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February 08, 2011


David Gingell

"At EMC, I am convinced that, for the vast majority of questions, there has been a document written somehow, somewhere. Finding it can be a problem, though :)"

Didn't you buy a content management system back in 2003 to solve that problem? ;-)

Chuck Hollis

Hi David

I'm assuming the question is a bit facetious, but -- in case you're serious ...

Yes, we've got a lot of content in our Documentum-based systems, as is the case with many organizations. But the potential of the tools can only go so far without the supporting process, behaviors and organizational investments to get the value out of the information, as well as the tools that manage it.

But you knew that, didn't you?

-- Chuck

David Gingell

Chuck, yes, I was having a bit of fun. Cheap thrill, sorry about that. As a 13 yr Documentum (& EMC) staffer I still wear Documentum on my sleeve even after all this time :-)


Mining companies value their discovered but undeveloped reserves. Information could be viewed the same way. For example, if we look at gold mining. Even once we extract the gold and refine it, there are many ways of further increasing it's value. For example, jewelery is worth more than bullion.

The value of information, like ore bodies, depends very much on how much it costs to discover, extract, process and transform. Well you've opened the door to an interesting new way of looking at what was under our noses all this time.

Hans Timmerman

Working in the aerospace industry about 2 decades ago and at that moment responsible for the CAD/CAM center, we started to migrate hand-made drawings into CAD-models. We valued each new CAD file based upon it's number of engineering and management hours. So our growing digital database of CAD-models was the 'engineering capital' we had to maintain and protect.

That was a great way to value the digital assets, due they were the basis for our certifications and licenses, needed to sell and deliver our planes. They were part of our technical capital (including molds etc.) that was valued on the balance-sheet and even used later in a sale and leaseback contract to obtain new risk-based money for development.

While the labor cost of a handmade drawing and a 3D CAD model were about the same, we even could prove that digitizing gave us much better productivity in the product life cycle and it was a basis for the investments needed in HW/SW and new product data management systems.

I know that also in the pharmaceutical and nuclear business their digital capital is somehow shown as 'capital'. All businesses where this 'digital capital' is key and needed to get formal licenses to sell and deliver their products. So putting digital assets on the balance-sheet is not new and already done by companies who understand that value.


Looking at latest financial statements I have to guess that a lot of that "information asset" intangibles you're talking about are probably already baked into EMC books. 33% of all company Assets belong to Goodwill, for all those overpaid acquisitions (many of which will likely destroy shareholders value I have not doubt) that must hold within a goto information bucket. Maybe most of the rest know how to think about numbers and finances, a concept exuberant EMC management seems to lack in certain circumstances.
So your digressions, whether FASB should give management yet another discretionary dial to tune and manage quarterly numbers are pointless and behind the cure. It is already there!

Chuck Hollis


That's an interesting rant. I have no idea what your point might be. Thanks for sharing.

-- Chuck

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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