How ViewPoint Works

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-04-07 Print this article Print

Taking that as a black box and distributing it across the supply chain seems to be a job for somebody. Is that your job?
Which is what were doing. We have a piece of technology built on NetWeaver—what we call ViewPoint. We havent announced it, we arent talking about it too much—but what Viewpoint allows us to do is to take a lot of these feeds and, at the object level, assign importance.
What it allows you to do is get all the feeds from all the systems and, as you read through them, highlights words that it recognizes as objects. Enterprise portal, business intelligence, whatever it is that youre looking at. And all you have to do is hover over the words and say, This is more important to me or less important to me. And what it knows how to do now is create almost like a just for you from all these feeds—deliver just for you what youre supposed to see and allowed to see—in the priorities which you would like to see. Not only that, it allows you to choose also how you want it to be presented, so it knows which device youre reading it on, how much you can read at each point in time, and sets the page for you. Once youve read the event and responded to it, and you can respond to it in various different ways, you can just say ignore it from this point on. Clicking on it wipes it out. The next time you see the page, its gone—Ive dealt with it. Or you can say, this is so important Im going to start a discussion group around it—and invite people to my discussion group around this. You can create a blog effect around an object or an article or a person—the writer, the author—because theyre all objects. You said, Im only measuring based on the author, thats the only metadata you can measure on. Imagine you could say, I want to look at blogs based on these objects—if theyre present in there, you see Shai Agassi, NetWeaver, ESA—interesting. Even if the author is somebody Ive never heard of. The reputation of the person who said that is part of the weighting of the algorithm. Once you get the article, you say this guys great, I love what he said. Now, youve got multiple levels of looking at this stream at the object level, a true understanding. And you might say, whenever a new thing comes from this person, not only put it in my bucket, alert me—but send me an instant message that theres a new thing to read. How do you handle instant messaging in this environment? Its one of the features of our collaboration piece. Were trying out other instant messengers, but were doing it again within the context of the system that we have. Are you capturing this traffic? We capture the instant messages, but more importantly, we can create virtual presence capability. You can say, I want to start an instant message not with Steve, but with a person I dont know. Why do I want to start it? Because I have this event: I want to find the project manager for this product that is mentioned in the event, and I want to start an instant message with that guy. Find that relationship, start an instant message with a virtual entity. In this fabric of information objects that are floating around, this is an uncaptured realm. Yes and no. We take a lot of these event resolutions and we capture them, not for the sake of recording the history, but for the sake of trying to find repetitive patterns in these resolutions. What we do from these repetitive patterns is create something called guided procedures. The next time an event comes in, [the system] says, Here are the seven guided procedures that we found for resolving this event. You have an RFP—guided procedure No. 1: If you dont have enough time, find the customer representative, call the customer and say, Can I get another hour? And if you say, Yes, thats what I want to do, it takes you through step one, step two, step three, and if youve got another hour, everybodys updated that Ive got another hour to respond. Another guided procedure is that if you cant find the customer representative, go find if there are alternate suppliers for this component. If we dont have it in inventory, maybe we can order it and guarantee delivery. Proposal No. 3: Go to the partners and see if they have inventory. And these guided procedures come not out of thin air—they come out of monitoring what weve done in order to resolve it in ad-hoc scenarios, and taking some of these ad-hoc scenarios, saying this is a great idea. Next page: Defining the hub and the spoke.

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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