Working on something Cool

One of the common complaints you hear in Resource Management Software development is that you’re not working on anything Cool.  There’s just something pedestrian about writing software that (at its core) monitors hardware.  I mean, there are exceptions, some stuff that we do is really cool, but it’s seldom capital letters Really Cool, like, say, VMware.  Or video game development (which I imagine is fairly pedestrian in itself, but at least has an output which your average in-law can appreciate).

But yesterday I sat in on a meeting about something that is Pretty Cool, if not Really Cool.  And it’s not even software.

Over the next quarter, we’ll be putting together an online community for our EMC ControlCenter users, one which will complement existing User Community efforts in different geographies.

Ok, so that sounds pretty boring.

But it’s not.  Because we’re inviting the hundreds of EMC employees that touch ControlCenter in some way too, from all across the company.

This changes the game.  If you’ve done any software development at a large corporation, I don’t have to tell you how isolated the end developer often is from the rest of the application’s stakeholders.  Marketing, sales engineering, technical publications, product management, customer support, quality assurance, and end users … while your average developer has some degree of contact with a small number of these people (usually documentation and testing), vast stretches of the rest of them are like inhabitants of an imaginary land.  Sure, someone is out there marketing our product, but how, to whom, and why?  Sure, someone is buying and using the product, but what are the odds your average junior developer will meet one of them?

Now imagine all the barriers are gone.  Users can directly talk to the engineers working on the application.  Users can talk to each other.  Developers can talk to marketers.  All without expensive travel or red tape.

It’s going to be interesting. There will be some incredible challenges brought on by this type of communication.  And that’s assuming people adopt the platform. You can’t force people to use something like this, not our users, and not our employees.  How will we create value out of the connections that are waiting to be built?  How will we change the norms in our organization so that we can respond quickly to the kind of feedback we’ll be getting?

Oh, I’d say it’s a Really Cool time to be working on ControlCenter.  Or, heck, using it.

This post represents a best intention of the plans as understood on September 24, 2008.  Timelines and implementations are still in the early phases, and as such I cannot give you any dates or detailed information.  Stay tuned.


#1 gminks on 09.25.08 at 8:41 pm

You forgot education!!!

#2 Dave on 09.26.08 at 10:11 pm

I knew I’d get called out on forgetting someone!

#3 Chuck Staples on 09.29.08 at 4:35 pm

In CC, we DO work on cool things… they’re just hidden inside the boring stuff that people actually buy and use.