Agile ECM, announced yesterday, was shown live to emphasize just how easy, how agile, these new products are. Ken Bisconti, VP Product Strategy started by articulating the need for business agility and reiterating the key tenets of IBM ECM product strategy:
- Active content – Using content in the context of business processes
- Business Agility – Being responsive to market shifts. Ken pointed out that today, clients must see ROI in no more than two quarters. That’s from purchase, through deployment to realization of full business value.
- Enterprise Compliance – To help organizations manage risk
- Content Anywhere – Realizing organizations have multiple content repositories, including casually created and consumed collaboration content.
- Pervasive and Persuasive – The user interfaces to realize the business value from Agile ECM.
Ken also pointed out that market has pushed us towards integration with adjacent markets, including collaboration. Having access to thousands of components from IBM development has enabled IBM to rapidly build in many of the capabilities that we are now seeing in Agile ECM portfolio. Most notable for today’s discussion: technology from Lotus Mashup Center.
At the controls of the live demo was Carl Kessler, VP WW ECM Development. Gotta love that the guy running the worlds largest ECM development organization will demo code that’s still a few weeks from shipping on his laptop (not even a production server) in front of hundreds. That’s confidence!
On to the demo! First Carl started with the Office 2007 environment where he brought up a PowerPoint document and then a Word document showing additions to the ribbon bar. From the Office applications, Carl could directly access his IBM ECM repository for check in/out, document protection, browse and search, bring up favorites and recent documents, declare the document a record, send it for approvals, view current tasks in the business process related to the document and much more. From the design view, using templates Carl was able to set metadata and define how the document is presented to end users along with custom tasks. Next Carl gave us an end users’ view from Outlook. Using that metadata, Carl could search through the information that had been stored in the content repository, search by date emails were sent or received, by topic, by author and much more.
Now for the new IBM FileNet BPM product where Carl walked through a process designer working with an end user to immediately build a new business process interface just by dragging and dropping widgets into a dynamic user interface. He explained that these widgets could be brought in from anywhere. This demo showed custom widgets built by the fictional “client”, but these widgets can come from many sources. What makes the widgets so portable is that they are built using the open iwidget standard supported across IBM and by partners. Ascendant, on the show floor down at the expo, is one partner who is noted to have already built to the iwidget standard.
Back to the demo, designing a supervisor screen was super easy. Carl used a browser, the system authenticated him as having a business analyst role, which allowed him to edit processes and interfaces. Then it was simple: grab a widget, drag it to the screen, bring up a wiring dialog to connect information feeds from one widget to another and viola!
Carl explained that this dramatically reduces the time it takes to negotiate projects between IT and Line of Business. From a technical standpoint alone, implementation time for processes that used to take 4-5 days is down to 4-5 hours! Yes, that’s FIVE TIMES FASTER. WOW – speed to succeed!
I wish I had sat closer to the front to get a better view of the screen, or that my eyes weren’t approaching that mid-life era. SO IF YOU GO TOMORROW – SIT IN THE FRONT, despite the double projectors and big screens, it’s a huge room and you don’t want to miss anything! Especially in this product, which allows users to immediately realize value from IBM ECM, directly in the environment they use already and with little or no training.