B2B Integration

OpenText and SAP Run Together for Exceptional Customer Impact

As we gear up for another year at SAPPHIRE, I’d like to reflect on the strong relationship that OpenText and SAP have shared for decades and look ahead to an exciting future together. For more than 20 years, we have worked together to empower the enterprise to manage its unstructured and structured information for business success. Our combined solutions make information more discoverable, manageable, secure, and valuable. Connecting SAP business suites with OpenText information suites delivers a powerful platform for innovation and opportunity. Together, we have: Transformed processing operations at Bumblebee Foods from being 100 percent reliant on paper to being 100 percent digital, with automated processes reducing costs by over 50 percent and significantly increasing efficiency. Positioned Alagasco for future growth through increased sustainability and performance. Centralized information has helped break down organizational silos, speed up sales processes, and maintain business continuity. Created a culture of innovation at Distell by empowering employees to share best practices and collaborate. As well as increasing productivity, the organization has managed its intellectual capital more effectively to enhance and protect its brand. As the world around us shifts to digital, the combined value that we deliver as partners grows exponentially. In celebration of this valued relationship, OpenText has been awarded the SAP Pinnacle Award for seven years in a row. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we have just received the 2015 SAP Pinnacle Award for “Solution Extension Partner of the Year”, making OpenText a recipient for the past eight years. This category honors partners who co-innovate with SAP to deliver exceptional customer impact. OpenText was selected for this year’s award based on our innovative approach that enriches and extends the capabilities and scope of SAP products and applications OpenText was formally presented with the 2015 SAP Pinnacle Award at the SAP Global Partner Summit last evening, in conjunction with SAPPHIRE® NOW, SAP’s international customer conference in Orlando, Florida. We’re on hand at this event to showcase the latest advancements in joint OpenText and SAP releases. Look for us at booth #130 at the conference where we’ll be demonstrating the power and flexibility of products like SAP Document Presentation, SAP Invoice Management, and Tempo Box Premium. We continue to build out the OpenText and SAP ecosystem. Our strategic solutions now support a broad range of SAP offerings—from HANA database and analytics to Simple Finance and the HANA Enterprise Cloud. Recent releases include HANA integrations for SAP Document Presentment by OpenText and SAP Invoice Management by OpenText—both designed to deliver deeper insight and content value, enhancing an organization’s process efficiency and the ability to make more strategic decisions. These extensions are available in the cloud, on premise, or as a hybrid solution. At Enterprise World 2014, our annual user conference, we introduced the OpenText Business Center for SAP Solutions, a platform for automating mission-critical business processes across the SAP business suite. We have now announced the general availability of this product. Using the OpenText Business Center for SAP, joint customers will be able to digitize entire processes in SAP—from capture to creation—without requiring complex configuration or programming resources. In the Digital-First World, all of an organization’s information and processes will be digital. This release is part of our commitment to simplify, transform, and accelerate business for the digital enterprise—enabling it to drive efficiency through digitization. In addition to expanding our support for SAP processes, we will be also be introducing Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium. Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium are secure solutions for sharing and synchronizing both personal and SAP enterprise content across different platforms and devices. Both deliver tight integration into SAP Extended ECM, giving users greater freedom to share and work with business content across any device, while still maintaining information governance and control. Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium enhance the SAP ecosystem by securely extending content tied to SAP business processes beyond the firewall to non-SAP users, including unlimited external users such as customers, suppliers, and partners across the business network. The ability to manage unstructured information in the enterprise plays a pivotal role in digital transformation—and it is a key capability that the OpenText and SAP ecosystem delivers. Our partnership continues to drive product breakthroughs that produce impactful and tangible results for our customers. Together, we are laying the foundation for a Digital-First World for over 4,500 customers and 50+ million active users—across two decades of innovation and into the future. Read the press release. Visit our website.

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What the Department of Homeland Security Knows About Data

What does the Department of Homeland Security know that you don’t know? OK, that’s a trick question. The answer (in this case) is this: It knows how to get from data to information. On April 22, OpenText Analytics and Reporting hosted a webinar featuring Chris Chilbert, Chief Enterprise Architect at the Department of Homeland Security. With hundreds in attendance, Chilbert made a powerful case that data is worthless unless you can turn it into relevant information – and that information can then become knowledge, wisdom and ultimately action. The graphic above is from Chilbert’s presentation. There’s a human element in gaining information from data, Chilbert explained. People need to understand the organization they work in and the processes they use; those pieces help us put data in context and make better decisions. If you missed Chilbert’s presentation, please check out this free replay. After Chilbert’s presentation, I talked for a few minutes about how OpenText Analytics and Reporting products support the Four Pillars of Business Analytics: data, people, processes, and technology.  (Read more about the Four Pillars in this blog post and a free ebook.) Many webinar attendees asked follow-up questions – more than we had time to answer during the hour, so I’ve answered some of them here. Q: Explain how OpenText Analytics secures data from unauthorized access. A: OpenText Actuate Information Hub (iHub), our data visualization platform, provides multiple layers of security. These include authentication integration with Active Directory, single sign-on solutions, and two-factor authentication. iHub administrators also can control what a user can access by securing data at the row or column level, and also by controlling page-level security in reports. To read more about the security features in iHub, check out the white paper, The Ten Layers of Security in iHub. Q: Can you give an example of social data and explain how iHub accesses it? A: Twitter and Facebook are the most common social data sources today. OpenText Analytics has several social data connectors for iHub in our developer center, including the Facebook ODA Driver,  BIRT Twitter Gadget  and Twitter JSON Search ODA.  For other unstructured data – which social data is, in essence – we provide APIs that you can use to connect to and query any data source. You may want to take a look at these two blog posts from Kris Clark: Creating a Custom ODA and Use JSON as a Scripted Data Set. Q: What mobile devices does iHub support? A: We support all mobile devices by providing APIs that allow you to integrate content from iHub into your mobile application. This way you get to select what mobile devices you want to support. For ideas and inspiration, take a look at two example applications we have created using iHub and its APIs:  Aviatio, a mobile web application (GitHub link for Aviatio),  and Gazetteer, an iOS hybrid application (GitHub link for Gazetteer). Q: How does iHub work in a multitenant architecture model in a cloud environment? A:  Multitenant support is built into iHub. With multitenant support, each project instance within a cluster isolates several characteristics (including security, user and role management, and scheduling) to allow them to be managed independently, even as the instances all share cluster resources. This allows a single iHub installation to support multiple applications and projects with a variety of characteristics and requirements. Developers use multitenant capabilities to build software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions in the cloud. The benefits include lower cost, because hardware and software are used more efficiently; faster time to market, because adding a new project requires just a few administrative commands; and improved security, because each application instance has its own security processes. Technical benefits of using multitenancy with iHub include reduced deployment burden, eased administrative load, simplified system impact testing, and flexible backup and recovery. Q: Does OpenText Analytics have an electronic scorecard to allow input of information from the bottom up, as well as from the top down? A: Yes, with OpenText Analytics users can input information at any level that may have a bearing on a specific key performance indicator (KPI). The flexibility of our scorecard function accommodates any performance framework, including Balanced Scorecard, Malcolm Baldrige, Six Sigma and custom frameworks, and scales to meet the needs of large initiatives. The Briefing Book function of iHub scorecards allows users to create and deploy customized performance views. Briefing Book measures can be selected manually or filtered based on criteria such as performance, criticality, location or ownership. Links to relevant standard and custom reports, maps, external documents and websites can be added. Briefing Books can be defined as private or shared, and include advanced security features to ensure that users only have access to the information they are entitled to see. If you require more clarification on any of these answers, please leave a note in the comments. And be sure to check the replay of my webinar with Chris Chilbert of the Department of Homeland Security.

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How will 3D printers help improve banking KYC?

artificial intelligence

Yes, you just read this title correctly. 3D printers are widely known to offer the potential to be a game changer in the physical supply chain across many sectors and industries. However, the opportunity in Financial Services seems less likely, particularly in any form of real, practical application. Do you agree, or not with my statement here? Well, either way, I suggest you read on to find out more. KYC – Why is it a sensitive subject? Today, every Financial Institution runs their KYC processes themselves, for lots of reasons. At the top of the list of reasons is the reputational and financial risks that remove any appetite to give control of KYC to a 3rd party, such as a shared utility or data service. A bank caught by its regulator servicing the wrong client is usually exposed to millions or billions of dollars in fines. As we’ve seen in the news over the last 3 years, such occurrences fall into the public domain, usually with lasting reputational damages. Approach to KYC nowadays and alternatives The typical KYC process is executed manually, leveraging a combination of paperwork, de-materialisation and archiving. Overall, it is a costly and lengthy process that happens every time a new client comes on-board, when a new signatory is allowed into the relationship. It also needs to be refreshed and verified regularly. KYC processes also delay the “time-to-revenue”; typically the period of time between the agreed contract and the first day of transaction processing. A number of initiatives have been introduced over the last few years, trying to tackle this challenge from several angles. One common method that keeps coming back is to enable KYC to be done once and for all, and shared between all Financial Institutions and Counterparties. This idea of a shared utility, which would enable a client, counterparty, as a business or as an individual, to “passport” its KYC identity across all its financial suppliers. The benefits and advantages seem very compelling and include: reduced costs of processing KYC, reduced time-to-revenue for the Financial Suppliers, less hassle for the clients and counterparties. It’s a win-win for everybody, isn’t it? Why is this nut so tough to crack? Cost reductions and improved client experience benefits look very small when put in perspective with the potential risks and costs associated with non-compliance. We’re talking about millions or billions of dollars in fines, the risk to lose a banking or insurer’s license, even shutting down the business entirely. The incremental gains and advantages of digital and shared KYC do not yet appear to offset these risks. Every few months we read about a government fining a Financial Institution for facilitating illegal activities, a shared utility or international business losing its clients personal information and payment details to hackers. Surely this is not a good industry backdrop to encourage digital KYC! What about 3D printers, what’s the link? As a consumer, I find that home 3D printers are overpriced gadgets with little practical purpose. As a B2B professional working with the largest Supply Chains in the world, the potential opportunity just blows my mind. Analysts agree that most global Supply Chains will be affected, shifting current patterns of commerce and logistics to a complete transformation over the next few decades. The biggest shift will happen around companies focusing on the production of Intellectual Property, delivered in the shape of Digital Assets – such as the files containing the 3D model and assembly specifications for their products. Other companies will focus on the physical production of commercial items, based on those Digital Assets. Analysts agree that most of this world will never be exposed to consumers, just like the world of global logistic is today. The disruption: Digital Assets and Digital Identity If you download music, movies or games regularly, (legally of course) then you probably know about Digital Rights Management (DRM). This early 2000s technology somewhat enabled contents producers and commercial online sharing platforms to ensure you are the only person able to play a track, or rent a movie for a certain period of time. 3D printers bring a new, bigger compelling event for such DRMs, the opportunity to control who can print a product, how many copies, for how long, with verified raw materials and on certified printing equipment. There are typically two facets for this technology: the Digital Asset itself (the 3D design combined with printing requirements and authorised users), and the Digital Identity (the certified, authenticated businesses and users). You see where this is going now… Digital Identity management will spread fast and wide, surfing the 3D printing revolution both for B2B and consumer markets. Digital Assets owners and producers will have an enormous stake and KYC shared utilities will probably continue to experiment and grow over the next couple of years, with more and more “use cases” coming into the frame. I don’t believe that shared utilities for a single industry will gather enough critical mass. Payments and Cash Management itself is already changing, with the introduction of PSD2 rules in Europe, the rise of Blockchain technology and distributed payment ledgers. If we look broadly, banking users (business or consumers) also begin to require a unique Digital Identity for other aspects of their life. Combining innovation with regulation over the next five years is going to be key and the winner will likely manage to combine Digital Identity across several industries and markets, similar to the IT Certificates Authorities (CAs) that spread across all industries since the early 2000s.

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EDI and B2B Insights – What Kinds of Analytics Do I Need?

In my last blog, Why Your EDI and B2B Processes Need Analytics, I provided examples of the kind of B2B analysis questions that you need to have answers for in order to improve competitiveness in your business. I have found three pre-requisites that will create value from your B2B data via analytics: A foundation of good-quality B2B data for analysis. If you are already automating your B2B processes, you are likely to have some of this critical data already upon which your analysis can be based. The definition of what you want to measure and how the results can be visualized in a way that enables you to understand trends, markets, customers and suppliers. I provided some examples of these in my last blog, Why Your EDI and B2B Processes Need Analytics. The analytics tools to deliver the B2B data visualizations you need and that can help you to engage decision-makers. Below is a “ladder” of the types of analytics capabilities in sequence from the fundamental capabilities at the bottom to the advanced capabilities at the top. Most companies are beginning to incorporate the first few capabilities at the bottom rungs of the ladder, and will need to start to plan how to incorporate those at the top in order to successfully compete in their chosen markets. Standard Reports – these are pre-defined, configurable reports that provide key information about files and transactions you exchange with your trading partners. These typically include powerful capabilities to sort, filter, save, schedule and distribute. For example, you may wish to see a monthly report of all orders received from all your customers. Adhoc Querying & Reporting – this is the capability to search and generate custom reports on your B2B transactions by document type, trading partner, date, time, status, and more. You can define the fields to include on the report and tailor it to your specific needs. Dashboards and Alerts– These provide both the timely “track and trace” data needed to address exception conditions and the summary data needed to identify performance trends, drill down to view specific details and export the data through integration with Microsoft Office. For example, below is a transaction dashboard that provides a visual summary of transaction activity and exception situations. Furthermore, it provides volume trends by document type and trading partner. So now, at a glance you can see which transactions need your immediate attention (e.g. purchase orders that have not been acknowledged), which documents account for the highest volume (e.g. invoices are in the 2nd spot after carrier shipment statuses), and which trading partners account for the highest transaction volumes. Configurable Dashboards – This provides the ability to integrate and combine EDI and non-EDI data from various applications and gain insights into supply chain trends concerning reliability, responsiveness, flexibility, trading partner performance, e-invoicing performance, etc. In addition, these dashboards can be integrated with workflows based upon user-defined rules. For example, if the dashboard shows that order volume from a customer drops by 20% over a month, it can trigger a user-defined business process and/or send a notification to specific users in the organization. Predictive Modelling – This is an advanced capability that few businesses have today, but which is now possible with the latest analytics technology. Sophisticated statistical models that analyze B2B data available from various applications can help you forecast trends and needs in inventory management, logistics and all other areas requiring strategic planning. Scorecards – This is a visual display of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as order acceptance, invoice accuracy, delivery punctuality, ASN timeliness, and fill-rate. The scorecard enables you to measure, evaluate and analyze supplier performance. This information can then be used by buyers and suppliers during negotiations when justifying business awards and pricing. Benchmark / Index – This capability benchmarks an organization’s performance against the industry and provides insight into those processes that trail or exceed your competition, thus enabling your organization to take appropriate action. If this blog has interested you and you would like to learn more, click here to watch this new on-demand webinar, Using Analytics to Unlock the Value of your B2B Data.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Real-Time Payments

There is a tremendous amount of confusion over various proposals and initiatives to make US domestic payments move and settle more quickly. How do Same Day ACH (Automated Clearing House), the Fed’s Task Force on Faster Payments, and The Clearing House’s plan to develop a real-time payment system relate to each other? It’s hard enough for a so-called payments expert to keep up with, never mind someone who has an actual business to run! In the interest of full disclosure, I spent more than a dozen years starting in the late 1980s focused almost exclusively on ACH product development, a fact that seems a little embarrassing in hindsight. More than 15 years after expanding my horizons, most banks still rely on outdated technology that limits the processing of ACH transactions to a handful or less of batch windows per day. After all, these banks aren’t running real-time core deposit systems, so what’s the point of processing payments more quickly? (I hope you can come up with at least five reasons). No wonder that multiple efforts to expedite the processing of ACH transactions since 2010 have failed. The world is moving faster, alternative payment solutions are available to transfer funds quickly and efficiently but ACH continues to be a next day solution at best (with some very limited exceptions). As we approach NACHA’s upcoming ballot on Same Day ACH (expected this quarter), let’s give credit where credit is due. If approved, a phased implementation of Same Day ACH settlement would begin in late 2016 with additional capabilities coming online in 2017 and 2018. Let me be clear: There absolutely is value in moving to same day settlement for ACH transactions. But it isn’t enough. The US ACH network’s efficiency, ubiquity and ability to carry large amounts of data make it a key part of our future payments infrastructure. Not all payments need to be made in real-time. NACHA has identified 10 use cases for same day settlement among them same day payroll, expedited bill payment, B2B payments and account-to-account payments. For these use cases, same day ACH is a big move forward. Let’s hope that NACHA has garnered sufficient support to overcome the objections of members who blocked the 2012 Same Day ACH proposal. Having said that, same day is not real time. Let me repeat. Same Day does NOT equal real time. For a growing number of different use cases, the establishment of a new, efficient, low cost, payment network that would allow US consumers and businesses to move funds in real time is a no brainer. Most of the developed world and many of the emerging market countries have already established or are in the process of building such systems. Please indulge me by using my own consulting business as an example. I maintain a personal deposit account at one bank and a business deposit account at a different bank. When I am paid for a consulting engagement (my only source of incoming cash), the funds go into my business account, usually by ACH but sometimes by check or wire despite efforts to get clients onboard with ACH. I need most of those funds to be transferred into my personal account to cover my non-business expenses. Most of the time, scheduling a payment between accounts in advance is perfectly fine. However, if it happens to be… let’s say April 15… and my quarterly estimated federal and state tax payments are due and I don’t have sufficient cash in my personal account, it would be ideal if I could move those funds on a real-time basis from one bank to another. Even same-day ACH would help in a case like this, assuming that I had notification early enough in the day that a client invoice had been paid. But what happens today? I have to use my business bank’s online bill pay module to initiate a future dated payment to my personal account (it usually requires 2-3 business days and payments are settled through the ACH network). I can take a chance and hope that my incoming payment will be received in time to cover the bill pay transaction by the 15th or I have to move funds from an investment account into my personal deposit account to make sure I can cover the tax payments. This is inefficient, risky and takes time away from my ability to do important things like writing blogs about payments. So what are the prospects for real-time payments in the US? The Fed’s newly formed Faster Payments Task Force will have its first meeting in a few weeks with a goal of identifying viable alternatives for creating such a network and establishing a rules framework… by the end of 2016. No timelines beyond 2016 have yet been established. I applaud the effort and plan to participate personally on the task force. But I do wonder whether a task force with such a broad set of constituents is the most effective way to make this happen. In my experience, some organizations will join the task force with the express purpose of slowing it down (if not shutting it down). In the meanwhile, The Clearing House (the operator of CHIPS and EPN, owned by 24 of the largest banks) has committed to building a real-time payment system, the timeline for which has not been announced publicly. Their effort will seemingly take place on a parallel track to the Fed’s Task Force but at some point, the two will need to come together, at least from a governance perspective. Perhaps The Clearing House will become the de facto real-time payment system or there may be one or more competitive schemes that develop out of the work being done by the Fed. So what’s the bottom line? On a personal level, I am hopeful that by the 3rd quarter of 2016, I will be able to transfer same day funds between my business and personal accounts using ACH. Real-time payments… I believe they will happen but it will be a longer and more difficult track before we see results. When I can pay my share of a group dinner by making an instant payment on my mobile phone to a friend who insists on using her credit card for obtaining loyalty points, I’ll be happy. When a young family member (to remain anonymous) calls on a Sunday morning and says he needs some cash in his account to buy a birthday gift for his father and I can send that payment immediately, I’ll be happy. When I am able to manage my liquidity easily and efficiently, I’ll be happy. After all, consumers and consultants from Singapore to Chile to Denmark to Nigeria (and about 15 other nations) can already do this today. It’s long past time for us to get on the express train. On a related note, if you are attending next week’s NACHA Payments 2015 Conference, please don’t miss OpenText’s interactive Topical Talk on Tuesday at 9:15am in the Great Hall Pre-Function area. You can share your thoughts with other leaders in the payments space about how you are going to prepare for the changes that are coming.

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Making Sense of What is Happening to Speed up US Payments

There is a tremendous amount of confusion over various proposals and initiatives to make US domestic payments settle more quickly. How do Same Day ACH, the Fed’s Task Force on Faster Payments, and The Clearing House’s plan to develop a real time payment system relate to each other? In the interest of full disclosure, I spent more than a dozen years starting in the late 1980s focused almost exclusively on ACH product development, a fact that seems a little embarrassing in hindsight. But more than 15 years after expanding my horizons, most banks still rely on outdated technology that limits the processing of ACH transactions to a handful or less of batch windows per day. After all, these banks aren’t running real time core deposit systems, so what’s the point of processing payments more quickly? (I hope you can think of at least a few reasons). No wonder multiple efforts to expedite the processing of ACH transactions since 2010 have failed. The world is moving faster, alternative payment solutions are available to move funds quickly and efficiently but ACH continues to be a next day solution (with some very limited exceptions). As we approach NACHA’s upcoming ballot on Same Day ACH (expected this quarter), let’s give credit where credit is due. If approved, a phased implementation of Same Day ACH settlement would begin in late 2016 with additional capabilities coming on line in 2017 and 2018. Let me be clear: There absolutely is value in moving to same day settlement for ACH transactions. But it isn’t enough The US ACH network’s efficiency, ubiquity and ability to carry large amounts of data make it a key part of our future payments infrastructure. Not all payments need to be made in real-time. NACHA identified 10 use cases for same day settlement among them same day payroll, expedited bill payment, B2B payments and account-to-account payments. For these use cases, same day ACH is a big move forward. Let’s hope that NACHA has garnered sufficient support to overcome the objections of members who blocked the 2012 Same Day ACH proposal. Having said that, same day is not real time. Let me repeat. Same Day does NOT equal real time. For a growing number of use cases, the establishment of a new, efficient, low cost, payment network that would allow US consumers and businesses to move funds in real time is a no brainer. Most of the developed world and many of the emerging market countries have already established or are in the process of building such systems. Please indulge me and allow me to use my own consulting business as an example. I maintain a personal deposit account at one bank and a business deposit account at a different bank. When I am paid for a consulting engagement (my only source of incoming cash), the funds go into my business account, usually by ACH but sometimes by check or wire. I need most of those funds to be transferred into my personal account to cover my non-business expenses. Most of the time, scheduling a payment between accounts in advance is perfectly fine. However, if it happens to be… let’s say April 15… and my quarterly estimated Federal and state tax payments are due and I don’t have sufficient cash in my personal account, it would be ideal if I could move those funds on a real-time basis from one bank to another. Even same day ACH would help in a case like this, assuming that I had notification early enough in the day that a client invoice had been paid. But what happens today? I have to use my business bank’s online bill pay module to initiate a future dated payment to my personal account (it usually requires 2-3 business days and payments are settled through the ACH network). I can take a chance and hope that my incoming payment will be received in time to cover the bill pay transaction by the 15th or I have to move funds from an investment account into my personal deposit account to make sure I can cover the tax payments. This is inefficient, risky and takes time away from my ability to do important things like writing blogs. So what are the prospects for real-time payments in the US? The Fed’s newly formed Faster Payments Task Force will have its first meeting within a few weeks with a goal of identifying viable alternatives for creating such a network and establishing a rules framework…. by the end of 2016. No timelines beyond 2016 have yet been established. I applaud the effort and plan to participate personally on the task force. But I do wonder whether a task force with a broad set of constituents is the most effective way to make this happen. In my experience, some organizations will join the task force with the express purpose of slowing it down. In the meanwhile, The Clearing House (the operator of CHIPS and EPN, owned by 24 of the largest banks) has committed to building a real-time payment system, the timeline for which has not been announced publicly. Their effort will seemingly take place on a parallel track to the Fed’s Task Force but at some point, the two will need to come together, at least from a governance perspective. Perhaps The Clearing House will become the de facto real-time payment system or there may be one or more competitive schemes that develop out of the work being done by the Fed. So what’s the bottom line? On a personal level, I am hopeful that by the 3rd quarter of 2016, I will be able to transfer same day funds between my business and personal accounts. Real-time payments… I believe they will happen but it will be a longer and more complicated track. When I can pay my share of a group dinner by making an instant payment on my mobile phone to a friend who insists on using her credit card for obtaining loyalty points, I’ll be happy. When a young family member (to remain anonymous) calls on a Sunday morning and says he needs some cash in his account to buy a birthday gift for his father and I can send that payment immediately, I’ll be happy. When I am able to manage my liquidity easily and efficiently, I’ll be happy. After all, consumers and consultants from Singapore to Chile to Denmark to Nigeria (and about 15 other nations) can already do this today. It’s long past time for us to get on the express train.

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OpenText Study Proves that B2B Integration Significantly Improves Supply Chain Performance

Over the past few months I have posted a few blogs highlighting the results from a new OpenText sponsored study by IDC Manufacturing Insights. The study demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between how increased adoption of B2B Integration technologies directly improves supply chain performance. In fact take a look at how key supply chain metrics are improved through the adoption of B2B integration technologies. To wrap up this project I just wanted to highlight how you can download further information about this study. The following link will allow you to access a recorded version of the webinar that we hosted with IDC in early March, a copy of the webinar slides, the executive white paper and finally the infographic shown below. IDC created the infographic to help illustrate some of the key findings from the study. Click here to access this content. Finally, if you would like to access the various blogs that I have written in support of this new study then please click on the following links :- General Introduction to the Study Automotive Industry Findings High Tech Industry Findings CPG Industry Findings  

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OpenText is Accelerating Healthcare Interoperability at HIMSS 15

We can’t wait to go to HIMSS 2015 in Chicago. As the event for technology and innovation in healthcare we couldn’t think of a better place to preview our latest fax solution to help healthcare professionals redefine the way they exchange their essential digital information. We know that many organizations rely on integrated, electronic fax as their primary method of exchanging information. And since these fax integrations are the very core of how EMR information is sent and received, changing this process can be very complex. However, there are countless forces driving health care organizations to share health information via Direct messaging to attest to Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. But does your organization know how to adopt Direct Project standards? That’s why we’re talking about RightFax Healthcare Direct at HIMSS to show you how leveraging existing RightFax integrations and EMR systems can give you the interoperability you need without the complications.

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Why Your EDI and B2B Processes Need Analytics

Once your B2B business processes are automated and transactions are flowing electronically (usually leveraging EDI and XML), you will need to have visibility into those transactions in order to speed up your decision-making, respond quickly to changing customer and market demands, and optimize your business processes.  This type of actionable business insight into your B2B transaction flows is exactly the kind of information you need at your fingertips to remain a competitive leader in your market. There are several types of information – analytics – to which you need quick and easy access in order to make informed and actionable business decisions. According to a recent Aberdeen Group report (1), 65% of companies indicated that they need to improve their analytics capability. And half of all the companies said they are not spending enough on analytics capabilities.  The study also showed that high-performing businesses are three and a half times more likely to use analytics than low performers. Imagine that you are the buyer in an ordering transaction. The analytics capabilities you want will provide answers to questions such as: When will the goods I ordered be delivered? Will there be a shipment delay? What percent of my B2B suppliers are sending me advance ship notices on-time? What are the top document types I’m exchanging with my suppliers? Who are my top suppliers and how many transactions have I completed with them? Who are my top- and bottom- performing suppliers based on specific KPIs (such us complete orders, accurate shipments, on-time deliveries) Now, imagine that you are the supplier in an ordering transaction. You want  answers to questions such as: Has my customer submitted the order I’ve been awaiting? Was my order accepted? Has my invoice been paid? Which of my customers sent me the most orders during the holiday season? Which of my customers send me lots of changes to their purchase orders? Which of my customers pay on time; which ones pay late? For which customers has the order volume increased or decreased by more than 20% over the last 6 months? Armed with the insights from these capabilities you can: Immediately react to exception conditions to avoid problems, such as late deliveries that would negatively impact your customer service, increased costs due to expedited service requirements or increased inventory Evaluate the performance of suppliers against KPIs and then proactively collaborate with them to improve performance and lower costs Award more business to your high performers, based on quality, timeliness, and other key performance indicators Ensure that future sourcing negotiations take performance and quality into account – e.g. when you are the buyer you can negotiate for lower prices in return for more orders with your best suppliers; as a supplier you can highlight excellent performance in requesting more business from your customers. Manage more partners more effectively with automated processes and scoring/analysis tools In my next blog I will describe the different types of analytics that can be applied to obtain these types of critical B2B process insights. To learn more about the steps in the journey to unlock the value of your supply chain data, attend this webinar on Thursday, April 9, 2015: Using Analytics to Unlock the Value of Your B2B Data.  Register Now >> (1) Bob Heaney, “Supply Chain Intelligence: Descriptive, Prescriptive, and Predictive Optimization,” Aberdeen Group, February 2015

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Business Process: The Future of ECM

For years, enterprise content management (ECM) solutions were adopted primarily for two main use cases. The first was to achieve compliance, and many early adopters of ECM continue to successfully use it to address various regulatory requirements. Compliance provided functionality for records management, archiving, and information governance. A while back I wrote a blog post titled What Features Ensure Compliance? that elaborates on the functionality required for compliance use cases. The second use case was around team effectiveness with functionality such as collaboration, document sharing, and social capabilities. Collaboration is subject to frequent changes in direction as every new technology promises an easier and more compelling user experience—from mobility and social software to file sync-and-share. The frequent feature churn in the collaborative use cases doesn’t go well with the compliance requirements that often need the system to remain unchanged for several years (validated environments, anyone?). ROI and Dependency on the User Not only were the two primary use cases not really well aligned in their feature requirements, they had two additional challenges. Neither use case provides a very strong ROI. Sure, we marketers always calculate the savings in storage and government fines that compliance solutions help you avoid. But let’s face it: preventing penalties is not exactly a hard ROI and storage is cheap (or at least everybody thinks it is). The collaborative use cases are even worse—measuring the ROI here is fuzzy at best and often impossible. The second challenge was the dependency on the users to do the right thing. For the compliance use cases, users were expected to diligently file their documents, weed out their inboxes, type in the metadata, and apply the right retention policies. Obviously, users are not very consistent at it, even if you try to force them. In the case of collaboration, users were expected to share their documents openly with others, comment in a productive way, and stay away from email and all the other collaboration tools around them. As it turns out, this type of behavior very much depends on the culture of the team—it works for some, but it will never work for others. The adoption of any collaboration solution is therefore usually very tribal. So, is there any hope for ECM? Can we get an ROI and get employees to use it without someone watching over their shoulder? ECM: Part of the Process As it turns out, there is a third type of use case emerging. It is the use of ECM as part of a business process. Business processes are something people already do—we don’t have to force anyone. That’s what companies and working in them is all about: everything we do is part of a business process. Business processes are also important, relevant, and very measurable. There is an ROI behind every business process. Every instance of a business process includes the context, which can be used to populate the metadata and to select the right policy automatically. Business processes can handle the automation of content management and don’t have to rely on the end user to do it. But business processes don’t live in ECM. Sure, the process artifacts usually reside in a content repository, but it would be a stretch to claim that the entire business process happens in an ECM application. Nor does it live in the BPM application, even if that application may be the primary application for some users. In fact, there is usually a master application from the structured data world that rules the business process: enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM), supply chain management (SCM), etc. That’s why it is important for ECM to connect with the master applications through the business process. This is not just a simple way to link data sets or to hand over data from one system to another. Using modern, REST-based technology, it is possible to achieve integration that goes much deeper and involves users, roles, permissions, classifications, and of course the user experience. Deal with Content Chaos ECM addresses some very important problems that every organization has to deal with. Given the volume and relentless growth of content in every enterprise, it has to be managed. Yet ECM struggled to be adopted widely because of lack of tangible ROI and a difficulty to attract end users. Tying ECM to a business process through a master application addresses these challenges. It may not solve every problem with content in the enterprise and there will still be content outside of any business process, but it will go a long way to dealing with what AIIM calls “Content Chaos”. Click below to view my SlideShare presentation from the AIIM Conference 2015 on the challenges with traditional approaches to ECM and a solution provided by tying ECM to business processes: Business Process – the Future of ECM from Lubor Ptacek  

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Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 4]

Editor’s note: Shaku Atre (at right, above, at our Data Driven Summit last December) is the founder and managing partner of the Atre Group, Inc. of New York City, NY and Santa Cruz, California. (Read more about Atre here.) Atre has written a thorough and compelling treatise on the disruptive power of mobile apps, and supported her analysis and conclusions with templates and case studies.  We are privileged to present her analysis here in four parts. In Part 1, she made the case for mobile apps and laid out  some of the forces behind digital disruption. In Part 2 Atre described two more disruptive forces, and in Part 3 she shared two templates for creating mobile app case studies. Today, the series concludes with mobile app case studies in financial services, telecommunications, car rental, and pharmaceutical industries. At the end of this post we share a link to download the entire series.  —– Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 4 of 4] Copyright by Atre Group, Inc.   Case Study 1: Financial Services Let us consider a basic consumer and small business bank as a publisher of a smart app for “Business Advantage Checking with Mobile Banking” Figure 3 Who are the primary beneficiaries? a. The bank’s customers Who are the secondary beneficiaries? a. The banks’ customer base grows with very good referrals. The bank   itself will be the beneficiary.b. Banks make money by using customers’ money in loaning the money at higher rates for loans given out as compared to what the banks pay their customers. c. If a bank has a good amount of money in reserves, the bank can get a better interest rate from the Federal Reserve Bank. d. Telecommunications companies that supply Internet capabilities to the banks e. Credit score companies which keep track of credit worthiness of the individuals f. Government which can put a hold on the accounts if taxes are   not paid g. Mortgage banks; credit card companies; employees: city, state and federal governments with electronic funds transfers from the checking account – any recipients of the EFT Examples of functionalities to be provided by the bank’s App: • The main intent of this app is to have your own bank in your back pocket. • Which devices are used for online banking? (most frequently used devices are as follows – and we will have many more that we can’t even think of): a. iPhone (iOS)b. iPad (iOS) c. Android Phone d. Windows Phone e. Blackberry f. iPad (iOS) g. Android Tablet h. Kindle Fire i. Other Devices • The main functions that are expected of a successful bank are: Login, account authentication, account overview on one screen– easy creation of your own banking dashboard, deposit, bill-pay, transfers, person to person payment, message center, customization, PFM (Personal Finance Management) with possible integration with an accounting software. • Your own banking dashboard addressing needs of different customer segments: Total control of the end-user, customized dashboard with drag and drop capability of widgets, widget catalog, store personal likes and dislikes to make the experience desirable. • Accounts and Transactions: a. Monitoring balances of all types of accounts at the bank: checking, savings, debit and credit cards, mortgage loans,    personal loansb. Transaction details with various filtering options, tools to help categorize and tag. c. Tracking of completed as well as pending transactions, ATM withdrawals and deposits, check deposits, cash deposits, online    deposits, warnings about when the deposited money will be available to withdraw, grouping of accounts, joint accounts and       setting limits how much each person can withdraw at once-        within what timeframe, adding accounts from other external banks • Deposits & Loans: a. Keep track of details of deposits and loansb. Verify on an ongoing basis credit card limits, credit card payments each month, loans and overdrafts, interest rates, c. Prioritize repayment schedules paying the highest interest rates’ loans first, etc. d. New loan application process simplification • Money Transfers & Person To Person Payments: a. Money transfers of multiple types such as P2P (Person to Person) Transfers, as well as Account to Account Transfers (A2A)b. Domestic Transfers and International Transfers c. Scheduled and Recurring payments are supported d. Connection with social address books so that friends can transfer money using email addresses or mobile phones e. Transfers that are pending or scheduled are watched • Bill Pay: a. Vendors should be able to email bills to a secure message centerb. Optical Character Recognition and mobile scanning capabilities for paper invoices for previously verified vendors for quick      payments • Split & Share: a. Receiving invoices together and splitting them by automatic debits of accounts among already declared friendsb. Social address books to be integrated with the banking transactions • Alerts: a. If the balance in the account goes down to a certain amount an alert message is sent to the account holder’s smartphoneb. An alert about a bounced check and charge taken out of the checking account • Which services would you like to search for? a. ATMsb. Banking centers c. 24-Hour ATMs d. Banking centers open Saturdays e. Drive-Up ATMs near my current location Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used?   Figure 4 • Customers’ Data Storage: • Primary Beneficiaries: direct deposits, direct debit, EFTs, account to account & person to person transfers, balance transfer, account management with QuickBooks Integration • Customers’ (Primary & Secondary) Transactional Data: • Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data Storage: • Data such as referrals received, Credit scores, accounting integration • External Data Storage: • Marketing and Industry big data such as: FIX, SWIFT, competitive data; data such as: Bank Reserves, Troubled Banks, Prime Rate Changes are streamed   Case Study 2: Telecommunications Let us consider a Mobile Telecommunications Service Provider as a publisher of a smart app for Smart Telephone Service Provider   Figure 5 Who are the primary beneficiaries? • Consumers, small and large business owners Who are the secondary beneficiaries? • Telephone manufacturers• Independent telephone service providers • Insurance companies insuring hardware • All types of industries that have mushroomed with mobile equipment and services Examples of functionalities to be provided by the telecom’s App: • View your usage• Purchased Extras • Manage your plan & Extras • View recent transactions • Top Up – Credit Card • Top Up – Prepaid Voucher • Pay your bill • View Activity – For Prepaid • Alerts & Notifications – For Prepaid Novel Apps for Telecom: • Public health: e. g. Ebola Outbreak: • Connect with Toll Free Numbers necessary human resources needed to help save lives at a massive scale. Telecom and Internet are the two most important ingredients. • Interactive voice response currency converter App: • Providing up-to-date exchange rate information • Finding missing children           Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used?   Figure 6 • Customers’ Data Storage: • Customer’s usage, recent transactions, Voice usage, data usage, bill payment, top-up credit card • Customers’ Transactional Data: • Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data Storage • Telephone manufacturers’ special discounts, Insurance companies’ special offers for lost telephones, special deals • External Data Storage • Telephones’ sales statistics, regulatory commissions data, marketing campaigns by various telephone service companies, FTC rules and regulations   Case Study 3: Car Rental Let us consider a car rental company as a publisher of a smart app for “Automobile Traffic Management App – ATMA” Figure 7 Primary Beneficiaries of the App: Drivers, accompanying passengers Secondary beneficiaries of the App and what are their benefits? 1. Police Department • Severity of the accidents’ info and any actions necessary based on that info 2. Hospitals • Which types of ambulances should be sent and how big should they be?• Which specialty of physicians should be ready to help the injured people? • Which equipment should be kept ready? 3. Property & Casualty Insurance Companies • Which roads are hazardous and cause property damage?• Which drivers are “high risk”? Examples of functionalities to be provided by ATMA: • ŸTraffic Maps to show the travel route taken by the driver (a visualization)• Alerts (Deployment of mobile technology – Speaking App – the driver can set the timer about how often the app should be speaking, e.g. every five minutes or every ten minutes) • Traffic Congestion: i. Maps – a visualization that integrates a map with easy to understand visual icons such as bumper to bumper traffic, ambulances, etc. ii. What type of interaction could be provided to avoid hazardous situations iii. The possible reasons for the backup 1. Construction 2. Accident 3. A specific event 4. Inclement weather iv. How long is the backup as far as the time is concernedv. What is the average speedvi. How long is the expected delay to reach the destination vii. What is the average speed? viii. Should someone be informed about the delay? (This information could be set up before starting the journey. If the delay is longer than fifteen minutes the consumer should be informed with a text message.) Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used? Figure 8 • Customers’ Data Storage: Driver’s information about driving records, DMV records, car information, starting and ending locations, etc. • Customers’ Transactional Data: Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data: Police reports of various accidents, hospitals’ reports, insurance claims, state & county roads renewal plans, new construction plans • External Data Storage: State Highway Patrol Data, Road Sensors Data, Maps, Construction data updates, previous accidents data in each part of the traffic area Which parts of Big Data could be used? i. State Highway Patrol Dataii. Road Sensors for accurate readings iii. Maps should be zoomable, clickable and should provide accurate speeds for each exit along the highway. iv. Drivers should be able to report by “speaking” in the car, keeping both hands on the steering wheel, about any incidents on the roads and that “voice data” could be a part of the “Big Data” for traffic information What are novel ways for decision making by drivers? v. Getting alerts to save timeo By driving routes with less traffic vi. Avoiding hazardous situations vii. Recording the problem areas in the database stored in the automobile’s database memory and evaluating the database records before starting any trip which is going to be longer than an hour viii. The app informing the parties at the destinations so that they know that the driver is delayed because of such and such ix. If a restaurant lunch or dinner is set at a certain time requesting scheduled time of reservation and estimated time of delay and another 15 minutes x. Police reports of various accidents, hospitals’ reports, insurance claims, state & county roads renewal plans, new construction plans   Case Study 4: Pharma Let us consider a pharmaceutical company as a publisher of an app and people with ailments as primary customers and pharmacies, Physicians, Hospitals, Clinics, Medical Insurance Companies, Medicare, and Medicaid as secondary customers. Figure 9 Examples of functionalities provided by the Pharma Apps: • Diary based apps: • Assisting the patients with the day, the time, and the dose taken or to be taken. Medication passport (Astra Zeneca) with names of the medications, doses and timings of the drugs.• Glucose monitoring apps for patients afflicted by diabetes. • Helping patients to track test results and appointments. (Eli Lilly – MyNet Manager) • Contraceptive reminder My iPill by Bayer • Procedures: • Showing how to administer certain procedures e.g. self-administered insulin injection to the diabetes patients. (Eli Lilly) • Educational: • Foods that reduce the risk of a diabetes on one side and the ones that exasperate on the other side (Boehringer Ingelheim’s Complications combat) • Alerts: • Sending alerts to family members when someone doesn’t take their medication– ad produces charts showing adherence to treatment regimens. (Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary – Janssen – about half of the patients miss medications) • Weight Loss: Keeping track of the weight, food intake (Noom Weight Loss Coach) Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used? < Figure 10 • Primary Customers’ (Patients’) Data Storage: • Patients report which drugs they take, related improvement in ailments, Undesired reactions experienced by the patients, severity of the reactions • Customers’ (Primary & Secondary) Transactional Data: • Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data Storage: • Pharmacies record sales of drugs, the most frequently sold to the least frequently sold, which physicians recommend which drugs • External Data Storage: Data from National Health Services, Global Registry of Coronary Events (GRACE), Center for Disease Control (CDC) Prepare and act to handle the Digital Disruption which is rumbling around the corner. —– These four blog posts by Shaku Atre are available as PDF downloads here: Parts 1 and 2. Parts 3 and 4.  References for Parts 3 and 4: Mobile Application Development: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_application_development Telecom: http://help.spark.co.nz/app/answers/detail/a_id/33187/~/smartphone-app http://tadsummit.com/2013/ http://blog.tadsummit.com/ Pharma: http://www.fiercebiotechit.com/special-reports/20-big-pharma-and-biotech-mobile-apps-2013?page=0,0 Some of Iodine’s competitors: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/index-drugs.aspx http://www.drugs.com/drug_information.html http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements One difference between Iodine and its competitors is Iodine’s data-driven approach vs. other competitive websites’ content-driven approach. Here is the write up about Iodine in The New York Times dated Wednesday, September 24, 2014: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/technology/to-gather-drug-information-a-health-start-up-turns-to-consumers.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A6%22%7D Embedded Analytics: http://www.slideshare.net/JessicaSprinkel/the-complete-guide-to-embedded-analytics New York City Medallion: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/28/upshot/under-pressure-from-uber-taxi-medallion-prices-are-plummeting.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A17%22%7D&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1  

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Health Care Organizations’ Email Security Isn’t Making the Grade

So, it looks like a lot of health care organizations are flunking email security. According to the “state of email trust” survey cited in a recent Fortune Magazine article , health care organizations “severely lag” when it comes to securing email communications. In fact, the article states that an email, “purportedly sent from a typical health insurance company is, for instance, four times likelier to be fraudulent than an email that claims to be from a social media company.” A spokesperson from the surveying organization went on to state that “The poor folks in health care have traditionally not had much digital interaction. They’re the ones furthest behind by a country mile.” Considering the strict security compliance regulations in the space, this is disconcerting for the health care industry. The article went on to explain that only one of the 13 health care companies surveyed surpassed the ‘vulnerable’ category when it came to implementing three standard secure email protocols: Sender Policy Framework, or SPF, which checks emails against a list of authorized senders DomainKeys Identified Mail, or DKIM, which verifies the authenticity of a sender through encrypted digital signatures   Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, or DMARC, which checks emails against a published record on a company’s servers, notifies the company of any potentially spoofed emails, and rejects suspicious emails as spam Fortunately, solutions like OpenText Secure Mail support these security protocols while tracking, encrypting and controlling the distribution of your secure email messages. One key feature of Secure Mail that might help some of these “vulnerable” health care companies is Data Leak Prevention (DLP). This capability limits access and transmission of sensitive information based on specific security policies. Features like this position Secure Mail as a strategic business tool for organizations looking to maintain the confidentiality of protected health care information.

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Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 3]

Editor’s note: Shaku Atre (at right, above, at our Data Driven Summit last December) is the founder and managing partner of the Atre Group, Inc. of New York City, NY and Santa Cruz, California. (Read more about Atre here.) Atre has written a thorough and compelling treatise on the disruptive power of mobile apps, and supported her analysis and conclusions with templates and case studies.  We are privileged to present her analysis here in four parts. In Part 1, she made the case for mobile apps and described some of the forces behind digital disruption. In Part 2 she expanded on those forces. In this post, Atre shares two templates for conceptualizing smart apps, and on March 19 she presents case studies in financial services, telecommunications, car rental, and pharmaceutical industries.  —– Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 3 of 4] Copyright by Atre Group, Inc. We will use the following two templates for planning our case studies for various industries to conceptually plan and design smart apps: Template 1: Representation of three major participants who create and use data as input to the app.   Figure 1 Publisher X of the app: From a particular industry. The apps, most likely, are stored with the servers in the cloud. Reponses of the customers, as well as those of potential customers, are collected in the cloud servers. Functions provided by the publisher’s app: The app will provide certain functions. Let us consider a commercial bank providing a function such as “Basic Consumer and Business Advantage checking with mobile banking.”Who are the publisher’s customers? E.g. Consumers and small business owners. These are the primary users of the app and primary beneficiaries. What benefits do these customers (the primary beneficiaries) receive? The consumers save substantial time by not having to travel to an ATM. They can deposit checks much quicker and can have access to the funds much faster. Potential customers (secondary beneficiaries) may become the publisher’s customers based on referrals of the customers of the publisher of the app. Referrals could be direct contact between the primary and secondary beneficiaries, or they could happen via web-based reviews or some other vehicle. Once the potential customers become customers they too receive the very same benefits as the primary beneficiaries. There are other types of beneficiaries: Credit scorekeepers of the customers, for example. Publisher of the app’s benefits: The publisher, in our case the bank, receives capital, which it can give out as loans to customers at higher interest rates than the depositing entities. Data is being driven from one of the three participants to other two participants. Decision making with analytics can take place by using the appropriate tools to use the apps by all participants. Template 2: Representation of Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Analysis and Discovery, Data Visualization, and the use of Mobile Technology as the messenger to supply messages to the participants of the Template 1. Figure 2   Generic and High Level View of Big Data and App Logic for the Smart and Novel Apps for your Customers, the Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries of your Industry, along with a multitude of Interfaces. Interface A: Customers are using the app and creating data, such as purchases, returns, money transactions, etc. This results in web logs using the cloud servers. Responses may be sent back via the cloud servers to the customers.Interface B: Potential customers are using the app and creating data, such as purchases, returns, money transactions, etc. This results in web logs using the cloud servers. Responses may be sent back by the cloud servers to the potential customers.Interface C: Some data created by the customers may be sent directly to Data Storage. Similar interface may exist for potential customers.Interface D: Customers’ invoices and archived internal data may be stored.  Potential customers’ invoices and archived internal data may be stored. Interface E: Data created by the customers and by the potential customers using the app and the cloud servers is transmitted to and from the customers’ data storage. Interface F: Archived data, created by customers and potential customers, may be stored with the cloud servers and might be retrieved when necessary. Interface G: Potential customers (secondary beneficiaries) create data with web logs, click stream, likes, dislikes, and sentiments Interface H: Customers’ and potential customers’ transactional data is stored in real time storage. Interface I:  Potential customers’ (secondary beneficiaries’) data with web logs, click stream, likes, dislikes and sentiments is transferred to Real Time Data Storage Interface J:  Customers’ (primary beneficiaries’) data with weblogs, click stream, likes, dislikes and sentiments is sent to the Real Time Data Storage Interface K: Cloud Severs provide marketing and industry related big data such as competitive data, data collected by sensors or other means, social media data (customers’ DNA) are streamed Interface L: Marketing and industry related big data such as competitive data, data collected by sensors or other means, social media data (customers’ DNA) are streamed to the Real Time Data storage Interface M: Real Time data is transferred to the Analytics Logic Box: Data is analyzed and discoveries are made of customers’ and of potential customers’ performance, likes, dislikes with analytics Interface N: Events are processed at mobile speed, Analytics Logic Box and Real Time “Make It Happen” Logic Box work together. Results are modified and travel between the Analytics Logic Box and Real Time “Make It Happen Box” in real time. Interface O & P: At the same time Analytics Logic Box and Real Time “Make it Happen Logic Box” work together with matching your Products/Services Logic Box for Matching of your products and/or of services with customers’ and potential customers’ likes and dislikes discoveries and analytics results are performed Interface Q: Real Time Make It Happen Logic Box provides visual display from Real Time Make It Happen Logic Box Interface R: Matching your Products/Services Logic Box Provides results of matches and/or mismatches to the Digital Responses Logic Box Interface S: Digital responses are created for communication with the smart phones of the customers and potential customers. If necessary, human staff contacts the customers and/or potential customers. Interface T & V:  Visualization Logic Box transfers to the customers and to the potential customers’ digital responses pictured in visual format. Interface U & W:  Digital responses are sent by the app to the customers and the potential customers. The customers and the potential customers respond back to the app. —– On March 19, this four-part blog series will wrap up with Shaku Atre’s case studies for smart apps in financial services, telecommunications, car rental and pharmaceutical industries. Subscribe (at left) to be notified when the posts are available.    

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How B2B Integration Drives Superior Supply Chain Performance

Today’s manufacturers face a constant challenge of balancing supply chain efficiency with the investment placed in their B2B integration platform. To try and get a better understanding of whether increased use of B2B solutions and services impacts the performance of a supply chain, OpenText sponsored a new B2B integration related study with IDC Manufacturing Insights. This blog will briefly summarise some of the key findings from the study. IDC conducted a one hour qualitative survey with 270 global manufacturers across the automotive, high tech and consumer product goods sub-sectors. We had representation from eight countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and North America. In order to try and develop the hypothesis, IDC asked a number of questions about current B2B implementation initiatives across the 270 companies and they also asked questions relating to key supply chain metrics across each company. I spent a few months working with IDC on this study, so let me just highlight some of the B2B responses first. The first question looked at the key business initiatives that companies were embarking on over the next three years and international expansion into new markets was the key project as shown by the chart below. It is interesting to note that while many companies are trying to improve supply chain visibility and improve supply chain responsiveness they were not as high up in the chart as international expansion, develop more services and reduce operational costs. Indeed diversification into new sub-sectors is a key activity for many manufacturers today, for example high-tech companies exploring new opportunities in the growing electric vehicle market. In order to try and understand how pervasive B2B technologies were across the companies surveyed, the next question asked about the volume of electronic transactions that were being conducted today. Given the consumer driven, fast moving nature of the automotive and high tech sectors, I guess it is no surprise that it is these two industries that are exchanging transactions electronically with more than 75% of their trading partners. CPG on the other hand has a relatively low level, probably due to the fact that many CPG goods are manufactured in countries such as India and China where the use of B2B tools is relatively low when compared to other manufacturing hubs around the world. The study found there were a number of business drivers for companies needing to improve their B2B environment over the next three years. According to leading analysts, the manufacturing sector is going to be the fastest growing adopter of new Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) regulations. This was confirmed by the responses to our study which said that increased regulatory compliance was the number one reason why companies were increasing investment in their B2B infrastructure. This was closely followed by an increasing pressure from customers to adopt B2B integration processes. The survey showed that there was a marked shift in terms of the key barriers to adopting new B2B services. One of the main barriers in the past was getting top level management buy in that B2B integration could bring significant benefits to the business. Our study showed that this barrier was the least likely to prevent a new B2B project from starting. In fact the number one barrier to increased B2B adoption was competing IT projects such as ERP. ERP is typically the number one focus area for CIOs and as such tend to get the most budget and resources to deploy. ERP systems typically have to be live by a specific date and if the date slips then IT resources from other projects are pulled in as required. This could leave other IT projects such as a B2B on-boarding project severely exposed. Even when companies have deployed an ERP and B2B environment, our study showed that nearly 40% of companies had still not integrated their ERP and B2B platforms together. Here at OpenText we find ERP B2B integration projects as a key driver for companies adopting our B2B Managed Services environment. In terms of the benefits gained from B2B integration, companies cited lower inventories as the main benefit. This was most apparent from nearly 60% of automotive respondents who have invested heavily in recent years following the last economic downturn and to help support their global expansion initiatives. As I highlighted at the beginning of this blog post, the study was truly global in nature, covering all the major manufacturing hubs around the world and I just wanted to briefly highlight some of the key findings by region: 71% of German companies trade electronically with less than 50% of their trading partners 80% of Japanese companies said that inventory reduction was a key benefit of B2B integration 62% of US companies trading electronically with more than 50% of their trading partners 27% of Chinese companies trading electronically with more than 50% of their trading partners 57% of South Korean companies said that supply chain complexity was a key barrier to B2B adoption One of the major goals of the study was to find out how companies were progressing in their understanding of how modern B2B technologies can help drive superior business results. To achieve this, it was important to get an understanding of the perceived performance of specific supply chain activities. Once these supply chain metrics were analysed it would then be possible to see if there was any correlation between supply chain performance and the impact of B2B technologies. Here are some examples of the metrics that were measured as part of the analysis: 50% of US companies can process an invoice in under one hour 73% of Chinese companies have an average time to market of less than 120 days 90% of Brazilian companies perform up to two inventory turns per month 87% of Chinese companies deliver greater than 95% perfect orders 60% of Japanese companies have an average customer order delivery time of less than 7 days Overall, there were some interesting findings from a supply chain metrics point of view and I will write a separate blog that examines some of these results. But in the meantime I just wanted to include one chart relating to a specific business process that is seeing increasing levels of digitisation, namely invoicing. The chart below highlights the time it takes for the surveyed companies to process an invoice. The real-time numbers shown below would indicate companies that have adopted electronic invoicing solutions. Acknowledging that the supply chain metrics would be different for each industry, average metrics were created for each industry and IDC then identified ‘top performer’ companies for each metric, ie companies with a performance that significantly exceeds industry average. Building upon this analysis, four ‘performance groups’ were defined according to the amount of times each company was over performing their industry average. Leaders – Companies that are “top performers” in 4 or more metrics Experts – Companies that are “top performers” in 2 or 3 metrics Beginners – Companies that are “top performers” in just one metric Laggards – Companies that are never “top performers” Now I could just provide the final chart that shows the correlation between B2B integration and these four performance groups, however to get a better understanding of this study and the responses we got from these 270 global manufacturers, I would actively encourage you to download a copy of the study, which is available to download FROM HERE. IDC drew a number of conclusions from the results of the study and the complete list of recommendations are available by downloading the study, however some key points include: Start from Business Integration to Achieve Collaboration – To obtain a comprehensive view of the extended supply chain and collaborate with business partners you should first be able to integrate with them Redesign Supply Chains – Having a collaborative information exchange process is core to being able to support global trading partners and ensure that supply chains are resilient in the face of volatile demand or unexpected supply chain disruptions Acknowledge the Opportunity of Elevating the Role of Your B2B Infrastructure – B2B infrastructures are in many cases still considered a commodity tool, but moving forward manufacturers will need to make it: ‘The central information exchange layer of the organization’ In summary, the study demonstrated that manufacturers can achieve hard benefits by improving their B2B related processes. In fact the study demonstrated that there was a strict correlation between having a pervasive, more modern and collaborative B2B platform in place and being a leader in supply chain performance. To get a better understanding of the analysis and to get IDC’s direct response to the findings from the study I would encourage you to DOWNLOAD the study and if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact OpenText. Over the next few weeks I will take a deeper look at some of the industry specific results from the study

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On-Boarding Supply Chain Partners Should Take 5 Minutes

Jibun Bank in Japan allows consumers to open a bank account  simply by uploading a photo of your driver’s license to the financial institution.  U-Bank of Australia promises to open a bank account in less than 5 minutes if you scan a passport or Medicare card.  If risk-averse banks can make customer on-boarding almost instantaneous and effortless then why can’t we do the same for on-boarding of business partners in the supply chain?  Adding a new customer (or supplier) to a business network take days and often requires lots of forms, emails or phone calls.  Here is a hypothetical scenario: Suppose you are a startup making a hot new gadget (think wearable tech). Your sales team recently got the merchandising department of Walmart.com to resell your product on their website. But the sales team forgot to setup an electronic commerce relationship. You already do business electronically with the other online retailers that sell your product.  And you enjoy the convenience of not having to track PDF purchase orders and invoices coming into various email inboxes. How do you go about exchanging electronic orders, invoices and shipping documents with Walmart.com? You could visit Walmart’s supplier portal and read through pages and pages of documentation to discern the best way to exchange electronic purchase orders and invoices.  Alternatively, you could call your business network and ask how to get electronically connected to Walmart. After a few phone calls and emails with a little bit of luck you may be up and running in a few days. But I would argue there should be a much faster way.  Here is how the on-boarding process should work: 1) You open up the app for your business network on your smartphone. To begin exchanging electronic documents with one of your customers simply take a photo of a recent purchase order.  The image of the document then is uploaded to your business network. 2) Optical character recognition technology identifies your customer’s name (e.g. Walmart.com) and address based upon the image. An algorithm then matches the customer using a database of all the companies on the business network.  The logo of the company (e.g. Walmart) comes up on your smartphone screen asking you to confirm that this is the customer you wish to do electronic business with. 3) Next, the smartphone app looks up your profile. How does your company typically interact with the business network – Do you type information into a web form? Do you move files into Dropbox or Box.net? Do you upload an extract from your ERP or invoicing system? Your preferred method is identified and displayed on your phone with a request to confirm. 4) Based upon your customer’s (e.g. Walmart.com) profile, the app then identifies the business documents that your customer uses – purchase orders, ship notices, bills of lading, invoices, product catalogs, sales forecasts and remittance advice.   The list is displayed on your phone.  You check the boxes for the documents you wish to send and receive. 5) The necessary maps or forms (based upon your preference in step #3) are then auto-magically provisioned on to the business network. 6) You are sent an email or SMS text message confirming completion of the process. 7) You are offered the option to send a test transaction to confirm that everything is working properly.  Data taken from the scanned purchase order is used to populate a sample order confirmation that is sent to the customer.  A successful confirmation is returned and you are now ready to do business electronically. The post On-Boarding Supply Chain Partners Should Take 5 Minutes appeared first on All About B2B.

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Did You Know That 77% of CPG Companies are ‘Low Adopters’ of B2B Integration Technologies?

AS2 FTP

In the last of a series of industry focused blogs relating to a new B2B study that OpenText commissioned from IDC Manufacturing Insights, I just wanted to briefly review the responses from the CPG related manufacturers. As I mentioned before, the aim of the study was to see if there was any correlation between B2B integration and how it impacts supply chain performance. We recently hosted a webinar with IDC to discuss the findings from the study.  You will be able to get access to this and other downloads related to our study at the end of this blog. The consumer product goods industry has undergone immense financial pressures in recent years, with retailers squeezing their margins and continually changing payment terms to suit market conditions. CPG companies are now having to source manufactured goods from new low cost markets. The introduction of the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries is starting to cause a global shift away from the BRIC markets where many CPG related goods have traditionally been manufactured.  Even Chinese based manufacturers are looking at new markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam as they offer lower cost manufacturing than their own country. This constant shift in production location is being driven by a need to source the highest quality goods at the lowest prices. Some CPG manufacturers headquartered in North America and Europe have struggled to automate their supply chain processes due to B2B enablement issues relating to suppliers in the new generation of emerging markets.  It should be every company’s goal to electronically enable 100% of their trading partner community but the findings from the IDC study showed that the CPG sector is actually behind the more advanced B2B infrastructures used in the automotive and high tech industries. Here are some of the key findings from the IDC study: 94% said they trade electronically with less than 50% of their trading partners – this highlights a huge opportunity to B2B enable an entire trading partner community.  It is highly likely that companies struggle to enable suppliers in emerging markets, perhaps due to limited technical skills within the supply base, poor IT infrastructures to support B2B solutions and limited availability of skilled resources on the ground in these particular locations. If CPG companies are to 100% enable trading partner engagement then they need to offer a range of B2B enablement tools and more importantly work with a B2B provider that can help onboard these really small suppliers in the most remote of locations.  Needless to say this is an area that OpenText has significant experience in. 49% said that their customers are driving new B2B projects – changing consumer demand and a switch to Omni-channel retailing is having a dramatic effect on CPG manufacturers.  Retailers are having to become more responsive to these fluctuations in consumer demand by embracing new retail concepts such as ‘dark stores’ and shipping direct to the consumer. The explosive growth in online retail, especially across mobile devices such as the iPad, means that retailers need to be more responsive to their customers and this has led to a need to modernize B2B infrastructures and offer tighter integration to backend enterprise platforms such as ERP. 49% said reduced logistics costs was a key benefit of B2B integration – ensuring that a CPG manufacturer has end to end visibility across their supply chain has become a key initiative for today’s Supply Chain Director.  From being able to identify inventory located in a distribution centre anywhere in the world to tracking inventory in transit in real time across multi-modal third party logistics providers, B2B integration provides the opportunity to seamlessly keep track of inventory movements.  B2B integration, especially via tools being deployed in the cloud, allows 3PL providers to automate many manual, paper based processes. In the past, delays in shipping goods would have been caused by simply mis-typing information into shipping related documentation. Extracting this information automatically from other business systems through B2B integration and then creating the correct shipping labels or 2D bar codes has significantly helped to reduce logistics costs and simplify the cross border shipment of goods. 42% said that competing IT projects such as ERP were a barrier to starting B2B projects – this was actually a common issue across all the industries surveyed for this study.  However out of all the B2B adoption barriers highlighted by the CPG respondents to the study, introduction of new ERP projects was by far the most common barrier to starting a new B2B project.  As highlighted in the automotive related findings, ERP integration is typically the most high profile project undertaken by today’s CIO and if an ERP go live date is missed then IT resources will be pulled in from other projects to complete as required.  This will for example leave a B2B project exposed or could indefinitely delay the start of a new B2B project.  A simple solution to this particular problem is to use the B2B resources of an outsourced provider such as OpenText who can look after your B2B project whilst your IT organization focusses on your ERP deployment. So despite operating in a very fast moving, consumer driven market, CPG companies tend to lag behind other industries in terms of B2B adoption. In fact the study showed that 77% of CPG respondents said they were low adopters of electronic transactions and B2B processes. It is no surprise that companies in this sector perceived fewer benefits from their installed B2B technologies and at the same time this highlights the opportunity for savvy companies willing to take their B2B infrastructures to the next stage. From a general supply chain metrics point of view, 84% of CPG respondents had an average customer order delivery time of less than seven days and 97% of CPG companies have an average time to market of less than 120 days. Finally, another interesting result from the study relates to which new and disruptive technologies are going to have the most impact on CPG manufacturers.  The study highlighted that In the automotive industry it was 3D printing, in the high tech industry it was advanced robotics and in the CPG industry it is the ‘Internet of Things’.  The benefits of IoT are well documented and in the fast moving consumer goods market having the ability to track shipments through a broad network of connected ‘things’ and to also be able to detect out of stock situations more quickly will help to improve the overall performance of CPG related supply chains. For me it is just interesting that CPG companies have latched onto IoT as being a key enabler for improving their business operations before they have even got the basic B2B infrastructure in place to be able to exchange information electronically across their trading partner community. If you would like to download your own copy of the new B2B study from OpenText then please complete the registration form here. When you have registered you will also be able to get access to an on demand webinar that we recently recorded with IDC, a copy of the webinar slides and an infographic that illustrates some of the key findings from the study.

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Wholesale Banking: The Drivers Behind Digital Channels

I use a tablet computer for many aspects of my daily life: paying bills, online shopping, social networking and entertainment. There is a slick and easy-to-use app for everything and I can access it instantly for a very low price. These applications are all interconnected, pre-packaged, and running on industrial electronic highways behind the scenes, creating the “instantaneous” experience of the digital life. Strangely, my digital life goes six years back in time, five days a week between 8am and 6pm. This “retro” feeling is experienced by millions of office workers, largely because our consumer world at home is already digital. . Expectations are shifting faster than reality, especially in the workplace. This article focuses on the impact of this digital “gap” in the world of wholesale banking. Enter Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) on my left, Corporates on my right. A Historical Difference Between the SMB and Corporate Market Until recently, the first group ─ the SMB market ─ had the tendency to use local currency bank accounts and domestic “low value” payments through historical clearing with a fairly small financial supply chain. Business Online Banking was the most appropriate channel to capture their payables and receivables, either through web-based file upload/download or manual form input. In other cases, a small or medium business would outsource this function to a payment and payroll Service Bureau. In a last example, a medium business would have a direct “legacy” electronic submission method with the Bank (BACSTEL-IP in the UK). The treasury team is often just one or a small number of individuals with other responsibilities in the business, such as accounting and office administration. The second group, Corporates, is more “industrial”, requiring direct host-to-host integration for both low- and high-value payments coming from a Treasury system ─ part of an organized and optimized Treasury and Financial Supply Chain function. Payroll files, collection instructions, and payment submissions are the result of highly industrial processes, requiring an industrial relationship with the Bank. The day-to-day process is fairly unattended; however the treasury team usually consists of top professionals versed in the world of working capital optimization, intra-day liquidity and cash flow management. SMBs Behaving Like Corporates and Vice-versa On one hand, Small and Medium Businesses are becoming accustomed to commercial “digital” packages that enable them to automate their small treasury and finance operations. Accounting and treasury desktop software ─ usually available as an online or mobile version as well ─ now enable SMBs to “transact” with their Bank, instead of painstakingly browsing an online banking website to upload or type a series of records. SMBs are basically becoming “host-to-host capable” through Internet-based communication protocols like sFTP and HTTPs. On the other hand, Corporates need to manage more and more exceptions in their industrial process, such as prompting a business signatory to execute an action, or “hijacking” and applying manual intervention against a transaction outside the industrial flow. For example, high value payments require multi-eye approval from business executives. Receivables reconciliation issues are flagged up to accountants immediately during an intra-day bank statement report. This leads corporates to require more and more flexibility from their technology to act outside the industrial corporate-to-bank flow of information ─ typically through a digital and user-friendly online banking or mobile-based ecosystem. A corporate treasurer or signatory will be much more open for an iPad-based executive approval prompt from the Bank (with contextual information), rather than go to the office, insert a physical security token on his desktop computer or on one of the treasury workstations. This is the beginning of the “omnichannel” age for wholesale banking. What’s Holding Back the Banks? SMB and corporate channels were designed for their original purpose: online and mobile banking for the former group, host-to-host for the latter. These are usually in silos separated from front- to back-office, with huge Program Management and IT lifecycle structures around them. Digital requirements and converging client markets mean only one thing ─ these banking platforms and the traditional approach are becoming obsolete. So are their mind-boggling costs for keeping the lights on, or applying simple changes. Digital Transformation ─ The Way Forward Digital channels have a positive side effect on the bank’s technology estate: it enables to keep products lean and simple, free of client-specific customization. This is something that banks call their “vanilla flavour”. Client customizations are built and maintained within the channel layer. Payment, trade finance, investment banking, and even consumer products remain leaner, easier to maintain throughout their lifecycle with fewer dependencies and more predictable P&L changes over time. I sincerely believe that banks will start competing with a growing number of non-bank financial suppliers (independent trade finance organizations and PSD2 service providers). The Digital Transformation is necessary now to compete and differentiate tomorrow.

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Infusing the Supply Chain with Analytics

The strategic use of supply chain information is a key driver of competitive advantage in the Digital-First World. Once a company’s B2B processes are automated and transactions are flowing, visibility into those transactions can fuel better strategic and tactical decision-making across the entire business network. Insights from analytics allow trading partners to speed their decision-making, rapidly respond to changing customer and market demands, and optimize their business processes. Our mission at OpenText is to enable our customers to prepare for and thrive in the digital future. Analytic capabilities will play a key role. As I’ve said in previous posts, analytic technologies represent the next frontier in extracting value from enterprise information. For this reason, we are infusing new analytic capabilities into all our core solutions. We recently added new analytic capabilities to the OpenText Trading Grid to help our customers easily access insights for improving their supply chains’ effectiveness. The OpenText Trading Grid is powered by the OpenText Cloud and is the world’s leading B2B integration network, processing more than 16 billion transactions per year, integrating 600,000 trading partners for more than 60,000 customers around the globe. The solution boasts easy-to-use dashboards which depict and summarize data trends and compare them to key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business. They allow companies to evaluate the performance of suppliers or the behavior of customers and use this information to improve processes and relationships. On a more granular level, ‘track and trace’ data highlights exception information about a specific order, shipment, or invoice. By taking prompt corrective action, companies can remedy a situation before process performance degrades or costs accumulate. There are many, many scenarios in which analytic insights bring incredible benefit to the supply chain. Armed with information about the physical location of products or shipments, companies are able to plan operations with greater efficiency, reduce the number of items lost in transit, and fulfill orders with greater accuracy. They can replenish products as shortages are detected. When it comes to process automation, information about the performance of equipment is used to track degradation, order replacement parts, and schedule service before failure occurs. Today, the digital supply chain is an information supply chain that coordinates the flow of goods, communications, and commerce internally and externally across an extended ecosystem of business partners. It seamlessly integrates data from supply chain processes and smart equipment, and tracks intelligent products, parts, and shipments tagged with sensors. Within a few short years it will expand to integrate data from the Internet of Things (IoT). Data will flow online from myriad devices, including wearable technologies, 3-D printers, and logistics drones. It is expected that we will see a thirty-fold increase in web-enabled physical devices by the year 2020. All of these devices producing volumes of data will create a network rich with information and insights. This is the future. A future in which analytics bring incredible value and competitive advantage to the supply chain. And we are only just beginning to envision it. To learn more about OpenText Trading Grid Analytics, read our press release or visit our website.

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Over 3M faxes a month can’t be wrong: Hybrid faxing is here!

At OpenText, we pride ourselves on our position as the #1 electronic fax provider for the enterprise. Between our best-selling on-premises solution (RightFax) and our outstanding fax service (Fax2Mail), OpenText is the undisputed leader in enterprise fax solutions. OpenText is ready to add another trophy to the case: Hybrid Faxing. What is hybrid faxing, you ask? Hybrid faxing combines an on-premises fax server deployed with cloud-based fax service to send and receive faxes. OpenText provides the most powerful hybrid fax solution for customers by combining RightFax with RightFax Connect, a solution that is blazing a path across the globe. With no capacity constraints, RightFax and RightFax Connect combine to provide instant, flexible capacity to handle any volume of faxing without congestion, busy signals or delays. And since RightFax Connect utilizes the OpenText Cloud to send and receive faxes, there is no need to implement, manage, troubleshoot or worry about your telephone connections to RightFax. Easy as pie. Hybrid faxing is here, RightFax with RightFax Connect is growing and OpenText is proud to display another market-leading trophy to our case.

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Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 1]

Editor’s note: Shaku Atre (at right, above, at our Data Driven Summit last December) is the founder and managing partner of the Atre Group, Inc. of New York City, NY and Santa Cruz, California. Atre Group is a business intelligence, Big Data and data warehousing corporation, and Atre herself is an internationally renowned expert who lectures worldwide on everything databases. She is author of six highly regarded books on database technology. Atre worked for IBM for 14 years in Germany and the United States, and was a partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers for a number of years. As an entrepreneur she founded a number of very successful IT companies in New York and California. Atre has written a thorough and compelling treatise on the disruptive power of mobile apps, and supported her analysis and conclusions with templates and case studies. We are pleased to present her powerful ideas in four blog installments this week and next.   —– Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 1 of 4] Copyright by Atre Group, Inc. What are they? They connect us with friends, find us restaurants, allow us to deposit checks at home without having to visit ATMs, let us pay our bills online, provide the news, help us avoid traffic congestion, and even let us find with one click the side effects of a drug before purchasing it. Millions of people are now dependent on these apps. Not only they are dependent on them – they are addicted to them. These apps are the little sisters and brothers of our big, multifunction applications that IT developers created and are running back office jobs. These little apps are doing only a few focused functions to give smart phone users quick results. Hundreds of businesses are releasing their apps daily to reach the mobile customers with their contents digitally. Half of all app downloads are games and entertainment apps. But the close second are tens of billions of downloads for businesses. The businesses want to make their customers more productive by enabling them to buy more and are hoping to make them loyal. Businesses want to make their customers practically dependent, and secretly addicted to these ubiquitous apps. The industries that have been running the show for decades are affected drastically by this disruptive force de jour. Let us consider a big industry in major cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago just to name a few– taxis. “In major cities throughout the United States taxi medallion prices are tumbling as taxis face competition from car-service apps like Uber and Lyft.— in NYC the Medallion price fell by 17%, in Chicago by 17%, in Boston by 20% last year —” according to The New York Times, Nov 28, 2014 article by Josh Barro. And here we are not talking about the medallion price of only a few thousand dollars but close to a million dollars in its hay day. We need to see how organizations such as Uber and Lyft fare with their implementations in the next few months and years. These organizations are facing some problems such as “background checkups of the drivers” in a number of states of the US as well as in some European countries. Apps, Big Data, Embedded Analytics, and Smart Phones for Smart Users: Apps are running on the smart phones by digging into big data, transcending embedded analytics from transactional systems into the smart apps with dashboards for easier visualization. Today’s users are running the apps and apps are making the users run to quick and smart decision making. When conventional ways of doing business are thrown into turmoil by an agent, it is called disruption. Today’s agent of disruption is mobile technology and huge amounts of data that is collected. Our business culture is changing at a dizzying speed by mobile technology and big data. Our communication, our physical processes, our moving of goods across all industries is being challenged from the way it used to run in the past. What should we call it? We are seeing the face of Digital Disruption. Do you want to be the road kill of tomorrow, or even of today?  There is a lot of “road kill” organizations that were once leaders of their industries. They didn’t pay attention to the disruptions. Their vision of the future was fogged by the success of the past. Does anyone remember the goliaths, and once upon a time innovators, who were enjoying their inventiveness such as Ashton Tate, BlackBerry, Blockbuster, Borders, Borland, Compaq, Control Data, Data General, Honeywell, Kodak, Lucent, Lotus, Nokia, Novell, Polaroid, Tower Records – and many more. These giants of their industries suffered because they failed to come up with an appropriate response to disruptive technologies and got toppled by the nimble newcomers, masters of the disruption. If you don’t want your organization to suffer the fate of these once upon a time stellar performers, you have to master the disruptive forces. This cycle of disruption is going to repeat every few years whether we like it or not. The only difference will be that the time period of the cycle is compressed. There are enough Davids lurking in the wings today, which could topple your organization unless your vision becomes clear and you embrace the current digital disruption by changing your business processes, by using today’s digital technology and be an agent of change. Digital disruption and its four forces – Apps, The Users, Big Data, and Embedded Analytics: 1. Power of today’s Apps: The major three components of an app are: 1. User Interface – also called User Experience or front end – the user interface is going to make or break your app, 2. The backend with data – only a pretty face without backing it up with data is going to be the death trap. 3. Everything in between which is mainly the logic – if that doesn’t support the pretty face and the data then you are doomed too. How to start with the apps? Once the decision is made by the business to develop apps there are a few questions, among others that need to be answered such as: How to plan, design and develop an app? Should the app be developed in-house or an outside developer should be hired that specializes in app development or use “build your own app” by using software where coding skills are not required? Be cautious with this claim – coding possibly not required but logical thinking – yes – is definitely required. Which data to use? Where to get it from, where and how to store it, how to express the results visually? How can you register responses and how should those be acted upon? And how quickly? How to present the results digitally? Where and how to distribute the apps? Which mobile operating system platform or platforms to use iOS (Apple’s Xcode), Android (SDK), Windows? How to develop and deliver apps on multiple platforms? And finally, and very importantly, how to monetize the app? Business and App – Synergy for Success Any business exists because of its customers. In your own organization, your employees are walking around with a mobile phone— in many cases nowadays even two, in their pockets. And so are your customers. We are referring to the B2B2C (Business to Business to Consumers) interfaces here. Your customers could be businesses having customers. And these customers may be using desktop computers, laptops, sensors, and all types of mobile equipment to collect data about their consumers. And these consumers could be communicating with your customers which are businesses. If some aspects need to be improved in running of your business it would be beneficial to you if your customers, which are businesses would pass on the information to you. We are referring to C2B2B interfaces here. Mobile technology is ubiquitous because: It is affordable It is easily available It is easy to use And on top of all of this it makes everyone much more productive than not having it. Your customers are helped when you develop data driven Smart Apps for your business and possibly when these businesses do the same for their own consumers – once again with the B2B2C interfaces. And more importantly input from consumers is very important too – representing C2B2B interfaces. The apps are one of the biggest drivers of the use and creation of terabytes of data, referred to as “Big Data.” Big Data is being collected about the customers who use all of the technology at hand. But one can’t live by data alone. One needs to plan, design, and develop Smart Apps so that the customers can use the valuable collected data to become more successful. The success of your customers, by using the invaluable, humongous amounts of data collected, will be beneficial to many other parties as well. Your customers will be the primary beneficiaries, alongside others who will be secondary beneficiaries. Bear in mind that your success is very much dependent on your customers’ success. In statistical terms, your success is positively correlated with theirs. Three important criteria of any successful mobile app are: 1. Simplicity: The ability to eliminate steps or make a current process easier to perform. 2. Interaction: The ability to encourage greater user involvement that will increase productivity and loyalty. 3. Encourage your customer’s input: The ability to leverage user insight to improve the functionality of the app. How are you going to write the best Apps for your customers?     You have to play the role of your customer: When was the last time you stood in your customers’ shoes and saw what it is like doing business with your company and use your product or service? Today’s empowered consumers expect personalized, relevant interactions, and so for that reason and more, you must understand the customer’s journey and inspire your organization and others on how to considerably improve the customer experience. The smart apps one develops for customers must provide: Visualization: Easily understandable icons. Simplicity: The ability to eliminate steps or make a current process easier to Encourage your customer’s input with more interaction: Not only “push                              me” but also “pull you” Interface: The ability to encourage greater                              user involvement that will increase loyalty. User Insight: The ability to leverage user insight to improve the functionality                    of the app. Easy deployment of the ubiquitous mobile technology, “Cleverness” used in novel ways to implement data driven decision-making at                    mobile speed. It is predicted that mobile app development projects targeting smart phones and tablets outnumber PC projects by 5:1. We also have to consider the various interfaces that need to be covered in the user interface. The interfaces that need to be considered are not only B2B (Business To Business), B2C (Business To Consumer), B2B2C (Business To Business to Consumer) but also C2B (Consumer To Business) with interaction and insights, C2C (Consumer To Consumer) where one consumer informs other consumers via reviews, via texting, via phone calls and C2B2B (Consumer To Business To Business) with interaction and insights. Figure 1 2. The Users: The demography of the user base is changed. Number of users has increased enormously. Almost everyone above the age of 18 is using a smartphone in the Western world. There is a staggering growth of smart phone users in emerging markets too. If we look at the enormous number of smart phone users the percentage of the number of technology savvy people as compared to the total number of smart phone users, who know the system’s internals is going down. Technology savvy is a relative term. For me a technology savvy person can open hardware and fix it or can assemble a working unit of hardware by assembling various parts. As far as technology savviness is concerned with software– it is someone who can write software and develop applications. Percentage of these hardware and software technology people is going down vis-a-vis the total number of smart phone users. The percentage of the number of business savvy people is increasing. And the user base of people under the age of 25 is going up much faster. One of the big reasons is easy access to social media, to video games. Figure 2 The emerging markets have staggering growth of digital technology. Global smartphone shipments reached 295 Million in the 2nd Quarter of 2014. Figure 3 Emerging market countries have become a world force and has become a big provider of Big Data and users of smartphones. Please bear in mind that 80% of the World’s humanity lives in these emerging markets of Brazil, China, India, Korea, Mexico, and Russia. Figure 4 —– Shaku Atre’s next post will cover the other two forces of digital disruption: Big Data and Embedded Analytics. Look for it on Thursday, March 12. Subscribe (at left) to be informed when the post appears.

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