Document UM – what?

After reading both BMOC and Pie‘s postings about how they got started in Documentum, I felt inspired to reflect on the origins of Documentum Guru.

It was the summer of 1996. I just graduated from Georgia Tech and started my first job out of college as a systems analyst for a government contractor. I was supposed to be working on some modeling and simulation project, but due to the time it took to relocate back to DC, that slot was given to someone else. I ended working on some internal IT project using Visual Basic. Visual Basic 4.0 was a big change from the FORTRAN I learned in undergrad and grad school. Within a couple months, I was finally comfortable enough with language that I created a VB/ASP program called InfoClip, which allowed users to manage PPT slides as if they were posted on a wall. I guess this was the start of my “content management” career. I learned the complexities of versioning, security, and lifecycle from this project.

Fast forward to fall of ’96. We showcased this application to one of our government clients. The client was intrigued by the visualization concept and wanted to know if we could integrate it with an existing document management system called Documentum. Document-um what.

I was sent to Chicago (my first visit to the windy city) to get trained on WorkSpace 3.2. This was prior to EDMS98 and the architecture was still client-server based. The customization language was Docbasic along with the Documentum APIs, which by the way are still used. If you wanted to create custom UIs, you had to use an application called Quickbuilder, which is similar to Forms Builder in a lot of ways. Interesting how technologies go in and out of style like clothing.

Anyways, I picked up the “fundamentals” and was ready to start integrating InfoClip with Documentum. Unfortunately, the client re-prioritized this need and my training was not needed any more. I stayed with that company for a couple more years at which point I decided to look for a real IT consulting job. I ended up going to a local consulting company called Infodata. They saw that I had Documentum training and had previous experience with government. Fast forward to today and I am still working with Documentum thirteen years later. I tell a lot of people that I was lucky to “fall into” a technology that has lasted this long. Many of my friends worked with software vendors that are no longer around or have been gobbled up by bigger companies.

I later found out that Infodata was the company that proposed and installed Documentum at the government client that wanted me to get trained on Documentum. Is this fate or just dumb luck?

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3 responses to “Document UM – what?

  1. Thanks Johnny. I had thought you got sucked into Documentum at Infodata. I stand corrected. When you started, I kept expecting the Virtual File Cabinet to pop-out in your story.

    -Pie

  2. I was the one at Infodata who interviewed you! When I found you had known about our (Merex before Infodata) Documentum implementation at Bumed, I knew it was fate..

  3. Hi
    Happy Greetings of the day,
    I appreciate your approach, and contribution made, I am ERP, the value of your involvement is known from the blog itself, I put up 40 yrs in System Operational area and retired, can U high light the features of Document-um, what I under stood is to prepare booklet for the software, coding, documents its integration, and security involved.
    Can U high light the chapters available with U.

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