When Content Matters: Elsevier on their ECM deployment, part 1

December 26th, 2006 |
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If you’re a Content Management Architect or just want to hear a Content Management Architect talk about their planning and deployments of EMC Documentum across multiple applications, listen to this interview with Geoffrey McCaleb. McCaleb talks about what went well and what didn’t as they customized their Documentum deployment to meet the needs of this global publishing giant.

Transcript:

Host: Bryan House – EMC Software

Guest: Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

Bryan House – EMC Software

Hello and welcome my name is Brian House and you are listening to the Enterprise Content Management Podcast series, when content matters from EMC. In today’s Podcast episode we’ll be listening to an interview with Geoffrey McCaleb from Read Elsevier discussing their implementation of EMC Documentum specifically for publishing. This interview is a long form version of a video testimonial with Geoffrey that is also available on software.emc.com, let’s listen in.

Tell us your name?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

Geoffrey McCaleb, I am the Content Management Architect for the EMC platform at Elsevier. Essentially my role looks at the entire architecture that we’ve developed and all specific applications that sit on the EMC Documentum Platform.

Bryan House – EMC Software

What did you do?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

We sat down and try to think of where the Documentum Platform would be with us within the next two- to-three years because when we first rolled it out we had just one application, but we knew as a platform it was going to be capable supporting multiple applications, dozens type applications. So, we essentially try to sit down and map out where we would be within two- to-three years and so far we’re tracking fairly close to that.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Which one of the software from EMC are you using?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

We’re using eContent Server, media services on the backend. We’re using Webtop, Web Publisher, DA, DAMtop on the front end. We’re also preferably releasing a lot of custom business objects and on the site, Site Caching Services and I think that’s pretty much of it.

Bryan House – EMC Software

With the perform model we have a lot of problem?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

I think, whenever you do any sort of large scale enterprise deployment you’re going to have some wrinkles, but I think considering the size of what we’ve done in the magnitude of what we’ve done. I think it is pretty much track what are our expectation were. We built out a very major large scale three tier architecture and didn’t have anything that really required any assistance it was just fairly should work to be honest.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Was there anything about the EMC Documentum solutions that you put in that surprised you with their effectiveness or fell short and?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

I think, my biggest surprise coming from the software architecture background, I’ve dealt with implementations across the board for the last 15 years and the one constant is that you’re always expected to double, the amount of time you use to do a deployment of any sort and installation, configuration there’s always a problem, with the Documentum setup it was literally point and click. All we had to do was find out our database name, find out our user name in a way we want and it was very straightforward and I did it and I maybe an architect, but I am definitely not a sys admin, nor do I pretend to be, but if I am unable to sit down install a piece of software like Documentum both on the back end and on the front end then your own technical teams, regardless to the skill set should be able to pick it up fairly easily.

That’s the important because you’re sitting around, you look around at the convention that you are at today and you see a lot about the solutions of what they can give you, what they can bring you, but the two things that I’m always asking is how do I built it and how can I support it. Now with Documentum EMC it’s very easy to build out the solutions and customizations, you can extend their platforms quite easily. All the actual development tools that need to use and you need to interact with, are all Java based. So if have Java developers presently in your team, it’s quite easily to get them ramped up to work with Documentum.

So it’s not like as big crazy, “Oh how am I going to get my team wrapped through on the concept what the Documentum is,” is really quite easily. And with support I have to say, since the EMC acquisition Documentum supports has just been stellar, it is incredible. You put in a support request for any reason, within an hour or two you get a call back, you get resolution, you get a response and not a lot of software vendors can say that and that’s very important because you want to make sure that, “Yes will they come in and do what I need to do?” Yeah that’s just one side of the equation the other side is, “Will I actually be able to give it the business value that I’m looking for?” “Will I actually be able to support it and make sure that my business owners are happy with the level of response that they are getting.”

There’s a lot point of the equation because with Documentum at least how we’ve implemented it sort of is a cogwheel and integration piece that’s just run many, many components. As if yeah we’ve had some support wrinkles here and there, but none of them have been to the point of actually Documentum being a real cause, it’s just normal standard day to day operations that you would come to expect in a major enterprise.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Do you have any home built solutions that are mixed in with the Documentum Platform?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

No, no, again.

Bryan House – EMC Software

So you are using pretty much what they are supplying, are you using them in tandem with other?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

We’ve integrated Documentum to a number of other environments like Oracle Financials for instance. We have a (Inaudible) environment that handles a lot of number of scans. Predominantly what we’ve chosen to do, is we have a number of legacy applications that have been built say five years ago, six years ago, even three or four years ago, instead of trying to shoehorn them into a Documentum environment, we prefer to either upgrade them actually bring them into the Documentum environment as a full fledge application, or to try augment in some other ways. So, we don’t want to build on bad code, we’d rather just build everything within the applications, within the platform.

Bryan House – EMC Software

Is there anything that you think you had a unique (Inaudible)?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

I can probably touch one comment that I was looking to make, just the sort of hit home where I feel that Documentum has brought us, which is the old software paradigm of the cathedral versus bizarre, historically that’s always been either or situation you could definitely have one or the other, but not both. I think one of the things that Documentum or EMC Documentum has done for us, is that we in a sense have both. Documentum does bring you to stable platform that is very, very well supported, very well standardized, but they also do give you ability to extend that platform, using various components like business objects, business objects framework, DFC.

You can actually build out what you feel, you need for your business if your business requirements don’t met something within in the Documentum chances are, you can extend it. In our personal organization we’ve added in XML inline editing. We’ve added documents Word to XML conversion, we’ve added our own custom file transfer utility and we’ve done all of these things and there live within the platform and when we come to upgrade, these customization are lost, they’re actually still part of that framework as we push it forward. And I think that sort of mix has really given us the kind of flexibility to keep with Documentum as we push forward version upon version because there’s no chance the Documentum is going to meet our exact requirements.

Any company who says that can do that to you, frankly is living too much in presentation land. EMC Documentum actually can give us that platform of what we can build on, but we can still extend as we need. Well, again because what Documentum brings us, we don’t really worry about the future in that sense because we have an open standards base repository. We have our content as it were stored an open standard format. We have the ability now to push the multiple devices though to be honest with you, I think the needs to actually execute that is probably another year off, but to simplifies this, we’ve the ability to do that.

Bryan House – EMC Software

How does the future look? How is the comfort level of your job now compared to where it was before?

Geoffrey McCaleb – EMC Software

The only downside of EMC Documentum I guess you could to say, is that now that the business has seen the potential, I’ve got more work than I can possibly do with. Once the business has really seen the potential they want in and that’s the one downside I guess you could say, they want in that we’ve got back office applications coming up on our pipeline, we have front office applications. As we mentioned before, we’ve got a number of journals and publications that are looking to ramp up to us. So, I think that’s the only negative side if you can call it a negative.

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