Fax

Still Faxing? Of course you are!

OpenText recently published an infographic on 9 Reasons Businesses Still Fax. You can see the full size version here . The bottom line is that fax still has a unique combination of characteristics that hasn’t fully been replaced. You might find multiple technologies that cover the same 9 reasons – but fax is the one technology that accomplishes all nine. I think my favorite characteristic is that fax transmissions are immune to viruses and malware. Because a fax is an image – you can’t get malware by saving and viewing a fax. Try that with email! Read more about OpenText fax solutions here .

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The History of Fax isn’t what I imagined

OpenText recently published an infographic on the history of fax. You can see the full size version here . What I found most interesting in doing research for the infographic is that while the original fax technology was created over 150 years ago, it really didn’t become ubiquitous until the late 1970s or early 1980’s– a little more than a decade before the widespread use of email. And while many believed email would completely wipe out fax in a short time, fax remains a readily available and reliable technology for exchanging information. While there hasn’t been much innovation in fax machines (plain paper fax machines in 1987?), there has been innovation in fax technology – especially fax software and services. Fax servers, FoIP, and cloud fax services have all been innovations in fax technology that make it easier for businesses and individuals to fax. And because most faxed documents start out as electronic documents, these technologies allow paperless faxing and electronic storage of fax images. Without these innovations, “Paperless faxing” is an oxymoron. The latest innovation in fax technology is hybrid faxing – where companies combine on-premises fax software and cloud-based fax transmission. You can learn more about hybrid faxing at www.futureoffax.com .

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Create data without data entry? Is that even possible?

In any typical trading community profile – where there’s a mix of large, medium and small trading partners – the 80/ 20 rule usually applies. 80% of the business is conducted with 20% of the trading partners. These trading partners are typically those that have already adopted electronic commerce and trading is usually done via EDI, XML or other standardized messages. The remaining 80% of the trading community typically accounts for 20% of the transactions. These trading partners are usually smaller suppliers and customers who may lack the budget, resources or expertise to exchange EDI, XML or other standardized messages and so they often send purchase orders and invoices via fax or email. But manual fax and paper handling, and re-keying of data, create inadvertent but costly data errors. And it is expensive to have staff spend time printing, re-keying and manually tracking documents. For the smaller companies who aren’t ready to adopt an EDI solution it is difficult to know what to do. What if you could use document and character recognition capabilities to turn those inbound fax and email business documents into machine-readable data? That is what a Fax to EDI service does. A Fax to EDI service can receive your fax in a cloud solution as an image and then use leading edge recognition technologies to convert the image to data in the format you need. A great way to automate smaller suppliers and customers with ease, effectively Want to learn more? Register for our on-demand webinar, “Creating Data without the Data Entry with OpenText Fax to EDI” today.

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Ten Things You Don’t Know About Information Exchange Services

First of all, what are information exchange services? You have heaps of information that you need to be able to quickly and securely transfer in and outside of your firewall, and you’ve learned the hard way that the workarounds and legacy FTP tools just won’t cut it. They’re too unwieldy, too inefficient, and too risky to the security of your business. This is where information exchange services come into play. But what exactly are they? Forrester Consulting defines information exchange services as, “a set of integrated services that facilitate the secure exchange of information both within an organization and externally with business partners, customers, and suppliers.*” Within these services are tools for: Secure mail to provide encryption, auditing, and authentication access by integrating with your existing email programs. Managed file transfer which replaces FTP services to send large files from one location to another, regardless of whether it is within the network, between people or systems. Fax services to securely and reliably transfer documents and paper as electronic files. Capture which has grown beyond traditional scanning to become a multi-channel avenue to accurately transfer paper into actionable digital content to streamline business processes. Electronic data interchange (EDI) which exchanges document-based information between two or more computer applications, and streamlines e-commerce processes such as invoice or order processing. How Can They Help Me? With these tools in your pocket, IES can keep your team from being bogged down and wasting time trying to work out the logistics of getting the information you need from point A to point B. IES provide services that can accelerate operational transactions, help adhere to compliance policies, and support security of the information you need to share to do business more efficiently.They also lend themselves easily to managed services in the cloud, making it easier than ever for you to exchange information anywhere, in any format, with anyone. What do the Experts Say about IES? 97 percent of surveyed decision makers believe Information Exchange Services play a key role in their organization’s business processes.* 86 percent of surveyed decision makers say that poor information management (such as insecure mail or file transfers) results in ineffective communications with customers and partners is a limitation to their organization.* More than half of surveyed decision makers cite poor information exchange as being responsible for compliance exposure.* 91 percent of surveyed decision makers found business value in unifying Information Exchange services relating to a specific business process.* OpenText MFT is eighty times faster than traditional file exchange services. *Source: “Information Exchange Services Anchors Your EIM Infrastructure,” A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of OpenText, August 2013.

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Healthcare organizations – Isn’t it time get rid of your fax machines?

Each week, healthcare organizations exchange thousands upon thousands of pages of patient- and business-related data. Even with the adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) and other critical health information technology (HIT) systems, the preferred method of information exchange in the healthcare industry remains the fax machine. In the 2012 National Physicians Survey, 63% of respondents stated fax was their primary form of communication. The need for fax, especially within the healthcare community, is not going away any time soon. It is a product that is familiar to most workers, transcends operating and EMR systems and offers more security than email. It is also a communication system that provides a necessary and consistent paper audit trail. With all those benefits, you may think your organization can’t get by without your fax machine. OpenText Fax Solutions offer healthcare organizations elegant on-premises and cloud-based solutions that not only continue the well-known benefits of fax but also provide additional advantages that increase worker productivity, enhance the patient experience and improve your organization’s bottom line. To learn more about how healthcare organizations can replace fax machines with on-premises and cloud-based solutions. – download the whitepaper produced by OpenText in conjunction with Healthcare Informatics. Visit us at HIMSS in February. You can pre-book an appointment to speak to one of our Information Exchange experts, or simply stop by and visit us at booth 3409. See you there!

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EDI Hard Facts #3: EDI Reduces Order Receipt to Shipment by 4 Days!

Another compelling benefit (see below for links to other posts in this series) cited in Supply Chain Insights’ new study “EDI: Workhorse of the Value Chain” addresses the time that businesses save when they send and receive business documents via EDI. They remove four days from order receipt to order shipment! “When orders are managed B2B hands-free (no manual intervention) through EDI/XML, the time from order receipt to shipment is halved. In the survey, the average response changed from three days—if the order could be received and processed without manual intervention through hands-free EDI—to seven days to ship an order that needs manual manipulation.” It’s pretty clear how EDI speeds up the ordering process. When you exchange documents via postal mail, it takes days to arrive, so it may take weeks to even discover that the mail was lost. Moreover, in some countries weekend delivery is non-existent or minimal. In the United States Saturday delivery may be ended, which means businesses operating on weekends will have to wait even longer for important orders and other documents to arrive. Courier services such as UPS and Federal Express are more reliable but costly. And even with faxes, documents don’t always arrive or can remain at the fax machine or on someone’s desk for some time before any action is taken. In contrast, EDI transactions can be exchanged in minutes. Furthermore, there is significant time saved from the elimination of data re-keying into back-office systems (supplier’s order management system, buyer’s warehouse management and/or accounts payable systems) and the high error rate, which result in time-consuming corrective actions. Saving four days can have a huge positive impact on your business because providing faster deliveries to your customers typically means greater customer satisfaction, which often leads to increased orders and you can also be paid sooner. In my next blogs, I will continue to share additional statistics from Supply Chain Insights’ report with you. In the meantime, if you would like to read the entire report, you can get your copy here. You can also watch this 30-minute webinar with industry analyst and founder of Supply Chain Insights, Lora Cecere, who discusses the key findings and takeaways from the study. Other posts in this series: EDI Benefits – Hard facts now available! Finally, Some Hard Facts About EDI – (1) EDI Still #1 By Far EDI Hard Facts #2: EDI ASNs Save Average of $78/order

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OpenText Acquires GXS

On November 5, 2013 we announced our intention to acquire GXS Group, Inc (GXS). Today, I am pleased to report the acquisition has closed and to welcome GXS employees to OpenText. Together, we will work to advance our global leadership in Enterprise Information Management. This acquisition expands and strengthens our business in significant ways: 1. GXS expands our Information Exchange portfolio and strengthens our EIM leadership position With the acquisition of GXS, we’re expanding our Information Exchange portfolio with the addition of B2B integration and managed services. The GXS Trading Grid is a cloud-based platform for the secure, reliable, and automated exchange of supply chain and other commerce transactions across complex global networks of customers, partners, and employees. This acquisition makes OpenText a market leader in both B2B integration services and cloud-based fax services. On a macro level, it strengthens our overall EIM market leadership position by extending information management capabilities beyond a single enterprise, giving our customers the ability to manage critical information as it flows within the enterprise and externally, across their entire supply chain. 2. GXS delivers a global managed services infrastructure GXS is a leading provider of B2B integration and managed services – offering outsourcing services that include all of the hardware, software, staff and resources required to manage an entire B2B platform. Combined with our existing OpenText managed services (from EasyLink and others), this acquisition strengthens all our EIM offerings with a global cloud-based infrastructure and an infusion of managed services expertise to scale our business and tackle the toughest of customer demands. 3. GXS expands our customer base and market reach GXS is a healthy, profitable business that expands our cloud services business and is key to our intelligent growth. GXS currently delivers B2B integration solutions to approximately two-thirds of the world’s Fortune 500 companies. The acquisition of GXS will put OpenText inside the core of these customers and allow us to introduce GXS customers to other OpenText services and licensed products. In addition, this acquisition also expands our line-up of target buyers to include supply chain and procurement professionals, giving us new entry points and reinforcing our presence in key strategic verticals such as financial services, manufacturing, CPG and retail, as well as in key geographies including the US, Latin America, Asia, and Japan. Today, we are growing as a company. We are expanding and enriching our business in critical ways. This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to innovation, to quality, and to a comprehensive vision of Enterprise Information Management. While a press release was issued today, I will communicate with the markets in greater detail on January 23rd as part of our FY14Q2 earnings announcement. Please join me in welcoming GXS employees, partners, and customers to the OpenText family.

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How to Fax? New York City wants to know!

Unfortunately, there is no way from the data to understand WHY? But it does tell us that people are still faxing. This 160 year old technology (which took about 130 years to become popular) is still alive and kicking. Of course – OpenText offers a better way to fax than traditional fax machines. Whether it is an on-premises fax appliance, on-premises software, cloud fax, or a hybrid of on-premises and cloud – we have a fax solution for most businesses. So ask us – “How to Fax”.

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OpenText Introduces Exceptional Fax Solution for Small-Medium Businesses

Today OpenText announced RightFax Express, an all-in-one fax solution that allows users to conveniently and cost-effectively fax from their desktop, email, back-end applications and Multi-Function Printer (MFP) devices. Simple to deploy and easy to integrate, RightFax Express offers a broad range of deployment options including appliance, on-premises fax server, or hybrid faxing. Small and medium-sized businesses face many of the same challenges as larger organizations when dealing with Information Exchange via fax. Security, cost and the ability to boost productivity are top of mind in evaluating a suitable solution. With laws increasingly mandating information governance and compliance, it is essential that businesses ensure confidential information remains safe and secure at all times. In addition, standalone fax machines represent costly investments when the efficiency of all employees who fax is taken into consideration. Gary Weiss, our senior vice-president Information Exchange and Cloud describes it this way: “OpenText RightFax Express provides a best-in-class fax solution for small and medium-sized businesses – it’s easy to implement and manage, efficient and versatile. In addition to the convenience factor, embedded security features such as direct delivery to a user’s inbox, automatic notifications, and tracking and reporting capabilities for auditing readiness, make RightFax Express an attractive one-stop shop for SMBs looking to reduce the costs and hassle of information exchange while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their organization.” OpenText RightFax Express offers the following key features: Quick, easy and secure information exchange – users can send and receive faxes right from their desk via email application, a web client or print-to-fax driver. Integration with email, MFPs, and desktop and back-end applications empower employees to fax from their preferred applications. Simplified administration – easily manage all users, devices, printers, cover sheets, reports, and system configuration with a user-friendly web-based interface regardless of deployment model. Comprehensive tracking and reporting – receive printed or emailed notifications of transmission status, track and manage failed faxes, and provide an electronic audit trail of all fax transmissions. The introduction of RightFax Express follows the introduction in November of this year of a fax solution serving large enterprises and mid-sized companies. That product offering, RightFax 10.6, is a new version of OpenText’s flagship on-premises fax solution best suited to larger organizations with strong integration requirements and high fax traffic, and having more complex deployment requirements. Further information on RightFax Express introduced today can be found here: www.opentext.com/rightfaxexpress and information on RightFax 10.6 can be found here: http://faxsolutions.opentext.com/rightfax-whats-new.aspx OpenText RightFax Express is one of the many offerings from the OpenText Information Exchange Suite of products, one of the five key pillars of the OpenText EIM strategy. OpenText’s Information Exchange Suite provides market-leading document exchange, messaging, and notification services for businesses ranging from the smallest offices to the largest enterprises. It can help deliver even the largest files swiftly, securely and reliably in the user’s preferred format, on-premises, or in the cloud. Availability OpenText RightFax Express is available worldwide with software supporting fifteen languages. For more information, please visit: www.opentext.com/rightfaxexpress

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Reduce Risk with Secure Information Exchange

Every business is an information business and this is why digitization is a key corporate priority. Every enterprise exchanges massive amounts of information on a daily basis, both inside and outside of the firewall. Security has become a top priority for the CIO with the volume, variety, and velocity of the information exchange that occurs. Security risks are intensified by globalization, a reliance on email for business collaboration, BYOD and mobile access, growing regulatory pressures, bad actors, and cloud computing. With more than 80 percent of enterprise data residing outside of structured ERP systems, much of this information is in transit outside the business firewall. In fact, there have been more than 600 million information breaches in the U.S. alone since 2005 (privacyrights.org) and one-third of these breaches were due to unintended disclosure, insider fraud, or the use of mobile devices. Poor information exchange systems and practices lead to security threats at many levels: to employees; projects; competitive advantage; national security; reputation; brand, and in some cases, to the business itself. In view of these challenges, IT departments have a mandate to transform reactive, unsecured, and uncontrolled information exchanges into safer, more flexible, managed, and compliant processes. CIOs need easy, integrated, and trusted solutions to support all of their business information exchanges— from vendor invoicing, payroll submissions, transfer of healthcare records, to securing corporate IP. OpenText has responded to these customer needs with our Information Exchange Suite which is an integrated set of cloud-based messaging services that comprises Secure Email, Secure MFT (Managed File Transfer), Fax, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and Notifications. Recent innovations to the newly released Information Exchange Suite include cloud-based secure messaging, large-file transfer acceleration, data leak prevention, real-time audit trail, and integration with desktop, mobile and other systems. Each service is designed to support the business requirement for exchanging information with anyone, anywhere, and in any format, while instilling confidence that the exchange of information is accessible, efficient, and trusted. Enterprises are empowered with the infrastructure for secure and reliable exchange of information to help improve operational performance, reduce risk, and enable enterprise agility. Imagine the productivity gains and competitive edge your organization would realize if the exchange of information could be made faster, easier and more secure! I’m pleased to share these advancements with our customers, and more information is available here. Next month, I look forward to providing an update on GXS.

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Driving Innovation & Growth

The growth of unstructured information inside the enterprise is staggering. In fact, experts estimate that over 80 percent of data in organizations is unstructured and is growing at a rate of over 36 percent year-over-year(1). Managing this information across different formats, devices, and applications is a challenge for organizations that’s not going away. There is profound value in this unstructured information. In fact, your company’s future depends on it. How is the enterprise dealing with all of these new data types? Well, according to Forrester, they’re not. In a survey conducted in May of 2013, only 13 percent of the respondents had a formal information management strategy in place (2), which is why we’ve spent the last year focusing our efforts on our biggest synchronized software release to date. Announced at Enterprise World, this finely choreographed release features software advancements across our Enterprise Information Management (EIM) suite designed to help organizations manage huge amounts of data and unlock the untapped value of their information to create competitive advantage. Our latest release features over 300 integration points and stronger synchronization across five suites of software: Content Suite, Process Suite, Experience Suite, Information Exchange Suite, and Discovery Suite. The OpenText Vision: A Holistic View of EIM Let me touch on some of the highlights, suite by suite: Content Suite: will reduce costs through security features, information governance, and content lifecycle management. Innovations include an easier to use interface, APIs, reports, report writer, and Archive in the Cloud. Process Suite: automate processes to improve performance with new Smart Process Apps, including Case Management, Case Intelligence, and flexible deployment on premise or in the Cloud. Experience Suite: create the best possible consistent experiencewith every interaction through enhancements like omni-channel publishing and adaptive media, web and social analytics, ecommerce connectors, and our new HTML5 user experience. Information Exchange Suite: build trust and reliability, and reduce risk with the secure exchange of information from any user on any device to any destination. Innovations include advanced messaging services layer for fax, notification and EDI services, real time audit trails, and data loss prevention capabilities. Discovery Suite: empower people to find, understand, and leverage enterprise information for greater insight and better decision making with solutions for auto-classification, content migration, content analytics, semantic search, eDiscovery – and a CIO dashboard. With our latest release, we’re also introducing AppWorks, common RESTful services, and an EIM developer platform that accelerates the speed of development and introduces opportunities for innovation to our customers and partners. With AppWorks, developers can begin to write code using our suites within hours as opposed to weeks, using standard languages such as Java, JavaScript, and HTML5. The EIM suites outlined above are integrated through AppWorks to leverage the value of combined suites into a comprehensive EIM platform. Support for Sophisticated Information Flows AppWorks builds our holistic EIM strategy by supporting complete and integrated information flows to maximize the value of information across the enterprise. EIM is the next generation of enterprise software. Our latest release delivers a strong technology foundation for our customers to build on and establishes EIM as the mission-critical solution to drive insight, innovation, and growth. (1) Ray Paquet, “Technology Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore”, Gartner Inc., http://www.gartner.com/it/content/1503500/1503515/january_19_tech_trends_you_cant_afford_to_ignore_rpaquet.pdf (accessed 10 Nov. 2012). (2) Alan Weintrub, “The Enterprise Information Management Barbell Strengthens Your Information Value.” ©2013, Forrester Research, Inc: July 15, 2003

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Fax Security and Navigating the Affordable Healthcare for America Act

The dust has settled, politicians have hashed out their differencesand now the Affordable Healthcare for America Act is ready forenrollees. In the advent of this new legislation, the Department ofHealth and Human Services has deployed a group of individuals callednavigators; they are in place to guide people through the nuances of thenew law including details on health plans, benefits as well as how tofill out online applications. Of particular importance is the explicit warning the Department of Health and Human Services has for these navigators which is, “do not leave documents containing personally identifiable information (PII) or tax return information on printers and fax machines.” You don’t say? Section 2.4.3 of the Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual contains this warning and others. It also instructs navigators that: “Whenfaxing PII or tax return information, double-check that the recipient’sfax number is correct and that someone is able to pick up the faxedinformation immediately.” Does this sound familiar: not leaving faxes exposed to unauthorizedviewers; verifying fax numbers, making sure fax documents are accessedimmediately? They sound a lot like issues OpenText’s enterprise faxsolutions are designed to solve. To learn more about how OpenText helpsenable secure, reliable and compliant fax transmissions click here.

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Securities – Collateral for Dummies, Damage Free

In this blog, I am introducing another industry buzzword: Straight-Through Processing. To illustrate what this means, I am looking at the use case of the typical collateral services offered by a Bank. Let’s examine at high level what the challenges are from a people, process and technology perspective, and what can be done in the wider context of the new daily reporting regulations. In order to achieve this, I’m using real-life examples shared by Curt Brill, seasoned professional from various global securities and funds services functions. Collateral Services offered by Banks Collateral Services are a growth area for Banks, however the issue is that there is little automation in place to support this, especially for daily collateral calculations and reporting. Clients traditionally send inbound instructions via, fax, email, or spreadsheet and the bank matches broker and asset manager/corporate instructions manually before acting. To achieve this process daily and for many thousands of accounts, banks need to receive instructions in a standard manner. Automation is key and only possible with a consistent, consolidated set of IT processes and business instruction to enable the removal of manual intervention. This is known as STP, Straight-Through processing. Unfortunately there isn’t currently a unique, simple and highly adopted industry standard or best practice. Things can vary tremendously between regions, because of legacy systems or IT compromises made by each stakeholder and counterparty in the value chain. There is an increasing amount of convergence, with only a handful of standards and best practices globally, however because the devil is in the details, each Bank needs to bridge that final gap with their own choice of operating model, IT infrastructure and integration and messaging technology. Straight-Through Processing isn’t only the ultimate goal for Banks, the mirror processes happening with Brokers and Clearing Houses also require automation. There is at least a few areas where STP should apply as much as possible: Collateral Management, Broker Dealer Services, Liquidity Services, Collateral Segregation, CCP Clearing and Collateralisation. GXS operates services that augment the level of STP to enable our clients to send instructions in non-standard formats through our platform; we can translate and enrich with reference data to create a standard format banks can process. This improves client servicing and onboarding for these bank services. From an Operations and Post-Trade perspective, this allows keeping an audit trail of client input formats to bank standards, for banks to resolve client inquiries. The Bank can further automate the process flow by leveraging operational tools to reject or process instructions that do not match or have errors. From a client and counterparty on-boarding perspective, Banks can deliver bespoke portal applications that clients can use to instruct their banks in a standard manner. Alongside portal applications, GXS also provides connectivity and messaging services (SFTP, MQ, etc) for clients to send in instructions. From a reporting perspective, the flow of inbound and outbound data allows Banks to centrally store, process and extract detailed information to calculate accurate collateral positions and issue daily reports.  

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Hybrid Faxing with RightFax and RightFax Connect

Ever wonder what the next big thing in faxing is? We do – all thetime. But OpenText doesn’t just wonder; we lead the way, and we knowthe next big thing in faxing is hybrid faxing (combining on-premises faxservers with cloud fax services to send and receive faxes). OpenTextprovides the most powerful hybrid fax solution available by combiningRightFax with RightFax Connect. With no capacity constraints, RightFax and RightFax Connect combineto provide instant, flexible capacity to handle any volume of faxingwithout the congestion, busy signals or delays associated withtraditional faxing. And since RightFax uses RightFax Connect to securelysend and receive faxes, you no longer need to implement, manage,troubleshoot or worry about your telephone network connections toRightFax. Easy peasy. In addition, with RightFax and RightFax Connect – you can takeadvantage of all the fax integrations available from OpenText and ourPartners that allow faxing to and from a variety of businessapplications. Learn more at http://faxsolutions.opentext.com/rightfaxconnect.aspx.

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Davidson Consulting Tags OpenText as #1 Provider of Fax Servers

We’re Number 1! Davidson Consulting, the preeminent fax market research firm, has named OpenText the #1 provider of fax servers, the #1 FoIP supplier and the #1 production fax server supplier in their most recent report – Computer-Based Fax Markets, 2012-2017. In addition, Davidson also considers OpenText poised for leadership in hybrid faxing, an area the research firm dubbed the “hottest part of the computer fax market.” According to Davidson hybrid faxing’s growing appeal stems from enterprises’ on-going need to increase efficiency and shed costs within their fax environments, particularly: eliminate paper based faxing foster speedy deployments remove capacity constraints support disaster recovery Download a complimentary copy of the Davidson Consulting’s Computer-Based Fax Markets, 2012-2017 report here: www.opentext.com/faxserverreport. Then read about OpenText’s on-premises fax server, RightFax, our cloud-based fax service, EasyLink, and our hybrid solution – RightFax Connect.

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How the ‘Internet of Things’ will Impact B2B and Global Supply Chains

Over the past few months CIOs and executives around the world have been trying to embrace a new set of IT related buzzwords, namely The Internet of Things (IoT), The Internet of Everything and the Industrial Internet. All three terms are essentially used to describe machine to machine (M2M) connectivity across the internet. The IoT relies on any machine or device being connected, via fixed wire or wireless communications links to the internet and then being able to transmit information in one form or another. There are countless research articles that have been published on the internet describing these three terms and I do not want to spend too much time discussing these in detail, instead I will discuss how they relate to B2B and the Supply Chain and how they are going to change the way in which companies work with each other in the future. The IoT has provided a much needed boost to the high tech and manufacturing sectors, but the technology being deployed is usable across virtually any industry sector and there lies the business opportunity. The most widely published figure estimating the market size for IoT was produced by Cisco who believes the market will be worth $14.4 trillion by 2020. Cisco has taken the lead in terms of developing thought leadership in this area, their recent Internet of Everything study provided some interested insights including the benefits chart shown below. IDC estimates an IoT market size of $9 trillion by 2020. Either of these estimates are very big numbers which is why IBM, GE, Infineon, Qualcomm and many other companies are investing significant amounts of money on IoT based technologies and services. IDC suggests there are three enablers driving the IoT, namely: On-going development of smart cities, cars and houses Enhanced connectivity infrastructure An increasingly connected culture where everyone wants to be connected to the internet at home, at work or in the car IDC goes on to predict that there will 212 billion ‘things’ connected to the internet by 2020. It is important to stress that the IoT is in its infancy but wired connected devices have been in use for many years. The idea of the IoT initially became popular through the Auto-ID Center, a non-profit collaboration of private companies and academic institutions that pioneered the development of a web-like infrastructure for tracking shipments around the world through the use of RFID tags carrying electronic product codes. The IoT relies on web-enabling virtually any type of product or piece of equipment so that data about the object can be captured and communicated. Once captured, the information would be transferred from the remote device and then processed via some form of middleware to an integration platform. Ideally from a business point of view, all connected devices would be connected to the same integration platform to allow them to work seamlessly with back office business environments such as supply chain management and ERP platforms. McKinsey & Company recently said in a report that the manufacturing sector is likely to see the most benefits from the IoT and they went on to predict that we are about to enter the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. The industrial internet will see the world of manufacturing become more and more networked until everything is interlinked with everything else. GE sees so much potential in the industrial internet that they have setup a software division, called GE Software, based in California to look at how they can exploit this across the various products and services that they offer. McKinsey also believes that the IoT will lead to an exponential growth in data flowing across the extended enterprise and companies will have to acquire personnel with the necessary data analysis experience to be able to process this information. These people will have to design robust algorithms for processing IoT related information and then translate what happens in the physical world into a format that can be handled in the digital world. This requires mathematical, domain, market and context know-how. In the connected world, the physical world should be integrated with business processes, including delivering data, sending events and processing rules. The area of Big Data may just be starting to gain acceptance across different industry sectors, but the IoT will see interest in Big Data Analytics grow exponentially over the coming years. With a piece of integration software or middleware acting as the interface between the physical and digital supply chains, how can companies leverage this connection and more importantly how could it help to streamline supply chain processes across the extended enterprise? There are a number of ways in which the IoT could add value to supply chain strategies, not just in manufacturing, but in other sectors such as retail as well. We are at the very early stages of understanding how the IoT will impact the enterprise, but from a supply chain management point of view here are three initial areas where the IoT could impact global supply chains: Pervasive Visibility – relates to the way in which shipments are tracked at every stage of their journey from their point of manufacture to their point of delivery. The IoT not only provides ‘information everywhere’ but will offer ‘visibility everywhere’ as well. RFID is one such technology that was introduced to provide improved visibility of shipments, but has sometimes struggled to offer full end to end visibility across a supply chain due to the fact that the infrastructure to track RFID tags has not existed on a truly widespread, end to end basis. As more pieces of equipment, infrastructure and vehicles are connected to the internet, it means that traditional ‘black spots’ or visibility gaps across a supply chain where shipment visibility is limited will begin to disappear. Connected devices or infrastructure will help to plug these visibility gaps and allow shipments to be tracked end to end across a supply chain. The IoT will also allow companies to have two way communications with their shipments at each stage of its journey across the supply chain. For example a piece of equipment could be remotely contacted and instructed to go into an ‘installation mode’ before it arrives at the site where it will be delivered. Proactive Replenishment – efficient inventory management has always been a challenge across the retail industry, especially when one considers the various channels that consumers can purchase goods today. Whether buying online, or through traditional brick and mortar stores, managing inventory levels and being able to replenish stocks efficiently is a constant challenge. It is not just the retail outlets, keeping vending machines stocked up is another area that could be considerably improved. Many vending machines are typically in remote locations and the only way a company gets to monitor stock levels is to physically visit the vending machine and replenish the stock as required. What if the vending machine could be connected to the IoT and when the vending machine detects low stock for a particular item it is able to automatically place an order for new stock which can then be delivered before it runs out. What if this was expanded to normal retail outlets and low stock signals from a sensor fitted to shelving in the stores triggers the ordering of new stock. In France many supermarkets have RFID based price tags to allow pricing information to be updated centrally, extending this capability to check for stock levels will change the way in which retail outlets manage their inventory levels. Predictive Maintenance – In an earlier blog I highlighted a case for how the IoT could support the replacement of parts in serviceable products such as industrial equipment and office equipment for example. If a piece of equipment is able to self-diagnose a potential problem and then place an order for a replacement part, then it can be fitted before the part fails. I used an example of a car engine detecting reduced flow rates across a water pump. A seal on the water pump could be leaking, causing inefficient operation of the cooling system. Before the water pump completely fails, the car’s ECU sends information via the internet to a local service centre about a potential problem and at the same time places an order for a new seal to be delivered directly to the car owner’s normal location where they get their vehicle serviced. The service centre then automatically checks the service schedule and emails the owner of the car to notify them of an impending issue with their car. This scenario could be applied to an aircraft, a piece of construction equipment or even a fax machine in an office, any serviceable equipment will be connected to the IoT to help detect potential problems and get them resolved ASAP. Direct integration with a B2B platform allows all ordering and shipment related documents to be created and tracked automatically so that service centres know exactly when the replacement parts will be delivered. Key to all three of these areas is the ability to integrate the physical and digital supply chains. Companies will need access to a cloud based integration platform that can integrate to a wide variety of connected devices, equipment and services. An M2M API or middleware that sits between the piece of equipment and the supply chain management environment will be key to providing the link between physical and digital supply chains. Therefore common standards will have to be developed to achieve this seamlessly and IBM has started the ball rolling by proposing their MQTT standard as the basis of how machines will communicate with each other across the internet. But this is only one part of the equation, as document/file standards and ways to process the information being transmitted between these devices must also be developed. The key challenge to widespread adoption of the IoT relates to achieving seamless interoperability and common standards that need to be developed to allow machines to be able to communicate at a technical level and across different borders and cultures as well. In North America an alliance of ten companies including Cisco and GE are working to lobby the US government on the importance of developing open standards that will encourage broad adoption of the IoT. The alliance is aiming to address the following IoT related issues: Co-engineering cyber and physical systems Identifying cyber-security issues and solutions Addressing concerns about interoperability Identifying ways to maintain robust wireless connections Setting standards for real-time data collection and analytics It is not just in North America where IoT related standards are being discussed. The European Research Cluster on the Internet of Things has undertaken some interesting research over the past couple of years, one of the more interesting reports tried to define all the areas that had to be addressed to develop an IoT related platform. In China the government sees the IoT as being able to offer a key competitive advantage in the global economy. So as not to miss out on the next big internet revolution they have instructed numerous government departments to come up with policies for how the IoT can be deployed across China. Pervasive, Proactive and Preventative, three words that begin to define the benefits of the IoT, especially from a supply chain perspective. The IoT will allow the seamless exchange of information in real time between a shipment, its surroundings and a common, cloud based, integration platform that is used to connect all trading partners across the extended enterprise. I have not had time to discuss other areas such as Smart Grids and how for example the IoT will impact the Electric Vehicle industry, I will expand on these in future blogs. I am fortunate to be attending the Internet of Things World Forum in Barcelona in two weeks’ time and I will provide an update on the latest IoT related trends when I get back from this conference. In the meantime have you given any thought as to how your business could benefit or embrace the IoT?

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Here Comes Hybrid Faxing

Almost every enterprise software application is designed to help companies do two key things: save time and save money. These two goals have driven the Information Technology industry for years, accounting for significant productivity improvements for many organizations. This is also the goal of on-premises fax servers and cloud fax services – change the manual process of faxing into a more automated one (save time), reduce the cost of infrastructure necessary to manage fax machines and, if possible, eliminate any paper involved (two unique ways to save money). Since fax servers and cloud fax services save time and money over traditional fax machines, you might think they’re interchangeable. However, each has unique characteristics that are driving a new wave of “hybrid” deployments involving both fax servers and fax services. Hybrid fax solutions combine fax servers and cloud fax services. As a provider of both, OpenText sees hybrid fax solutions deployed in two ways. First, enterprises choose an on-premises fax system to enable faxing for a specific purpose. Then they implement a separate cloud fax service for another purpose. This dual deployment enables a company to save both time and money compared to faxing with fax machines. The second, newer version of hybrid faxing is when an organization uses the two systems together – typically using the fax server to provide management functions, desktop user interface, and integration to business applications. The cloud fax service is used to provide transmission of faxes for the on-premises fax server to eliminate capacity constraints and the need for telephony infrastructure. Which type of deployment is right for you ultimately depends on many factors such as IT standards and preferences, laws and regulations regarding transmission of information and fax volumes.

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Data Center for EasyLink Fax Services Recieves PCI-DSS Certification

OpenText has received compliancecertification at our Ashburn, VA data center with the Payment CardIndustry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). This certification by anindependent auditor confirms the care we take to protect customer data –specifically it ensures our processes around transmitting faxes withcredit card data in them are complaint with the PCI-DSS standardsrequiring that payment card data be kept private.. Many times neither organizations, nor their customers, realize thatfaxes contain payment card information. In true credit card fashion itwould benefit them to “read the fine print” and understand that if abreach occurred they’d experience significant losses – including damagedbrand reputation, loss of sales, and payment card issuer fines of$5,000 to $100,000. Even if organizations are suspected of a breach, thePCI-DSS folks can levy additional “fees” in the form of forensicexaminers rigorously inspecting everyone involved, including theircustomers and vendors. OpenText’s compliance with PCI-DSS certifies our ability to protect against the risks above by offering: encrypted transmission security encryption of data at rest immediate fax document deletion no archiving of fax data controls preventing OpenText personnel from accessing customer fax data Ultimately, more than anything else, meeting this standard furthersour pledge to continue implementing the policies, procedures andtechnology necessary to keep our customers’ fax data protected and ourtransmission network secure.

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Using the cloud for health information exchange

An article last week by Ken Congdon, editor-in-chief of Healthcare Technology Online, entitled “Do Healthcare Providers Finally Trust the Cloud?”discusses a couple studies that seem to show that Healthcare ITprofessionals are coming to have confidence in the security ofcloud-based systems for Health IT. This is important for OpenText because we offer cloud-based andhybrid fax solutions that transmit faxes via the cloud. Our systems helpeliminate paper and keep faxes in electronic format throughout theirlifecycle. We go to great lengths to ensure that using our serviceswould allow an organization to be HIPAA compliant. For example: our EasyLink Fax2Mail service undergoes HIPAA Auditsevery year and we meet the requirements for HIPAA/HITECH by providingthe security features listed below: Encryption at Rest and in Transit Symmetric 128-bit AES encryption Encryption keys are rotated every 30 days Immediate Document Deletion Option Documents are deleted as soon as delivery is completed Encrypted Archiving Option Documents can be archived with encryption enabled No Archive Option Customer has the ability to choose not to archive documents HIPAA Viewer Option Restricts EasyLink from viewing any customer data Bottom Line? OpenText’s cloud fax services are secure and helpcompanies meet HIPAA requirements when transmitting protected healthinformation via the cloud.

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Hey Pentagon – over here!

A recent article at arstechnicapoints out that the Pentagon’s Office of the Secretary of Defense has asingle fax machine for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests – andit is broken. Guess what? We have multiple solutions that eliminate the machine part of the fax machine! One option is our fax appliance. It is rack-sized appliance thataccepts 1 to 4 analog phone lines (the Pentagon must have that if theyhave a fax machine) and turns inbound faxes into electronic documentsand distributes them according to rules to appropriate email addresses. Another option would be a RightFax server. It requires a server torun on and we sell fax boards for those old analog lines. If thePentagon is using VoIP – we have software for accepting faxes over aVoIP network. Or they could implement a RightFax server and use ourcloud service – RightFax Connect – for fax transmission. Finally – the Pentagon could move all this to the cloud. Our EasyLinkFax2Mail service could accept all the FOIA faxes and route them to anemail address as attachments. This solution can be up and running inhours and is easily managed via a web portal. See how easy it is? And one of the best parts of these fax options? No more paper!

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