As I mentioned in my last post, last week kicked off the 2009 Regional ECM UserNet Meetings across the country, with Seattle leading the way, and Columbus following this past week. Next on the list is Chicago, which is this coming week on April 14, and then they carry on from there. Before I get into my thoughts from the event in Seattle, just a reminder to the community, if you have not already registered, go find the one nearest you and SIGN UP! Here's a link to them all, and of course, you'll find this same link in our Bookmarks area of the site, and in Important Bookmarks on the right side of the home page.
Before going further, I should put in a disclaimer that I happen to be president of the Pacific Northwest UserNet here in Seattle, and so my views may be slanted about our event. That said, I thought it was excellent (shocking, I know!).
We started with the usual UserNet housekeeping, put your cellphones on stun...err...vibrate, thanks to the sponsors (who really make these things happen, otherwise we wouldn't be able to have all the food, hotel, fly in IBM experts, etc), pass the mic around the room and introduce people in the audience to each other, overview of the agenda, etc. Tom Rieger and his team from IBM spend an immense amount of time pulling these together, and it's always great when he takes the stage and kicks one off. I joined him for part of the introduction, and then we brought up Ranjun Chauhan (who is leading the social media charge for IBM ECM and is the leader of this site), who did a great introduction about this very ECM online community, and then we turned it over to Dave Caldeira from IBM who did a great "main tent" overview of the IBM ECM strategy and platform. Dave always does a great job, and if you haven't seen him speak, you should take any chance you get, he knows his topic VERY well!
From there, we went out into breakouts, and while I can't speak for all of them, the ones I went to were very well done. A bit about the ones I went to:
SharePoint and Quickr Connector Update - My opinion, if you use SharePoint and an IBM ECM product, you HAVE to have this. SharePoint is the file share of the 21st century, it doesn't scale well (thanks to storing all the documents in the database), and quickly gets out of contro - the connector solves these problems, lets you archive to your IBM ECM system, declare records, run through workflows, etc. and still do all the things that SharePoint is great at (like collaboration, lists, project management sites, etc.). If you haven't seen this tool and all the great things you can do with it, and you have SharePoint, you need to check it out!
Hands On Lab - P8 4.5 and BPM - Plain and simple, the stuff in P8 4.5 is the best example yet of the capabilities that IBM brings to the table, from bundling of WebSphere with P8, to the amazing widget/mashup technology with BPM, it is the most important release of P8 ever, in my opinion. Having hands on experience with this can't be beat, and I'd say it is a true "can't miss" session - no other vendor has any technology even close to what IBM is doing in the BPM space, it was very impressive (and was definitely the talk of the conference)!
Customer Case Study - DAT at Chelan County PUD - I always like to see what other customers are doing, and my friend Dave (not sure if he wants his last name broadcast, so I'll keep it quiet to protect the innocent) has built a great tool with help from a partner (RKO, run by Sean Fitzpatrick, also a great friend), to allow business users to find their documents, export the results of their searches to Excel, etc. Very cool stuff, reminded me of a tool that we developed at another place I worked called the View Framework.
Content Federation and Integration - This is the technology IBM bought years ago when they acquired Venetica...it is a pre-cursor to the CMIS standard that is getting all the press now...it is super technology and I've always been a fan, great to see that now they're working with SharePoint, Livelink, Documentum, and a whole host of other systems. The IBM repositories are all supported out of the box, so for instance, if you have P8, and you need to federate (or migrate) CM documents, or CS documents, or IS documents...this is something you should be looking at, again, in my opinion.
Enterprise Security and P8 Platform - Ah, single sign on, the holy grail of P8...unless you have SiteMinder, or some Tivoli stuff, or have a tool that fills in your logons for you, I bet you don't have it working...SOMEDAY it will be easy...I hope...it's so complicated with all the different components, different rules apply to java and .net, on and on. I always try to get exposed to it, and always learn something (and usually realize how much more there is to learn in this space that I don't know!).
Of course, it's not all sessions, we stopped for lunch, vendor expo, and more networking, between the second and third session above. To close down the night, we had a big reception with food and drinks, a raffle with lots of prizes donated by sponsors (I made SURE that my name was not in the drawing, nothing looks more fixed than when the president of the user group wins a raffle!), and lots of great conversations about IBM ECM. Hopefully people reading this post were at the event, or went to, or are going to, another of the UserNet meetings...what did you think, or if you haven't gone yet, what do you want to see?
Until next time...Happy Easter/Happy Masters/Happy weekend, and shutdown -r now (a little UNIX reboot joke this time, can't always pick on Windows)... --Ian
ECM In Motion
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