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The right foundations: enChoice’s Bob Messegee on building houses – and rebuilding Enterprise Content Management

“I've spent a lot of my career fighting databases, and I feel like MongoDB is here to help, as opposed to getting in the way… it’s kind of revolutionary and the scalability is unmatched.”

Bob Messegee spends his working hours unlocking value from unstructured data for customers of Texas-based enChoice – an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) specialist and digital transformation partner.

He’s an unusual VP of Solution Engineering: Few have a background as a principle builder – Messegee has constructed homes in four states during a career that has straddled both physical and software building. 

Whether rolling up sleeves on a building site, or doing the same with a multinational enterprise on a digital transformation journey, there’s parallels, he tells The Stack: “Each of those states had local ways of doing stuff; their own weather… it translates almost exactly to an enterprise.

“I think there's parallels there: [It’s about] good process to start with; that's our bedrock. Get the base processes in place. Manage a team effectively – getting the right people in the right place at the right time. 

“Good communication, creative problem solving; when you're in a project, no matter whether construction or software, there's gonna be stuff you didn't see. And you've got to be able to come up with a solution that solves a problem, but also fits in the broader vision of the project.”

Value from unstructured data

The projects that enChoice’s customers are focused on typically involve organising unstructured datasets to deliver enterprise value. 

Think archiving, classifying, and tagging data and related metadata; running Information Governance Maturity Assessments, helping customers build data retention management systems for IBM’s FileNet P8 or Content Manager OnDemand systems – and/or taking the messy smorgasbord of data systems across your average enterprise into a single cloud-based managed service – with enChoice’s own new SaaS, Encore

This is the bedrock not just of enterprise generative AI work, but also more simply achieving near-time value – and de-risking complex data environments. As he puts it: “There is a growing understanding of how much value could be locked away in existing content and data… 

“If you go back 30 years, our company would be dealing primarily with scanned images of documents. If you’re an insurer, those might be claim forms. If you're accounts payable, invoices. These documents [would be] scanned as images; that's still in play [along with] native digital content.”

Transforming legacy content systems with “Encore” and MongoDB

High software costs, complexity, legacy systems, and data proliferation are all common irritations within businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

With three decades of experience at every level of the stack, enChoice is now building a new cloud-native platform, “Encore”, to rethink how traditional ECM is approached and allow companies to liberate their data. 

enChoice is building this on the foundation of MongoDB Atlas; a platform that  integrates all of the data services you need to build modern apps.

“MongoDB is awesome to work with: It’s kind of revolutionary” 

“MongoDB has been awesome to work with both on the business and the technical side,” says Messegee. “[We wanted to] bring a product to the market that has a much more robust infrastructure; something we can build on quickly, and that is really scalable.

"MongoDB has really embraced that vision. From the technical side, it’s a developer-first platform, which is fantastic. My guys love working with it. We're able, in a SaaS multi-tenant context, to provision resources, all through code…  Honestly, as someone that's been around legacy software as long as I have, it's kind of revolutionary to be able to do some of the stuff that we're able to do with MongoDB and the pure scalability of it is unmatched. I've spent a lot of my career fighting databases; I feel like MongoDB is here to help, as opposed to get in the way."

See also: CTO Nick Fryer on how Dojo rebuilt in the cloud to disrupt the payments market

“We can provide some really cool, novel capabilities in our space, which leverage the Atlas platform, where we can use text-based searching, facets, autocomplete…” Messegee explains: “When we are searching vast quantities of unstructured content and data the need is to be less specific in our initial search, and then quickly filter down the results.

“Another thing we liked about the MongoDB offering is that it will give us a score that shows how well it thinks your search criteria matched against the content that it is pulling back – you can learn from it. I’m pretty excited about our offering and the support the MongoDB solution brings. 

“It’s hard to go looking for vendor solutions, but with the data and the metadata that we can store using MongoDB, we can start to make meaningful and accessible collections of data and content. Best of all, they can be expanded, and new parameters can be added as you go along – it evolves with you,” he says enthusiastically, also praising the speed and flexibility of tenant onboarding – ‘literally the click of a button.”

Once onboarded, he says, customers can start to build their own data and content collections immediately – they instantly have all the functions they need to be able to interrogate their collections and use them positively for their business. Messegee says that the ultimate goal is to offer a turnkey solution that takes customers’ data and serves it back to them in a way that they can interrogate and understand and that, crucially, can then be used downstream in other applications and processes.

As he puts it: “There is a real need for this solution within the corporate world. People need to focus on their core tasks and strategic aims. We remove a lot of stress by taking the data and content away and dealing with it so that it comes back in a meaningful and usable way. We can also offer reassurance on compliance and security so that they have a seamless and all-encompassing service.”

Delivered in partnership with MongoDB.