[WARNING – the following unapologetically contains work related commentary] I had the privilege this week of attending the beginning of Momentum Europe 2016 as ECD was finally able to bring this great event back after a three year hiatus. Bittersweet that this is the last true ECD conference. I love this event.
EMC World was great but it always diluted Momentum traffic to the point where it was much harder to connect. This was decidedly not the case for the event in Barcelona. There was not a single tchotchke trolling storage admin in sight. Every conversation had something to do with ECD. Well that or how to get up and do a presentation at 8am after 2 hours of sleep and a night of questionable decisions – but that’s how these things go.
I was disappointed that I needed to leave early but in the time I was there a few things stood out to me.
- The hands on labs and hack-a-thons were PACKED. As much as we try to elevate the conversation to lofty exchanges about digital transformation, this crowd loves to play with the product. There is not a session with more intensity and interest from the attendees.
- Customer stories are still better than anything a vendor can do or say to in a demo. In person with live Q&A sharing the good the bad and the ugly so we can all learn and create better experiences in the future.
- There were two consistent crowds at the expo show floor. One around the Leap kiosk and the other around InfoArchive.
- The LEAP Platform API is coming together and partners have some terrific ideas around how to make it a part of their businesses. From a portfolio evolution perspective this is critical. Every partner I have talked to without exception wanted this API as soon as they could get it. I like what I see technically and I agree with the strategy but ECD is not delivering on this one fast enough. The partners involved in the beta will be making great demands back on the team as they innovate and this is going to challenge the delivery team. To realize the vision of LEAP this has got to move faster to be transformational. Not an easy thing to accomplish even without the distractions of acquisition and organizational change but there it is.
- It may not have an immediate effect on the broader customer base but general availability of Postgres and CentOS support for content server is a bigger deal than you might think. This is another thing that ECD talked about for far too long before it became a reality. The developer editions of various tools worked on this for a while but there was no way this was going to affect the community in a meaningful way if it wasn’t a fully supported platform. I am not sure if many large customers will take advantage of it in the short term but this is a key advancement that lets us consider content server in certain OEM use cases for example where it was not always practical to add operating system and database costs to the model.
- I continue to be concerned that the ECD community is too slow to capitalize on the fact that InfoArchive is NOT ECM. If you try and position it that way it will not win. My challenge to ECM partners that want to grow their business is to get out of your ECM shaped box and embrace the business opportunity of application decommissioning with the non-ECM business owners within your customer base. You have skills that will port easily but it is a different business problem and the community at large needs to be more adept at differentiating between the two. InfoArchive 4.2 is adding more features to round out the offering but it is not and does not want to be ECM/Library Services. Take advantage of the learning opportunities from ECD to better understand how this will help your business.
- Did I mentioned OpenText is still buying ECD? No this is not burying the lead. We learned nothing new. The deal is still on track to close on the originally announced timeline and until then details will be sparse for regulatory reasons. Nothing to be done about that but kudos for OpenText executives Muhi Majzoub and Vincenzo Negrelli for being there to show their support for ECD and community at large even if they were not able to share any more details.
- Customer and partner reactions to the acquisition are not nearly as apocalyptic as small competitors desperate for attention would have you believe. I have already written about the business sense of the deal and once anyone examines the alternatives this genuinely is the best outcome. Being an irrelevant component of EMC was really hard. Being an irrelevant component of Dell would be oh so much worse. This move will be good for customers and though the deal does create turbulence it is the benefit to customers that ultimately makes it good for partners as well.
Lastly, my favorite part is connecting with colleagues and friends from customers, partners and ECD alike. There is no substitute for it. The more we spend time together, the more we build trust across the community that sells implements and uses this stuff and we are all better for it. Looking forward to expanding that world with new partners and customers when all the deals are done.