Mobility & D2 in Life Sciences

By Bryan Reynolds posted 03-13-2013 12:19


Going mobile. It’s happening everywhere – in every industry – including life sciences.

In this month’s blog, Sitrof’s newly promoted Thomas Kivlehan, director, mobility and collaboration, weighs in on what the mobile trend means for technology in the sector, focusing specifically on Documentum.

-- Bryan Reynolds


Mobility & D2 in Life Sciences

By Thomas Kivlehan, Director, Mobility and Collaboration

By now, most Documentum users, EMC IIG partners and followers have heard of Documentum D2, EMC’s latest web interface to the Documentum repository. Its founding principle is providing a truly configurable user experience that meets nearly 100 percent of all user requirements.

An interface such as this has been a long time coming. Since the beginning days of client-server Workspace and, later, RightSite-based web clients, Documentum has provided a way to customize interfacing applications. Around about the time of the first Webtop release, Documentum flirted with configurability. Back then, it was via the use of XML, but still, many user requirements forced the need to tie at least a few custom Java classes to that XML.

This proved problematic, though. Two examples: upgrades and multiple application servers. With multiple app servers, now you have more than one deployed to copy your XML and web code, and you somehow have to control that. Likewise, upgrade paths were never quite as simple as “run the installer.” It was more like: Back up your XML and code, install the new Webtop, see if anything has changed in the new Webtop that will break your customizations and “configurations” (note the quotes around that word), put your changes back in … and cross your fingers.

Did I forget to mention that, if you’re a Life Sciences company, you need to document all of these shenanigans in your change control procedure?

D2’s configurations resolve all of these issues, and then some:

  • Tons of configurable features. As someone who has time and time again written the same customization for multiple customers, it’s clear that these configurable features are derived from true and common customer requirements. They include auto-numbering, auto-filing of documents, notifications, check-in options, complex property page configuration, flexible electronic signature setup and more. This leads to a lot less customization, which means less to control, less to validate, less internal support needed and quicker deployment. And all of that means cost savings, higher ROI and simpler compliance.
  • Configurations stored and served up from the repository, no matter how many application servers you have, globally.
  • Upgrades that are backward compatible with configurations already made.
  • Best of all, it’s fast – for multiple reasons. I feel the most important to be that D2 employs a software development strategy known as “AJAX.” AJAX is a topic for another blog, but the important thing for D2 is that when a user takes an action or clicks an item to, say, display a list of information, the whole webpage is not refreshed. The only portion that updates is the part that needs to display the requested information.

For all of these reasons, we are seeing an increasing number of Life Sciences companies staying with Documentum and deploying D2.

Mobility in Life Sciences, as in other industries, is becoming more common. Today’s corporate employees need to do more work with fewer people. They need to be more productive. They need quick, simple access to information, regardless of geography. On top of this is the evolution of user expectations – data available anywhere, on any device: “What do you mean ‘I can’t get to it from my tablet?!’” Put simply, access is not just expected, but assumed.

Then it’s just simple math:

D2 + Life Science + Mobility = Need for a compliance-ready, D2-aware mobile app

To read more about this challenge and solutions proposed, check out Sitrof’s Tech Talk blog at

#D2 #Documentum #lifesciences #EMC