Business Network

OpenText STP for Funds – the Funds Operations Dream

I feel like one of the lucky ones…..but let me explain!  Several years ago I moved roles to support a new Funds & Custody related product in a large global bank. It was a big challenge as the product and related process was in its infancy. But we had high hopes for expansion and a great team around us. However, like a lot of long-established companies, there were a lot of ‘legacy’ applications in place which brought challenges as to how we could mould and fit a new process in. (Somewhat a ‘square peg in the round hole’ type of situation). This was when I was first introduced to the OpenText™ Business Network Straight Through Processing for Funds platform. What a game changer it was for our team. Easily integrated with a slick dynamic user interface….it was the stuff of Operations dreams! Proven, robust, secure Over time the platform matured and evolved, with greater functionality and enhancements to make life easier for our operations teams, but most importantly our underlying clients. They loved the level of transparency that it gave them in to the life-cycle on their trades…..real time updates either via the intuitive web-based portal that they could access anytime anywhere, or a complete suite of messaging that would be fired directly into their internal dealing platform or OMS. In the blink of an eye! FIX, FTP, Swift, email, fax….it can do it all. Take in messaging, translate it, enhance it, add data, and forward it on to Transfer Agents, Fund Accountants, Custody System, Finance Providers, Payment System and the list goes on…..all in the blink of an eye. It was such a pleasure to be able to go into new client meetings and show them what we could do for them. It gave our team a new energy and love for the product, and it really showed in our client satisfaction ratings. MIFID II incoming! With banks and asset managers needing technical solutions which can give them an enhanced client portal, with full transparency and powerful reporting to meet MIFID II requirements, OpenText STP for Funds is ready and waiting to help. But I digress…. Anyway, to get back to my original point of being one of the lucky ones….as you can see above, I built up an attachment to the platform.  But now I get to work with the users of the platform every day, and help new clients overcome those same challenges that I experienced myself in previous years. Finally remove the manual processing, reduce processing costs, increase risk and control, and provide your underlying client with access to the best Funds platform on the street. Welcome to OpenText STP for Funds Reach out Therefore if you are looking for a market leading solution for your Funds order capture, routing, settlement and more, please add a comment below or complete the form on this page as I would love to discuss further.

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Building Supply Chain Resilience and Compliance

supply chain resilience

As a connected set of companies that form the link between individual component sources and a final product, the supply chain bridges the gap between suppliers and the ultimate end user. When it works, it is an impressive orchestration of many moving parts working in concert to deliver products to customers. But what happens when a critical link in the chain fails due to business disruption, natural disaster, financial issues, or a problem within its own supply chain? In today’s globalized economy, companies’ supply chains are growing bigger and more complex. While these business relationships can deliver gains in productivity and profitability, they can come at the price of taking on additional risk exposure. Third-party risk management is the fastest growing governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) technology market and cited as most challenging aspect of a compliance program [Deloitte-Compliance Week 2015 Compliance Trends Report]. In fact, 77 percent of manufacturing firms report increasing supply chain complexity as the fastest growing risk in business continuity. Organizations are looking to technology to help ensure supply chain resilience, with a fierce focus on protecting their organization’s brand, reputation, assets, and data. Big supply chains call for big data Supply chain executives are placing great store in the potential of big data. In fact, an SCM Chief Supply Chain Officer Report showed that they believe big data analytics to be more valuable than the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and 3D printing. More manufacturing firms are adopting big data strategies to tackle a wide range of risk factors within the supply chain, including, minimizing risk within a global supply chain and managing supplier performance. Tip – Choose a big data analytics solution that is meant for business users and analysts who want an easy, fast way to access, blend, explore, and analyze data quickly without depending on IT or data experts, such as OpenText™ Big Data Analytics. You’re a good corporate citizen. Are your suppliers too? It has been well established that having a clear, effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is good for business. Many customers seek out and want to do business with vendors who share their values and compliance culture. For example, by demonstrating that a company’s supply chain is conflict-free, it will reassure stakeholders that the company is compliant and will engender trust among suppliers, consumers, and others. The SEC Dodd-Frank Act, Conflict Minerals rules, and the EU REACH mandate and ROHS Directive are just a few regulations forcing companies to take a hard look at their supplier ecosystems. However, compliance is threatened when suppliers fail to provide needed information. Only 22 percent of companies required to file conflict minerals reports by a June 2014 deadline did so – most stating that their supply chains were too complex, or that suppliers did not respond to questionnaires or did not provide complete or adequate responses. Further, since mandatory reporting in 2014, more than 70 percent of U.S. companies say they still cannot make a determination that their supply chains are free from conflict minerals. Tip – Firms are turning to sophisticated information exchange solutions for supplier self-assessment to ensure compliance in areas such as conflict minerals, anti-slavery, and sustainability, such as OpenText’s Conflict Minerals Reporting solution. Managing risk begins with onboarding process Given the vast amount of supplier data that exists across the enterprise, technology offers an easy way to import, structure, organize, and consolidate this data in one place, and then map it to the associated supplier risks, regulations, controls, locations, and products for better visibility. And a successful supplier information management program starts with the right supplier onboarding process. Tip – For B2B suppliers who use a defined EDI format to send and receive data, these suppliers easily buy into an onboarding system which uses a format they already use (typically high volume and large suppliers), such as OpenText™ B2B Managed Services. When it comes to supply chain disruptions, it is no longer a matter of “if” it will happen, but “when” the next incident will occur. Choosing a proactive approach and the right technology solutions will only improve your organization’s ability to mitigate, adapt, and respond quickly to threats as they arise – thus strengthening resilience in your supply chain.

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3 Steps to Retail Supply Chain Excellence Using Dynamic Collaboration

Retail supply chain excellence

Digital transformation is the defining reality for today’s retailers. Reorganizing to serve a smartphone-wielding consumer who shops on-the-go with the expectation of receiving their purchase at the time and place of their choosing – that’s digital transformation. It starts with the omnichannel shopping experience and wends through every operational function. The most important of these is supply chain management – which enables a customer-centric purchasing experience through retail supply chain excellence. As we discuss in our whitepaper, Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success, retailers have the advantage of digitized B2B integration using EDI and Internet-based messaging to support trading partner communication. Smart trading networks have evolved from these foundational B2B messaging services. By aggregating transactional data using analytical applications you can monitor, analyze, and report on consumer demand, inventory availability, and supply chain performance. 3 Steps to Achieve Retail Supply Chain Excellence Start your digital transformation by taking these 3 steps to manage complex trading partner relationships with dynamic collaboration. Establish a centralized supplier information management system Understand trading partner performance Manage trading partnerships to improve customer fulfillment Step 1: Establish a Centralized Supplier Information Management System Retailers relying on more sophisticated trading relationships to serve customers need to stay current with their trading partners’ capabilities. At the same time, you have to reduce the cost of managing communications while ensuring compliance to their service levels and operating standards. A Gartner study pegged typical supplier management costs in a range from $585 to just under $1,000 per vendor. With an average of 3,000 active trading partner relationships, retailers are spending close to $3 million annually to manage their supply chain partnerships. As you implement more sophisticated supply chain community initiatives like customer drop-ship or vendor managed inventory, the costs to manage trading partner relationships will only increase. And that necessitates implementing a centralized system to support trading partner communication. Step 2: Understand Trading Partner Performance Monitor the service level and compliance performance of vendors, distributors, banks, 3PLs, and transportation providers with dynamic collaboration. Combining transactional data and data from other sources like point-of-sale, retailers and their trading partners can gain visibility into potential service level issues as well as performance trends. Using dynamic collaboration scorecards gives you a clear view of trading partner performance. Dynamic collaboration is supported by monitoring and measuring specific metrics. Transaction metrics – document arrival and acknowledgement timeliness Operational metrics – transaction volume by document or trading partner Business metrics – order, shipment, and invoice accuracy and timeliness Improving vendor compliance has demonstrated benefits like reducing distribution center costs by eliminating manual processing. It also improves customer fulfillment by speeding merchandise flow to meet demand. Step 3: Manage Trading Partnerships to Improve Customer Fulfillment As retailers look to deliver a more convenient omnichannel shopping experience, coordinating their supply chain to ensure inventory availability will define success. For example, retailers increasingly look for vendors to directly service their customers quickly and efficiently. As Retail Systems Research (RSR) noted in Retail Insight: Consumer Expectations Transform the Industry in 2016, retailers prioritize working with vendors who can provide special capabilities, like drop-ship fulfillment, and meet their compliance and lead-time standards. A smart trading network gives you a vendor compliance collaboration platform with the necessary insight to manage complex business requirements more efficiently. For example, Stage Stores, a regional U.S. department store chain, has leveraged dynamic collaboration to increase compliance violation identification by 500%. At the same time, they reduced the time to resolve compliance issues with vendors from 3 months to 72 hours – streamlining merchandise flow while greatly improving trading partner relationships. Get started today Retailers’ focus on leveraging customer-centric supply chain capabilities and ensuring service level execution across multiple trading partners requires a more automated, collaborative communication and standards compliance process. The three steps outlined above are a great way to start transforming your supply chain to be customer centric. To learn more about implementing a customer-centric supply chain, download Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success.

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“It’s all About the Information!”


Chances are you’ve head this before. And if you are a Ben Kingsley or Robert Redford fan you even recognized the line from Sneakers (released in 1992).  Yes 1992. Before the World Wide Web  Remember Netscape didn’t launch the first commercially successful Web browser until 1993. Actually it’s always been about the information, or at least the right information – the information needed to make an informed decision, not just an intuitive one. Now in many ways the information, the data, has always been there; it’s just that until recently, it was not readily accessible in a timely manner. In today’s internetworked business climate we are more aware of how much data is available to us through technology, like the mobile device in your pocket –at 12GB an iPhone 6S is massively more than the 6Mb programs IBM developed to monitor an Apollo spacecraft’s environmental data. Which demonstrates the reality of Moore’s Law, but that’s another topic. Yet because it’s so easy to create and store large amounts of data today, far too often we’re drowning in data and experiencing information overload. Chances are right now you’re reading this in between deleting that last email, before your next Tweet, because the conference call you are on is being dominated by someone repeating the same information you provided yesterday.   Bernard Marr, a contributor to Forbes, notes “that more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.”  Marr’s piece has at least 19 other eye-opening facts about how much data is (and is starting to become) available to us but the one that struck me the most was # 20. “At the moment less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed and used just imagine the potential here.” 0.5%! Imagine the opportunities missed. For example what if the transaction patterns of a customer indicated they were making more and more purchases of auto parts as well as making more  payments to their local garage (or mechanic). Combined with a recent increase in automatic payroll deposits, might that indicate this customer would be a good prospect for a 0.9% new car financing offer? Or imagine the crises which could be avoided. Think back to February 2016 and the now infamous multi-million dollar Bangladesh Bank heist. As you may recall thieves managed to arrange the transfer of $81 million to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in the Philippines. While it’s reasonable to expect existing controls might have detected the theft, it turns out that a “printer error” alerted bank staff. The SWIFT interface at the bank is configured to print out a record each time a funds transfer is executed. But on the morning of Feb 5 the print tray was empty. It took until the next day to get the printer restarted. It also turns out the New York Federal Reserve Bank had sent queries to the Bank questioning the transfers. What alerted the Fed? A typo.  Funds to be sent to the Shalika Foundation, were addressed to the “Shalika fandation.” There’s obviously more to this story, but you can look at WIRED Magazine’s story now. Consider the difference if a certain the bank had the toolset able to flag the anomaly of a misspelled beneficiary in time to generate alerts and hold up the transfers for additional verification? As we know the thieves timed their heist to take full advantage of the week-end, it’s only a small step to have these alerts sent as an SMS text, or email to the bank’s compliance management staff. To best extract value from the business data available to you requires two things:  An engine and a network. The engine is one designed to perform the data driven analysis needed.. With OpenText™ Analytics Suite, financial institutions can not only derive data-driven insights to offer value added solutions to clients they can also better manage the risk of fraudulent payment instructions, based on insights derived from a client’s payment behavior, and the correlating fact that the beneficiary accounts had been opened in May 2015 and not been a previously used  beneficiary. But the other equally important tool is the network. As trains need tracks, analytical tools engine needs data (as well as the network to deliver it). Today more and more of this data needed to extract value comes from outside the enterprise. OpenText™ Business Network is one way thousands of organizations exchange the data needed to manage their business, and provide the fuel for their analytical engines. For example, suppose a bank wanted to offer their customers the ability to generate ad-hoc reporting through their banking portal.  With payment, collection, and reporting data flows delivered through Business Network’s Managed Services, the underlying data would be available for the bank’s analytical engine. Obviously much of the data involved in the examples I’ve provided would be sensitive, confidential, and would need robust information security controls to keep it safe.

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Digital Transformation Across Supply Chains – IDC Infographic

Digital Transformation

OpenText recently sponsored a new IDC research study relating to digital transformation across the supply chain. I recently posted another blog to highlight some of the key findings from this new study that OpenText™ Business Network sponsored. The study looked at whether digital transformation was driving supply chain restructuring activities. In addition to the white paper which you can download here, I have included an infographic in this blog post which helps to illustrate some of the key findings from our new study. In the next few weeks we will also be launching two webinars and five executive briefs on key findings from some of the verticals we surveyed. You can also click on the infographic below to download our new study. Don’t forget, keep an eye out for the webinars and industry briefs that we will be releasing in the coming weeks.

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Thoughts From Digiruption Indaba South Africa


Digiruption Indaba is our customer day in Africa – Indaba means ‘gathering’. This year, Digiruption was held at the Galleria in Johannesburg. And what a day it was! Fully packed with highlights. I’ve had the privilege of attending this event for the last 2 years and I’m amazed at the number of customers and partners that attend. This year we finished at just under 400 in total which was a great effort. After some energetic drumming to get everyone excited for the day, Country Manager Lenore Kerrigan acting as host gave a welcome address to everyone and thanked them for attending. This included long term customers, partners and the new customers who joined our family from ECD, HP and others. This was followed by a welcome message and video presentation from OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea (who was unable to join us this year). Lenore then introduced our first guest speaker. “Exploration drives Innovation” Our first guest speaker was Dr Adriana Marais from SAP. Adriana is Head of Innovation at SAP Africa working on such diverse projects as Quantum Cryptography, Block chain and automated drone delivery. During her presentation one of these points was demonstrated by being joined by a drone on stage! All of which are joined by a common thread of being innovative, leading edge and of global benefits.. but wait.. As if those diverse projects weren’t enough to keep her busy, Adriana is one of the final 100 candidates for the extraordinary Mars One Expedition (you can learn about that here and here). She spoke passionately about how the next step for humans to solve our problems can only be found in Space and specifically on Mars. I think everyone came away with a great appreciation and a sense of ‘awe’ at people like Adriana who are prepared to take on some of the largest problems in the world, and solve them. “The best thing about social media it is allows anyone to be a celebrity, and the worst thing is it allows anyone to become a celebrity” Following that on the keynote was Emma Sadleir, who is a consultant lawyer and author specialising in Social Media Law. In her energetic and informative presentation she gave many examples of how to use Social Media correctly and how both famous and more importantly employees use Social Media incorrectly and what the liabilities are for both the company and the employee. Illustrating each point with examples and she had a fair few number of people quickly checking their Twitter accounts! I have asked Emma for her permission to use her image here (but this proves I was listening as if I had used it without permission I could have broken some laws.) The 4th Industrial Revolution and the OpenText Future Sandwiched between the two guest speakers, we had Thomas Dong, VP of Product Marketing presenting the OpenText keynote on our Strategic Direction, the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the new technologies that affect and inspire Digital Transformation. Before that, Detlev Ledger had chaired a panel of our customers, (Capitec, Distell, MediClinic, NHLS and SANBS ) discussing such topics as their use of OpenText (including ECD), their future plans, experiences and their thoughts on the future of EIM. Lunch, Technology, Customers, Public Sector and the Silent Disco… After a nice lunch (including the High Commissioner for Canada saying a few words) everyone was free for some time to mingle with the partners and network. One of the things I’d not seen before was a partner innovation track – similar to a Silent Disco (for those of you not in the know – it’s where you all wear headphones to dance around in silence.. yeah, I wasn’t certain as well!) but in the context of partner day it allowed the partners to give a 15 minute breakout where the audience were not distracted by the background noise of the event. During the afternoon we had breakouts across three tracks and I visited breakouts in all 3 sessions and was pleased to see the partners and customers alike attending and interacting. The 3 tracks were based around OpenText solutions, Customers (all presented by customers) and Public Sector (which makes a sizable part of the African customer base). In the technology track myself, Albert Tay and Arsalan Minhas covered topics such as what’s new in EP2, low Code with Process Suite, where to being with Digital Transformation and AI Implications for the Enterprise. In the Customers track, Distell presented their Release 16 (Distell are a long time customer and are typically one of the first organisations to deploy any new Content Server releases) Capitec Bank (its great to see our new ECD customers already comfortable to talk at an OpenText event) described their approach to Client Centricity. Finally, Mediclinic presented how xECM for SuccessFactors is allowing them to achieve their goal of a central HR functions. Mediclinic are the first customer of OpenText’s to be live on the xECM for SuccessFactors solution and have a great story to tell. In the public sector track we had another ECD customer, the Department for Social Development, presenting their Social Grant Appeals Process, the South African National Blood Service talked about their enterprise wide OpenText and SAP Implementation and finally the National Health Laboratory Service presented their ECM journey. Awards and Final Thoughts Following the event we all adjourned to the roof of the Galleria for food and well deserved cocktails and prize giving to watch the sun go down over Johannesburg. Amongst those receiving prizes were SAP for partner of the year, MediClinic for Go-Live project of the year, Capitec for Customer Visionary, and Engen for Customer of the Year. What really stood out at the event for me was the level of investment and trust that the customers have placed in OpenText and how critical in most cases our solution. Be it from face-to-face discussions or email feedback from various companies, the response to our EIM strategy and acquisitions was overwhelmingly positive. So, from all of us at OpenText attending to all our customers and our partners, Thank you for helping is have a great customer day and hopefully we will all see you each other again next year. Photos by Des Ingham-Brown, Blowfish Productions

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OpenText Business Network at Enterprise World 2017, Focused Around YOU!


Enterprise World 2017 is the premier B2B and Secure Information Exchange event you don’t want to miss. Attend to join hundreds of your industry peers and solution experts who will explore the future of supply chain and B2B integration services. Gain practical insights, best practices and lessons learned from today’s leaders. With full dedicated Business Network tracks, including keynotes and technical sessions, Enterprise World 2017 is an event focused on YOU. My colleague Marco De Vries introduced Business Network’s participation at Enterprise World a few week’s ago. At Enterprise World you will be able to learn more about the extensive enhancements we have recently introduced to Business Network and to take a sneak peak at the new capabilities that will be on show in the expo hall area at Enterprise World, here is a short video explaining our latest enhancements. The expo hall is a great location to visit at Enterprise World as it allows you to interact with our Business Network solutions and you can speak with our team of experts who will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Business Network will feature six demonstration pods in the expo hall area this year, and each of these pods is described below. Whether you are looking to deploy an on-premises, cloud or hybrid based B2B or secure information exchange environment, the following demonstration pods will help you explore these options: Enterprise Fax – Understand the core capabilities of our RightFax solution Secure Cloud Messaging – Explore how Fax2Mail & Notifications can benefit your business B2B Integration – Learn about some of our key B2B integration solutions such as Trading Grid Online, Active Documents, ANX and BizManager B2B Managed Services – Learn about the eight core components of B2B Managed Services and the benefits that companies can obtain by outsourcing their B2B integration to a trusted partner Business Network Analytics – Discover how analytics are leveraged across several Business Network product offerings, namely Trading Grid Analytics, Fax, Notifications and Active Documents. So if you need deep insights into what is going on across your business then this is definitely the demonstration pod to visit! Digital Supply Chain – Get an overview of our suite of Active Applications, namely Active Orders, Active Invoices with Compliance and Active Community In addition to the 26 breakout sessions that make up the Business Network track, we will also be presenting a number of short presentations in the mini theatres located in the expo hall. The exact agenda for all these sessions is still to be confirmed but the sessions will expand on some of the great content being shown in the main breakout sessions. Finally, don’t forget to join the OpenText crew in our Innovation Lab, where visitors have the opportunity to evaluate innovative new designs and collaborate with OpenText user experience designers and researchers. This year, Business Network will be showcasing: Trading Grid Online and Active Community redesign Intelligent Web Forms redesign with new user interface and enhanced user experience for web forms access RightFax, Fax2Mail and Notifications analytics Trading Partner graph for a visual representation of your community, who trades with whom, using what protocols, and what document types Our event this year will be held in Toronto, Canada, and if you are interested in learning more about how Business Network can support your B2B integration needs today and in the future then I would suggest taking a look at our registration page which can be accessed below. I hope to see you in Toronto in July!

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5 Tips for E-commerce–Ready Item Management

E-commerce-ready Item Management

Find out here how to support online shopping with product information that sells. Online shopping has empowered consumers to find their product, compare prices, and determine which retailers have inventory. Meeting the demand for an easy and convenient online shopping experience means retailers need the necessary product information available on their website. Unfortunately, e-commerce–ready item management is a highly manual process that’s time consuming and error prone. There’s tremendous pressure on brand marketers to improve the accuracy and timeliness of the product information that helps retailers sell online. Our recent report, Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success, identified e-commerce–ready item management as one of the top three priorities for building a customer-centric supply chain. Defined by extended attributes to support e-commerce content management and fulfillment processes, e-commerce–ready item management greatly improves time-to-market. In fact, one national chain reports a 2- to 4-week reduction in website product page setup using extended attributes, while a major e-commerce retailer reports vendor item setup time has been cut in half. GS1 has published standards for extended e-commerce product attributes in their Extended Attribute Guide, and as brand marketers typically produce the content required to meet the needs of e-commerce item management, including marketing descriptions, images and videos, product specifications, and shipping weights and measurements, they should review their product information now to ensure compliance. OpenText™ Active Catalogue supports extended attributes for general merchandise and apparel to easily share e-commerce-ready product information with retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Amazon, Dillard’s, Belk, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Stage Stores, Nordstrom, Boscov’s, Bon-Ton, and Lids. With more retailers requesting extended e-commerce attributes along with their traditional GTIN-based data, we’ve got five tips to help brand marketers meet the requirements for e-commerce–ready item management. 1. It’s your brand: Make the standards work for you Industry standards have allowed retailers to scale B2B integration, streamlining supply chain management and reducing costs; getting product to consumers faster and maintaining inventory levels to drive sales. E-commerce product information standards aren’t any different. Using them will get your product on retailers’ websites faster and with greater control over how your brand is presented online. Get to know standard description attributes and use them to your benefit. Some attributes support standardization, enabling navigation, filtering, or search–such as Brand, which is your label or trade name. Others, like the attribute Features-Benefits-Marketing Message, is a free-form text field of up to 4,096 characters that allows you to provide rich information you want to convey about your products, as in the example below with the product description and details content. 2. Don’t panic: There’s flexibility in the standards The thought of using standards causes some brand marketers to feel hand-cuffed. But brands and retailers jointly developed these, aware of the need to give brands the flexibility to market their products the way they want to, while also supporting retailers. For example, each standard for describing a garment closure includes 9 basic descriptions–and there are a total of 53 closure description options. Plus, there’s an option to use a free-form description if a brand’s closer type is included in the standard. Source: GS1 Extended Attribute Guide R2.0 05-05-2016 3. Get a quick win: Image standardization Sharing image attributes is easier than ever, since many brands already produce imagery for their own website. The growth in online shopping has led to some best practices regarding what’s required to effectively display products to consumers. These two websites illustrate the five basic images needed for e-commerce: quarter-turn, front, back, top, bottom. You may already have images available that you can share with retailers. 4. Get it right: Measure twice, share once There’s an adage used in construction to avoid costly mistakes: “Measure twice, cut once.” The value of accurate, consistent measurement can’t be overstated in e-commerce. Did you notice that the websites in the previous example list two different heel heights for the same shoe? Consumers have only the details retailers provide to make an informed purchase. Not having the correct information can mean getting a sale and keeping it–or a return by a dissatisfied customer. The standards for what to measure and how to measure it are well thought out and described in the GS1 guidelines. There are specifics listed for different merchandise categories, such as the standard for how to measure the heel of a shoe. Source: GS1 Extended Attribute Guide R2.0 05-05-2016 5. It’s all about the customer: Streamline order fulfillment In addition to online shopping descriptions, it’s important to provide the necessary shipping information. Standards have been developed to support extended supply chain attributes specifically for e-commerce fulfillment. Shipping package dimensions–including size, weight, and hazardous material coding–help retailers ship customer orders more efficiently. Other extended attributes like Consumer Available Date and Lead Time support drop-shipping to customers, which has become more widely used by retailers. Source: GS1 Extended Attribute Guide R2.0 05-05-2016 Watch our recent webinar, Catalogue–Extended Attribute Project, for more about how Active Catalogue can help you manage extended product attributes. To learn how you can implement a customer-centric supply chain, download your copy of Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success.

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New IDC Study – 66% Would use B2B Outsourcing to Support Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

Over the past few months I have posted several blogs relating to digital transformation across the supply chain. My last blog discussed how OpenText’s Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions could potentially support an Internet of Things (IoT) platform and an article on Spend Matters looked at how B2B integration and B2B Managed Services are a core part of today’s digital transformation projects. So what’s driving this interest in digital transformation?  After all ‘digital’ emerged in the 1980s but this time around companies around the world and in different industries seem to be taking it more seriously. Why? Customers are driving the need. At OpenText I have met supply chain executives around the world and the subject of digital transformation is a hot topic, especially as it allows companies to leverage new and exciting technologies such as IoT and wearable devices. In customer meetings two key trends started to emerge, firstly companies were keen on establishing a ‘digital backbone’ across their business (to integrate external trading partners to internal business systems) and secondly companies wanted to consider outsourcing the management of their B2B integration platform so that they could focus internal IT resources on new digital transformation projects. Last year this got me thinking, does digital transformation drive supply chain transformation? Certainly an interesting theory and one that I was keen to explore in more detail. Over the years we have completed research projects with the analyst firm IDC so I was only too pleased to engage with IDC on a new study relating to digital transformation in the supply chain. The timing for this study was perfect, not only from a market interest perspective, but digital transformation is a key focus for OpenText and through this study I wanted to prove that B2B Managed Services could support digital transformation initiatives. I want to use this blog to highlight some of the key findings from the study. Due to the large amount of survey data obtained from this particular study I will post further blogs by different industry sectors, regional aspects and also the technologies being adopted today. So where shall I start? Last December we worked with IDC to send out a survey to 254 companies across five different industries and seven countries around the world. I wanted to test the hypothesis of whether digital transformation was driving supply chain restructuring initiatives. Over the years we have found that when companies restructure their supply chains they will consider outsourcing their B2B integration so they can focus on the restructuring process at hand. Overall, digital transformation was widely known, as a definition, across nearly all the companies surveyed, only 7% were not sure what digital transformation actually entailed. 57% of respondents said that their business had appointed a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), however some believe this is more of a transitional type of role as it is expected that the traditional CIO role will absorb this activity moving forwards. However when you look at the role of the CIO in recent years it was about ensuring for example that an ERP system goes live on time or a new warehouse management system could connect into various supply chain solutions. Today, and maybe this is why the CDO role has emerged, the CIO has to embrace new types of networks, new types of devices connected to these networks, and new types of information coming off these devices that needs to be processed, analyzed and then archived. In terms of the maturity of digital transformation projects, the survey had a range of results from 36% of respondents saying they considered themselves as a ‘Digital Transformer’ (business is a leader in its markets, providing world-class digital products, services, and experiences) to only 8% who said they considered themselves as a ‘Digital Resister’ (business is a laggard, providing weak customer experiences and using digital technology only to counter threats). So clearly there is more work to be done to help companies move along the digital transformation maturity curve and of course OpenText is here to help. The interesting observation in the enterprise world is that there are five pieces of disruptive technology that have been embraced more than other technologies and these same technologies are driving consumer driven markets as well. For the purposes of this study we wanted to understand which technologies were being adopted across supply chains and how these adoption rates would grow over the next three years. The table below provides an idea of the technologies that we surveyed against as part of the study, this chart shows technology adoption at the time the study was conducted in December 2016. From a technology adoption point of view there were some interesting observations. 70% of respondents said they were using B2B cloud networks today, interesting given that cloud really started to go mainstream in 2010. After cloud, IoT projects were the next most important investment area but interestingly machine learning and artificial intelligence is going to have the fastest growth rate over the next three years. Some other observations: The great thing about this study was that it was cross industry and covered the main industrial centers around the world. Given IoT is one of the main focus areas I thought it would be interesting to highlight the benefits that companies in different countries have realized from this disruptive technology. The table below ranks the benefits of IoT across some of the countries surveyed as part of this project. In addition to regional cuts of the survey data, there are detailed findings at an industry level. The chart below shows three of the five main industries that were surveyed and the expected benefits these industries have realized with the deployment of IoT based solutions across their supply chains. Needless to say many hours could be spent analyzing all the technology adoption levels by different countries and different industry sectors! So then moving on to how digital transformation is driving supply chain related restructuring initiatives, once again some really interesting findings as can be seen by the following statistics. In order for companies to implement new digital transformation strategies, the survey demonstrated that there is a certain amount of preparation or IT restructuring that has to take place before new technologies can be deployed across a supply chain. However to ensure that companies can focus on this restructuring and then implement these technologies with ease, there are certain business activities, such as B2B integration, that could be outsourced to a trusted partner. In analyst related studies there is usually a ‘golden nugget’ of information that helps to justify the whole research project. So when we asked the question about whether outsourcing the management of B2B integration would help free up internal resources to focus on new digital transformation initiatives, we found a surprising result. 66% of respondents said they would consider outsourcing their B2B integration to a trusted partner. This was an interesting study for another reason, it demonstrated that companies were thinking about their EDI or B2B integration strategy when considering the adoption of new leading edge technologies such as IoT and machine learning. This also helped to demonstrate that EDI was in the next stage of its evolution, a journey that has lasted more than 45 years so far. I have only scraped the surface in this blog with some of the results from this new study and I have more blogs planned that will provide further technology and industry specific insights from our new study, as well as webinars in the near future with IDC to discuss the findings. In the meantime if you would like to download a copy of this new IDC study then you can do so here.

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5 Active Applications Sessions at Enterprise World

Enterprise World

If you are an OpenText™ Business Network customer (or if you are considering becoming one), we would like to invite you to OpenText™ Enterprise World 2017. We know that it can be tough to take time out of your busy schedule to attend an event, so we are working hard to ensure Enterprise World is relevant to you, your business, and the OpenText solutions you use. Previous blog posts about Business Network at Enterprise World include a summary of why you should attend and a post about the future of the digital supply chain. If you outsource your B2B integration to OpenText™ B2B Managed Services you may not be aware of some of the cloud-based supply chain automation applications we offer. These application provide additional integration and automation capabilities. Sessions at Enterprise World will describe these “Active Applications,” the problems they are designed to solve, and how they can positively impact your business. Here are 5 Active Applications sessions at Enterprise World that you should find valuable: Buying organizations need visibility into frequency of order errors or late deliveries by suppliers. See how these metrics provide the information to help identify potential problems in the supply chain and make adjustments. This session demonstrates supplier performance metric that enable manufacturers to manage under-performing trading partners—ultimately mitigating risk to business performance—and help determine the most strategic trading partners to do more business with. Your B2B integration program’s ROI is determined by the percentage of trading partner you integrate with. So how do you maximize trading partner participation and ROI? We’ll show you how OpenText can help you get your trading partners onboarded – through tools for community management (with new self-service features!), direct connect and EDI VAN enablement, and a web portal for non-digital trading partners plus onboarding services that free your staff for more strategic efforts. Your trading partners want to exchange invoices electronically so they can automate and reduce costs of invoice processing – and so do you. But e-invoicing has a varied set of formats, government requirements and integration challenges. OpenText B2B Managed Services and Active Invoices with Compliance work together for sending, receiving and storing e-invoices that comply with government tax laws and recent business to government (B2G) e-invoicing mandates. This session will discuss what you need to do to comply with ever changing e-invoicing regulations, including upcoming mandates for B2G invoicing in EU countries and the differences between compliance models in Europe and Latin America.  Don’t be shut out of these markets.  Attend this session and learn how to comply. Vendor Compliance is More Than a Manual – see how retailers are capturing vendor compliance violations and increasing accuracy to better offset expenses from shipping errors. Along the way they are also improving relationships with their vendors through clarity and visibility! We’ll show you how the OpenText deduction management solution works and how one customer used it to increase compliance while improving the relationship with their vendors. Active Catalogue & Your Data Synchronization Strategy – this session will explore the benefits of implementing and executing a data synchronization and product catalogue strategy, specifically with OpenText Active Catalogue.  Learn customer best practices, challenges and successes in deploying the Catalogue solution. Also attend to learn the  future direction of Active Catalogue. These Active Applications sessions at Enterprise World are only 5 of many sessions for Business Network customers. Plus, in addition to breakout sessions there are many other activities that you can participate in, such as industry breakouts, live product and solution overviews in our expo hall and a chance to test drive new product enhancements in our developer lab. This year Enterprise World is in Toronto, Canada, and if you are interested in learning more about how Business Network can support your B2B integration needs today and in the future visit our registration page. I hope to see you in Toronto in July.

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How Mature Are You? Embrace Digital Transformation in Measured Steps

digital transformation

Embracing digital transformation will not typically be a step function or a sea-change for most organizations. It is an evolution—a path of measured steps. To make digital transformation meaningful and digestible for your organization, focus on your digital maturity.  Where are you today, and where do you need to be in one, three, or five years?  Benchmark internally, to industry peers and leaders. Research from SCM World (now Gartner) provides a model to benchmark current maturity relative to industry peers, and it outlines a roadmap of steps others have taken in their journey to digital supply chain maturity. Research from IDC outlines the business benefits of digital maturity in the supply chain, where “leaders” compare to “laggards” with: 156% Faster invoice processing 89% More responsive to unforeseen events 48% Improvement in customer order delivery time 35% Faster inventory turns 22% Reduction in cash conversion time 16% Increase in successful product launches 3% Improvement in perfect order rate If digital transformation is an evolution of maturity, consider the importance of having your digital information backbone—connectivity, exchange, and integration—mature with you. Solutions to today’s immediate needs may not get you where you need to be to thrive in the future. OpenText™ Business Network 16 EP2 introduces several enhancements that help organizations mature their digital supply chain and secure information exchange—all built on the core foundation of digitizing the exchange of structured and unstructured content with your trading partners and customers. Gain deep supply chain insights. Mature beyond information exchange to providing advanced analytics on business transactions. EP2 extends OpenText™ Trading Grid Analytics and data blending capabilities to all OpenText Messaging customers. EP2 also provides extended support for Automotive, High-Tech and global Retail industry standards. Optimize unstructured data exchange. Move beyond send and receive fax reports to analytics that help optimize business processes. EP2 introduces Analytics for OpenText Notifications and OpenText™ Fax2Mail in the cloud, as well as OpenText™ RightFax Analytics for on-premises users. Manage orders anywhere, anytime. Consider evolving customer responsiveness with new mobile support for OpenText™ Active Orders, enabling users to review, accept, or reject orders on the go. Manage non-events to reduce risk. Mature operational efficiency and agility with advanced supply chain event management. A new Business Event Notification service in Business Network 16 EP2 empowers users to create real-time alerts of events and non-events (e.g., it’s Monday 9:30 a.m. and I haven’t received my typical 9 a.m. order from Acme Corp.) to quickly identify issues and improve responsiveness—all from within primary business applications such as SAP Expand digitization to the entire ecosystem. Expand digital transactions from larger trading partners to those still using paper and email attachments. EP2 extends data quality and automation by auto-provisioning non-EDI partners who still email PDF invoices Integrate complex business processes. With the integration of OpenText™ Process Suite into the Business Network, EP2 enables organizations to digitize and integrate complex and unique business processes—evolving beyond automation of simple linear information flows See these and other Business Network EP2 solutions in action at Enterprise World 2017, July 10-13 in Toronto.

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Behind the Scenes: 3 Key Drivers of OpenText Release 16 and EP2

Release 16 EP2

OpenText™ Release 16 EP2 is the second enhancement pack for Release 16, and I want to share some of the “behind the scenes” thinking with you in this blog. While we’ve been developing EP2, we’ve been talking to analysts, fine-tuning our road map, and listening to customers, and do you know what kept coming up?  “Enhance the user experience and improve productivity”. So with EP2 we focused on user experience and improving productivity. And to achieve this, we concentrated on three key drivers: enhance user productivity, integrate information flows, and connect the ecosystem. Read below for more on each of these key drivers: 1. Enhance user productivity One of the fastest ways to get more value out of your enterprise is to improve productivity. EP2 brings significant user and productivity enhancements across Release 16 with improved user experience, self-service, and self-provisioning. These are a few highlights of how EP2 can enhance user productivity: Unified OpenText™ Customer Communications Management (CCM) document design tools and composition engines for ultra-personalized communications (OpenText™ Experience Suite) Mobile order management, automated partner provisioning, business event notifications to streamline tasks (OpenText™ Business Network) Enhanced design time and security capabilities, new form design and control functions, and improved business rule styling to further simplify and speed application development (OpenText™ Process Suite) Expanded Smart UI to simplify how users create, edit, collaborate on, process, and manage content from the desktop or mobile (OpenText™ Content Suite) InfoCenter UI lets users surface content in the form of “tiles”, so important information is just a click away (OpenText™ eDOCS) Relevancy analysis, project cloning, and new automation options add convenience (OpenText™ Discovery Suite) 2. Integrate Information Flows When we looked at how we could expand our support for the complete flow of information across the digital enterprise, from Engagement to Insight, we came up with many enhancements as well as several new integrations across our Release 16 portfolio. Here are just a few: Business-defined triggers to automatically initiate voice or email surveys linked to call recordings with drill-down insights (Experience Suite) Several new integrations with the OpenText™ Trading Grid platform substantially widens business network, while OpenText™ Trading Grid Analytics and data blending capabilities have been extended to all OpenText Trading Grid Messaging (TGMS) customers (Business Network) Improved and deepened OpenText Extended ECM integration enabling more workspace capabilities (Process Suite) Simplified workflows, data visualization, and integration to Microsoft® Office Online help bridge information siloes (Content Suite) A RESTful API enables eDOCS data to be easily leveraged in external applications (eDOCS ) Microsoft Office e365 connectivity for streamlined ECA and collection (Discovery Suite) 3. Connect the ecosystem In an enterprise, there are few things as frustrating as information siloes. They prevent us from having all the facts, applying them, and getting that competitive edge. EP2 introduces additional ecosystem integrations with more connectivity— across our own portfolio of software as well as new solutions. Here are some examples: Marketing collaboration for media assets with an integration to Adobe® Creative Cloud™ and OpenText TeamSite (Experience Suite) Redesigned and simplified MFP connector in OpenText RightFax, updated third-party certifications (Business Network) Improved integration to external systems for data import to entities (Process Suite) Extended integration of OpenText ECM into the applications that drive business such as SAP® SuccessFactors™, Office 365, Salesforce®, and SAP C4C® (Content Suite) Third-party apps can be displayed as “tiles”, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between eDOCS and other applications (eDOCS) New RESTful API takes AI-enhanced enterprise search even further (Discovery Suite) Three Drivers that Enhanced the Complete Engagement to Insight Flow By focusing on enhancing user productivity, integrating information flows, and connecting the ecosystem while developing OpenText Release 16 and EP2, I truly believe we have enhanced the user experience and improved productivity. Let me know what you think. For more information, please visit And keep an eye on our blogs for the individual suite announcements here.

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Drive Productivity With Secure Connectivity Among Automotive OEM’s and Global Trading Partners

OpenText ANX

OpenText™ ANX, as part of the OpenText™ Business Network, enables Automotive and Healthcare organizations to digitize their trading partner ecosystems and supply chains for greater efficiency and agility. For the automotive industry, a reliable supply base is essential to growth. As a result, a stream of new alliances and trading partners are added every year. The key to enabling strategic collaboration and interactions among OEMs and these trading partners is the secure, reliable flow of information. Handling the volume and complexity of this data exchange is challenging. What’s more, Intellectual property is flowing between companies, across geographies and time zones creating a critical need to securely transfer this privileged information. Any disruption of this communication can cost millions of dollars for every minute of downtime. OpenText ANX provides secure, private, B2B connections between North American companies through its ANX network. For automotive companies seeking a secure connection to OEMs or suppliers in Europe, ANX provides managed connectivity to ENX, the European Network Exchange. This secure connection affords strict SLAs for availability, performance and repair that far surpass public internet solutions. It enables OEMs and suppliers to reduce the complexity and costs of B2B data exchange as well as respond faster to change. Would you like to be a catalyst for increased productivity, improved customer and partner relationships, and better integrated processes through secure, reliable connectivity? Also learn how premier OEMs are securely exchanging information throughout their global supply chain and quickly on-boarding new trading partners to keep pace with emerging markets and the competition? Then you should attend this informative session at Enterprise World 2017: BNN-207 Drive Productivity with Secure Connectivity among Automotive OEMs & Global Trading Partners Globalization of the automotive industry, complexity of supplier integration, vendor churn, and market expansion prompt the need for secure connectivity to and from global manufacturing hubs. New alliances are formed requiring the fast on-boarding of new partners involved in the design and production of a vehicle. As a result, intellectual property is continuously flowing between companies, across geographies and time zones creating a critical need to securely transfer this privileged information. Any disruption of this communication can cost millions of dollars for every minute of downtime. Supporting the transfer of data and mission critical business processes internally and across your global trading partner community requires a highly available, secure, accountable network with reliable performance. Come join us to learn how we can quickly on-board new partners and ensure the security of your intellectual property across your global supply chain.

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Join OpenText at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference

Each year, supply chain practitioners gather in Scottsdale to discuss, learn, network, share their challenges, failures and successes in managing complex supply chains. The Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference is a great opportunity to do all of those things. Each year the event is larger, with more attendees and more opportunities to network. This year, Gartner has chosen recognizing the impacts and preparing disruptions to the supply chain as the theme of the conference. Supply Chain risk and resilience is hot topic and preparing your supply chain to handle the impact of a disruption takes measurement, planning, innovation, and transformation. OpenText at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference We are inviting you to join OpenText at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference. As the leading provider of Business-to-Business (B2B) integration, we believe that a well-connected supply chain is a key element of making your supply chain more resilient. For more on why, see this blog post. As part of our participation in the conference, we are sponsoring a session from one of our customers. Seth Barney, who leads Supplier Quality and Inventory Accuracy at O.C. Tanner, will share their journey to streamline their supply chain through digital transformation (and B2B integration!). O.C. Tanner is a global provider of employee recognition and appreciation products covering over 150 countries and delivering awards to 19 million users. Seth directs supplier quality and inventory accuracy activities for O.C. Tanner. His primary focus has been implementing streamlined supplier connections across all of O.C. Tanner’s global locations while ensuring process consistency. He also leads a number of inventory related projects to drive inventory accuracy to company records of well over 99%. Please stop by and visit us in the showcase if you are at the show. If you’d like to schedule some time to meet with us – you can sign up here.

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Establishing a Supply Chain Focused IoT Platform

IoT in the Supply Chain

Over the last few years I have been posting blogs on how the Internet of Things will impact future supply chain operations. More recently I discussed IoT in the context of digital transformation. The term ‘IoT Platform’ has just started to enter the vocabulary of the CIO and I thought I would use this blog to explain how I believe OpenText Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions could underpin and support an IoT based platform strategy. Just before I expand on this subject I just wanted to provide something else for you to read once you have finished reading this blog entry. On 5th June 2017, OpenText announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Covisint. Covisint was setup in 2000 by Ford, GM and Chrysler to establish an automotive specific market-place, however recently Covisint started to introduce new IoT capabilities.  More information on this acquisition can be found HERE, and I will expand more on this as the deal closes in the coming months. Ever since cloud-based solutions started to go mainstream in around 2011, there have been numerous attempts to define cloud-based ‘platforms’. Some platforms offer cloud-based ‘brokerage’ services, others offer infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS). Gartner defined the term ‘integration brokerage’, a term which nicely encapsulates the various B2B solutions that are offered today by OpenText™ Business Network, the world’s largest cloud-based B2B integration platform. With OpenText offering many different cloud-based solutions today, I thought it would be interesting to share my own views on how OpenText EIM solutions could support a new emerging type of cloud platform, the IoT platform. For the purposes of this blog I am going to refer to the term IoT, but of course over the last four years a number of regional derivatives of this term have emerged, and the market seems to be struggling to find the perfect term that is universally accepted: Internet of Things (IoT): this is the most popular term in use today and was originally defined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 as part of his research at the AutoID Center Internet of Everything (IoE): introduced by Cisco in 2013 to reflect the people and process aspects of IoT Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): introduced by GE and other North American industrial companies in 2013, GE Digital was formed to develop the smart industrial environment of the future Industry4.0: introduced in 2013 by industrial companies in Germany such as Bosch and Siemens to reflect the fourth industrial revolution and the need to have a more process centric IoT environment Industrial Value Chain: introduced in 2015 by companies in Japan, looking to develop their own standard for connected devices across industrial applications Internet Plus: introduced in 2015 by Chinese based companies, once again keen to develop their own approach to leveraging the information coming from connected devices So as you can see above, even before we standardize on how information is captured from connected devices, how it is transmitted and how it is archived, I think we need a common naming approach to what we are actually dealing with here! As I said above, for the purposes of this blog I am going to simply refer to this as IoT. IoT is certainly one of the hot investment areas at the moment, touching nearly every industry sector in some way and new use cases for IoT seem to be appearing on an almost daily basis. A few weeks ago I saw a post from IDC where they estimated by 2025 there will be 163 zeta bytes of information being processed in some shape or form. Even today there are varying estimates of exactly how many connected devices there will be in the future, Cisco for example estimates that 12.2 billion devices will be connected by 2020 and Gartner estimated (on a joint webinar with OpenText) there will be around 21 billion connected devices by 2020, so I guess you could ask just how long is piece of string! OpenText recently completed a digital transformation related study with IDC, (which you can download here), the study looked to see whether new digital transformation projects such as IoT would kick-start new transformation initiatives across the supply chain. We surveyed 254 companies across seven countries and four different industries and the IoT related responses were certainly interesting as you can see below. I will provide more details on this study at a later date and I will expand on some of the IoT use cases highlighted in the table below in future blog posts relating to how supply chains can leverage an IoT platform. Question: With specific regard to the internet of things (IoT), and the use of sensors, what type of supply chain processes (or use cases) would provide the most benefit for your organization? For this particular blog I want to focus on what all these billions of devices will be connected to, from a platform point of view, and what will happen to the zeta bytes of data that will come off these devices. How will enterprise systems be able to leverage this information?, how can it be used to look for trends?, and more importantly how can it be used to streamline supply chain processes? After all, at the end of the day investing in IoT may seem like a step in the dark for many companies but it can provide significant ROI if deployed effectively. More on the benefits and ROI of IoT in a future blog. I have been following the IoT sector fairly closely over the past 4 years, since I attended an IoT World Forum Conference hosted by Cisco in 2013. However it is only in the last 12 months that IoT conversations have been turning towards establishing IoT platforms and how these can effectively act as the middle layer between the connected devices and business or supply chain process that is being improved or optimized. Early last year I spent a few hours discussing supply chain focused use cases for IoT with Gartner and how B2B Managed Services could provide the integration requirements to support an IoT enabled supply chain. He understood how our EIM solutions could help enable an IoT platform. This particular conversation led to a webinar last October which looked at the key trends in the IoT sector and what technologies an IoT platform should ideally consist of. The five key cornerstones, as discussed by Gartner in the webinar, that underpin an IoT platform, consist of device management, information management, analytics, integration and security. In my view, OpenText is in a strong position to support an IoT platform with the various solutions that we have in our EIM portfolio. OpenText could potentially partner with say, a telco provider for edge connectivity, as other vendors have done, but we can provide web and mobile app development solutions to help remotely login and configure connected devices to partially cover the device management cornerstone. The table below highlights how the six key components of OpenText’s EIM portfolio could potentially support an IoT platform strategy. In order for an IoT platform to be able to support supply chain business processes, you need to ensure that all digital information, both structured and unstructured, coming from the trading partner community can be stored in what can best be described as a ‘supply chain data lake’. OpenText Business Network already has a cloud-based data lake, hosted in our data center, which stores the B2B transactions as they move across our network. This allows companies to analyze these transactions and identify performance trends across the supply chain. For more information on this take a look at our Trading Grid Analytics web page. So let me now explain how a data lake which can accept different types of supply chain information could evolve. The figure above illustrates my interpretation of what a ‘supply chain data lake’ could look like, it highlights the type of information, both structured and unstructured that could enter the lake, and then it highlights how our EIM solutions could leverage this information in different ways across the business to help drive IoT enabled supply chain processes. Let me just expand on the different sections that make up this diagram. The first step is to ensure that you can receive information electronically from trading partners across your end-to- end supply chain. This will involve digitally enabling every trading partner, but it is more than this as every connected device, from the vehicles delivering finished goods to customers, down to the pallets carrying the goods will need to be remotely connected to the IoT platform. This allows a macro level of supply chain visibility to be achieved. Deciding what supply chain assets need to be connected to the IoT platform, what type of information needs to be obtained from the connected device, what B2B transactions need to be accessed and what you actually want to measure will then determine the type of analysis and reporting that can be achieved. The next step is to drip feed the data into the supply chain data lake. In addition to B2B transactions, and sensor based information, the lake could be populated with many other types of structured and unstructured information. For example, social media or website information relating to the service availability of key 3PL providers and inventory data from every connected asset involved with the movement of goods across an end-to-end supply chain. Multi-media data such as videos highlighting damaged goods from a supplier or perhaps new regulatory data that will impact the compliance reporting of a trading partner community. If all of this information can be placed in a centralized supply chain data lake then it can be acted upon as required by different stakeholders in the business. The third step leverages the EIM based solutions to analyze and review the information held within the supply chain data lake so that some form of process can be initiated across the supply chain. Consider this section of the diagram as an oil rig (EIM solutions) sitting on top of a valuable seam of oil (data) waiting to be extracted. Each of the EIM solutions has its role to play in processing information from the supply chain data lake, whether using Business Network to transfer information into a back end enterprise system such as ERP or using analytics to identify some form of performance trend that needs to be acted upon. Finally the IoT platform will be accessed by key stakeholders across the business, users in the procurement, manufacturing and logistics functions for example. They could leverage this information in many different ways but there are some important supply chain related use cases for how a globally accessible and fully integrated IoT platform could optimize supply chain processes. In the Gartner webinar that I highlighted earlier I discussed how an EIM-based IoT environment could support three supply chain related processes, namely Pervasive Visibility, Proactive Replenishment or Predictive Maintenance. I am going to expand on these three areas in my next blog.

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3 Priorities for Adopting a Customer-Centric Retail Supply Chain

Customer-Centric Retail

We’re spoiled. With unlimited access to products and more ways to receive purchases whenever and wherever we want, shopping has never been easier – or more challenging for retailers. Online retail sales growth has outpaced in-stores sales. ShopperTrak reported a 5% drop in in-stores sales while comScore reported a 23% increase in online shopping during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared to 2015. Most established retail brands have been attempting an omnichannel balancing act, but the fact is that e-commerce is now the sales growth engine. Addressing the needs of an always-on consumer and maintaining relevance in today’s highly competitive market, retailers need to put the customer at the center of everything they do. That means adopting a customer-centric supply chain to support online shopping and streamline fulfillment. Smart retail trading networks support customer-centricity Retailers can’t deliver on customer-centric initiatives alone. They need trading partners to support their efforts. Using predictive analytics to harness supply chain network data, retailers will develop more sophisticated relationships to serve customers across channels. Smart retail trading networks combine data to monitor, analyze, and report on consumer demand, inventory availability, and supply chain performance. Our new report, Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success, identifies three priorities to support customer-centric supply chain adoption: E-commerce–ready item management, dynamic supply chain collaboration, and customer-centric inventory orchestration. With smart trading networks, everyone wins. Customers can find what they want easily and get it fast. Retailers can be more responsive to customer needs, increase service excellence, and lower fulfillment costs. 3 Priorities for adopting a customer-centric supply chain Priority 1: E-commerce–ready item management Using manual processes like spreadsheets, email, and manual data entry results in slower time-to-market and inaccurate product information for consumers. E-commerce content management is streamlined by adding extended attributes to existing product information integration and synchronization processes. Retailers who have integrated extended attributes into their e-commerce content management processes have seen website item setup time cut in half. Priority 2: Dynamic supply-chain collaboration Existing collaboration processes won’t ensure inventory availability to consumers. Retail trading partners need to support more dynamic collaboration to service customers directly, such as with drop-ship fulfillment, meeting retailers’ higher compliance and lead-time standards. To guarantee service level execution, retailers should leverage automated communication and standards compliance processes available from smart trading networks. Retailers using automated compliance processes have dramatically increased violation identification and reduced resolution time from months to a few days. Priority 3: Customer-centric inventory orchestration To capture more sales, retailers need to better position inventory to match consumer demand using a greater level of sales and inventory visibility across the entire supply chain. They can gain universal inventory visibility by accessing data that’s readily available in smart trading networks. Customer-centric inventory orchestration helps retailers locate inventory closer to consumer demand to fulfill orders quickly, manage shipping costs effectively, and reduce markdowns. Embrace the future of customer-centric retail The success of any retailer in today’s e-commerce–driven environment depends on their ability to orchestrate a customer-centric supply chain. Smart trading networks offer analytic and collaborative capabilities to ensure better inventory visibility and supply-chain excellence – supporting fast, reliable, and cost-effective fulfillment. To learn how you can implement a customer-centric supply chain, download Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success.

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Learn About the Future of the Digital Supply Chain at Enterprise World 2017


Over the past four months I have been busy supporting our Innovation Tour events. Starting off in Sydney last November, then on to Singapore, Tokyo, London, Paris, Munich, Stockholm and finally Eindhoven last week. The events were a big success and we had a significant increase in attendees compared to similar events we held early last year.The Innovation Tour events are a single day format with keynotes and guest speakers in the morning and then the afternoon is broken out into product or solution specific tracks. I supported our Business Network track at some of the events and we had around three to four presentations with various customer presentations weaved into the agendas. Business Network has come a long way since GXS and EasyLink were acquired by OpenText and these events provide an ideal platform to update our customers on the investments we have made and to provide some insights into our future direction. It is certainly an exciting time to be at OpenText, especially with new digital technologies being top of mind for many CIOs around the world. No sooner do I get back from our last event in Eindhoven, we are now heads down planning for our next event, our global customer conference, Enterprise World 2017,  in Toronto in July. This will be my fourth Enterprise World and each year the event grows exponentially in size. The event runs over a few days and the format of the event is essentially an extended version of our Innovation Tour one day events, but with a lot more activities thrown in for good measure. I will explain some of those activities in a moment. OpenText has made over 50 acquisitions in its 25 year history and these acquisitions underpin our Enterprise Information Management strategy to enable companies to digitize information flowing across their business and extended enterprise. Each of these acquisitions has been placed into one of the following six product divisions across our company. At Enterprise World we will effectively have an ‘event within an event’ and Business Network will have nearly thirty breakout sessions. This is a really comprehensive series of presentations, mostly focused on product and solution offerings but we will also be delivering some key sessions relating to the future of the supply chain and providing insights relating to a new digital transformation survey from IDC. As with last year’s event I seem to have been handed multiple plates to spin for this event, but I just wanted to provide some insight into five of the sessions I will be hosting at Enterprise World 2017. Session 1 – Over several decades, OpenText™ Business Network has evolved to embrace new standards, new technologies and new ways of working with customers and trading partners. Over the past 12 months Business Network has introduced many new capabilities to improve how we both deploy and manage your end-to-end information exchange and integration requirements. However there are new technologies such as cognitive analytics, Blockchain and Industry 4.0/IoT on the horizon, and Business Network will continue evolving to embrace new technologies and new ways of working. This session will provide insights on some of these new technologies and how OpenText sees them fitting into our evolving Business Network. Session 2 – OpenText recently sponsored a study from the analyst firm IDC to understand whether new digital technologies were leading to new supply chain transformation initiatives across a company. From drones and wearable devices to Industry 4.0, today’s CIOs are spending billions of dollars looking for ways to embrace these technologies across their respective businesses. I recently posted a blog on these technologies. This is leading to a need to modernize ICT and B2B infrastructures, establish new digital back bones and somehow manage these new digital initiatives while at the same time manage complex B2B environments. B2B Managed Services can not only provide a digital backbone which seamlessly integrates external trading partners to internal enterprise systems, it can also provide additional resources to manage your B2B environment leaving you to focus on managing your business and rolling out new digital initiatives across the extended enterprise. This session will provide key insights from the study. Session 3 – Trading Grid Analytics delivers powerful intelligence for your business to optimize supply chain efficiencies, spot opportunities, and mitigate risks, before they disrupt your business. Big Data and the Digital Supply Chain are two leading disruptive forces facing companies today. According to Gartner, “Analytics top the list of important initiatives for supply chain organizations to ensure their ability to support digital business.” This session will provide an overview of the key capabilities of Trading Grid Analytics and how it can offer deeper insights into what is going on across your end to end supply chain. Session 4 – Your business is faced with multiple demands and challenges. Whether internal initiatives, such as ERP consolidation; go-to-market strategies, such as M&A activity or channel expansion; or external forces and mandates, such as electronic invoice compliance, your resources are stretched thin. Attend this session to learn how OpenText B2B Managed Services can help your organization turn these challenges into opportunity and competitive advantage and shield your business from the complexities of B2B integration allowing you to focus on your core business activities. Session 5 – If your business runs SAP, then you have made a significant investment in an ERP system that simplifies how you manage your business operations. But how do you ensure that your extended enterprise and external trading partners can leverage this investment as well? This session will explain the benefits of integrating your SAP and B2B platforms together and how SAP’s endorsement of B2B Managed Services simplifies this process. This session will also explore how SAP is leveraging other Business Network capabilities such as global e-invoice compliance, notifications, and cloud fax to enhance SAP’s solution offerings. Now I have only covered five of the sessions I will be presenting at Enterprise World 2017, we have many more for you to attend!, more details on those in future blogs. In addition to these breakout sessions there are many other activities that you can participate in, for example industry breakouts, live product and solution overviews in our expo hall and a chance to test drive new product enhancements in our developer lab. Our event this year will be held in Toronto, Canada, and if you are interested in learning more about how Business Network can support your B2B integration needs today and in the future then I would suggest taking a look at our registration page which can be accessed below. I hope to see you in Toronto in July!

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Q&A with Forrester Senior Analyst Heidi Shey: Secure Information Exchange in the Digital Age


Forrester Senior Analyst Heidi Shey recently joined OpenText to discuss how secure information exchange can help your organization seize its digital future.  As a follow up to the webinar, Why Secure Information Exchange is Critical for Digital Transformation, Heidi shared more insight into the common questions asked about digital transformation – and how you can be successful in your journey. Q:  How is digital transformation changing the way organizations think about, share, use, and store documents? Shey:  Digital transformation changes both customer and employee expectations, which in turn changes how organizations must think about information and document handling. Customers expect more and faster ways of discovering information, as well as sharing their information with you. Employees have the expectation of getting the information and tools they need to do their jobs anytime and anywhere, so that they can be productive. The information contained within documents is only useful if someone is able to use it, and use it appropriately. Digital transformation has organizations thinking about who should have access, defining what constitutes sensitive information, as well as considering compliance for handling personal information. Q:  How is the way that organizations exchange information changing due to transformation? Shey:  In many ways, it hasn’t fully changed, which is part of the challenge for securing this information. Employees naturally turn toward using common methods of exchanging information, like email, USB drives, and consumer file sharing services. The result is that the organization often has no visibility into how information is flowing and where it is stored, and the movement of this information using these methods is not secure. There are also cases where organizations do bring in enterprise technology for employees to use to exchange information securely, but if this tool doesn’t align with how employees work or causes unnecessary friction, employees may not use it, or find ways around it instead. Organizations should seek solutions that are easy to use and easily accessible, which will facilitate greater adoption and eliminate risky and unsecure workarounds. Q:  With the need for information to be available 24x7x365 and sharable across multiple platforms, devices, and applications, what must organizations keep in mind when exchanging information? Shey:  A lack of control in protecting your sensitive information will undermine your efforts for availability and accessibility of this information by placing your company at risk of a breach. This could be a data breach of personal information or intellectual property; a breach of the terms of a business partner contract that stipulates how data must be handled; or noncompliance with relevant security and privacy requirements and regulations. Proper authorization for access to information is critical, as are capabilities to audit information exchange and usage. And as much as we would like to think we have everything under our control, accidental data loss may happen. You must also have a plan in advance for what to do in case of a breach. Q:  Can you offer some best practices for effective, compliant, and secure information exchange? Shey: You must understand your data first. Identify what types of information the business needs to exchange, and why, to comprehend its value. This helps to determine the appropriate level of effort and investment required to protect and exchange it responsibly, and the risks of not doing so. Identify how this information needs to flow — who and what systems and applications need access and why — to optimize efficiency and productivity. Identify what types of information are sensitive, and define sensitive data for your organization, to gain a better handle over how you should protect and control this information and how employees should handle or use this information. This goes beyond understanding your compliance requirements for security and privacy; for example, an executive’s travel itinerary, a marketing strategy plan, and other types of intellectual property are all examples of sensitive information, too. Q:  What role does faxing, either on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid, play? Shey:  Documents printed out on paper can easily fall into the wrong hands, get lost, or be disposed of improperly. With digital documents, we can track and take measures to appropriately control and handle sensitive information. An electronic fax solution can help to eliminate the risks of traditional, paper-based faxing while supporting the organization in its digital transformation efforts for their business environment. I see both on-premises and cloud-based fax as viable deployment options for the enterprise based on their IT and risk management strategy. Flexible deployment options are necessary. Some organizations are moving fast to the cloud, some have a preference for keeping certain applications and systems on-premises, and others seek a more hybrid approach. There’s no right or wrong here; they are just different approaches that require different security strategies. Watch this webinar featuring Forrester Senior Analyst Heidi Shey and learn how secure information exchange solutions can help your organization seize its digital future.

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For 2017, OpenText Enterprise World is a Business Network Event

customer experience

If you’re a Business Network customer, OpenText Enterprise World 2017 is a must-attend event. OpenText Business Network has grown and evolved to become the leader in global B2B information exchange services. And we have invested and innovated to deliver new sources of business value with managed services, supply chain insights, P2P automation, cloud fax and notifications, and more.  Attend Enterprise World 2017 to experience the new Business Network: Hear from your industry peers how B2B Managed Services drives out cost, as well as accelerates time to market and improves customer service—both driving top line growth. Get a first-hand look at how our developments in analytics and process orchestration can help your business gain critical business insights and optimize complex integration processes. See the latest product and service innovations in action, and learn what’s on the horizon as we share strategic investment plans and product roadmaps. Gain the tools to enable your digital transformation initiatives with the latest market research on trends in digital supply chain, including disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, drones, IoT, block chain, and Big Data. Meet and interact with the experts in product, development, and support. Below are just a few of the ‘can’t-miss’ sessions in the Business Network track of 30 breakouts: BNN-101: How Digital Disruption is Driving New Supply Chain Transformation Initiatives BNN-103: Gain Supply Chain Intelligence with Trading Grid Analytics BNN-107: Simplify & Optimize Your SAP Implementation with B2B Managed Services BNN-202: What’s New in RightFax 16.2? What does the future of digital supply chain and secure information exchange hold for you and your organization? Find out at OpenText Enterprise World 2017.  Register today!

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For Usable Insights, You Need Both Information and the Right Analytical Engine


“It’s all about the information!” Chances are you’ve heard this before. If you are a Ben Kingsley or Robert Redford fan you may recognize the line from Sneakers (released in 1992). Yes, 1992. Before the World Wide Web!  (Remember, Netscape didn’t launch the first commercially successful Web browser until 1993). Actually it’s always been about the information, or at least the right information – what’s needed to make an informed decision, not just an intuitive one. In many ways the information, the data, has always been there; it’s just that until recently, it wasn’t readily accessible in a timely manner. Today we may not realize how much data is available to us through technology, like the mobile device in your pocket – at 12GB an iPhone 6S is 2,000 times bigger than the 6MB programs IBM developed to monitor the Apollo spacecrafts’ environmental data. (Which demonstrates the reality of Moore’s Law, but that’s another story).  Yet because it’s so easy to create and store large amounts of data today, far too often we’re drowning in data and experiencing information overload. Drowning in Data Chances are you’re reading this in between deleting that last email, before your next Tweet, because the conference call you are on has someone repeating the information you provided yesterday. Bernard Marr, a contributor to Forbes, notes “that more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race”.  Marr’s piece has at least 19 other eye-opening facts about how much data is becoming available to us, but the one that struck me the most was this one: 0.5%! Imagine the opportunities missed. Just within the financial industry, the possibilities are limitless. For example, what if the transaction patterns of a customer indicated they were buying more and more auto parts as well as making more payments to their local garage (or mechanic). Combined with a recent increase in automatic payroll deposits, might that indicate this customer would be a good prospect for a 0.9% new car financing offer? Or imagine the crises which could be avoided. Think back to February 2016 and the Bangladesh Bank heist where thieves managed to arrange the transfer of $81 million to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in the Philippines. While it’s reasonable to expect existing controls might have detected the theft, it turns out that a “printer error” alerted bank staff in time to forestall an even larger theft, up to $1 billion. The SWIFT interface at the bank is configured to print out a record each time a funds transfer is executed, but on the morning of February 5 the print tray was empty. It took until the next day to get the printer restarted. The New York Federal Reserve Bank had sent queries to the Bank questioning the transfer. What alerted them? A typo. Funds to be sent to the Shalika Foundation were addressed to the “Shalika fandation.” The full implications of this are covered in WIRED Magazine. Analytics, Spotting Problems Before They Become Problems Consider the difference if the bank had the toolset able to flag the anomaly of a misspelled beneficiary in time to generate alerts and hold up the transfers for additional verification. The system was programmed to generate alerts as print-outs. It’s only a small step to have alerts like this sent as an SMS text, or email to the bank’s compliance team, which may have attracted notice sooner. To best extract value from the business data available to you requires two things: An engine and a network. The engine should be like the one in OpenText™ Analytics, designed to perform the data-driven analysis needed. With the OpenText™ Analytics Suite, financial institutions can not only derive data-driven insights to offer value-added solutions to clients, they can also better manage the risk of fraudulent payment instructions, based on insights derived from a client’s payment behavior. For example, with the Bangladesh Bank, analytics might have flagged some of the fraudulent transfers, to Rizal Bank in the Philippines,by correlating the fact that the Rizal accounts were only opened in May 2015, contained only $500 each, and had not been previous beneficiaries. Business Network: Delivering Data to Analytical Engines But the other equally important tool is the network. As trains need tracks, an analytical tools engine needs data (as well as the network to deliver it).   Today more and more of this data needed to extract value comes from outside the enterprise. The Open Text™ Business Network is one way thousands of organizations exchange the data needed to manage their business, and provide the fuel for their analytical engines. For example, suppose a bank wanted to offer their customers the ability to generate ad-hoc reporting through their banking portal. With payment, collection, and reporting data flows delivered through the Open Text Business Network Managed Services, the underlying data would be available for the bank’s analytical engine. Obviously much of the data involved in the examples I’ve provided would be sensitive, confidential, and in need of robust information security controls to keep it safe. That will be the subject of my next post.

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