboration, departmental, we have to build point solutions on top of that platform.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Sure, sure and it sounds like it’s certainly pretty comprehensive. Can you give us some detail maybe more specifically on the web publishing applications? Are they driving content for example on your dot-com website as a Home owner I know I spent a good deal of time at HomeDepot.com. Do you have any tips may be on how I can keep my lawn green all summer?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

As far as your lawn is considered there is a reason I’m in IT not in a garden center, so you should probably stick to the store or on to our website for advice but we realize that every unit has specific and unique needs and one of the things that we wanted to avoid was locking things down so tightly that would lose flexibility. Our goal was to reuse components not necessarily construct monolithic systems that couldn’t adjust to new channels of creation and distribution that presented themselves. We built a common deployment of web publisher configurations that we could then reuse in various different business units in the company. From this reusable foundation, we now support four Webster portal implementations, for example, the corporate component of our external site is Documentum managed content view through Webster portal. We’re also beginning to manage the static assets of HomeDepot.com as we move that platform to Webster commerce.

Bryan House – EMC Software

So, who are the content owners that published your internal and external facing websites and what types of processes have you implemented for example review and approval of content owner’s websites?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

The content owners for both internal and external sites are the business not IT and that was one of the core principles that drove the decision to take on this particular implementation to take IT out of the loop as much as possible and let the business decide what information should reside on the site. As far as our process is concerned, there is a governance body for each of the major channels of distribution and they determine what level of control is mandated according to their own policies. Web Publisher Foundation has implemented a set of generic workflows for their use but it’s entirely up to their management as to the level of approval required for a given piece of content. The application is responsible for making sure through the use of structured templates that the content doesn’t create functional problems but the decision is to whether or not a particular piece of information is appropriate for publishing is no longer really subject IT that’s in the hands of the business.

Bryan House – EMC Software

All right, that’s a great point to create those reasonable components in place to empower business to publisher content. So, I know one of the other products you mentioned was earlier was that your colleagues at Home Depot become enthusiastic users of our eRoom collaboration product. Can you tell us a little bit about the success you have seen with the eRoom, and how it’s utilized across the Home Depot?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Well the growth and success of eRoom has really been phenomenal, since we deployed in 2004 eRoom has really become a part of nearly every departmental business interaction in our corporate environment. The largest single segment; quite frankly as I keep project management but the real return investment has been in the various business units that use the tool to share information and improve efficiently legal merchandising business development operations first thing it’s used everywhere. The vast majority of this growth has really come from word of mouth; we really haven’t done any advertising internally for it. Almost every meeting you go to seems to begin and end with a question, do you have an eRoom?

Bryan House – EMC Software

Yeah, that’s certainly something we hear a lot from our customers, that’s great taking advantage of that viral nature around eRoom. So, can you tell us a little bit about the key business and IT drivers behind your deployment of the content management system and how have these drivers impacted the design and deployment of your system?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Well the key IP driver is simple, if you need to manage content in your enterprise and you will, don’t write it yourself. Use an enterprise class application to do it and by the way use the best of breed. This certainly what grows the decision to use Documentum but it also encourages the organization to form a competency around content management consolidate design and infrastructure for content management under a single group. As far as the business is concerned, the drivers from different areas depending really on the on the type of day whether it be compliance, efficiency, security, all of these are factors that contribute to the need and at any given time the level of importance that these things need to be managed on. One of the things that we learned is one size really does not fit all but one platform can. It’s this very ability that drove Home Depot to create the multi repository, multi application strategy.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Yeah, and that’s a really great point, you know, about one size doesn’t fit all and that’s certainly something we hear a lot. So now what sort of practical knowledge can you share with our listeners that are creating their three and five-year plans for their content management platforms.

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

This is really one of the most important and beneficial things you can do for your business, content management needs are so pervasive in your business that its impractical and really unreasonable to think that you can get it all done in a year. You’ve got to make choices and some times those choices include putting on some very useful content management deployment while you deal with priorities. If you don’t have a road map though or a plan, then you won’t be able to steer the implementation choices over the long term. So my first advice is really the simplest, you have to sit down and do it, create the three-year plan even though you know its going to change by end of the month. Secondly, make sure that your plan aligns with the corporation’s overall business strategy. Your plan has really got to enhance that strategy, not detract from the goals of your company.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Absolutely, and finally what you see as critical success factors in a content management system deployment. What do you recommend our listeners pay closest attention to as they move their way down their deployment plan?

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

The second most important thing you can do is to establish ownership for your major initiatives within the business. IT-driven projects in general but really content management projects more than any other suffer immeasurably when the users of the system don’t have or feel as if they have a part in its creation and really in its mission. Content management will always fundamentally change the way people do their jobs and for your deployment to be successful, your users must see it in their tool.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Yeah that’s a great point Lee, I’m really glad you brought that up. So Lee, I want to thank you once again for joining us and sharing the insights that you gained deploying enterprise content management at the Home Depot and obviously throughout your career, you come and bring a very informed discussion to the table. I also want to thank all of our listeners for tuning into the ‘When Content Matters’ Podcast Series from EMC and I encourage you learn more about our content management products and solutions at software.emc.com where you can download additional Podcasts or subscribe to a number of EMCRSS Podcasts feeds. So Lee I want to thank you again for your time.

Lee Dallas – Home Depot

Thank you, Bryan.

Bryan House – EMC Software

You’re welcome and I’d like to thank our listeners for joining us today and with that I think we will wrap it up.

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