FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 4

Previous post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 3

EMC FirstDoc User Group FDUG

In Part 3 of the FDUG 2011 series, I described the afternoon session of the first day, which included CSC’s Cloud offering, their UI Strategy, Performance and the social event. In this post, I’ll cover the sessions that took place on the last day.

Feedback

The morning started with feedback. The points compiled from yesterday User session were presented to CSC. These were graciously received, and even a few suggestions where made by CSC staff about ways they, themselves,  could address the concern.

SPX in use

Following the user session, there was a panel discussion involving three of CSC’s clients that had implemented SPX in their environment. For more on SPX, click here (PDF).

It seems that while there was a lot of interest in the technology, and implementing it, this came from a very small group of people. This group, however, were very interested in a number of things, and many questions were still being asked after the session had ended.

eTMF

After the coffee break, another CSC customer gave a presentation on their journey from a manual system for managing their Trial Master Files (TMF) to an electronic system.

This was packed with some very interesting information, and it is always good to learn from others.

Total Clinical Solution

As discussed in earlier “Look back” posts, CSC are offering “Total Solutions”. The “Total Regulatory Solution” has been  discussed, and now we had a chance to learn more about the “Total Clinical Solution”. Fransiska Darma (who I had met the night before) gave this presentation.

Often, in clinical trials, the research is outsourced to a Clinical Research Organisation CRO), and involves collaboration between the CRO and the pharma company. In other word – moving documents between the external CRO, and the internal groups involved.

To achieve this requires being able to capture document, and somehow allow the external party to upload it to the pharma company’s EDMS. Further to this, to allow for an increase in reporting and tracking, documents need to have an expansive amount of metadata.

As with CSC’s Total Regulatory Solution, CSC are trying to leverage the fact that they now have a full range of products to implement these “Total” solutions. For their “Total Clinical Solution” this includes making use of FirstDoc (on Documentum), along with SPX (on SharePoint), as well as other tools that facilitate planning and managing, tracking and reporting, and the auditing process.

Usability

This was another customer presented session. It was very, very interesting. In this case, the customer had done an Usability Assessment of FirstDoc 6.1.

The presenter started off asking why, when we search for, review & order something on a site like Amazon, we can do it easily, without any real effort, while, when do something similar inside a business, a 3 hour training course is required.

The presenter followed this up with the statement that “solutions should not require user to change their way of working for the sake of the system.”

To assess their own system (based on FirstDoc 6.1) the customer did 2 assessments, each time where 28  normal employees (i.e. not specially trained testers), were asked to perform a specific task – review & approve a document.

Using a tool that allowed the user’s mouse movements to be tracked, along with a camera that allowed the user’s face to be seen, gave the testers a good insight into how a new user uses an interface.

Some of the findings were shared with us.

These include the fact that the steps required to accomplish the actual task were not obvious. We were shown a film of the mouse movements of one of the testers as they tried to work out the steps required to complete the task. At the same time, a small screen showed the user face and body. There was  a lot of “i know that feeling” laughter amongst the audience as we watched.

This particular customer had also created a mock-up of an improved design. This included less “clutter” and prompts that would guide the user.

On the one hand, having guidance can be very useful for users who are not familiar with the steps required for the task. And often, even after doing the task for a couple of times, if the same user did not repeat the actions for several months, then that same “learning time” is required. On the other hand, users who perform the task multiple times a day can get frustrated with guidance. In this case, what would be good is if the application had a “dummy mode” for new, or infrequent users, and an “expert mode” for those more “experienced” users. (This was something that was introduced into WebTop – a “simple” user interface, and a more detailed one.)

EMC & Record Management

Tim Marsh from EMC gave us a presentation on Records Management, and Information Governance, and the solutions and tools that EMC has in the area.

Validation

The last session of the day was presented by Peter Branstetter, a Senior Consultant from Arcondis.

Peter’s presentation was a very educational trip through validation. Starting with GAMP5 (Good Automated Manufacturing Process) he touched upon Risk-based approach,  and the GAMP V model. Included in the journey we got to see example of this in use.

CSC offer a Validation Package which contains all the components needed to meet compliance. This allows the customer to fill in the details as required.

This session generated some very interesting discussions. It seems that “what”, or “how much” is required to meet compliance can vary depending on who is making the company policy. As such, the answers to some of the “do I need to do x,y, or z” questions were often – “that depends on what your QA department wants.”

This was the last session of the conference – about a quarter of the participants had already left. However, this topic, whether we love it, or curse it, was something that a lot of people wanted to know about, and Peter definitely seemed knowledgeable about it.

End of Session

So – that was the end of the FirstDoc User Group – Europe Conference. For me, this was one of the best FDUG conference that I have been too. I got a lot of value out of the sessions.

The FirstDoc User Group conference is organised by the FDUG – Europe Steering Committee This is made up of 3 representative from CSC Life Sciences customer base.

They did a really good job this year!

FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 3

Previous post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 2

In Part 2 of the FDUG 2011 series, I described some business case presentations that a couple of CSC’s customers gave, and also talked about CSC’s “Total Regulatory Solutions”. In this post, we’ll cover some of the sessions that took place in the later part of the day – CSC’s IT Strategy (including their foray into the Cloud, and their User Interface Strategy); Performance; the “User session” and the Social Event.

Note – in the afternoon there were two “double” sessions. That is there were 2 timeslots where there were double sessions. I had to make a choice – and so wasn’t able to attend CSC’s Integration session, or a presentation on an sucessful upgrade project.

Cloud

“Everyone is doing cloud” and so are CSC.

However in the Life Sciences arena, there is still a lot of hesitation about using the cloud.

Pharma companies operate under the regulatory guidelines (21CFR Part11) of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), as well as those of other regulatory bodies (European Medicines Agency (EMEA), etc). Remaining compliant is of the utmost importance for these companies. And as with any other industry, the main concerns are to do with: security and availability.

From what I can see, CSC have tried to address these concerns, and offer three IaaS models:

Off Premise

  1. Public Cloud, with all the advantages a public cloud offers – at CSC Data Centers
  2. Private Cloud, to give dedicated access – at CSC Data Centers

On Premise

3. Private Cloud – behind the client’s firewall.

These are all built on Vblocks, a technology that combines VMWare, Cisco and EMC technology, spread across 12 data centers spread across North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

To address the security concerns, the Security Framework for “CSC Trusted Cloud” is touted as covering a plethora of security points. These fall under the following categories: Access Control, Physical Security, Logical Security (the separation and isolation of client data, etc), and (as option) Data Integrity.

At the same time, compliance to 21CFR Part11 requires three primary components: the Installation Qualification (IQ) – that records contains a complete set of detailed information on the hardware environment, the underlying software (from OS to application) and instructions on how to install the system from out of the box; the Operational Qualification (OQ) – that proves that the system is operating correctly, and the Performance Qualification (PQ) that indicates that the system is performing correctly to meet the stated user requirements.

CSC are planning to use their Cloud model as a basis for delivering their Managed Services solution. The also aim to deliver IQ, and OQ, out-of-the box. This’ll be a great advantage for Pharma companies. They only have to worry about the PQ. This allows the benefits of the cloud to be realised, while remaining compliant.

User Interface Strategy

Currently CSC offers two interfaces for their FirstDoc product.

  1. They makes use of Documentum’s native client – Webtop – and adds their own “compliance logic” to it.
  2. SPX web parts – these are specially developed SharePoint web parts that expose (most of) the FirstDoc functionality, and allow users to interact with documents in a Documentum docbase.

EMC has announced that they will be retiring Webtop. CSC UI strategy addresses this.

xCP

EMC have released xCP (xCelerated Composition Platform). This is a new technology that they have developed that offers for quick application development, through configuration rather than coding. (EMC have written a white paper on xCP that you can download).

EMC released xCP to the world a couple of years ago with much fanfare. At the time they were promoting as a technology for “case management”. Since then, they have changed their message, and now promote xCP to be “the” interface solution.

The current version of xCP is 1.5. EMC will be bringing out version 2.0 which will still focus on Case Based applications, but CSC have been invited to be involved with version 2.1. They plan to assess the gap between FirstDoc requirements and xCP version 2.0 capabilities so that they can  contribute suitable requirements.

SPX

CSC plan to continue supporting SPX. SPX stands for SharePoint eXperience and, as mentioned above includes specially designed webparts that can be placed on a SharePoint web site, and allow the users to interact with FirstDocs docbases.

SPX has come a long way since the initial release. CSC’s goal is to close the gap between the functionality available in SPX and that in Webtop. They are not quite there yet, but are getting very close.

While xCP will allow developers to easily create an user interface, SPX has the benefit of being very flexible. The web parts can be dragged easily to different places on the web page, allowing a Portal to be built that matches the way users want to work.

While working on part4 of this series, I noticed a CSC job advertisement for a Senior Product S/W Developer. Looking at the job functions, as well as the qualifications required, it looks like CSC are ramping up their SPX resources.

Performance

As I mentioned in an earlier post (FDUG – Europe – Review of the Agenda), this is one session that I was really looking forward to.

It turned out to be a presentation from one of CSC’s clients, (presented by Bill Meier), outlining what testing that they had done to improve the performance of the FirstDoc system.

This involved some very comprehensive testing. Special environments were set up, and load, and measurement, applications were used to try and determine where the bottlenecks were in the system.

From this came a series of “Corrective Actions”, which were very interesting. I thank the company that provided this information (you know who you are).

User Session

The last session of the day was the User Session. This is where all the CSC staff leave the room, and the users get to really discuss what they find good about CSC, and where CSC could make improvements. This is a half hour event, but it actually went on a lot longer than that.

As always, in the beginning, only one or two compliments, or criticisms are forthcoming, but as always, once the ball starts rolling, the discussion picks up some speed.

During this time, one of the FDUG steering committed (made up of three people from CSC customer base), records the comments.

Normally the next day, the users have a chance to present these to CSC, and give more detail. It’s not a witch hunt, and, I congratulate CSC on giving their clients an opportunity to give them feedback like this.  However, the real test is what they do with the feedback…

Social Event

At about 7pm everyone met in the foyer of the hotel. I had a chance to chat with Christoph Langebner, a senior accout executive at CSC. Chris is a very friendly guy, whom I met at last years EMC’s Momentum in Lisbon.  Back then he was an expecting father, and a bit nervous about it. Now he’s no longer expecting, and no longer nervous.

The entire troop then marched off to a local restaurant “Huth Gewirtschaft“, which I have read is rate No. 4 out of 1034 restaurants in Vienna.  It was a very nice meal, and I found myself sitting opposite Franciska Darmer, a LS Solution Specialist at CSC. (Danish, but living in Florence, Italy – “just for the fun of it”). I was also sitting next to some very interesting people from a couple of different Pharma companies, and at one stage, we all got into an interesting (and friendly) debate over the value of the “electronic signature”. Always interesting to see what other opinions are.

After dinner, the group traipsed off to find a good watering hole. I regret that I didn’t join them…

In Part 4, I’ll discuss the events of the second day.

Next Post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 4

FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 2

Previous PostFirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 1

In Part 1 of the FDUG 2011 series, I described the location of the meeting, and gave an overview of CSC’s plan and strategies. In Part 2, I’ll talk about the rest of the conference.

Going thin

After the break, two of the Pharma companies gave a presentation on a project that they were each involved with to upgrade their document management system.

I’m not at liberty to discuss the details, but it is obvious that the drivers in the pharmaceutical world are the same as in any other business. Namely,

  • Try and get as much functionality out of a product without writing customized code.
  • Aim to increase the useability of a solution
  • Make use of “thin” technology – (Portals).

The business cases presented described how CSC technology was being used to allow these goals to be met.  Always interesting to see, as this is a common theme.

Partnership Program

In the session  CSC described their “Partner Program” plans.

CSC’s goal here is to “put more effort into Partnerships to increase their usefulness.”  That is, with a good network of “CSC Partners”, CSC can meet client requirements, be able to offer more, and be more responsive (i.e. have more resources available) .

Companies that partner with CSC will fall into of three areas: Technology; Sales; Solution. Each area has its own “model” and KPIs that need to be met to be able to retain their status. “Customer Satisfaction” being the most important.

The message was that CSC want to seriously lift their game here. This will include certification, KPIs, working with the Partners to bring over a “unified” message.

Certification

As mentioned, CSC will be offering a certification program.

This will be made up of 4-tiered capabilities (Installation, Configuration, Customization, and Architecture). CSC are looking at some type of “boot camp” experience where individuals attend a week long course for each capability. This will be followed by several weeks of “shadowing” on client projects.

The fact that CSC mention this, signals that they want to set a standard that people that partner with them will meet. Which is encouraging. The “certification” is for the individual (that is, it’s not transferable to other people at the Partnersite).

Curious to see how this one will pan out.

Total Regulatory Solution

In the keynote presentation, there was mention of CSC’s “Total Regulatory Solution”.

Jennifer Wemstrom (who flew over to this year’s European FDUG) presented CSC’s overview of their “Total Regulatory Solution”.

Underpinning this is CSC’s aim to provide the “Total Business Solution” that supports the creation, management and consumption of regulatory documentation in the Life Sciences industry.

In simple words, CSC have got all the tools (especially since their acquisition of ISI and their Publishing tools) to achieve this, but the tools are still disparate applications. CSC’s goal is that all these disparate systems will be unified. They will have a common interface, and a use a shared data model.

This is definitely the right move. In my years as a ECM specialist I have seen companies grow through the acquisition of other companies that offer a solution that compliments, or even enhances, the parent companies offerings. The next logical step is to integrate the applications that make up the suite so that the user is presented with a seamless “solution”.

At the same time CSC seem to be actively investigating offering more than just a suite of technical products. They have realised that they have a lot of skill and knowledge in this area, and are talking about Business Process Outsourcing, and offering their Total Regulatory Solution as a managed service. (This ties in with CSC’s goal to dive into the cloud.)

New Product Offerings

CSC realise that there are still a few “gaps” in their offering. They are busy with  three new products. These are all to do with the submission end of the process. It looks like CSC are really listening to their customers.

Business Process Outsourcing

In this area CSC have three offerings:

  • Staff Augmentation – where CSC staff will work “side by side” with the customer;
  • Tactical Outsourcing – where CSC will handle specific aspects of the regulatory process.
  • Functional Outsourcing of regulatory activity.

As mentioned above, CSC definitely want to make good use of the skills & experience they have built up, and want to expand into offering services rather than just technology.

To back this up, CSC described how they will be tackling staff training (resource development). They have three levels which includes a sort of “orientation/induction” level, “core training” for regulatory activities, and then, “client specific training” which addresses the activities that a client has outsourced to CSC.

Managed Services

CSC have a series of Managed Service Models. These include the traditional models of “on premise” or “hosted” through to “As a service” which includes “Dedicated”, “Private Cloud”, and “Public Cloud”.  A flavor to suit all requirements.

FirstDocs 6.3

Bill Meier spent some time discussing the CSC’s latest version of FirstDoc (version 6.3) which include a large number of enhancements.

A few of the high points include the fact that this version will be certified on Linux.

…continued in Part 3

Next Post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 3

FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 1

Previous Post: FDUG – Europe – Review of the Agenda

In this post I discuss the recently held 2011 FirstDoc User Group conference. Because there was so much content I am doing this in multiple posts.

Location and Venue

As described in my earlier post, this year’s FDUG was held in Vienna. At the end of each FDUG Conference , the organizers ask the attendees where they would like the next one to be held. Vienna came up on the list two years ago as a favourite, and clearly made its way to the top of the list. Not a bad choice.

The conference was held at the Marriott Hotel. The conference rooms were great, and the catering was superb. The breakfast available at the beginning of each day was an excellent idea!

Attendees

Pharma Customers

There was a lot of people at this years user group. There were 53 attendees, representing 21 of CSC’s 47 Pharma customers.

CSC Team

  • Marty Magazzolo – Global Practice Director, ECCM Life Sciences
  • Paul Attridge – Head of Life Sciences ECCM Product Development
  • Jennifer Wemstrom – Director, Regulatory Solutions
  • Bill Meier – FirstDoc Product Manager
  • Franciska Darmer – Life Sciences Solution Specialist
  • Christopher Langebner – Senior Account Executive
  • Steve Scrace – Senior Account Executive
  • Pablo Santiago – Manager, CSC Spain
  • Rober Svanetti – Life Sciences Manager, CSC Italy
  • Tobia Griessel – Account Executive, CSC Germany

Sessions

In my last FDUG post I talked about the proposed agenda. Fortunately there weren’t many changes.

You can view the agenda here.

KeyNote & Strategy Update

After a warm welcome by Bill Meier,  the Conference kicked off with the KeyNote.

Marty Magazzolo, the Global Practice Director, took to the stage and gave an update on CSC’s strategy, as well as describing a little bit of the original goal of their purchase of FCG. Namely, it was to “be more inline with their customers’ business needs than rather being a pure IT vendor” (Even though in quotes, the previous statement is, most likely not exact, but gets the same message across.)

Business – CSC nows considers itself a “Global Technology and Business Services Company”, and operates in three lines of business:

  • Business Solutions & Services
  • Managed Services Sector
  • North American Public Sector

Software Strategy – With it’s recent acquisition of ISI, CSC now has a range of products that allow it to offer “Total Business Solutions”.

In fact their Mission Statement is:

Provide end to end business solutions for processes involving the creation, review, approval, consumption & exchange of regulated and mission critical documents and content within a Life Sciences organization

To achieve this, CSC have created several “Total” solutions – These include one for Regulatory, one for Clinical, and one for Quality. These played a large role in this year’s conference.

At the same time, CSC admitted that the solutions are still made up of disparate systems. The goals for the future are to streamline them so that they use a common interface, a common database structure, and work together seamlessly.

Business Process Outsourcing – CSC feel that they can offer the expertise necessary to handle customer’s regulatory, and other, requirements. A benefit of this outsourcing model is that “skills are sharpened and rotated” allowing their (CSC’s) staff to gain skills in a wide area, and these resources can then be called upon, when necessary, for specific tasks. The cost savings, CSC claim, are seen when you compare to having specialist skills in-house full-time.

Cloud – Paul Attridge said “Everyone’s got a cloud”, and  CSC are also “clouding up” and are looking at offering both private and public cloud service models.

System Integration – CSC’s message was that they intend to create better integration with other products. The goal is to be able to offer solutions to their customers that match the “real world” situation. Even if the solution requires integrating with other ECM related products (and is achieved through partnerships).

CSC are also trying to keeping an eye on the progress of the SAFE-BioPharma® Digital Identity and Signature Standard, to determine whether they will need to offer suitable integration capabilities.

User Interface – CSC add FirstDoc functionality to EMC’s “fat” client for Documentum – WebTop. EMC have announced WebTop is being phased out after Version 7 of Documentum. CSC are working to ensure that their SharePoint web part technology (SPX) will have the same features as offered by WebTop.  At the same time CSC will be investing in creating an interface using EMC’s  rapid application development technology, xCP.  (In fact, EMC have asked CSC to help ensure that version 2.1 of xCP will provide complete content management capabilities.)

This brought us to the end of the Keynote and Strategy session. Before the coffee break Bill Meier shared with us an interesting article he had read over  the effects of coffee – caffeine increase alertness in woman, but, in men, there is a drop in performance and confidence. (This link describes a little of what Bill was talking about).

I will cover the other sessions in a later post.

Next post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 2

FDUG – Europe – Review of the Agenda

Previous post: FirstDoc User Group – Vienna

I’ve just arrived at my hotel in Vienna and after kicking off my shoes, and scouring the room for free stuff, I decided to see if there are any updates on the 2011 Europe FirstDoc User Conference.

What’s Planned?

Checking out the CSC page lead me to the FDUG Agenda. It looks like it’s going to be an interesting time with a mixture of Strategy announcements and product discussion by CSC, along with several presentations by several Pharma companies.

The Agenda can easily be viewed on the CSC web site, so I won’t be encroaching any secrecy oath that I may have taken when after hours of grueling initiation into the Regulatory world.

First thing that is noticeable is that the US FirstDoc User Group, recently held in Las Vegas, started half an hour later than the one in Europe. Maybe that says something, maybe not – just mentioning it…

Boehringer Ingelheim, and Bayer will both be presenting a Case study on Global Deployment. This looks interesting. They presented the same thing at the US FDUG, and I think it might be of real value, especially with the expansion of a lot of pharma companies into global operations.

After the lunch break, CSC will be discussing their upcoming versions, as well as discussing a “Total Regulatory Solution”. In the US this was presented by Jennifer Wemstrom, who is the Head of Product Stratergy at CSC. I’m not sure who will be presenting at the Europe conference. In any case – I’m am curious what CSC’s “total regulatory solution” will look like.

In Las Vegas, there was a panel discussion by several Pharma companies regarding “Collaboration and SPX Deployment”. From the Las Vegas agenda I see that Abbott, Amgen and Allergen all participated in this, but from what I have heard, it was a very popular subject, and a lot of other conference participants were also involved. The same “topic” will be addressed at the Vienna conference, and I will be involved with this session.

One thing that they had in Las Vegas, (and which I referred to in an earlier post) is a session on FirstDoc Performance Metrics. In the Vienna agenda the afternoon sessions are split into two streams, and one of these will be on “Performance”. I hope that this will be the same.

In the US, Amgen also presented a session on “Training Strategies”, which is not on the Europe schedule.

On the 2nd day, the are several customer presentations: Abbott will be discussing SPX, and Amgen will be discussing eTMF (electronic Trial Master File). Arcondis will be doing a session later in the day on Validation.

One thing that CSC presented in the US, and will be presenting in Vienna, is on “Total Clinical Solution”. Once again, I’m curious what this will be.

And another thing that CSC presented on in Las Vegas is their “Trusted Cloud Solution”. Which makes sense, I guess, because EMC are promoting their “cloudiness” at lot these days (from what I read on the tweets, and blogs that were written during, and after the recent EMC World/Momentum). The FirstDoc solution is designed to provide the “regulatory logical layer” to Documentum. CSC also have FirstPoint – the same thing, but for SharePoint. Microsoft are also busy putting SharePoint in the cloud (and have done so recently with Office365).

I know that the Pharma world is very “compliance sensitive”, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how CSC intend to address any security concerns, as well as compliance issue. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be mentioned in the Agenda for the Vienna conference. However, I’m going to do some research, and will write a future blog post on this.

Conference sessions

I won’t be blogging “live” from the conference, and I haven’t seen any mention of a hashtag for the FDUG. However I hope to write some review posts, either at the end of each day, or after the conference has finished.

At the same time, I want to see some of the sights in Vienna. the FDUG conferences always have a great social event, and this also gives a great opportunity to see something of the surroundings.

Next Post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 1

Related Posts

FirstDoc User Group – Vienna

I’m going to the FirstDoc User Group (FDUG) conference in Vienna, Europe, this year. (For those that are not familiar with FirstDoc, see the links at the bottom of this post).

Every year CSC hold the FirstDoc User Group conference – first in the US, and then in Europe.

I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been ask to present there so it’s time to put the old thinking cap on, and come up with an interesting way of presenting information. (I don’t want to bore people).

The agenda for the Europe conference hasn’t been posted yet, but the one for the US conference has.

The keynote speech will cover CSC’s Long Term Product Strategy. This will be interesting, as the ECM world is very much a lively, ever-changing thing at the moment, as each large EMC vendor morphs, and adapts to meet the ever-changing environment bought about by such things as SharePoint 2010, and cloud computing.

Next on the schedule is a case study – “Global Deployment”.  This will also be interesting as international companies are, and have been for awhile, looking at the challenges of multiple sites, located in disparate locations around the world. The challenges don’t just include the hardware side of distributed systems, but also taxonomies and metadata (ensuring that everyone uses the same vocabulary), etc.

In the afternoon, there will be a panel discussion by representatives of some of the large Pharmaceutical companies on Collaboration, and SPX. SPX is CSC’s technology that allows users to interact with their FirstDoc system from SharePoint. It consists of two parts – SPX web parts, and Wingspan’s DocWay server component that resides on a web service server (see my earlier post for details on this).
I’ve been involved with this technology for the last 4 years, and I am curious what will be covered here.

Later in the day there is also a discussion on FirstDoc Performance metrics.
Now, this is something that I would be very interested in.  How do you actually measure the performance of a system, especially when there are so many parts involved? For example, if a user is in SharePoint, and they use SPX to access documents that reside in a Documentum docbase, there is so much going on. If performance is poor, how do you actually pinpoint where the bottleneck is? I know that there are ways to get information back on the activities that occur, but this involves making some changes in the configuration, and is not really a simple thing to do. If I was there, this is one session where I would be scribbling notes. (I know – in these days, I should actually be typing notes into my iPad2).

At the end of the first day there will be a User Only session. In the first FDUG conference 2007, this session caused a little bit of concern. The idea was that the users would have a chance to talk frankly with the users about FirstDoc (at that stage FirstDoc was the name of the company also – it was bought by CSC in 2008.) However, the fact that there was someone from FirstDoc present in the room did not engender a feeling of openness. At later conferences this was less of a problem.

On the second day, there are more strategy, and users sessions culminating in product demonstrations.

Naturally there is also a social event planned, and this really gives the attendees the chance to mix, and get to know the others that are using the CSC products. There is an opportunity to share, and learn, from others who may be dealing with, or have dealt with, similar challenges.

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Next Post: FDUG – Europe – Review of the Agenda