Alfresco is bringing their Alfresco Days series of events back to D.C. again on May 23. The 2019 Alfresco Government Summit focuses on generating discussions around leveraging Alfresco as a platform in the cloud. Specifically, as an open source content services platform living in AWS.
TeraThink will be there again this year to talk about how we make content services work using Alfresco in AWS. We have been leveraging the content services platform (CSP) approach to deploying enterprise content management (ECM) for a few years. During that time, we’ve learned a lot of lessons. We will be bringing that expertise to the Application Platform Revolution Panel moderated by Alfresco founder John Newton.
Before the 23rd, I want to take a few minutes to giving you a preview of some of the thoughts we will be sharing.
Content Services Platform Background
In 2017, Gartner rebranded the ECM market into content services. This wasn’t a dramatic change as large portions of the industry had already begun to change mindsets. Many were already using a services approach when the CMIS (content management interoperability services) standard was introduced in 2008. In many ways, Gartner’s change was a recognition of how successful implementations where leveraging ECM platforms.
Since then, we’ve learned a lot.
- Start with the API and content model. You have to fully understand what business entities with which you are interacting and how they relate to each other before you can begin to build anything.
- APIs need to represent the business. You are not working on documents. You are working on correspondence, reports, and other specific business content.
- Deliver value by delivering non-functional capabilities. When you successfully build security, reporting, scalability, other non-functional requirements into the platform, it becomes easier to support new business functionality.
That underlying theme is that you are not building a cloud-based file store. You are building a representation of your business where you store business content organized by the business entities to which they apply.
March Towards Shared Services
What we are starting to see is that when you build a successful CSP in your organization, other parts of the business want to leverage the platform. When you’ve taken all the proper non-functional requirements into account, your CSP provides a fast way for those business teams to meet their goals.
Part of the preparation is the building a universal content model. We are not talking about modeling everything in the business. Taking that approach has doomed more projects than I care to remember. We are talking about modeling the distinct business entities and how they interact and relate to each other. At a minimum, you have to define all the entities that are adjacent to the business domain where you are building your first application. You only need to model in detail those entities that are part of the current effort.
To support that model, you need to define and implement a robust set of non-functional features such as strong security, comprehensive auditing, and useful reporting. While not every application needs those non-functional feature to use your CSP, you will experience problems and delays in leveraging a single CSP when you do not have them.
Come Learn More
The Application Platform Revolution Panel will be touching on these themes from multiple perspectives. We invite you to join us and our host, Alfresco, at the downtown Renaissance Hotel to learn more about this and other topics. You can register for free. After the panel, the TeraThink team and I will happily share our experiences making content services a reality.
SAP’s TechEd 2018 in Las Vegas started on a Tuesday morning with a keynote ushering in a week of intelligent technologies and digital platforms. The keynote itself, from SAP’s Bernd Leukert, lacked the entertainment value of years past. No one appeared from a smoked-out DeLorean. No Captain Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise. Instead, SAP changed the colors on a small “car of the future”, mimicking the car being spray painted.
Despite the special effects, SAP’s made their point. The real time capabilities of SAP Cloud Platform, using APIs integrated with S/4HANA, showing a customer what their car being painted would look like was practical and important. Real time access to information for customers, and the ability of companies to program and provide it, is clearly the focus for SAP.
Once again, I am attending the Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to the excellent content during the main conference, The Information Coalition team added two new components to the agenda, the Leadership Summit and CIO Breakfast.
I was honored to be asked to represent TeraThink and speak at the Leadership Summit. I shared many of personal lessons from my past and stressed the need for fresh leadership in the industry. However, I want to take a moment to share what some of the others discussed during the events.
TeraThink had the pleasure of attending the 2018 Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Professional Development Training (PDT) in Orlando, FL. This massive event had over 2,000 attendees between July 22-25. Our small group included Jim Levitan, Howard Campbell, Leslie Hubbard-Darr, Matt Duffy, Rodney Taylor, Todd Barber, and myself.
This year, traveling to Orlando proved to be more challenging than planned. Many people, including myself, experienced several hours of delays. Even in the midst of a slow start, the AGA managed to pull off a spectacular event. Despite arriving at 2 a.m. due to delays, Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General, GAO demonstrated quick wit and amazing recall of stats throughout the opening plenary session.
In an earlier blog, I wrote about a couple of takeaways regarding improvements to the ServiceNow platform from our trip to Knowledge18, Those weren’t the only key takeaways from ServiceNow’s annual conference. There was a lot of focus on improving the user experience for both the producers and consumers of ServiceNow’s features and value. Having seen many projects succeed or fail based not upon features but upon user experience, this was exciting to see.
In May, my colleagues and I attended ServiceNow’s annual conference, Knowledge18. We joined over 18,000 attendees in Las Vegas to meet, learn, share, and collaborate on all things ServiceNow. They presented a wide range of valuable content spanning all aspects of the platform. This ranged from in-depth solution-focused sessions, to industry-based workshops, to a roadmap of functionality coming to the platform.
Two of my takeaways from the conference centered on the platform improvement and their increased focus on the customer.
Last month I had the pleasure of going to San Antonio for the 2018 AIIM Conference. As always, AIIM hosted some great conversations and informative presentations. Some of the discussions focused around emerging technologies in the information space, blockchain, and artificial intelligence.
Lots of new technology were discussed in a panel run by Alan Pelz-Sharpe. He and his panelists; Andrea Chiappe, Kashyap Kompella, and Dan Abdul; broke the technologies down and how they impact the world of information management. Alan noted that during his preconference session, a surprising number of people were already very familiar with these new technologies. That is a refreshing realization. Broad understanding in the industry is critical towards creating practical applications with any new technology.
Recently, TeraThink attended CGI’s tenth annual Momentum Ideas Day. This year it took place at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, VA. In addition to the excellent catering (breakfast, lunch, snacks, coffee, the list goes on and on!) provided throughout the day, there was a lot to learn at this year’s event!
CGI’s Momentum is a full-featured financial and accounting ERP solution focused for the Federal government. Ideas Day allows Momentum users and stakeholders to learn more about the latest Momentum releases. Together, attendees are able to collaboratively discuss existing ideas and brainstorm new ideas for future Momentum enhancements. The day was broken out into multiple sessions to explore various subject areas. Several of my fellow TeraThink colleagues were there so we could attend the varied sessions to gain insight into upcoming Momentum enhancements.
TeraThink recently attended the 2018 Association of Government Accountants (AGA) National Leadership Training (NLT) symposium in Washington D.C. It was our first AGA event since rolling out our expanded offerings after our merger with Dominion Consulting. I attended with Jim Levitan, Howard Campbell, Leslie Hubbard-Darr, Matt Duffy, and Rodney Taylor.
Held February 27-28, the 2018 NLT was one of the largest ever, with 862 participants. The conference served as an excellent platform to learn about the latest trends in Federal financial management in a shared-experience environment. Additionally, it helped showcase TeraThink services at our booth in the exhibitor’s hall.
Recently, I was at the local NCC-AIIM Chapter meeting. Russ Stalters was visiting from Texas and shared the story about how he created a new, 200+ person, data management team for the BP Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. A separate organizational entity from BP, the organization was stood up in 90 days from vision to operation. It was an impressive tale involving massive amounts of information being absorbed and managed in a highly visible environment.
As Russ spoke, it became clear that two of the key lessons were around agile processes and content analytics. It generated some great discussion that took us well past the scheduled time. I wanted to take some time to share some of the highlights.