November 20, 2015
This post is a guest blog by Lacey Walker, our Marketing Manager.
For those who know me, you probably know I am a big fan of Star Trek. You also probably know that I am the Marketing Manager for a company that helps make enterprise content uncomplicated. We returned from OpenText’s Enterprise World conference last week, so I have had ECM on the mind even more than usual. As my husband and I were watching some good ol’ DS9 the other night, I started to think about the nightmare it would be to coordinate content management for Starfleet and I was thankful that we are solving enterprise content management issues in this universe instead of the Star Trek universe. Below are the 4 reasons why you should be thankful you don’t have to manage Starfleet’s content.
- Think managing and coordinating content globally across offices is difficult? That’s child’s play compared to what Starfleet deals with. Let’s say that you have offices in London, New York, and Sydney. That means theoretically the longest path your content will travel is literally around the world, which is 24,901 miles. That seems like a long ways, until you consider Starfleet. Let’s take their space station DS9. Starfleet’s headquarters are on Earth, in San Francisco to be more accurate. If headquarters needs to share content with DS9, we aren’t talking mere thousands of miles. According to Memory-Alpha, Bajor (the closest planet to DS9) is 52 light years away. That’s approximately 305,688,528,144,917mi meaning that you’d have to fly around the earth over 12,275,927,000 times1 to simulate traveling to DS9.
- Federation is the name of the game in today’s digital age. Federation is also crucial, in more ways than one, in the Star Trek universe. Do you see what I did there? The current wave of content management in this universe is to federate your systems to make it easier for your users to interact with ECM content from wherever they are working. In this universe we are struggling to figure out how to integrate and federate content across ECM, BPM, Collaboration, CRM, and file sharing systems. This is hard, I don’t think anyone would disagree with that, well, except Starfleet; I suspect they would play us the world’s tiniest violin. Just take the Enterprise and imagine how many different systems need to be integrated and federated in order to make it a possibility that anywhere on the ship you can say “Computer” and your request will be answered with the greatest of ease. The Enterprise’s integrated and federated systems include: administrative content, personnel movement, science systems, engineering, life support, holosuite programs, replicator sequences, personnel files, personal correspondences, and more that I am sure I am forgetting.
- You think the cloud poses possible risks and conflicts for storing data. If you’re a law firm you are likely required to keep all of your content within a certain country, meaning that if you want to invest in cloud storage you need to do your homework to make sure you know exactly where their data centers are. Again, I can see Starfleet pulling out the world’s tiniest violin. The cloud? Try the universe. Imagine the storage company advertisements, “Your data is stuck on one planet? What, are you living in the 19th century? Take your data to the universe.” If you’re operating an intergalactic business in the Star Trek universe, (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) you are going to be managing storage of your data across many, many data centers likely located on different planets or even dedicated storage space stations located throughout the universe. Try to figure out the legal risks, possible hacking scenarios, storage costs, and possible downtime scenarios for that.
- You’ve got a lot of content, so managing your servers is a costly and time consuming cost. According to the Economist Walmart at any time has over 2.5 petabytes of data flowing through its transactional databases. The average company isn’t going to be handling that much enterprise content, instead we are probably talking more in the range of terabytes, but even the most extreme example of Walmart’s sheer volumes of data has nothing on Starfleet. While we can’t compare any of the ship’s computer’s storage capacities due to the use of a fictional measurement called the gigaquad, we do have some data on Data. In the episode “The Measure of a Man” it is revealed that Data can store 800 quadrillion bits. According to the very smart forum users on stackechange.com this is approximately 100 petabytes. That means that Data, who is the size of an average man, holds 40 times more data than Walmart’s transactional databases.
You think managing your ECM content is complicated? At least you don’t have to manage Starfleet’s content. In reflecting on this I became less impressed by the Star Trek universe and Starfleet’s ability to create a peaceful climate, with virtually no hunger, war, or poverty and I became more impressed with their ability to manage content. The real triumph of the Star Trek universe might in fact be its seamless implementation of federated systems and content across an entire universe.