Supply Chain

CIO Review Selects OpenText in top 20 Most Promising Supply Chain Providers

OpenText was recently honored by CIOReview in the October issue, where the 20 most promising supply chain technology solution providers were announced. The inclusion of OpenText demonstrates the significant, positive impact that customers are experiencing with B2B integration solutions. To decide on the top 20 providers, CIOReview analyzed literally hundreds of supply chain solution providers and then shortlisted those companies at the forefront of tackling the challenges in the supply chain arena. A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs and analysts, including CIOReview’s editorial board, selected the final list of Supply Chain Tech Solution Providers 2015. Their selection was based on the vendor’s capability to offer cutting edge technologies and solutions that add value to the supply chain landscape. The OpenText Trading Grid integration platform and OpenText B2B Managed Services provide a powerful combination of technology, people and processes to transform B2B integration programs in companies around the world. CIOReview interviewed Marco de Vries, Senior Director of Product Marketing, and expert in B2B integration. Marco offers insights in the interview on how B2B integration positively impacts an organization’s agility, profitability and growth. The article also discusses how Alstom Power is using OpenText B2B Managed Services and Active Orders to improve supply chain integration. The full Alstom case study can be viewed here. You can read the full CIOReview article here.  

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Did You Know OpenText and SAP Now Run Together to Simplify Trading Partner Connectivity?

OpenText recently announced an expansion of their partnership with SAP whereby SAP’s customers will now be able to connect to their external trading partner community through OpenText’s Trading Grid® platform, a core component of OpenText’s cloud. SAP has been a key partner of OpenText for many years and this expanded partnership will transform the B2B integration capabilities that SAP can offer to their global customers. Many companies already leverage SAP’s Ariba network to manage ‘indirect’ materials related spend across their business operations. Allowing SAP’s customers to integrate with their external trading partner communities via OpenText B2B Managed Services will allow companies to improve how they manage ‘direct’ materials related spend as well. So running together, SAP and OpenText’s cloud based business networks are complementary to each other. More information on the new partnership is available here. OpenText, through their acquisition of GXS, has been able to offer companies a way to seamlessly integrate their B2B and ERP environments together. OpenText already has some of SAP’s largest customers connected to the Trading Grid infrastructure, and this announcement is a logical next step in bringing our business networks closer together. I have written many blog posts over the past six years to highlight the importance of why companies should be thinking of integrating their ERP and B2B systems together, so I thought it would be useful to recap some of the key discussion points from my earlier blogs in this slightly extended post. Rolling out a new ERP project is typically the number one priority for today’s CIOs. SAP for example provides the backbone infrastructure that drives many internal business processes, whether in the area of HR, expense management, indirect materials spend, managing production processes or transport/warehouse operations. If SAP systems do not receive timely and accurate information from external trading partners then there is a possibility that internal business systems could grind to a halt, which from a production operation point of view can be quite damaging to the overall business operation. In an earlier research study we found that over a third of information that typically enters an ERP environment comes from outside the business. So having a highly available, global B2B platform that provides seamless connectivity to an outside trading partner community is becoming a high priority for today’s CIOs. So when is the best time to think about integrating to ERP? We have found, through many ERP/B2B integration projects that we have successfully completed with OpenText’s B2B Managed Services , that companies should think about B2B integration whenever they are undertaking a major ERP initiative. We have found there are four main ERP initiatives that can help drive new B2B integration projects: implementing new ERP platforms, for example switching from Oracle to SAP, consolidating numerous ERP instances onto a single platform, upgrading legacy ERP instances which could involve moving to a cloud based ERP environment and finally extending an existing ERP platform with new capabilities. If we take the example of a new SAP project, as I said this will be the number one project on the ‘to-do’ list of a CIO. The CIO will be under pressure from various stakeholders across the business to meet a specific go live date and this could mean that the CIO will have to pull in as many IT resources as possible to ensure the SAP go live date is met. But what happens to other IT projects such as deploying a new B2B environment or onboarding new trading partners in a remote location if there are no internal B2B resources available? Well put bluntly these other projects could potentially grind to a halt. So how can the CIO meet a go live date without compromising other initiatives such as managing a B2B network? The easiest way is to utilize external B2B resources to manage the B2B project whilst the CIO focuses on his main or core activity of meeting their SAP go live date. So where do these additional B2B resources come from?, well put simply this is where OpenText B2B Managed Services comes in. In fact we are often referred to as an extension to a CIO’s IT team. For over twenty years, OpenText has been working on many SAP related B2B integration projects, both single instance and multiple instance, to support global business operations. Multi-National companies in industries such as high tech, automotive, consumer goods, manufacturing and financial services utilize OpenText B2B Managed Services to maximize their SAP investment. OpenText B2B Managed Services, shown by the above diagram, helps companies improve the management of their SAP/B2B integration projects in a number of different ways: Global Systems Management – Ensuring that external trading partner connectivity is highly available, this is critical to the smooth running of an integrated SAP/B2B environment. If external connectivity is lost for any reason, this will interrupt the flow of information entering an SAP environment and any downstream business systems. OpenText Managed Services environment runs across a highly available infrastructure with multiple data centres located in North America and Europe. Data is replicated between data centers on a regular basis and in the event of a catastrophic failure in one data centre, the infrastructure will fail across to the other data center thus maintaining availability of a B2B environment. Visibility, Alerting and Analytics – OpenText provides business process visibility and exception-based monitoring for a business and its customers. Visibility is delivered through a simple web based interface that provides tools such as related document queries, role based views and proactive monitoring/alerting capabilities. For example, upon completion of the translation process, OpenText Managed Services will automatically generate a STATUS IDOC (Status = 5 or 6) back to the client’s SAP environment to indicate whether the IDOC translation failed or succeeded. Recently introduced analytics capabilities help to improve visibility and reporting capabilities still further SAP Connectivity – B2B integration platforms must be connected to the numerous different instances of SAP running at local manufacturing plants, retail stores, shared service centers and headquarters locations. OpenText supports a broad range of communications protocols to connect with SAP including ALE, AS2, PI and FTP. You can use a combination of communication technologies to meet all your trading partner requirements. The most popular option for exchanging IDOCs is the native SAP Application Link Enabling (ALE) technology. Data & Process Intelligence – Ideally, SAP systems can only operate efficiently and offer maximum ROI when they are fed with clean and accurate information. OpenText uses a robust business rules engine based on over 150 of the most common supply chain-related SAP business rules. OpenText ensures that all externally sourced information is clean and accurate before entering SAP, this eliminates the need for investigating data mismatches, reprocessing inaccurate data, or calling trading partners to resolve data quality issues. This pre-processing of externally sourced information before it enters an SAP system effectively places an ‘ERP firewall’ around SAP applications. The aim of the firewall is to protect an SAP system from poor quality data sent in by customers, suppliers, distributors, logistics providers or financial institutions. Mapping & Translation – Document mapping is one of the most complex tasks to undertake during an SAP to B2B integration project. Mapping experts must understand the relationships between data structures used by external trading partners and the information needed in SAP. For example, a mapping expert may need to extract shipping information from an advanced shipping notice to populate the appropriate SHPMNT01 IDOC document. With the possibility of having to create hundreds of maps, ensuring that maps can be created on schedule is one of the most important aspects of an integration project. Creating these maps internally is not a very efficient use of expensive IT resources. Delegating the mapping process to a third party vendor would be beneficial for any company undertaking such an integration project. OpenTextenables a company to integrate B2B messaging across multiple instances of SAP and with trading partners around the world. Partner Onboarding – Most SAP projects are not purely technical in nature, functionality upgrades are usually the justification for investment. With new modules or expanded user-communities comes the need to connect to a broader range of supply chain partners. With larger companies having globalized their operations, the on-boarding and integration of trading partners across different time zones can be difficult to manage. In many cases, companies simply do not have the resources to manage the on-boarding of trading partners in different geographical regions. OpenText Managed Services provides a comprehensive on-boarding service to both recruit and enable your trading partners including web forms and Microsoft Excel based adapters. Program Management – SAP projects require an immense amount of co-ordination across the extended enterprise. B2B integration managers must ensure that maps are created correctly, trading partners are connected properly and data validation rules are reflected within the B2B system as well. If companies are looking to introduce further SAP functionality, for example implementing a transport management system, then the project management challenge becomes even more complex. OpenText B2B Managed Services allows a company to leverage highly-experienced project managers to manage the implementation process. OpenText will provide a dedicated program manager who will undertake a number of roles to ensure that SAP to B2B integration projects go as smoothly as possible. Their role will include looking after the day to day communication with a community of trading partners and ensuring that trading partners can support new transaction types, data quality rules or KPIs to measure performance. Finally, they also offer support for testing and looking after the overall release and deployment of the newly integrated platform with the customer. Providing Global Support – Many companies have globalized their operations and have manufacturing plants and trading partners around the world. As a result, all users of an SAP/B2B integration platform must have access to a global support infrastructure so that if any problems arise they can be resolved as quickly as possible. OpenText B2B Managed Services provides 24/7, multi-lingual, support coverage. This helps users across an extended enterprise receive the help they need, in any language or any time zone around the world. With many companies establishing manufacturing operations in low cost countries such as China, India, Eastern Europe and Latin America, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to support trading partners within these particular regions of the world. Implementing an outsourced approach to managing the integration between SAP and a B2B platform will help to ensure that your business realises even greater levels of return on your investment. Cloud, mobile and SAP HANA may provide a good incentive to upgrade and consolidate SAP instances but integrating seamlessly to a trading partner community should also be high on a CIO’s agenda. Therefore I think it is fairly safe to say that without B2B integration to outside trading partners, an ERP environment could be considered ‘incomplete’, OpenText B2B Managed Services helps to ‘complete ERP’.

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Don’t let What Happens in Vegas Stay in Vegas!

At least, not what you learn at OpenText Enterprise World 2015, taking place November 8-13 in Las Vegas, NV. If you are already planning to attend this annual customer event, or are still undecided, ask yourself why you plan to go; what do you hope to take back to your organization? Is it the latest insights on product roadmaps and corporate directions from your technology vendor? To decide whether the solution provider is the right vendor if you’re not already an existing customer? To learn from peers, meet the experts, and share ideas? There are a myriad of reasons. But ultimately, your attendance has to deliver value—something you can take back to your organization that will make a difference in how you work, the value you contribute to your enterprise information management (EIM) efforts, or the overall effectiveness of your technology investment. All are good reasons to attend. However, many would-be attendees struggle to ‘make the case’ for participation in terms of a real ROI. Perhaps the goals aren’t lofty enough. What if you could learn how to dramatically change the course of your company? What if you could learn something new that has a material impact on your organization’s growth, its profitability, its compliance with regulations, and your overall business agility? Most would agree that translates to a strong ROI for a week in Vegas. Challenge yourself to experience something new, and take a new look at what EIM can do for you and your business. Set a stretch goal. How do you do this? By following the Information Exchange (IX) track at Enterprise World. IX is about the secure exchange of information between your organization and its extended trading partner ecosystem. This suite of offerings enables you to automate key processes such as procure to pay, order to cash, secure notifications, funds transfers, payments, logistics, and more. All organizations, regardless of your industry, accomplish their mission “beyond the four walls” of their enterprise—with customers, suppliers, providers, agencies, etc. However, most investments in productivity, automation, security, standardization, etc. are focused within the four walls. Information exchange—B2B and other forms of messaging—are too often relegated to IT… as just a cost of doing business. “We’ve got that covered”… “We have an EDI guy”. Here is the massive stone you can turn at Enterprise World. Look outside the four walls to find savings, drive efficiencies, comply with industry mandates, and leverage supply chain data to optimize processes. Elevating B2B to the C-level vs. an IT project alone. The digital transformation is omnipresent. To leverage new opportunities and face new challenges, you need a comprehensive digital strategy. Follow the IX Track at Enterprise World to learn how to survive—and thrive—in the new digital supply chain. B2B integration and secure messaging is a critical foundation for success in the digital age. Drive down operational cost, mitigate and manage corporate compliance risk, speed time to market and time to value, and focus on your core competencies. OpenText IX will show you how to integrate the processes, systems, and business partners necessary to attain these benefits. Come learn from industry leaders and OpenText experts how information exchange can change the course of your business. Don’t let the best practices stay in Vegas. Take them back with you to your organization. Set a course for growth, profitability, and agility. (Source: SCM World, “Chief Supply Chain Officer Report,” September 2014)

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Join us for a Free Information Session on how an Automated Supply Chain can help ECM be better

As an ECM practitioner, how much thought do you give to the complex back-office infrastructure that supports your organization’s supply chain? You should; success as a digital enterprise will only come from being fully digital outside and inside. In other words, a fully customer-centric process that draws on information from across the enterprise is great, but it will quickly stall if fulfilment involves chaotic piles of inventory management reports and frantic phone calls. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster. Go ahead and Google how much money and time it takes to win back a disgruntled customer, especially one who’s now using your carefully crafted social media tools to broadcast their dissatisfaction. Organizations in manufacturing, distribution, and retail face unique challenges when it comes to the supply chain and connecting with suppliers and/or buyers to exchange information related to transactions. Just keeping track of who you do business with, the right person to contact, and if they comply with your standards is a lot work–and that is long before you begin to process invoices and store information in your ECM system! That’s why we’re hosting a unique, free, half-day information session the day before Enterprise World kicks off for the front-office crowd to learn and experience how digital supply chain systems work and what they can add to overall business strategy, agility, and productivity. Please note: This is not a technical session! If you’re involved in anything from marketing to accounts payable to IT architecture, you’ll find the information here valuable. Join us on Tuesday, November 10 for this special educational session on digitizing and automating the supply chain. The session will include an overview of the benefits of automation, and a discussion of how outsourcing B2B integration to an expert can reduce costs and shorten implementation times. We’ll share a couple examples of how OpenText customers have transformed their B2B integration program through OpenText B2B Managed Services. The session will be led by Jeff Keefer, Global Director, B2B Managed Services at OpenText. Jeff is an expert at supply chain automation and is a trusted advisor in working with OpenText customers to enable supply chain automation through B2B integration and managed services. Yes, it may not be your job, but no one’s ever suffered from knowing too much about potential benefits, pitfalls, and solutions. And here’s your chance to hit Vegas a day early and gain insight into a whole, new area that really does affect your team’s performance. Plus, you’ll now be able to start peppering development meetings with knowledgeable references to terms like EDI and inventory turns! Looking forward to seeing you there.

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Embracing Customer Centricity at Enterprise World 2015

AS2 FTP

Organizations today are competing on the basis of a differentiated customer experience. It is not enough to have the best products or services, but you must now differentiate on the experience that your end users have when doing business with you. After all, a product or service is only as valuable as the way in which its use is realized by your customers. But what does it mean to be Customer Centric? It’s not a technology – it is your Goal; it is a Journey for your customer that is tuned to meet their needs on every device, in every location, in every language, in every CONTEXT where you both interact. Every employee should feel empowered to work in harmony and deliver the best experience to the customer. Achieving this vision allows you to maximize the customer lifetime value – the more value the consumer receives, the more opportunities you have to upsell the customer and gain new customers from positive customer advocacy. Enterprise World 2015 gives you an opportunity to hear directly from organizations around the world that are on their own journey to create a better way to work. The Customer Experience Management track this year is focusing on key areas of digital transformation related to better customer engagement, better, business insights and better employee productivity. We have brought in leading Industry Analysts to share their research and trends happening in the Digital Experience driven world we live in today.  We also have some AMAZING companies sharing their own experiences in strategizing and executing projects to adopt a more digital approach to their business processes and customer/ constituent / partner interactions. You have to come hear their stories! Come join us in the journey to a better way to work – add these highlighted sessions to your agenda: Strategy – CEM 210 will discuss how achieving a customer centric vision requires strategy and architecture decisions. Learning – CEM 102 takes a look at how consumer trends are driving business transformation of business processes and user engagement across B2C and B2B organizations. CEM 101 takes a look inside financial services companies that have to engage their customers across B2B2C complexities. Implemention – The next step after an approved strategy is to identify a key project to get started. Tackling the Digital Workplace is the focus of CEM 112 where a global organization found the answer in implementing better content sharing and content management. Adoption – It takes a village…. employee adoption of a digital transformation can result in amazing increased productivity and customer satisfaction. CEM 100 takes a look at overcoming challenges at getting users to adopt new processes and technologies to be successful. Insights – CEM 110 is a Fireside Chat that delves into the importance of insights (from analytics to interactions) to innovate how you work inside and outside the organization Two key Technical sessions are related to Upgrading ( CEM 200) and the Roadmaps ( Expo) for OpenText Media Management, Web Experience Management, Customer Communications Management (StreamServe) and the latest PowerDocs application. Roadmaps are hosted in our Digital Experience Theater in the Expo – see the schedule on the mobile app agenda or at the Theater. We are also excited to showcase how 3-D printing can become a part of your communication strategy. Finally, the session on Tuesday titled “Optimize your supply chain with B2B Managed Services” is great if your organization could benefit from improved supply chain visibility and increased digital integration with suppliers or customers. This special educational session will focus on how to digitize and automate your supply chain and include an overview of the reasons to automate, and a discussion of how outsourcing B2B integration to an expert can reduce costs and shorten implementation times. We’ll share a couple examples of how OpenText customers transformed their B2B integration program through OpenText B2B Managed Services.

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Digital-First Fridays: The Digital Supply Network

Digital makes it possible for the smallest company to participate in the global economy. Disruption is lowering barriers to entry, which results in higher levels of competition. Based on stiffer competition, businesses are shifting from a vertically integrated supply chain model to a highly specialized, outsourced network model. In the digital world, these networks will be made up of low-cost suppliers and virtual manufacturers, and will serve niche industries that span the globe. Many products in the future will be built-to-order. Organizations are already realizing the value of customization: you can design your own Goldfish crackers thanks to Pepperidge Farm, NIKEiD invites you to customize Nike running shoes for optimized performance—even Coke bottle labels can be personalized. While this new environment of hyper-differentiation provides exciting ways of engaging customers, it is also requiring companies to radically overhaul their supply chain processes. As companies specialize and outsource, operations need to scale, shift, and contract depending on business and market requirements. New channels need to be leveraged and new markets serviced. To be able to differentiate, organizations need to have agility and flexibility built into their production lines. This calls for the digitalization of end-to-end processes across the supply network. The benefits of digitalizing processes are many: costs can be reduced, turnaround times improved by several orders of magnitude, errors minimized, and new channels and new routes to the customer can be explored. The Digital Supply Network with Customer at the Hub Increased flexibility and agility are the keys to success. Digital leaders are achieving this by digitizing core business processes and adopting emerging technologies. They are automating processes and delivering 24/7 engagement with self-service capabilities. B2B integration is providing the sophisticated synchronization of data and transactions for the automated exchange of goods, commerce, and information. Analytics are giving the enterprise incredible insights for supply chain optimization and end-to-end supply chain visibility. The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to further enhance the richness of supply chain information, creating networks that are intelligent and instrumented. Managing all of this information across a collaborative platform is the key to optimization and B2B integration in efficient, secure, and compliant ways. To meet the challenges of the evolving supply chain, the digital enterprise will depend on digital technology for increased global collaboration, seamless communication, real-time insights, and execution. The digital workplace will have to accommodate these shifts in the market and the technical expertise required to manage disruptive innovations. Supply networks will have to be optimized to satisfy customers and drive competitive advantage. The transformational Digital Workplace is the topic of the next post in this series. Find out how you can capitalize on digital disruption. To learn more, read my book, Digital: Disrupt or Die.

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Data Driven Digest for September 18: Money and Finance

This week marks the 133 anniversary of the opening of the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco. The establishment was created to serve the interest of businesses that struck it rich mining for gold during the California Gold Rush. Nowadays, businesses mine for data hoping to strike it rich by analyzing that data for clues about how to best serve their customers, streamline their operations, or gain a competitive advantage. In honor of those financial pioneers, this week we offer three different visualizations of financial data. Eureka! U.S. Fiscal Responsibility   In 1789, the United States established its first loan to pay salaries of the existing and future presidents and the Congress. As our friend Katy French (@katyifrench) posted in Visual News this week, bean counters in Washington kept great records and even produced stunning visualizations to represent trends. The graphic above represents the Fiscal Chart of Debt and Expenditures by the U.S. Government between 1789 and 1870. Note the spikes in military spending during the War of 1812 and Civil War as well as the first major accumulation of debt in 1861.   Euro Spending How do Europeans spend their paychecks? That was the premise of a recent data plot developed by The Economist (@TheEconomist). Based on data sets from Eurostat entitled Final consumption expenditure of households by consumption purpose, The Economist found life in the Euro zone is quite diverse. Living in Lithuania? Your budget is dominated by food and clothes. Lithuanians also spend more per capita on alcohol and tobacco than the rest of Europe. Meeting in Malta? Forget about eating at home. Nearly 20 percent of Maltese spending goes toward restaurants and hotels. Spaniards spend the least on their transportation. Germans spend more on their furnishings than their E.U. neighbors   World Population Based on Income Our friends over at Pew Research Center (@PewResearch) have come up with an interactive visualization based around the paradigms of income and how it relates to world population. For example, the map above shows the density of people living under what they term as a middle income. By middle income, that means your daily wages are between $10.01 and $20. According to the map, 13 percent of the 7+ billion people in the world are middle income. The map has a second option that reveals the percentage point change in that population between 2000 and 2011. It’s a fascinating study on both financial statistics as well as data maps. The income groups are defined as follows: The poor live on $2 or less daily, low income on $2.01-10, middle-income on $10.01-20, upper-middle income on $20.01-50, and high income on more than $50; figures expressed in 2011 purchasing power parities in 2011 prices.

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Digital Engagement: A New Business Requirement

Digital engagement isn’t an option anymore, it’s a requirement. Today’s consumers are savvy and fickle, and companies must work to earn their loyalty. They’re demanding more from the brands they love, and their tolerance for anything but a seamless, engaging, and compelling experience is flagging. In a digital world, organizations must digitize their customer journeys, from initial interest through to purchase and follow-on service or support. The best way to do this is to shift to a digital marketing strategy. One that creates consistent and compelling customer experiences at every touchpoint through omni-channel delivery, responsive design, and targeted communications and information. Digital technologies have introduced new customer touchpoints and increased opportunities to engage. Since consumers often use more than one channel to interact with a brand (in some instances they use five or six), delivering uniform and relevant messages across all channels is crucial for return on marketing investments and customer satisfaction. Omni-channel focuses on meeting consumer needs by pulling together programs to provide a cohesive brand experience across channels, platforms, and devices. To borrow from Bruce Lee, digital design should “be like water”. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. The same holds true for digital experiences. The transition from desktop to device to point-of-sale should be fluid. This is achieved through responsive design. Customers don’t see individual devices or channels; they look for a consistent and familiar brand experience that delivers relevant content. Nirvana on the customer journey is realized when a company anticipates the needs and wants of a customer and serves up targeted and tailored content, products, or services, in the moment of need, wherever the customer is. Organizations that can predict customer behavior have a better chance at fulfilling consumer needs. Analytics—or analyzing data collected across various touchpoints of the customer journey (transactions, interactions, social media sites, and devices) helps organizations discover valuable customer insights so that they can offer more personalized and satisfying experiences. The most effective way to target different audiences is to use messages that focus on products and services with the greatest appeal for each segment. Using dynamically generated customer communications, organizations can create and automate their marketing campaigns. When correspondence is part of a digitized process, end results are gains in efficiency and the ability to create superior customer experiences. As one of the foundational suites for Enterprise Information Management (EIM), Customer Experience Management (CEM) aims to create a richer, more interactive online experience across multiple channels without sacrificing requirements for compliance and information governance. CEM brings together all of the technologies required to re-architect back-office systems, consolidate customer data, and create digitized front-end experiences. Digital engagement starts inside the firewall and extends outside the enterprise and all along the supply chain. In the next post in this series, I’ll explore how the supply chain is being disrupted and how enterprises can digitize key processes for greater collaboration, information exchange, and business agility. Find out how you can capitalize on digital disruption. To learn more, read my book, Digital: Disrupt or Die.

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3 Questions: Content Marketing Expert Robert Rose on the Power of Analytics

Think your organization can tell the difference between good marketing content and great content? Only 36 percent of B2B marketers surveyed in 2014 by the Content Marketing Institute said they were effective at content marketing. To help increase its effectiveness, marketing experts suggest improving content measurement methods. White papers, brochures and blogs get the message out. Analytics illustrates a richer story. Robert Rose is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute and a senior contributing consultant for Digital Clarity Group. Robert’s highly anticipated second book – Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing is now available. His first book, Managing Content Marketing, spent two weeks as a top ten marketing book on Amazon.com and is generally considered to be the “owner’s manual” of the Content Marketing process. Robert is also the co-host of the podcast PNR’s This Old Marketing, the Number 1 podcast as reviewed by MarketingPodcasts.com We sat down with Robert to discuss the importance of transforming content into digital and the best ways to optimize value from analyzing that content. OpenText: With the world migrating towards a digital-first approach, talk about the importance of content-driven experiences. How should marketing, and other departments, optimize their operations to gain the most value of their digital assets? Robert Rose: The real trend is that content-driven experiences are the differentiation of the entire business these days. Whether you look at this as a layer of product development, an element of marketing – or the new way that you handle customer service, consumers now expect a better experience at any part of their particular journey. This means that marketing – and the development of content-driven experiences – must stretch across the entire customer journey. So, this inherently means that the business has to evolve “content” as a strategic asset.  It can simply no longer be just a byproduct of what people produce as part of their jobs – but must be cohesively created, managed, published, optimized and measured as a function in the business. And, in order to do that – the organization’s first step is to actually look at each of those tasks as a recognized function in the business. It must have actual organization, real responsibility, budget and measurability. OpenText: The intersection of digital content, cloud delivery and Big Data analysis seems like the next step for so many organizations. What recommendations can you give to decision makers in their quest for a digital content supply chain? Robert Rose: The key is to simplify. A great content-as-supply-chain process should actually reduce the amount of content being produced, but optimize its quality and efficacy. This means, ultimately, that the data it produces becomes higher quality and get be used to derive better meaning, and thus greater insight into how to improve the experiences being created.  The classic mistake that most businesses make is they create content in order to facilitate the sales, marketing and service of products – and then simply can’t keep up with the cadence that the product/service requires. Instead, they need to start with the customer, and the experience they’re trying to deliver – then work backwards to see how content can be created to build that experience. OpenText: There are many organizations that are successful in transforming their content and measuring its effectiveness. What are you top favorites and what made them so successful? Robert Rose: I think my current favorite is what Motorola Solutions has done by integrating technology and marketing into one common department. Eduardo Conrado is the Chief Innovation Officer (and wrote the introduction to my newest book). He recognized as the head of marketing and IT that both were truly focused on the same goal; creating a more compelling customer experience. So, he merged both of them together so that they work together. As he says, this really does create an environment where “technology can help you get closer to the customer.” For more insight, Robert’s strategy whitepaper entitled, The Marketing Transformation: From Managing Campaigns to Orchestrating Experiences can be found at OpenText.

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Introducing OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud

testing program

Digital leaders know their data. They convert their information into actionable business insight. Considering that more data is shared online every second today than was stored in the entire Internet 20 years ago, it’s no wonder that differentiating products and services requires advanced tools. With that need in mind, I’m pleased to announce OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud. Combining the power of our OpenText Big Data Analytics product with the accessibility and convenience of the Cloud gives our customers the ability to leverage advanced analytics capabilities quickly and easily, without investing in infrastructure or specialized technical staff. All About the Data To transform data into insights, organizations require a Big Data Analytics solution that is flexible enough to integrate all types of information, including survey results, tweets, purchasing data, campaign response rates, and external market data. An effective solution helps organizations examine all data in a single view, analyze billions of records in seconds, and apply advanced and predictive techniques—all via an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Applying analytics to information across organizational silos gives businesses the insight they need to improve their performance, optimize their supply chain, and know their customers better. Big Data Analytics gives organizations the agility they need to compete. With benefits like these, my question is “Why haven’t more organizations implemented Big Data Analytics solutions?” The most commonly cited barriers to adoption of Big Data Analytics solutions are difficultly consolidating data sources, a skills gap within the organization, and lack of infrastructure, or difficulty integrating with existing infrastructure.[1] Not every organization has the data scientists, IT experts, and computing resources they need to collect, parse, compare, and extract value from data.   The OpenText Answer The new OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud bypasses all of these barriers, offering implementation and full management in the OpenText Cloud, without requiring the customer to acquire additional IT resources or infrastructure. As our first “Analytics as a Service” (AaaS) offering, OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud brings together the benefits of advanced analytics with the cost-savings and convenience of a managed service, making it even easier to access, blend, explore, and model big data quickly and effectively. The simplicity and flexibility of Big Data Analytics eliminates the need for a data scientist. The power of OpenText Cloud lowers technical and financial barriers to entry. Without lengthy procurement and installation processes, time-to-ROI is realized sooner. Maintenance is simplified and scalability is improved without driving up costs. Using in-memory columnar database technology that delivers 1,000x faster performance than traditional relational databases, OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud reduces the time it takes to prepare and launch campaigns, discover supplier risks, or identify business opportunities from days to just hours or even minutes. It delivers quicker time-to-value because of the proven reliability and expertise of our Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Managed Cloud Services. With OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud business users can uncover cross-sell or upsell opportunities or reduce customer churn, and gain better visibility to detect fraud, analyze risk, and drive operational efficiency. What’s Next? When it comes to analyzing data, many of our customers have made great progress. They have moved from rear-view reflections to near-view observations. But the traditional Business Intelligence (BI) tools that made that move possible have become table stakes. OpenText Big Data Analytics and the advanced and predictive analytics it embodies, represents the future of business and will be the key to continued success in a Digital World as organizations shift from near-view observations to future-view forecasts and analysis to make more informed business decisions. When I look at Analytics as a Service, I see the shape of things to come. I see limitless potential. To find out more about the new OpenText Big Data Analytics in the Cloud, read the Press Release.

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How IoT Based Analytics Will Drive Future Supply Chain Operations

Over the past couple of years we have seen an exponential growth in interest around the Internet of Things (IoT). My interest in this space started at Cisco’s IoT World Forum in Barcelona in late 2013.  Back then many of the software and solution vendors were just starting to define their IoT strategies due to the various estimates that analysts had put out about the expected value of the IoT market over the next decade. There were two interesting IoT related announcements this week, firstly GE placing all their IT and software solutions into a new division called GE Digital. Slight irony here in that this is the second time GE has done this, the first time was when they established and then spun off their former IT division which later became GXS!  The second announcement came yesterday at Salesforce’s annual conference where they announced their own cloud based IoT platform.  So the IoT cloud market is certainly hotting up. In 2013 I posted my first blog discussing where I believed IoT would impact supply chain operations and from what I could tell back then, based on the number of IoT and Supply Chain articles that had been published, I was early to predict how IoT would transform tomorrow’s supply chains. Many argue that some components of an IoT environment, such as RFID tags, have been around for many years and in fact IoT has now given RFID tags a stronger sense of purpose.  However other technologies such as Big Data Analytics are really only just starting to be applied in the supply chain space. For me, I see three areas where IoT will add value to supply chain operations, I call these the ‘Three Ps’ of supply chain focused IoT, namely Pervasive Visibility, Proactive Replenishment and Predictive  Maintenance. One common aspect to all three of the above scenarios is big data analytics.  Earlier this year OpenText acquired a leading provider of embedded analytics solutions, Actuate.  Over the past few months we have been busy embracing the world of big data analytics and recently announced a cloud based analytics offering. This is quite a game changer in the big data analytics market as companies look to take their first steps into the world of analytics and OpenText Big Data Analytics in the cloud allows companies to scale their analytics platform over time and align with the size of the analytics project being undertaken. In fact yesterday, OpenText was ranked number three in a new report from Dresner Advisory Services, they looked at the Business Intelligence market in the context of IoT. It is worth noting that the chart and vendor analysis conducted by Dresner was carried out before the launch of our cloud based analytics solution, so we would probably have been ranked higher than number three out of seventeen vendors.  When you consider the size of the analytics market and the number of vendors in the space, this is quite an achievement for our solution and it puts us in a good position for companies looking to process the huge volumes of data coming off millions of connected devices in the future. OpenText Big Data Analytics is a core component of OpenText’s cloud strategy and early last year OpenText acquired another key cloud solution provider GXS.  OpenText now operates the world’s largest B2B integration network with over 600,000 companies connected to the network and these companies are processing over 16billion transactions per year.  Now wait a minute, 16billion transactions!, now that is a lot of information flowing across our network that could add a lot of value to companies if they had a way of analysing the transactions in real time. As you would imagine we are busy looking at how our Trading Grid platform could leverage the capabilities of our new cloud based analytics solution. I have spent the past two years keeping a close eye on the IoT market and it is great to think that our cloud based analytics solution provides a stepping stone into the ever growing IoT market.  But what happens when you bring the world of IoT and supply chains together?  I wanted to use the following diagram to explain how OpenText Analytics and Trading Grid could in the near future provide support for the three supply chain scenarios that I mentioned earlier, namely pervasive visibility, proactive replenishment and predictive maintenance. The diagram below illustrates a desktop demonstration of how consumption trends from a connected device can help to initiate a ‘purchase to pay’ process.  When I say purchase to pay I am talking about an order being created, goods being delivered and then payment made to the supplier.  Let me now break this diagram down into a few key steps. The first stage is the connected device itself, now it could be any type of connected device, but for this example I have chosen a WiFi enabled coffee machine. In addition, for the purposes of this demonstration, a connected coffee capsule dispenser, so as you remove a capsule this will be recognized by a proximity sensor placed underneath the capsule. The second stage is to then capture the consumption trends from the coffee machine.  So as each capsule is taken from the dispenser, a signal would be sent to OpenText Analytics which will essentially be used in this case to monitor consumption patterns and overtime trend related information and graphs etc can be displayed. The key step in this process is when OpenText Analytics detects that a certain number of capsules have been used and an order can be placed via Trading Grid for replacement capsules to be delivered from an outside supplier. This in essence is Proactive Replenishment, where analytics data is driving the ordering process. Back in January this year an article on Forbes.com discussed how in the future connected devices would potentially be able to initiate their own procurement process.  Thus taking manual ordering of replacement goods out of the supply chain process.  Now we are some way off achieving this at the moment but the IoT industry is heading in this direction. For now though a trigger from OpenText Analytics would alert a user to create a Purchase Order for ordering replacement coffee capsules. This ordering process would be initiated through one of our SaaS applications on Trading Grid and this application, Active Orders would also monitor the end to end life cycle of the order.  Mobile access to the progress of the order from the supplier to point of delivery would be available via a mobile app. The order for the capsules is received by the supplier, represented below by a robot arm, which selects the replacement capsules from a rotary capsule dispenser and then loads them on transport provided by the 3PL carrier. Now over time sensors on the robot arm would detect any potential failures with its operation.  From a maintenance point of view, the operational information coming from the sensors on the robot arm would be fed into our analytics platform and overtime you would be able to predict when a part of the robot is likely to fail.  In the real world you would then initiate a repair before the robot fails and hence your supply chain operations are not interrupted in anyway.  This is a perfect example, albeit scaled down of how IoT can drive Predictive Maintenance procedures.  In fact predictive maintenance is widely regarded as one of the most important industrial applications for IoT at this moment in time. For the purposes of this example the 3PL carrier is operating a model train!, which will carry the capsules to coffee machine on the other side of the table.  The location of the train would be monitored via an RFID tag attached to the train. The potential for improving end to end supply chain visibility using IoT and connected 3PL providers is huge and Cisco and DHL recently released a white paper discussing this opportunity. The RFID tags in this case are being used for the purposes of this demonstration but in real life a combination of RFID tags and GPS devices would be used to track the shipments. The ability to connect every piece of supply chain equipment, whether fork lift truck, lorry and pallets etc will transform supply chain visibility and will contribute towards the Pervasive Visibility across an end to end supply chain. So there you have it, a very simple example of how IoT could impact future supply chains.  The IoT market is moving incredibly quickly and who knows what new technology will be introduced over the coming years, but one thing is for sure OpenText can now provide two key components of the IoT enabled supply chain, OpenText Big Data Analytics and OpenText Trading Grid.  The world of B2B integration just got exciting.

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Digital-First Fridays: What is a Digital Enterprise?

In my first post in this blog series, I examined how the speed of digital is disrupting market leaders, and determined that the only way for them to keep pace and stay competitive is to transform into a digital business. But what exactly is a digital business and how does an organization transform itself? In a digital business, all major operating functions are empowered by digital technology. This means that the business engages customers and conducts business through digital channels, uses digital assets and/or capabilities, and sells digital products or services. As in the case of startups, the value proposition is keenly focusing on serving digital consumers and is enabled by digital technology. This fundamentally impacts an organization’s “value chain.” The value chain of a digital business is more cyclical than it is linear. The value chain is based on a series of interactions and transactions. From the creation of products and services to their consumption, employees, consumers, partners, and processes rely on digital technology for easy access to goods (whether it be products, services, or information), constant connectivity, and immediacy of insight. The entire customer journey is digitized. As a result, the business works in ways that are open, flexible, and support ongoing collaboration and innovation. The Linear Value Chain is Replaced by an Ecosystem In their transformation to a digital business, organizations should reconceptualise themselves as part of an extended enterprise ecosystem, from which they (or their customers or partners) can assemble products and services according to their needs. A digital business digitizes all of its information and processes for efficiency in the back office and deeper levels of engagement in the front (customer-facing) office. As part of a larger ecosystem, a digital business is better equipped to innovate, pivot their operations, customize their products and services, and deliver new products that satisfy consumer need. They can scale their manufacturing capacity and shift geographies as needed. Ultimately, a digital business gains new ways of working to improve productivity, reduce costs, and accelerate business growth. The benefits of transformation into a digital business move beyond those belonging to digital marketing, or creating consistent consumer experiences across digital channels. Digitizing information and processes results in improved efficiencies, higher productivity levels, and lower operational costs. According to McKinsey, companies that digitize their operations can reduce their costs by 9 percent.[1] As digital technologies transform business operations, all major components of the business will be impacted. The components of the 2020 digital business are already emerging and include the Digital Workplace, Digital Engagement, the Digital Supply Chain, and Digital Governance and Security. This blog series will examine each of these facets in detail. Organizations that want to digitize their operations need to focus on the value that digital brings, develop a strategy, and prioritize projects for transformation. They will need to iterate and realize that iteration is part of the process—a more important aspect than perfection. Their entire ecosystem must be digital, so the business must reconfigure its organizational structure, its technology infrastructure, hire the right resources, and focus on the information systems and standards that enable true transformation. As we move rapidly toward a Digital World, one thing is clear: information lies at the heart of innovation and disruption. No longer considered just the cost of doing business, information is instrumental in driving innovation and growth. When used the right way, information leads to greater customer satisfaction, accelerates time-to-market, helps to create new opportunities, and enables businesses to remain relevant and competitive. Information is a key strategic component for every organization today and critical to enabling transformation. In my next blog, I’ll examine how “Information is the New Currency” in a Digital World. Find out how you can capitalize on digital disruption. Read my book, Digital: Disrupt or Die. [1] “The Digital Enterprise,” McKinsey & Company, November 2013.

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Digital-First Fridays: Operating at the Speed of Digital

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. – Charles Darwin We live in a time of unprecedented change. In every sector, digital technologies are changing the rules of business by enabling new business models. Startups are reshaping entire industries, combining technologies like cloud, social, mobile, and analytics to deliver more targeted customer products and services. These technologies are empowering organizations to bypass the traditional costs associated with barriers to entry and connect directly with consumers to meet their needs. Startups are disintermediating the market leaders. Over the next five years, executives expect digital disruption to displace four out of ten incumbents—or 40 percent of established market leaders.[1] This is a startling prediction. Part of the reason why this will happen is because startups are able to operate and scale at a very fast pace, innovating very quickly—a pace that larger incumbent organizations (with their legacy systems) can’t match. This is the speed of digital and its potential is uncharted. With more people connecting and sharing ideas in a global, digitized marketplace, the pace of innovation will only increase exponentially. The formula is ten times the innovators at one-tenth of the cost and 100 times the power. Digital Disruption is Stronger and Faster[2] In a Digital World, the development of new products will evolve from sprints to hyper-connected dashes. Product features will be crowdsourced and collective. Feedback about consumer experience will be collected to upgrade features, improve delivery, and serve niche markets—in real time—removing the developer “safety net”. Every single disgruntled consumer will tell 1,000 potential customers about a bad customer experience. Brands will be built up and destroyed on social networks. Product ideas will be shared across yottabytes (one trillion terabytes) of data and millions of people, as innovation cycles are faster, compressed, and even approach the spontaneous. Business Models are Advancing Disruptive technologies are fueling a subscription-based economy. As business moves to the Cloud and mobile access becomes pervasive, the requirements for on-demand services are deposing the mainframe in enterprise infrastructure. Digital innovators are focused on creating exceptional experiences for the digital consumer and benefiting from a lifetime of customer value. As product experiences move to new platforms, companies are measuring their value based on recurring metrics over one-time metrics. In a Digital World, organizations will have to embrace digital disruption or they face the risk of losing market share or becoming obsolete. They will have to disrupt or die. To keep pace, organizations will have to reinvent themselves. They’ll have to digitize their information and operations. They’ll have to innovate at the front end to capture the mindshare of digital consumers and modernize their back offices to integrate their operations more efficiently across the supply chain. And they’ll have to restructure their IT departments to support a digital workforce. They’ll have to operate at the speed of digital. All of our customers have embarked on this journey of digital transformation. Here are a few examples of how they are disrupting their business using the Cloud, analytics, process automation, and mobile computing to simplify their volumes of information, digitize their operations, and accelerate opportunities for success: Mitsubishi Motors is outsourcing its B2B e-commerce capabilities to the Cloud and achieves stronger integration with its suppliers in Europe, without making additional investments in headcount or software. Dell Services is setting new standards of excellence within the IT services industry. Using analytics has helped them drive positive change, increase value, and improve engagement with organizations worldwide. First United Bank is using a BPM solution to help it achieve its goal of going paperless. To date, the Company has digitized over 200 processes and converted over 2.5 million documents and images into digital format for considerable business improvements, including overall growth and customer satisfaction. The City of Barcelona has a comprehensive digital strategy that embraces delivering more targeted and mobile services to its constituents, based on the innovative mobile identification system called “mobileID”. Find out how you can capitalize on digital disruption. In my next post in this series, I’ll explore what it means to function as a digital business. Read my book, Digital: Disrupt or Die. [1] “Executives Expect Digital Disruption to Displace 4 in 10 Incumbents by Industry within Next Five Years,” Webwire, June 24, 2015, http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=198501 (accessed July 2015). [2] James McQuivey, “Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation,” Forrester Research, Inc., 2013.

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Will Apple’s Watch Transform How Companies Interact With Their Supply Chains?

If there was one company that has contributed the most towards mobilizing today’s enterprise, from a smart device point of view, I would have to say it is Apple. Interestingly Apple has been able to achieve this with hardly any dollars being spent on enterprise marketing activities, instead, the trend of allowing employees to connect their own devices to corporate resources has allowed Apple to effectively own the Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, market. BYOD has transformed how employees engage with corporate resources and it has also driven the need, in Apple’s case, for the development of IOS specific apps to integrate to back office enterprise applications. Shortly after the original Apple iPhone was launched in 2007 I posted a blog discussing how I thought the iPhone would transform how companies interact with trading partners across a supply chain. Wind the clock forward eight years, no pun intended, and here we are again with yet another device that is set to transform mobile communications, Apple’s Watch. The Apple Watch has received mixed reviews from, consumers, enterprises and analysts and yet the sheer groundswell of companies developing apps for the Apple Watch will certainly make it a success in the near future. For example one of the biggest uses for the Apple Watch will be utilising NFC payments through Apple Pay. A nalysts are already making predictions for the technical specifications of Apple Watch 2 and so enters yet another Apple product that will get consumers excited every year when a new version of the Apple Watch appears. I cannot think of any other high tech brand that has been able to build such an expectation for each product launch. From a wearable device point of view, if last year was the year of Google Glass then 2015 will be remembered as the year of the Apple Watch, a device that is going to be receiving the full muscle of Apple’s marketing department to make it a global success. So given everyone is currently trying to define enterprise level use cases for how the Apple Watch will add value to a business, I thought I would wade in with my own ideas, from a supply chain point of view. I thought it would be interesting to highlight where I believe the Apple Watch could potentially play a part in interacting with B2B platforms and trading partner communities. I will stress that the ideas discussed in this article are mine alone and not the opinions of my company OpenText and we currently do not have an Apple Watch project of this nature being developed, but in the future who knows? So in the future it may be possible to access our Enterprise Information Management (EIM) suite of solutions, albeit in a very simplified capacity through a wearable device such as the Apple Watch. For arguments sake I will call this ‘myEIM’ to imply that these solutions are being accessed via a wearable device. The icons shown on the screen below represent the key EIM solutions that OpenText offers today, the latest one, through our recent acquisition of Actuate, (highlighted for the purposes of this article by the red icon), is related to analytics. From the main screen I will choose the icon representing the Information Exchange (IX) suite, shown in green, you can see that all other icons are hidden to leave just the one that I am interested in viewing. When you select the IX icon you are then taken to the ‘my IX’ suite of tools that relate to B2B and supply chain management. You will notice a number of options from the my IX menu shown below. Let’s briefly review each one in turn.   One of the challenges faced by procurement or purchasing teams is having real time access to contact information relating to every trading partner across their supply chain. Using information pulled from the central B2B platform it will not only display key contact information but also key information relating to a trading partner’s B2B connectivity. For example how many transactions do they process and which communication protocols do they use. This may seem like really basic information to capture, but when you have a trading partner community of 5000 suppliers, the ability to quickly search through trading partner contacts becomes very important. Once you have found your trading partner contact you may want to initiate a chat session with them to help address a specific issue. If I had responsibility for managing a trading partner community of 5000 suppliers then I would like the ability to be able to communicate or broadcast to the entire trading partner community through a simple to use chat tool such as this. The concept here is no different to Apple’s iMessage utility for sending short SMS type messages. OpenText recently announced the launch of Trading Grid Analytics to allow companies to monitor all transactions flowing across our B2B Trading Grid infrastructure. (For the record we process 16 billion transactions across our B2B network each year). But what if you could review these analytics results on an Apple Watch? OK so the presentation of the analytics based information would need to be highly simplified to make it usable on the Apple Watch but it provides a great way of monitoring key analytics such as transactions by trading partner or transactions by document type etc. The next area where the Apple Watch could be of value, for the purposes of this article at least, is in the area of tracking orders. Knowing the status of purchase orders as they go through the approval process and then being able to track by orders shipped, perhaps by customer location, is incredibly valuable to a company. Any exceptions or errors with an order can be immediately highlighted within the app and the user would be notified of a potential problem by simply vibrating the Apple Watch on the user’s wrist. Colour coding of information based on specific criteria or threshold values provides immediate feedback to the user. A clear benefit of a wearable device such as the Apple Watch is having access to a suite of highly graphical apps. For example simply overlaying shipping/distribution information over a standard map application such as Google Maps helps to give a visual location of shipments and Apple Watch could vibrate as and when a shipment reaches its destination. Clearly you may not want the watch to vibrate for every shipment delivered to a customer, but for high value goods such as cars it could help to ‘enhance’ the logistics management experience.   One of the challenges faced by suppliers is ensuring that their customers receive their Advanced Ship Notices (ASNs) on time or within the specific delivery window, for example 15 minutes. Many automotive OEMs rate their key suppliers on their ability to deliver ASNs efficiently as they are critical to the smooth running of Just in Time production systems. In this case you could potentially use the iWatch to highlight when ASNs do not get through to the required destination. The watch would vibrate to highlight a potential problem and then offer options to address the issue, perhaps launching an alternative delivery method for the ASNs. The key thing here is that you have been notified in real time of a potential problem with an ASN and you can take immediate action to rectify the situation before it impacts your customer’s business. So just a few ideas to get the ball rolling but like all forms of new technology I think it will be a while yet before enterprise IT teams start to fully embrace the power of the Apple Watch.

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Introducing Digital-First Fridays

Today, I’m happy to kick-off our “Digital-First Fridays,” a new blog series that describes a Digital-First World, provides strategies for transformation, and shares best practices using real-life examples. The series is based on our recent book, Digital: Disrupt or Die, authored by myself and OpenText Chairman, Tom Jenkins. In every sector, digital technologies are changing the rules of business. Startups and web-based companies are using digital business models to disintermediate the established market leaders. To remain relevant in a Digital-First World and gain a sustainable competitive advantage, organizations will be required to transform themselves into digital enterprises. Digital transformation requires a radical overhaul of enterprise strategies, processes, products, services, and relationships. Enterprise Information Management (EIM) empowers organizations to make this journey. How? At a basic level, it guides them through each phase of transformation, giving them effective ways to simplify, transform, and accelerate their business. 1. Simplify. Every organization wants to simplify its business. This is a constant challenge. Part of being a digital enterprise involves digitizing your information and automating your processes. In a Digital-First World, you can expect all of your business’ processes to be digitized. Automation will be critical—new research shows that nearly half of all jobs over the next two years could be automated.(1) As business evolves, we’ll rely more and more on machine-based or artificial intelligence, sensors, pattern analysis, and connections between all of these, brought together by the Internet of Things (IoT). Most organizations are already working toward simplifying their operations, indicated on the diagram below as “Present Day Followers.” 2. Transform. Business processes need to be agile to adapt products, services, and operations as customer expectations change—and they are changing. This requires transforming information-based processes and platforms to support digital consumers, a new workforce, a digital supply chain, and emerging technologies. To do this effectively, organizations will need to create an environment in which innovation thrives. Business and technology leaders should be ready to take risks, lead digital strategies, and define new models of engagement. Be ready for a substantial shift in culture to one that’s built on openness, innovation, and trust. Business problems should be examined and new processes created to solve them fearlessly and with imagination. If your organization is here, it’s already adapting to the requirements for future digitization. Building Blocks for Digital Transformation 3. Accelerate. This describes the rate at which we must undertake these changes, which may be daunting to some but, at the same time, it presents greater opportunities to serve customers, partners, and suppliers. Every organization will be required to rethink the way they’re engaging with customers, how they facilitate the workforce, and the ways they’re integrating and managing their information. The final phase of transformation relies on constant innovation. This can only be achieved by increasing the speed of information delivery through integrated systems. Digital Leaders have mastered this. They’re already redesigning customer experiences, overhauling their approaches to information management, rethinking their processes, and re-platforming their operations. Information lies at the heart of digital transformation. Its potential—if realized—is transformative. The challenge lies in managing enterprise information, making it accessible, and then applying it in new ways. EIM is the key transformative technology. Throughout the phases of digital transformation, a digital enterprise adopts EIM as its foundational enterprise platform for change. On “Digital-First Fridays” we’ll explore the future of digital technologies, their impact on the enterprise, and demonstrate how EIM equips the enterprise to brace for change in a Digital-First Future. Posts in the series will include: Operating at the Speed of Digital What is a Digital Enterprise? Information is the New Currency Digital Engagement—A New Business Requirement The Digital Supply Network Be sure to bookmark this page and join in the conversation. (1) David R. Wheeler, “Silicon Valley to millennials: Drop dead,” CNN, March 18, 2015, http://us.cnn.com/2015/03/18/opinions/wheeler-silicon-valley-jobs/?iid=ob_article_organicsidebar_expansion&iref=obnetwork (accessed April 2015).

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How B2B Automation Helps to Develop Greener Supply Chains

green banking

Developing a greener and more sustainable supply chain has been on the agenda of CEOs for many years and in fact just looking back through my archive of blogs that I have written over the years, the first green related blog that I wrote was in 2007. This was at a time when companies were being made to think more carefully about how they design their supply chains to help reduce carbon emissions. Back then, our company issued supply chain sustainability assessments to demonstrate how much greener a business would become by automating their manual B2B transactions by sending them electronically across our global B2B network, Trading Grid. Even though sustainability has pretty much become engrained within every CEO’s corporate agenda now, I just thought it would be useful to remind you of the benefits of B2B automation. Using a very smart website developed by the Environmental Paper Network, a coalition of over 100 non-profit organizations working towards the sustainable production and consumption of pulp and paper, it is possible to calculate the environmental savings that can be made by removing paper based transactions from a business. Each transaction would use the same size piece of paper, ie an invoice, purchase order etc and each electronic transaction equates to 2 pieces of paper. Rather than having an exhaustive maths lesson on how I derived the figures below, I have merely highlighted the key figures for each of the two scenarios, but I can provide evidence of my calculations if you need it 🙂 Scenario 1 – a manufacturing company currently processes 1 million invoices per year across their European based supply chain. Using the criteria above, this then equates to a total paper weight of 9 metric tons or the equivalent of 228 trees. Now by automating these 1 million paper based transactions via a B2B network such as Trading Grid, it will provide the following reduction in the company’s impact on the environment. Reduction in Net Energy Used The Paper Calculator includes an energy credit for energy that is created by burning paper – or the methane that decomposing paper creates – at the end of its life. The Net Energy takes the total amount of energy required to make the paper over its life cycle, and subtracts this energy credit. If most of the energy used to make the paper is purchased, then the energy credit might make the Net Energy lower than the Purchased Energy. The average U.S. household uses 91 million BTUs of energy in a year. – Scenario 1 saves 375 million BTU’s, the equivalent of about 4 homes/year Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels and methane from paper decomposing in landfills, contribute to climate change by trapping energy from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere. The unit of measure is CO2 equivalents. The average car emits 11,013 pounds of CO2 in a year. – Scenario 1 saves 55,877 pounds CO2 equiv., the equivalent of about 5 cars/year Reduction in Water Consumption Water Consumption measures the amount of process and cooling water that is consumed or degraded throughout the life cycle of the paper product. The largest components of water consumption come from the production of purchased electricity, and the use of process and cooling water at pulp and paper mills. Water volume indicates both the amount of fresh water needed and the potential impact of discharges on the receiving waters. 1 Olympic-sized swimming pool holds 660,430 gallons. – Scenario 1 saves 186,117 gallons, the equivalent of < 1 swimming pool Reduction in Solid Waste Includes sludge and other wastes generated during pulp and paper manufacturing and used paper disposed of in landfills and incinerators. 1 fully loaded garbage truck weighs an average 28,000 pounds (based on a rear-loader residential garbage truck) – Scenario 1 saves 22,215 pounds, the equivalent of < 1 garbage truck/year Scenario 2 – OpenText Trading Grid, the world’s largest cloud based B2B network, connects over 600,000 businesses and processes over 16 billion transactions per year. So assuming we are removing the equivalent number of pieces of paper from a supply chain this would equate to a total paper weight saving of 145,151 metric tons or the equivalent of 3,647,010 trees per year. I think you will agree these numbers are quite astounding, but let’s look at the environmental impact for the equivalent paper based transactions: Reduction in Net Energy Used – Scenario 2 saves 6,008,526 million BTU’s, the equivalent of about 66,022 homes/year Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Scenario 2 saves 894,034,654 pounds CO2 equiv., the equivalent of about 81,175 cars/year Reduction in Water Consumption – Scenario 2 saves 2,997,875,351 gallons, the equivalent of about 4,511 swimming pools Reduction in Solid Waste – Scenario 2 saves 355,449,950 pounds, the equivalent of about 12,701 >garbage trucks/year So as you can see, the numbers speak for themselves, automating supply chain based transactions can help your business to develop a greener and more sustainable supply chain. In my next blog I will discuss how moving from software to a cloud based B2B environment can help to develop greener supply chains.

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Enterprise Mobility: Are you an Enabler?

Seventy three percent of the world’s population uses mobile phones, more than 5.2 billion people around the globe. The majority of millennials say that their smartphone never leaves their side, 24×7. This is just the tip of a mobility movement that promises to intensify in the future. How is this consumer behavior impacting enterprise mobility? Range of Mobility Responses For some enterprises, mobility means issuing cell phones to employees and ensuring the devices are managed and secured. Other enterprises load iPads and iPhones for their sales force with productivity solutions like travel planning and expense reporting. Enterprises like car rental companies and 3rd party logistics companies, have been giving their field operations specialized mobile capabilities for decades. Mobility has been embraced by the public sector as well, from social case workers to first responders to law enforcement officers, mobile solutions are decreasing response time and even saving lives. “With only a few taps on a smartphone screen magical things happen – laws, services, records and processes turn into something very simple and user friendly.” – City of Barcelona Entire business models are being disrupted by mobile. When mobile devices are integrated with critical business processes, and especially with information flows focused on the customer, mobility raises to whole new level of importance for the enterprise. Think of Uber the taxi alternative that couldn’t have existed without the upsurge in mobile. The Insurance industry will never be the same, with turnarounds for P&E claim settlement dropping dramatically with the integration of mobile. New payment approaches like Square have been spawned by mobile. And there are a whole new set of retail buying behaviors because of mobile. Superior Customer Experience The mobile experience has of course much to do with responsive web design and omni-channel enterprise enablers, but it is also being driven by the proliferation of awesome mobile apps. These apps serve up both consumer and enterprise mobility solutions. A study published by Compuware found that the majority of mobile users prefer apps over web sites; however, only 28 percent said apps offer a better user experience than sites. De veloping an effective enterprise app strategy is no longer a luxury for the mobile enterprise. I had an interesting first hand experience just this week. I am an OpenText Core user and had originally signed up and begun using it through my desktop. Perhaps I’m not totally objective, but it has a great customer experience, easy to use and great collaboration features in the cloud. Earlier this week I received a Core email notification about a document I had been collaborating on and I was mobile at the time. I clicked through the link on my iPhone and was asked if I wanted to download the Core app. I did and it was quick and easy – I was viewing the document almost instantly on my mobile and able to respond to keep the flow going. All About that App? The inflection point for becoming a mobile enterprise, as with any technology disruption, is different for different industries. What is clear at this point is that enterprises need to be mobility enablers. For now, a mix of responsive design solutions and apps seems like a good balanced approach. There will be more on the latest mobility trends and solutions at Enterprise World 2015. Hope to see you there! Author’s Note: Lest we forget… the world of mobile is not just phones and tablets, specialty devices especially wearables are also becoming an integral part of our enterprise ecosystems. Check out this post on the possible future for the iWatch and the supply chain. Image Source: Shutterstock_173233781

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Digital Banking – What is happening in other industries? (part 1 of 3)

customer experience

The Financial Services industry as a whole – Payment and Cash Management especially – suffers from not learning and not re-using other industries’ ideas and best practices. As an anecdote, my current role focusses on one hand spending time with Banks and Financial institution, on the other hand with Corporate Treasurers. I still find myself explaining to Bankers on a regular basis procure-to-pay and order-to-cash cycles, getting surprised reactions when they realise they are just an “end” process to a supply chain process (I kid you not!). While generally speaking Banks understand their customers’ needs, individuals lack some basic working knowledge of their clients’ business or practical implications of a Banking relationship. The most regular occurrence of this “knowledge gap” I witness is around the Digital Transformation. Everybody talks about it, everyone has their own definition in Financial Services, however very few people really understand how non-Financial Institutions have already seized the opportunity. Yes, some Bankers are trying to re-invent the wheel as you read these lines. What is a Digital Business? A digital business is more than just a business with digital products that are distributed electronically: it’s a business in which digital technology is both pervasive and central to its overall success. A digital business is created using digital assets and/or capabilities, involving digital products, services and customer experiences, and is conducted through digital channels and communities. In a digital business, the majority of processes are digitized. This means that all along the value chain—from the creation of products and services to their consumption—employees, consumers, partners, and processes are reliant on digital technology for easy access to information, constant connectivity, and immediacy of insight. A digital business is characterized by an open, flexible value chain. In the transition to a digital business, organizations need to re-envision their business not as a standalone entity with a linear value chain, but as part of an extended enterprise ecosystem of suppliers from which customers assemble products and services according to their needs. Organizations need to participate in these ecosystems to deliver value to customers. By positioning products and services in the context of the customer’s value system, a digital business can grow its capabilities, leverage the capabilities of others, and open up new revenue streams. As part of a larger ecosystem, companies are more equipped to quickly pivot their operations to add customization or deliver new products to satisfy consumer need. They can scale their manufacturing capacity and shift geographies as needed to fill a specific order. In the future, these ecosystems will consist of low-cost suppliers and virtual manufacturers, be global in nature, and serve niche industries that span nations. Innovation will occur in hyper-drive, propelled forward by digital product development and marketing. Digital technologies enable new business models that are dynamic, flexible, and deliver value to both businesses and customers. Before we examine how the enterprise can reinvent itself, it would be helpful to examine the circumstances that are driving the enterprise toward digital transformation. The nature of digital technology Digital technologies enable new businesses models that are dynamic, flexible, and deliver value to both businesses and customers. Central to digital transformation is the ability to facilitate direct, peer-to-peer communication, collaboration, and sharing, without requiring an intermediary. This ability is already reshaping business as we know it. By providing direct, unrestricted access to information, knowledge, and resources, digital technologies empower individuals in ways not previously possible or even imaginable. Anyone with a web-enabled device can connect to a global network of expertise. They can discover individuals with common interests and goals. They can share ideas, collaborate, and innovate. They can band together and have their voice heard, counted, and taken seriously by those in positions of influence. And they can access new channels for manufacturing, marketing, and selling, and work with business partners located anywhere in the world. As individuals are empowered with new ways of working, traditional channels—and those who control them—will hold less importance. An inventor, for example, no longer needs to license their product idea for pennies on the dollar to a manufacturer. They can prototype the product with three-dimensional (3-D) printing. They can “crowdfund” capital costs using the Internet (collecting small amounts of capital from family, friends, or members in their online community). They can market globally through inexpensive and accessible online channels, sell through a digital storefront, manufacture small batches or distribute digitally. All this can be done in ways that are faster and cheaper and deliver new value to the customer. In shifting power and influence away from traditional sources, digital technologies are introducing opportunity to the masses. Businesses must acknowledge, respond to, and allow digital technologies to transform their operations from the inside out if they want to stay competitive and relevant in a digital-first world. Demands of the digital customer An increasingly connected consumer and the widespread adoption of digital technology has created the digital customer. Internet-based retail is growing globally at a rate of 19 percent year over year and, as more consumers move online, they are using the Internet to discover products, gather and evaluate information, and engage the buyer online for purchasing and shipping. An increasing number of channels are offering customers convenience, flexibility, and choice. They expect immediate gratification and engaging experiences that satisfy. The digital enterprise will support the omni-channel delivery of goods and services to compete and satisfy their customers. We have entered the “Age of the Customer”—an age in which digital technology has empowered the customer and shifted the balance of purchasing power from suppliers to customers. Consumers now have the ability to extract price, quality, and service concessions from the world’s most powerful brands. What used to differentiate the enterprise—economies of scale, distribution strength, and brand—have faded in importance. In their place, customer obsession is what gives firms dominance and drives their competitive advantage. For digital business, customer experience does not outweigh the need for operational excellence. In the second part of this blog, we’ll cover more drivers and practical examples of how other industries and non-Financial Services businesses approach the Digital world. We’ll cove the Generation Z, how non-FS businesses manage Operational Agility and deal with global competition and regulatory pressures.

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Good Cloud. Bad Cloud. Why Cloud?

Confused about the cloud? You’re not alone. Adoption is projected to grow at double digits despite plentiful guidance on why we should fear the cloud. Pundits tell us, “If your organization is not implementing the cloud, you’re already behind.” Yet it is easy to feel the cloud is just beyond our grasp. So let’s take a look at some real-life use cases from sectors that are leading the way in enterprise adoption of the cloud. Cloud Illusions Ask a few CIOs about the cloud and you are likely to hear a wide range of responses, from concern that the cloud endangers security and privacy to elation that the cloud can be the ultimate platform for change. While much of this reflects well-reasoned advice and counsel, some is pure hype. When even The Onion takes on “that cloud thing that everyone is talking about,” we should realize that we are at hype and jargon saturation. With all the noise around cloud computing, cloud storage and cloud apps and debate about the pros and cons of public, private and hybrid clouds, we need to consider what is real and what is merely illusion, and moreover why we should ultimately care. These beautiful lyrics from the 60s seem to foretell our current state of confusion over the cloud: I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow it’s cloud illusions I recall. I really don’t know clouds at all.” — Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now from the album Clouds The cloud is a growing reality. CIOs and IT teams need to clearly understand how it can best be applied to advance their strategic interests. IDC research forecasts public cloud will grow at double digits and spending on private cloud will top $24 billion by 2016. CompTIA predicts that the next decade will see cloud computing becoming even more accepted as a foundational building block. We are seeingthe cloud go mainstream in the public sector, and Gartner predicts the cloud is moving into digital business, advising CIOs and other IT leaders to continually adapt to leverage increasing cloud capabilities. The Open Group Cloud project analyzed 24 business use-casesdriving adoption. In general, the rationale can be classified in five areas: agility, productivity, QoS, cost and the ability to take advantage of new business opportunities — all of which have been guiding principles for applying technology in the past. So how well are our past years of enterprise hardware and software know-how translating to the cloud for large-scale applications? Here are three sectors that are forging the way with successful cloud implementations in order to drive efficiency, improve time to market, and effect business transformation. The Cloud Drives Cost Efficiency World Economic Forum research reveals that governments are adopting cloud services at higher than expected rates. The growing adoption of cloud technology is happening at all levels of government around the globe. We are already seeing cloud play a role in changing how government agencies fundamentally spend money and allocate their IT resources. We came out with a cloud-first policy because… it offers a faster time to market, a reduction to risk, and hopefully a reduction in cost.” CIO Carlos Ramos, California While adoption is being driven in part by cloud-first mandates, the cloud is clearly aligned with government mission objectives. The public sector has embraced a data-driven approach — including open data and big data initiatives — to be responsive to citizens. Cloud implementations are seen as a means of moving beyond data transparency to achieve a cost-effective state of operational excellence. Four Trends to Watch in 2015 highlights the cloud as a means to be responsive to citizens’ wants, needs and ideas. For municipalities, the cloud provides equal, on-demand cost-effective access to a shared pool of computing resources. The City of Barcelona hosts 1.5 million guests for the La Merce festival using the cloud to help manage the surging foot, bike, auto and public transportation traffic. The state ofDelaware has implemented a cloud-based CRM application for constituent tracking in two months, adopting a cloud-first policy that piggybacks on federal policy. The state set up a private cloud and virtualized 85 percent of the state’s physical servers, saving $4 million per year. Delaware now has 70 applications in the cloud —from event notification to cybersecurity training. For central government organizations, including the US Department of the Interior, shared services are eclipsing “cloud-first” mandates as the driver behind cloud adoption. DOI’s groundbreaking cloud initiative consolidates all the records information programs under one IT governance system, and this shared service is expected to save an estimated $59 million in taxpayer dollars by 2020. The Cloud Supports Business Transformation Gartner Research identified financial services banking and insurance segments as two of the top cloud adopters. These segments are driven by the need for more innovation and the value they get from that innovation. Financial services firms are rewarded for systems that can process transactions faster and more securely and are providing new services, such as mobile banking and claims, that are ready-built for cloud-based systems. There is also growing competition with startups that are shifting the playing field. Way back in 2013 (a decade in cloud years), my article The Art of Banking: How Financial Services Approach Great Customer Experiences talked about how bankers would increasingly take innovation cues from consumer tech and smart retailers as they practice the art of banking. Over the past year, the cloud has proven to be both a major disrupter and an enabler for innovation. Like the other big research firms, IDC sees digital transformation as key for businesses and a bridge that CIOs must learn to cross, and that bridge includes the disruptive influence of cloud computing. A recent article from Banking Technology, “Why I’m backing the banks,” declares that traditional banks are now in a race to remain relevant as they face a slew of non-bank competitors with offer models that consumers increasingly value. Accenture found that one in five consumers would be happy to bank with PayPal — a cloud firm born in Silicon Valley. Though often a cost-saving measure, CIOs are seeing the potential in the cloud to create a flexible platform for future innovation. A poll of financial services sector decision makers revealed the top two benefits of adopting cloud platforms as cost savings (voiced by 62 percent of respondents) and a simplified IT environment (52 percent). It is this simplification of the IT environment that will enable banks to level the playing field with the upstarts: The newer entrants owe much of their success to their extreme agility with ICT: they have got where they are because they use technology better than anyone else. Yet, it would be premature to lament the passing of banks as we know them. They are increasingly taking the tech start-ups’ own medicine… [and the] search for innovation is rapidly pushing the cloud up banks’ technology agendas.” While banking has definitely upped its cloud game in the last few years, insurance is perhaps the granddad of cloud adoption. In How Cloud Computing will Transform Insurance, Accenture highlighted Insurance as being in the forefront of cloud growth and predicted that the cloud would transform the industry. On their list of reasons to adopt cloud, the “ability to respond to market change and reshape operating model[s] to address new and emerging opportunities and challenges.” An SMA study of cloud adoption trends in insurance found that 35 percent of participants said the cloud “provides companies with the flexibility needed to respond quickly to changing needs.” In retrospect, while cost savings has been a driver for insurers to adopt the cloud, there are already a number of insurance cloud success stories that illustrate the cloud’s real potential as a means of innovation and competitive advantage in a changing market with a changing customer demographic. Andre Nieuwendam, director of IT for United Property & Casualty describes their cloud success in customer-centric terms: “From an insured perspective, there are many initiatives on the table that we want to be able to provide them, file a claim electronically, check billing, and interact with customer service people in a real-time environment. Being in the cloud has enabled us to meet all of these objectives in a very, very short period of time.” The Cloud Enables Speed to Market In a recent Forbes article, “Cloud Is the Foundation for Digital Transformation,” Ray Wang (@rwang0) highlights cloud as the single most disruptive of all the new technologies. ”Cloud not only provides a source of unlimited and dynamic capacity, but also helps users consume innovation faster.” The idea of leveraging the cloud as a platform for speed in a changing market is appealing and especially resonates in the communications, media and entertainment sector, one that Gartner has identified as second only to banking in cloud adoption. In Breaking Bad: How Technology is Changing Media & Entertainment, I wrote about the digital media supply chain and how entertainment and broadcast companies are experiencing no less than an industry revolution: Motion pictures used to be cut, approved, and canned for distribution and released in a series of ‘windows’ for consumption. With digital distribution this model stops working — all the traditional ‘windows’ of distribution are collapsing. This has a ripple effect all the way down the chain of production and accounting and requires new IT systems and applications to address the new paradigm.” According to Accenture’s Content in the Cloud in the Broadcast and Entertainment Industry, the cloud can be the platform on which the digital media supply chain operates to better serve changing markets and consumption models. Cloud technology is poised to make an impact by supporting the next round of breakthroughs…from proliferating devices that demand a more flexible business model to new levels of IT capacity requirements that dictate highly scalable IT solutions to competitive pressures for speed and innovation that call for better workflow, business analytics, and customer insight.” How Cloud Computing Will Save Hollywood tells the story of how Lionsgate is using cloud to run their studio and compete with the “big guys” in the industry. Cloud has been helping them deal with their dispersed global environments during film production: media complexity, an unprecedented influx of massive amounts of data, and unique data and workflow requirements. Cloud Resolutions Perhaps the cloud is not so mysterious after all. In a Gathering Clouds interview, David Linthicum (@DavidLinthicum) shared his perspective that businesses that adopt cloud gain a strategic advantage: … the companies who [adopt cloud] can turn on a dime…. These companies will be able to leverage their information in much more innovative ways.” As industries increasingly digitize, the cloud is proving to be a useful partner to the CIO in an increasingly digital-first world. It is not surprising that KPMG’s recent survey, Elevating Business in the Cloud, found the top uses for cloud are to drive cost efficiencies and enact large-scale change including enabling a flexible and mobile workforce, improving alignment and interaction with customers, suppliers and business partners, and better leveraging data to provide insightful business decisions. The key to success, as with any new bright shiny technology, is to apply the cloud to achieve critical business and mission objectives. As Jim Buczkowski of Ford Motor says, The cloud is about delivering services, features, and information…to make the driving experience a better one.” So here’s to accomplishing great things with the cloud! Just keep these tips from KPMG in mind as you resolve to make your cloud initiative a success: Make cloud transformation a continuous process. Drive cloud transformation from the top. Focus on strong leadership and engagement. Avoid silos. Measure success. Plus one bonus tip from me: Avoid the trap of “cloud for cloud’s sake,” lest we discover the biggest truth in Joni Mitchell’s lyric is “So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.” A version of this article first appeared in CMSWire.

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