James McGourlay

James McGourlay
James has been with OpenText since 1997 and is Senior Vice President of Global Technical Services, responsible for Technical Support, Renewals, Customer Onboarding and Professional Services. Customer life-time value, and accelerating customers’ time to value are his passion. Throughout the last 18 years, James has been the catalyst for tremendous growth in the OpenText Customer Services team for the Americas. He has sponsored programs such as the Knowledge Center, Partner Support Program, quality audits and enhanced Customer Support programs. He and his team are also spearheading the movement towards integrations management, social engagement support for customers and continued improvements to the customer experience.

Innovation Tour: Sydney

Innovation Tour

On Monday, the OpenText Innovation Tour kicked off in Sydney, Australia with an on-stage presentation from CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea. In addition to a look at new and upcoming product innovations, Mark provided an overview of recent OpenText acquisitions and OpenText’s position as the leading provider of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) technologies and services. OpenText EIM enables the flow of information from Engagement to Insight, allowing customers to extract value from information throughout the flow. Our newest project, Magellan, will use open standards, open algorithms and machine learning to enable customers to make sense of massive pools of data and harness the power of their information. Building on Mark’s presentation, OpenText CMO Adam Howatson (always one of my favorite presenters) provided an update on OpenText™ Suite 16 EP1 and an overview of our plans for EP2, due in mid-2017. Unstructured data continues to increase at a phenomenal pace and these Enhancement Packs are designed so OpenText can respond quickly to customer recommendations. For example, EP1 extends ECM to SalesForce and SuccessFactors, enabling our customers to successfully manage and gain insight from their CRM and Human Resources systems. We’re not the only people listening to customers. Special guest Michael Barnes of Forrester later took the stage to provide insight into what he calls the “Customer-obsessed operating model”. It is imperative that we look at the experience we create for customers from their point of view, and understand how every interaction affects that experience. In the age of the customer, it is important that we take what we learn from our customers’ journey and translate that insight into an improved experience. Using our EIM technology, we can coordinate and technically optimize the experience to better serve, delight and engage customers. What I enjoy most about the Innovation Tour is how it brings together OpenText customers, partners and staff from many geographies and allows us to discuss opportunities and solutions. In Sydney, we are speaking with customers from all across Australia, and New Zealand, a distance of almost 5,300 km. Tracy Parsons of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) joined OpenText President Steve Murphy on stage to discuss the NZTA’s EIM implementation. Steve and Tracy discussed how the NZTA are using a cloud-based EIM implementation that includes both Content and Process Suites to digitalize business process, provide access to mobile workers and offer regulatory compliance. I’ve heard plenty of interesting success stories from customers during the event. The Sydney Innovation Tour is the first of eight stops, with Singapore on December 1st, followed by Tokyo on December 8th. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at the events. Please email me with any feedback or questions.

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It Takes a Team to Win it all

OpenText Support

Last week, the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year MLB championship drought by winning one of the most exciting games in the long history of baseball. Both teams put on an inspiring display of perseverance, skill and clutch opportunism. I—along with many of you, I’m sure—was happy to stay up late to catch the whole thing. After the game, Cubs catcher David Ross—who had just played his final professional baseball game—described his teammates as “a group of resilient winners” who “never quit”, and expressed sincere pride in the fact that his team had utilized every member of their team to win it all. We have the same drive for greatness at OpenText. Over the past 25 years, we have grown our business through the acquisition of winning ideas, talent and solutions, and through the development of innovative technologies. Born as a university start-up, we are now a world-leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions with no intention of slowing down. As Mr. Ross explained, it takes a team to succeed. That’s why earlier this week we invited many of you—our customers—to complete a short survey and let us know how we can better help you meet and exceed your business goals. In my last blog I wrote about the importance of knowing customers on an individual level in order to serve them better. Our annual survey helps us better understand you and your needs. It gives you the opportunity to tell us what we’re doing well—and what we can do better—as your EIM solution provider, technical leader and trusted partner. Roughly half of you received the survey this week; the other half were given the opportunity to provide feedback in the spring. From the feedback, we have already identified five primary objectives that we will obsess over in the coming months: Improve product quality by better understanding customer expectations, beta-testing products and focusing development resources on high-impact features and functionality Shorten Customer Support ticket resolution times and improve technician communication while continuing to value complete, successful outcomes over quick, short-term fixes Build a stronger partnership with customers by allowing you greater visibility into product development, helping the business better understand your needs Make the Sales process easier and more efficient by improving customer communication and ensuring large or complex accounts have the resources and visibility they need to be successful Deliver Professional Services engagements on time and on budget by setting firm expectations upfront, holding regular update meetings, and collecting/evaluating feedback following each engagement to determine what went well and what needs to be improved Additionally, we have begun to make significant improvements to OpenText My Support thanks to our recent upgrade of the Knowledge Center (KC) to OpenText™ Content Server 16. This upgrade allows us to utilize API widgets and HTML5 wizardry to present a far more personalized online support experience to you. You will already see some of this functionality reflected on the KC homepage, in product search menus and in the redesigned Knowledge Base. You can also learn more about Release 16 here. At OpenText, we’re never satisfied. We’re constantly looking for new ways to help you succeed—it’s up to you to decide the direction we take our EIM solutions, and to help us develop a phenomenal customer experience. Check your inbox to see if you’ve received our survey. If you have, we would greatly appreciate you taking 3-5 minutes to provide your feedback. If you didn’t get the survey but have feedback you want to share, our Customer Experience team is always listening. Email them at cx@opentext.com.

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Customer Success, One Job at a Time

CX

Happy Customer Experience Day! Did you get an Outlook reminder? Maybe a Facebook notification? Probably not. But it’s an important day all the same. Today, organizations around the world are investing time to recognize quality work that has been accomplished in the name of their customers. At OpenText, we treat every day like Customer Experience (CX) Day. That’s because everything we work towards is built on our foundational drive to make our customers successful. Whether it’s with our products, Customer Support, Professional Services or Sales teams, we are committed to helping our customers achieve their goals. This means developing robust, innovative solutions that not only check off the boxes on RFPs, but perfectly fit each individual customer’s business from a personnel, technological—even cultural and philosophical perspective. How is this possible? By getting to know our customers on an individual level. In the September 2016 issue of the Harvard Business Review, there is an article that explores strategies used by businesses to better understand customers and help drive innovation. According to the authors of this article, businesses around the world are enjoying the benefits of Big Data and the information that can be gathered from analyzing customer demographics, spending habits and high-level trends. No one can doubt that this information is incredible. But it’s just a piece of the puzzle. To get a complete picture of what we need to work towards, we need to understand the jobs our customers are trying to get done. “’Job’ is shorthand for what an individual really seeks to accomplish in a given circumstance,” say the HBR contributors. “A deep understanding of a job allows you to innovate without guessing what trade-offs your customers are willing to make. It’s a kind of job spec.” For B2B companies like OpenText, the jobs that customers toil away on are often complex and nuanced. In the article, it’s explained that through focus groups, Hershey’s discovered that customers were put off by the guilt-inducing trail of paper left after a session of snacking on peanut butter cups. That’s pretty fascinating. But the challenges faced by our customers require more investigation. Along each step of our customers’ journey with OpenText—from their experience browsing our website, to customizing and upgrading products—we are listening to our customers. Our dedicated Customer Experience team gathers feedback collected from regular surveys, customer advisory boards, events and individual interactions shared by employees. Every single piece of feedback is read by a member of our team. The information gathered from that feedback is then categorized accordingly, and shared within the organization. Listening to—and working with—our customers is just part of who we are. In this recent podcast, you can hear how we helped AmerisourceBergen better serve their customers by working directly with their IT department to understand their unique needs and challenges. It’s just one of many successful customer relationships we’ve been able to grow over the years, and just one of the examples in which knowing our customer’s “jobs to be done” resulted in success for everyone involved. Take some time today to think about what your organization has been doing well and what you could do better to help your customers succeed. Recognize achievements and work to understand what your customers are really trying to accomplish. If you can help get them there, they’ll keep coming back to you. Learn more about CX Day.

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Striving towards a Better, Simpler Customer Experience through a Unified View of the Customer

For someone like myself in the business of Customer Service, every day is a day dedicated to the building of a better Customer Experience (CX). But today has been named “CX Day” by the global CX Professionals Association in recognition of the work being done around the world to advance and cultivate ideas and strategies for providing customers with quality experiences. So, I’m going to join the party by sharing some thoughts on a CX project that many of us are undertaking—the creation of a unified view of our customers. Just about a month ago, Forbes contributor Adrian Swinscoe (@adrianswinscoe) revisited a recorded conversation he and I had about the opportunities that exist by gaining a unified view of one’s customers, and the challenges that many organizations face when trying to unify the mountains of customer data they accumulate. In that conversation, I cautioned against the current focus many have on collecting huge amounts of big data without having a strategy in place to unify that data. Most organizations gather customer information from a variety of sources like purchasing and order information, subscriptions, lead generation systems like Salesforce, and customer service databases. Our team also collects information through surveys, Product Advisory Council meetings and face-to-face conversations. OpenText R&D uses embedded analytics to determine user behavior within our products. We even have a customer in the insurance industry that uses our software to collect information pulled from the cars of their customers, then determine the quality of their drivers and adjust insurance premiums on the fly. As digital solutions continue to become more prevalent across industries and geographies, our ability to collect more data grows as well. However, while having comprehensive customer information is great, isolated buckets of information can overcomplicate internal processes. This can result in missing, incomprehensible and even contradictory information, and ultimately overcomplicate the customer experience. Conversely, the unified view allows us to provide a simple, tailor made customer experience that gives our customers what they need to achieve their unique business goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. Luckily, there are ways to unify data right now. With help from OpenText™ Big Data Analytics, global eProcurement solution provider Elcom is able to give their clients a more direct and interactive window into the data they collect from a multitude of sources. Elcom clients have a comprehensive and meaningful breakdown of product pricing and value across facilities and divisions, and can see purchasing data, product shortages and more, which empowers them to make better decisions about what to buy, where to buy, how much to buy, etc. Meanwhile, Elcom can use Big Data Analytics to better understand their clients’ behavior and needs, and adjust their service offerings to provide maximum value. The bottom line: By giving their clients a unified view of their information and having a unified view of the customer, Elcom is able to better serve their customers, increase long-term value, drive retention and increase revenue. At OpenText, we’re also constantly working to create a customer experience that is simple, straightforward and effortless. We want to know our customers on a more intimate level so we can tailor the service and support we provide based on their product sets, service requirements and business needs. Like everyone else, we’ve had challenges in bringing all of our customer data together, but progress has already been made to improve the way we serve customers in our Customer Service Portal (the Knowledge Center) and My Support ticket site, and when we interact with our customers through our surveys, communications and processes. In summary, do not be satisfied with your collection of big data alone. Establish a strategy in which you are able to analyze and understand your data so you can act on that information and effect powerful change within your organization. Simplify, transform and accelerate your business, and cultivate an awesome Customer Experience. The results will speak for themselves. I invite you all to join me at OpenText Enterprise World 2015 this November, where you will learn more about our CX initiatives and the ways in which we can help you simplify, transform and accelerate your business. We will also highlight new and improved OpenText products like Big Data Analytics, InfoFusion and the Experience Suite, which can help provide you with a unified view of the customer and enable you to deliver quality and targeted digital experiences for your customers.

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Vegas 2015

Contact Center Week

Haven’t been to Enterprise World? Make 2015 the year you go. Whether you’re an IT administrator, developer, systems architect or executive, our annual user conference will show you how to maximize your OpenText investment and reach your unique business goals. Our offering of breakout sessions, keynote speakers, exhibitors and targeted training courses makes OpenText Enterprise World (EW) an invaluable learning and networking opportunity. The 2015 edition promises to be a standout year that you’ll want to experience, whether you’ve been before or not. We have some exciting product news in store, plus a great lineup of keynote speakers, a fun Thursday night event and new seminars. If that weren’t enough, we’re taking the show to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest and most iconic hotels. For customers, there may be no better reason to attend our conference than to receive face-to-face, hands on training from OpenText experts, educators and developers. In today’s digital world, online training has become a convenient and invaluable tool for people around the world. But I think there is still something to be said for friendly, in-person instruction where you can ask questions and interact with your peers in a true learning environment. Our Learning Services team does a great job of crafting a range of courses that encompass our many solutions and address a variety of common scenarios. For instance, customers often tell me that the biggest challenge they face is rolling out a new solution to their install base and gaining significant user adoption. This year, we have a number of classes that will provide techniques for making user interface customizations, improving system performance and building your system around the needs of your users, all of which could help increase your rate of user adoption. The courses we offer at Enterprise World are designed to pack as much information into as little time as possible, maximizing your time and value. I encourage you to take a look through our complete training catalogue to determine which courses are right for you. Finally, to give you a better idea of what you’ll see at EW this year, we’re hosting a complimentary webinar that will run through the conference schedule, show you what to expect while there and help you secure approval. I’ve even heard rumors of a special guest who will provide some local tips on how to make the most of your time in Vegas. If you’re planning to attend but haven’t registered, make sure you do by September 12th to take advantage of our Early Bird rate and save $700.

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Innovation Tour 2015: Round 2

Tomorrow the OpenText Innovation Tour will begin its European leg in Stockholm after a fantastic opening stretch through Asia and the South Pacific. Although I didn’t get the chance to join the tour in Mumbai or Tokyo, I did make it to our stops in Sydney and Singapore, and was recently in Tokyo to visit customers. When traveling for business I don’t often get a chance to experience the places I go, but there were a few things that caught my attention during my time in the Far East. Obviously that side of the world is so different from North America. The food, languages and geography are an interesting change of pace. But what I was most impressed by was the efficiency of travel, particularly in Japan and Singapore. In Japan, I had the opportunity to ride the Shinkansen, or bullet train. I was amazed how smooth and relaxing the ride was despite the fact we were traveling at speeds around 300 km/h (186 mph). It was only when I looked out the window and saw the landscape flying by that I could tell we were moving at such a high speed. Wouldn’t it be great to have something similar in North America? I also enjoyed my flight to Singapore. As a Customer Service professional, I was truly impressed by the focus Singapore Airlines placed on their Customer Experience from start to finish. Whether I was checking in, boarding or mid-flight, I felt well taken care of and appreciated. They certainly won me over as a repeat customer. While in Singapore, we had a good view of Marina Bay from the conference center, which you can see in the photo below (courtesy of Deborah Miller @DebsG360). The scene of massive ships anchored in the bay was an incredible sight. Of course, my colleagues and I were in the APAC region to speak to customers about OpenText innovations, provide a look at our product roadmap, introduce ourselves and answer questions. The Innovation Tour is really an extension of the discussion that began at Enterprise World 2014 in Orlando, FL. We want to show you how to simplify, transform and accelerate your Enterprise Information Management (EIM) systems in preparation for the Digital-First World. I am excited to visit all of our customers throughout Europe, but am most looking forward to our special two-day stops in London and Munich. There I’ll be taking part in our Partner Summit, where I hope to build ties with our partners in order to better serve our customers.  I’ll also be sure to enjoy the gala dinner in London—featuring former rugby stars Will Greenwood and Richard Hill, and broadcaster Mark Durden-Smith—and I hope you can make it as well.  

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