Oct 13, 2011 Alister Grigg

Fastman Celebrates 10 years of OpenText Content Suite deployments

One of my team mentioned to me this morning that OpenText turned 20 in June, which made me stop and realise that it’s also 10 years since we did our first Livelink / Content Suite deployment. For a couple of reasons it’s a good time to reflect over that time.

That first system we implemented was an Electronic Plan Room system for 300 users at Melbourne Water based on Livelink 9.0, Directory Services 3.05, and a really early version of Explorer – I think was 3-point-something but I’m sure one of my guys will know for sure.  Actually, if I remember correctly we originally planned to use the earlier Livelink Desktop product and Explorer only came into the mix as we moved to deployment.

Anyway, since then the systems have evolved a lot, gained functionality, and generally matured.  I remember fielding many calls from frustrated clients in the days of Livelink 9.0 and even 9.1 complaining of various performance issues and “strange” results from seemingly simple requests and changes to the system.  It was around the time 9.5 was released that these calls started to drop away, with 9.5 SP1 being the release that stays in my mind as being a game changer in that regard.

In those days a number of modules that are now shipped with the core product were optional and in many cases did not contain anything like the functionality they do now.  The functionality you got for your purchase in 2001 was considerably less than you get now for modules like Classifications, the SEA Servlet, Directory Services and particularly Records Management.  Kudos goes to Tracey Caughell and her team for their excellent work over that time.

Of course Open Text in 2001 (with the space of course) was pre-IXOS, pre-Hummingbird, pre-Vignette, and all the other vendors they have acquired along the way.  So no Archive Server, no SAP business, no BPM, no AGA, eDOCS was a name not yet invented, and until 2007 we went off to LiveLinkUp rather than Content World (#OTCW).   And of course Livelink is now Content Suite, even if the core product is much the same.

Tom Jenkins and John Shackleton where both very present, and Tom’s keynotes at the annual conference where always a highlight, discussing current ECM industry challenges and how OpenText would be addressing that with strategy and future product.  Attending Content World for those of us in distant geographies is of course a long but enjoyable trip and always well worthwhile.

Clients can find it hard to justify (you want to go to a conference where???!!) but nonetheless we have managed to help a number get there over the years and without exception they’ve got great value from it.  Plus of course there are the evening events – anyone for Harry Potter World?
Getting back to Fastman though, three of the current Fastman team were involved in that original deployment at Melbourne Water.  One, Anthony Hall, was our client SME and became Fastman employee number one.  The other, Dimitar Belyovski, has been a core member of Fastman since we setup on our own in 2006 and of course there’s me.

But what of that Melbourne Water implementation?  The original 300 users quickly grew to 500, then 750 and within a few years to 2000.  Functionality was extended to include enterprise wide Records Management (replacing TRIM), several core business applications have been integrated using LAPI and web services, WebReports, Brava! and other modules have been added, and remains  a core part of the Melbourne Water Information Management environment.  Call me sentimental but I must admit to a connection and a little bit of pride every time I see a Melbourne Water logo.

Published by Alister Grigg October 13, 2011