Supply Chain

Could the Smart Trash Can Take Waste Out of the Supply Chain?

In my last post I introduced a vision for the Smart Trash that would automatically identify the items you are throwing away. What would you do with the data collected? The waste management company may not have much use for the data, but manufacturers and retailers who are trying to predict what consumers are going to buy next would find it very valuable. What would you do with the data collected? The waste management company may not have much use for the data, but manufacturers and retailers who are trying to predict what consumers are going to buy next would find it very valuable. How would the smart trash can work? There are a couple of different options. Version one (circa 2017) would probably rely on the use of RFID tags and readers. If manufacturers put RFID tags on each of the items you purchased then the smart trashcan would be able to identify them automatically. Version two (circa 2018) might add a camera to the lid. As items are being disposed of the camera would automatically recognize the item using “visual search” technology found in Google Goggles. Perhaps the smart trash can might have multiple cameras at different depths that could see through trash bag liners to identify items at rest. Version three (circa 2020) might be more advanced with capabilities to identify items based upon smell. Perhaps, the trash can would be fitted with sensors that can detect odors and identify items based upon their chemical composition. You might be wondering what data retailers and manufacturers use to forecast demand today and whether smart trashcans would provide an improvement. Today, the primary data used for forecasting demand is the information about what shoppers are buying at individual stores or what is called “Point-of-Sale” data. Every night retailers and manufacturers run reports to understand how many of each item was sold in each store. They then try to guesstimate how much inventory they have on hand and whether or not they are going to run out of stock in the coming days (weeks or months). If they are running low on inventory then will need to issue a replenishment order. Would trash can data provide better insights than Point of Sale data? This begs a good question. What provides better insights into future sales – what people are buying or what they are throwing away? Is monitoring Point-of-Sale data a better approach than monitoring waste? Let’s first think about items that are regularly purchased – batteries, diapers, detergent, shampoo, soda, milk, bread and salty snacks. I would argue that monitoring consumption (via trashcans) of these repeat purchases is a better indicator of near-term demand. If someone throws out a milk container they are very likely going to buy a new one in the next 24 hours. In many cases, the disposal of an item after it is consumed is the event that triggers the need to buy another one. But what about items which are not consistent, repeat purchases? Examples might include toys, electronics, clothing, shoes, etc. For these inconsistent purchases you might question the validity of the correlation between waste patterns and future purchases. Just because you throw something away doesn’t mean that you are going to purchase it again – immediately or ever. The value of using the trash data is clear for groceries and regular purchases. Will Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Tesco begin giving away free kitchen trash cans to consumers just to collect data and be optimally positioned for replenishment orders? Or even better what if your smart trash can was linked to your online grocery account? Items detected in your trash can (or recycling bin) could be automatically identified then transmitted to the garbage truck upon pickup at your house. A replenishment algorithm could review your list of “always in stock” items to determine if the item should be replaced immediately. If yes, then a home delivery provider might visit a few hours later to drop off new supplies on your doorstep. Amazon Fresh be extended to include Amazon Trash. Walmart might buy a waste management company. The Smart Trash Can could create a myriad of new opportunities in the supply chain.

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OpenText Enhances Portfolio with Analytic Capabilities

    By Mark Barrenechea, President and Chief Executive Officer, OpenText Analytics are a hot technology today, and it is easy to see why. They have the power to transform facts into strategic insights that deliver intelligence “in the moment” for profound impact. Think “Moneyball” and the Oakland A’s in 2002, when Billy Bean hired a number-crunching statistician to examine their odds and changed the game of baseball forever. Across the board—from sports analysis to recommending friends to finding the best place to eat steak in town, analytics are replacing intelligence reports with algorithms that can predict behavior and make decisions. It can create that 1 percent advantage that creates the 100 percent difference between winning and losing. Analytics represent the next frontier in deriving value from information, which is why I’m pleased to announce that OpenText has recently acquired Actuate to enhance its portfolio of products. With powerful predictive analytics technology, Actuate complements our existing information management and B2B integration offerings by allowing organizations to analyze and visualize a broad range of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. In a recent study, 96 percent of organizations surveyed felt that analytics will become increasingly important to their organizations in the next three years. From a business perspective, analytics offer customers increased business process efficiencies, greater brand experience, and additional personalized insight for better and faster decisions. In a Digital-First World, organizations will tap into sophisticated analytics techniques to identify their best customers, accelerate product innovation, optimize supply chains, and identify the drivers of financial performance. Agile enterprises incorporate consumer and market data into decision making. People are empowered when they have easy access to agile, flexible, and responsive analytical tools and applications. Actuate enables developers to easily create business applications that leverage information about users, processes, and transactions generated by the various OpenText EIM suites. Customers will be able to view analytics for the entire EIM suite based on a common platform to reduce their total cost of ownership and get a comprehensive view for more elevated, strategic business insight. Actuate is the founder of the popular open source integrated development environment (IDE), BIRT, and develops the world-class deployment platform, BIRT iHub™. BIRT iHub™ significantly improves the productivity of developers working on customer-facing applications. More than 3.5 million BIRT developers and OEMs use Actuate to build scalable, secure solutions that deliver personalized analytics and insights to more than 200 million customers, partners and employees. Designed to be embeddable, developers can use the platform to enrich nearly any application. And, these analytics-enriched applications can be delivered on premises, in the cloud, or in any hybrid scenario. We are excited to welcome the Actuate team into the OpenText family as we continue to help drive innovation and offer the most complete EIM solution in the market. Read the press release on the acquisition here.

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Regulatory Matters: The Year Ahead in Life Sciences

As I began to write this article to prognosticate on the year ahead, I recalled a Ladies’ Home Journal article from 1900, where an engineer named John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. predicted what life would be like in the year 2000. Surprisingly, many of his predictions, such as the use of cell phones, had actually become reality by 2000. Luckily, government regulations ensure a somewhat predictable rate of change making my job somewhat easier than Mr. Watkins’. But first, let’s take a quick look back at 2014… 2014 was a great year for life sciences, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. Forty-four drugs were approved by the FDA, an 18-year high. When compared to the dismal 27 approvals in 2013, there seems to be some much needed innovation occuring, especially considering the estimated $100 billion loss in patent protection this year. In 2015, the biggest challenge will remain to innovate and launch products faster while maintaining the highest degree of patient safety amidst increasing global regulatory scrutiny. The industry is poised to meet this challenge head on. In fact, seven drugs have already launched for 14 indications in January. At the heart of this challenge is to solve the dual Big Data and Quality problems. Every year, exabytes of data are being created within our industry. Digital technologies, such as remote monitoring and wearable devices, are only increasing the data points. However, data quality is a critical issue. Corporate data warehouses are rapidly becoming akin to landfills with ever growing piles of digital garbage obscuring the nuggets of information which can have a truly transformative effect on the business. I predict that, this year, much effort will be placed on developing and refining methodologies and technologies to make sense of the massive amounts of data generated by our industry. Improved statistical tools, real-time analytics and information exchange will yield important correlations and allow life science companies to discern which data and which process improvements enhance the business. In effect, quality processes and metrics will be applied to functions beyond manufactuing in building better models for everything from drug safety and efficacy to supply chain operations. For those companies with ECM and BPM platforms, incorporating new digital technologies into their workflows will dramatically improve their business but only if aligned with a solid EIM strategy based on industry best practice. For those companies without an EIM strategy, the time to move forward is now. Come hear how OpenText is helping global organizations to utilize information to transform their businesses at one of the Innovation Tour events near you. Keep innovating!

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Is your EDI program strategic? If yes, find out which documents you need to implement. (part 2)

In my last blog on this topic (Is your EDI program strategic? If yes, find out which documents you need to implement. (Part 1) I introduced the Purchase Order Acknowledgment and the Purchase Order Change and discussed how you can derive benefits from both these documents regardless of the industry sector you are in.  In this blog, I focus on documents that are of specific benefit for anyone in, or working with, the retail sector. Here are a few you should definitely consider. Product and Price Catalog This is a key document that a supplier sends to its retailers.  It enables the supplier to provide product and price information for the retailer to use during the purchasing process.  This document, which is also known as a “sales catalog,” includes information about each product such as: Item identification number Detailed item description, including color, size, dimensions and other unique identifiers Ordering requirements, such as lead time and required quantities This is one that you would use most with third-party catalog providers, but it can also be used on a peer-to-peer basis with your main trading partners. The master product data information in this document is re-used in many other supply chain transactions, so it’s important that it contains accurate data so that errors can be reduced in purchase orders, ship notices and invoices, among other documents. This will enable significant quality improvements and benefits both retailer and supplier.  Ultimately, starting out with good data will speed product delivery to the retailer and eliminate discrepancies between purchase orders and invoices, and for suppliers, this should result in faster payment. Inventory and Product Activity Data Advice Retailers usually send this document to their suppliers to give them information about inventory levels, sales numbers and other related product activity information, such as which items are on back-order.  It should include: Item identification number On-hand inventory quantity by store Type of product movement, such as items sold, out-of-stock, received or on order Future demand calculations This versatile document can also be used in supplier-managed stock replenishment programs and sales forecasting.  Furthermore, for drop-ship orders, (those that are shipped directly to the consumer), it is probably the single most critical business document that can be exchanged. Most retailers’ e-commerce applications rely upon inventory feeds from their supplier here in order to determine whether products can be available for consumer purchases on websites. Delivery Confirmation This document is also extremely useful for direct-to-consumer delivery. Most products sent via a drop-ship process travel with small package carriers. The supplier obtains a tracking number from the carrier and provides it to the retailer via the Advance Ship Notice document.  Any automated communication typically ends at that point and so if order status is needed, the only way to get it is to contact the carrier. Instead, you could have complete end-to-end visibility of your order status if you ask the carrier to send a Delivery Confirmation document to confirm consumer receipt.  This helps the supplier to close the purchase order and to manage the payment and settlement cycle.   Click here if you are interested in learning more about EDI in the retail industry. And here are a couple of blogs about how EDI ASNs support retail-specific business processes: How EDI ASNs Enable Direct Store Delivery Direct Store Delivery (DSD) How EDI ASNs Enable Drop-Shipping  

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Today’s Media Management

The average 14-year-old kid will probably create more media by the time I finish this post than I will this year. It’s so simple to create and so necessary to communicate with these days. And therein lies the problem: The technology to create, contribute, and consume rich media has outpaced our ability to manage it. In today’s hyper-digital environment, where time is of the essence and the experience is what sells, your customers, partners, and buyers want video, pictures, and information in real-time—synchronized and delivered consistently to users on the platforms and devices they choose. So business , marketing, and competitive demands are pushing Digital Asset Management (DAM) and the digital supply chain beyond traditional approaches. We just can’t keep up using traditional methods! With multiple systems and applications trying to manage and control all these assets, things are falling through the cracks. Missing content. Missed opportunities. Lost productivity. Sigh… A Platform for Digital Asset Management OpenText Media Management is a DAM pioneer . (That’s funny every time!) From creation to consumption, we help you manage all your video, images, and rich media for the entire enterprise in one place. With a powerful yet simple-to-use interface, our solutions help people find what they need, share, collaborate, and use digital assets anywhere for richer, more effective communication in marketing, sales, and throughout the organization. Media Management makes it so easy to get the right content and rich experiences to users on the platforms and devices they choose. What’s new in Media Management? A completely redesigned user experience replaces the Flash UI with a simple yet powerful HTML5 user interface. This is much more than just a DAM—now you have unparalleled control and access to all your digital media content. The redesigned user experience in Media Management puts the digital content you want at your fingertips. Whether your typing or swiping, the simple and intuitive user interface makes your job easier. In Media Management, the HTML5 interface and responsive design reduces complexity and unnecessary clutter to find what you need, share data, collaborate on projects, and use digital assets anywhere, on any screen, including mobile and touch-enabled. There! Now how much rich media do you think that kid created?

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Will the Creation of ‘On Device’ or ‘On Thing’ Based B2B Transactions Ever Become a Reality?

Over the past five years CIOs around the world have been rolling out their cloud based B2B strategies. Whether deploying B2B on premise, on cloud or as a hybrid environment, companies have been able to deploy B2B infrastructures according to their budget, strategy and technical capabilities. Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service initiatives have been deployed with great effect, and numerous other ‘as-a-Service’ definitions have evolved. So where next for B2B based infrastructures?, well with nearly every CIO formulating a strategy in support of the Internet of Things, how about an On Device or On Thing based B2B strategy? I have posted twenty or so blogs relating to cloud infrastructures since 2010 and over the past year I have spent some time looking at the Internet of Things and where this may go in relation to supply chains of the future.  In a couple of my IoT related blogs I provided some examples on how I thought IoT connected devices could connect into an enterprise infrastructure, (read about it here), and then initiate some form of closed loop ordering process as part of a replenishment or predictive maintenance scenario. I read an article on CIO.com last September where the author described something called the Internet of ‘Things as a Service’ or TaaS for short.  I didn’t realise it at the time of writing my own blogs but this is exactly what I was describing, namely a connected device will be able to analyse its own consumption trends or wear rates and then be able to place some form of order for replacement parts without any human intervention.  OK, sounds a bit far-fetched but I can guarantee this is where things, no pun intended, will be going in the future. Billions of dollars are being spent on developing onboard or embedded processing, sensing, storage and analytics based technologies for IoT based devices.  Many companies such as Intel are betting huge research budgets to develop next generation semi-conductor chips that can be embedded on ‘things’. In fact only last week, OpenText acquired a leading analytics company , and they have been looking at embedded analytics for IoT devices. I will take a look at embedded analytics in relation to B2B in a future blog entry as I believe it will transform how companies visualise, interact and manage B2B related information flowing across the extended enterprise. Two weeks ago I had an interesting discussion with ARC Advisory Group relating to device or ‘thing’ level creation of B2B transactions. ARC use the term Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to describe their take on this area as they are keen to differentiate themselves from more consumer focused IoT devices such as wearable technology and home automation equipment. As I have mentioned before there are many big players entering the IIoT space, for example GE (who originally coined the IIoT term), Cisco and Bosch to name but a few. Could we see a piece of equipment in the field, for example a generator or excavator, initiating a B2B transaction by itself to order a replacement part that is just about to fail? For the purposes of this blog I just wanted to introduce the idea of a device or ‘thing’ derived B2B transaction and you can read more in the ARC article that was written to support this.  

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Did You Know 76% of Automotive Companies Exchange B2B Transactions Electronically?

In December last year I posted a blog relating to a new study from OpenText that was conducted by IDC Manufacturing Insights. The main goal of the study was to see if there was a direct correlation between B2B integration and how it impacts supply chain performance. The study covered three industry sectors including automotive, high tech and consumer product goods (CPG). For the purposes of this blog article I wanted to spend a few minutes reviewing the results from the automotive related respondents to the survey. We recently hosted a webinar with IDC to discuss the findings from the study. You will be able to get access to this and other downloads related to our study at the end of this blog. The survey relating to this study covered all the major automotive manufacturing hubs around the world, including Japan, China, North America, Brazil and the UK as OpenText wanted to obtain a truly global view of how B2B solutions were being deployed across the industry. I would like to now discuss some of the more important B2B integration results from the study that relate to the automotive industry. 76% exchange B2B transactions electronically – the automotive industry needs to support a network of global trading partners and it is therefore important to be able to exchange B2B transactions electronically. Whether working with a casting manufacturer in China or a plastic housing manufacturer in Brazil, being able to onboard global suppliers and ensure that information can be exchanged electronically, irrespective of technical capability, is a high business priority for many automotive companies. 67% exchange information collaboratively and in real time – the automotive industry relies on numerous partnerships including those with outside contract manufacturers and design consultancy firms and hence it is important to be able to exchange information seamlessly and in a collaborative fashion with these key partners. Time to market in the automotive industry can provide a key competitive advantage and being able to exchange information in real time helps to support this particular corporate initiative. From a manufacturing point of view, Just-in-Time production systems rely on the timely delivery of Advance Ship Notice (ASN) transactions from key suppliers, therefore having a highly available B2B integration platform in place is critical to the reliable delivery of these transactions. 59% said that B2B integration had reduced inventory levels – being able to connect globally diverse business systems to a common B2B platform helps to improve end to end visibility of business transactions. Providing access to a common B2B platform means that manufacturers have improved inventory visibility across global production and distribution facilities. 44% said that supply chain complexity was a key barrier to improving B2B integration – the global nature of the automotive industry, combined with the complex nature of the products being manufactured, namely vehicles, means that it can sometimes be difficult to roll out new B2B integration projects in a timely manner. Car manufacturers are starting to introduce more global vehicle platforms, and this has helped to reduce the number of parts in a vehicle, which has the knock on effect of simplifying the supply chain. Working across different geographies, cultures and time zones means that companies need to partner with a B2B provider that can truly support their global operations. OpenText is the world’s largest provider of cloud based B2B integration services. 43% said their reason for adopting B2B integration was mandated by customers – many automotive suppliers around the world are asked to exchange B2B transactions electronically by their customers. In many cases being able to trade electronically is a condition of doing business with their customers. Large car manufacturers such as Ford insist for example that ASNs are exchanged within a relatively narrow window and the only way tier 1 suppliers can do this is to exchange ASNs electronically. 62% had fully integrated their B2B and ERP systems together – another study conducted by OpenText showed that over a third of information entering ERP comes from outside the enterprise. So having tight integration between a B2B and ERP system is crucial to the smooth operation of today’s automotive production environments and the new IDC study reconfirms this. If transactions entering ERP can be automatically checked to ensure that only up to date and accurate information enters ERP then it will help to reduce downstream rework of information and prevent inaccurate information entering other production systems. Incorrect information could potentially bring production to a halt. The study showed that the automotive industry has a high proportion of ‘focused adopters’ of B2B integration solutions due to some of the unique automotive production processes that need to be supported. The shift in focus towards ‘preferred relationships’ across the industry has driven, over the years, a significant improvement in the quality of IT systems, and as such many automotive companies are exchanging information collaboratively and in real-time with their key trading partners. This is an essential feature to help reduce inventory costs and speed up their time to market. Finally, IDC asked automotive companies which new technologies such as cloud computing, mobile, big data and social media would see exponential growth in the future and big data came out on top. It is no surprise big data had such a positive response due to the sheer volume of information flowing across today’s automotive supply chains. We also took the opportunity of asking the survey respondents which emerging technology trends such as the Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Advanced Robotics and Wearable Devices would lead future investment priorities and as expected 3D Printing came out on top. 3D Printing is one of the most disruptive new technologies and has the potential to reshape the automotive supply chains of the future. In some cases we may see ‘zero length supply chains’ being introduced on the back of 3D Printing technologies. This is an area that I will be looking at more closely in a future blog entry. If you would like to download your own copy of the new B2B study from OpenText then please complete the registration form via THIS LINK. When you have registered you will also be able to get access to an on demand webinar that we recently recorded with IDC, a copy of the webinar slides and an infographic that illustrates some of the key findings from the study.

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Predictions: At the Edge of Impossible

Consider Doctor Who’s Clara, the Man of La Mancha’s dream and Star Trek’s deflector shields. What do they have in common? All are impossible … or are they? At the beginning of last year,we launched our Industry Insights Blog with a look at technology trends and made some predictions. For one trend, I cited fictitious research from Spacely Sprockets: “By 2020, traditional supply chains will no longer exist. Instead all objects will be created at the point of use by 3-D replicators.” Then I predicted that this “dimensional disruption” would drive all supply chains to zero length. My prediction was intended to be interesting, yet quite impossible. But look at what is happening in our digital universe: fantasy and reality appear to be converging to achieve impossible things. The Art of the Impossible “The difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a bit longer.” — Author unknown There is much to learn from pursuing the impossible. The Man of La Mancha’s To Dream the Impossible Dream is a perfect anthem to help us appreciate courage and tenacity in this pursuit. In this story within a story, Don Quixote follows his quest (no matter how hopeless, no matter how far). The impossible girl, Clara Oswald, from Doctor Who is like a sci-fi Don Quixote. She embodies bravery and dedication. When an enemy jumps into Doctor Who’s timeline to attempt to destroy him by rewriting history, Clara follows suit, making the ultimate sacrifice and proving herself to be the penultimate companion. Clara travels with the Doctor in the TARDIS. And how can we overlook the impossibility that is TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a time-traveling police call box bioship that is “bigger on the inside”? We learn in The Impossible Planet episode that it can take years to grow a TARDIS that draws its/his/her power primarily from an exploding star in the process of becoming an (again) impossible black hole. In “The Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel,” author and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku injects in each discussion of science fiction technology an explanation of the hurdles to “realizing concepts as reality.” According to Kaku, technological advances that we take for granted today were declared impossible 150 years ago, like “heavier than air” flying machines, X-rays and the radio. Kaku considers time travel as one of the Class II Impossibilities that are “technologies that sit at the very edge of our understanding of the physical world,” possibly taking thousands or millions of years to become available. In fact, time travel in the TARDIS is the subject of a scientific paper written by physicists Dr. Ben Tippett and Dr. Dave Tsang. The paper studies black holes and Einstein’s theory of general relativity and proposes a real life TARDIS in a bubble of space-time capable of moving backward and forward along a loop of time. If several of these loops could be spliced together, it would allow the proposed TARDIS to travel between any point in space and time. And what about impossible Star Trek technology like deflector shields? In fantasy fiction, force fields (a.k.a. deflector shields) are barriers made of energy or particles that protect a person, area or object from attacks or intrusions. While they are a popular sci-fi concept, serious nonfiction books like The Physics of Star Trek consider their merits, and scientific research into force fields is real and ongoing. Whether possible or impossible, we can all appreciate the determination of Star Trek Enterprise chief engineer and “miracle worker” Scotty as he vows, “The haggis is in the fire, but I’ll not lower my shields.” With these examples in mind, my impossible zero-length supply chain prediction seems quite plausible. Yet when I wrote about 3-D printers that would shrink traditional supply chains, it was the prediction I thought least likely to come true. Though I considered the potential practical impact of 3-D printing, I joked about the Jetson’s food replicator and the machine that instantly “creates” consumables featured in the fictional Star Trek universe. But now NASA is studying whether a real replicator might be the answer to feeding astronauts on a long-duration flight to Mars. And last month, the dream of a “self-sufficient space-faring civilization moved a step closer to reality as a commercial 3-D printer was installed aboard the International Space Station for a tryout in orbit.” The printer has now successfully completed the first 3-D print in space! Turns out this might have been my best prediction. Predicting the Impossible There is a knack to technology predictions. Predictions need to be challenging but not obvious, right? Like Schrödinger’s cat as famously explained by Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory (my authority for all things science and technology), you want your predictions to be both possible and impossible at the same time. At times, technology predictions can be embarrassingly wrong. The Worst Tech Predictions of All Time includes an anecdote about how tech pundit Robert Metcalf, the founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet, confidently predicted in 1995 that the Internet would soon go spectacularly nova in a “catastrophic collapse” and promised to eat his words if it didn’t. It didn’t, and he did. Sometimes technology predictions are cautionary tales. Sci-fi author Isaac Asimov penned a New York Times essay in 1964 entitled Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014, a glimpse 50 years ahead into the future of human history. Asimov’s imaginative predictions included “the world will be seriously automated.” Asimov imagined that “the world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that could not be done better by some machine than by any human being. As a result, mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional, and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine.” I have written my version of Asimov’s cautionary tale. My article, about helping the Insurance industry to better serve their customers, makes it clear that automation can be used “To serve man.” Case management automation enriches and improves how knowledge workers and production workers do their jobs: When insurers invest in a case management approach they organize work around the customer with processes that can efficiently handle exceptions and operate in an omnichannel world. Case management establishes guardrails, not edicts for work, lending necessary flexibility when straight-through process automation is impractical.” At the end of the day, I think we are most drawn to aspirational technology predictions. In frog design’s Tech Trends 2014, Kenji Huang made his Mind Control predication, saying, “If someone from the 1500s came to us now and looked at what technology has enabled us to do, they’d think we were superhuman. In 2014, we’ll make even greater advancements. Our ability to control objects with our minds will be within reach as more companies look toward experiences that directly harness electrical signals from our brain.” Lo and behold, the news is filled lately with stories about the new exoskeleton created based on research from Dr. Miguel Nicolelis. This application is enabling paralyzed veterans like US Army Sgt. Dan Rose to walk again with exoskeleton technology that was also used during the World Cup’s “first kick.” Clad in a metal vest, sporting a blue cap dotted with electrodes, a young man kicked off this year’s biggest soccer championship in an exoskeleton. It was, according to the scientist behind the exoskeleton’s kick, “meant to shock the world.” But even more shocking than the exoskeleton’s first tentative steps is learning how it worked: controlled by the paralyzed patient’s mind. It’s All About the Magic Whether aspirational, cautionary, fantastic or just plain wrong, we continue to be entranced by predictions. The British writer Arthur C. Clarke went so far as to formulate the three laws of prediction: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Back in my original predictions article, I shared a quote from Deloitte’s Alison Kenney Paul who predicted that “[3-D] customized and on-demand products in-store will revolutionize the customer experience and help retailers improve their inventory and supply chain management.” Well, the 2014 holiday season brought us a very magical 3-D story to share. Microsoft and John Lewis have co-created “Monty’s Magical Toy Machine” — a tech-eAnd, the abled in-store experience. The Kinect 2-enabled 3-D interactive experience, designed to let children bring their toys to life, will be available in the flagship John Lewis department store on Oxford Street in December. “Children can scan their favourite toy into the machine through photogrammetry technology, and it will then appear on screen as a moving, life-like 3-D image. This interactive digital replica then magically dances for the child.” The logical next step? Creating the toys themselves in-store of course. Yes, if would seem my impossible zero-length supply chain prediction is quite possible. Here’s to all the great possiblities in 2015!

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Will We See 3D Printed Action Figures for Star Wars VII?

Forecasting the demand for merchandise and toys to support a new Star Wars film always requires a bit of magic and Jedi Arts.  How many of each different action figure, light saber and book should be produced?  It has been almost 10 years since the last film was released so there is no recent supply chain data to analyze.  And, of course, we want to avoid a 1977 style imbalance of the force (between supply and demand) when toys weren’t able to be mass produced in time for the holiday season.  What if we forget about the traditional mass production in China model.  What if, instead, toy manufacturers should use 3D printing to create action figures and other toys on demand?  Here is how it would work. Imagine you are seven years old. You convince your Mom or Dad to take you Walmart, Toys R Us or Target where you could visit a special Star Wars kiosk in the toy section. The kiosk would allow you to select action figures to buy – new characters from Episode VII and older ones from the first two trilogies. There would be options to purchase 100+ standard “pre-designed” action figures ($5.99). Alternatively, you could customize the design with hundreds of other permutations ($10.99) – different weapons (lightsaber, guns, sticks), headwear (masks, helmets) and clothing (capes, gowns). After adding your selections kiosks would direct you to visit the in-store factory. You and your parents could watch through a glass window as your own Chewbacca is printed layer-by-layer. After printing, a robotic arm could package the action figures into personalized boxes and put them onto a mini conveyor belt. A store clerk would then retrieve the figures and hand them to the customer. 3D Printers and scanners are already emerging in major retailers around the world. UK-based ASDA offers kiosks where customers can print a miniaturized version of themselves – 3D selfies. Customers stand in a body scanner similar to the one you see at the airport. It takes photos of you from different angles to create a three dimensional model. The model is then sent to an on-site 3D printer, which creates your mini-me a few minutes later. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that within twelve months that customized 3D printing stations could be introduced to major retailers to support the Star Wars movie launch. It would certainly make the buying experience much cooler. There would be many more SKUs and customization options available. It would be good for the environment too.  The 3D printing model should reduce the carbon footprint of a typical Stormtrooper. The mass production process overseas would be eliminated. Less pollution and waste would be generated. The transportation by ship and truck of the products from Shenzhen to retailers around the world would be eliminated. There would be less oil consumption and carbon emissions. There could be a perfect balance of the force(s) – of supply and demand. Only the exact quantity of toys desired would be produced. No more Jedi Arts to predict six months in advance how many R2-D2s to make.  There should be fewer out-of-stocks as well. Stores would simply need to keep sufficient printer capacity in the stores and have enough of the associated materials on hand. The customizable 3D printed action figures could be also be available online. The experience from the in-store kiosk could be replicated on a mobile app or a web browser. Imagine if you place an order on your iPhone and one hour later an Uber driver service pulls in your driveway with your Luke Skywalker. Even cooler would be a mobile app that could represent 3D holographic images of the characters. Imagine the ghost of Anakin, Obiwan and Yoda being inserted into pretend battles with real physical action figures. The hologram apps may not be available by next December, but I we should not be surprised if the technology is ready for the launch of Episode VIII.

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Join Santa Claus on his Journey to the Digital First World!

When OpenText acquired GXS in January 2014, little did the company know that they would also be acquiring a customer widely regarded as having one of the most secretive businesses in the world. Over the years, many companies have decided to outsource the management of their B2B environment and in 2008, GXS signed a Managed Services contract with its most high profile customer, Santa Claus Enterprises in the North Pole. Over the years I have kept in close contact with this particular customer as they have been a shining example of how to deploy the full portfolio of B2B solutions from OpenText. Each year, just before Santa’s busiest period, I have provided a summary of the enhancements to their B2B environment. The evolution of Santa’s B2B environment is documented via the blogs below, feel free to take a look through as they will also provide some interesting insights into what it takes to deliver millions of Christmas presents on just one night of the year. 2013 – Santa deploys the Internet of Things across his North Pole Operations 2012 – Santa begins to evaluate the information flowing across SantaNet and implements a Big Data strategy 2011 – OpenText Active Community gets rolled out across Santa’s trading partner community to improve day to day collaboration across his Present Delivery Network and he also gets nominated for B2B Heroes award 2010 – Santa evaluates how cloud computing and mobile devices could improve North Pole operations 2009 – Santa completes deployment of OpenText Managed Services and begins to embrace social media tools 2008 – OpenText Managed Services chosen to support Santa’s new B2B hub, OpenText Intelligent Web Forms deployed to create SantaNet Santa’s little helpers, namely his army of elves, were asked by Santa to review the portfolio of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions from OpenText to see where further benefits could be made by automating manual business processes and digitising the remainder of his business operations. Many companies are embarking on a digital journey to improve the way in which different departments manage and get access to their corporate information. In fact ‘Digital Transformation’ projects are high on the agenda of many CIOs around the world at the moment and OpenText is in a unique position to provide a one stop shop to transform companies into a digital business. In August I received an email from Sonja Lundström, Santa’s trusted advisor and executive assistant, inviting me to go up to the North Pole to provide a digital business briefing for Santa and his executive board. Santa’s board members comprise of senior executives from some of the world’s leading toy manufacturers including Mattel, Hasbro and Lego. As with previous trips up to the North Pole, I was asked to check in at the Elf Air desk at a secret terminal at Schipol Airport just outside Amsterdam. This year I had the privilege of travelling on one of Santa’s new Airbus A380’s, a converted passenger plane that allows Santa, when required, to expedite the shipment of thousands of parcels to any one of his Present Distribution Hubs located in strategic locations around the world. The plane I travelled on, call sign ELF020, was one of a fleet of ten aircraft that Santa had chartered for the 2014 holiday season. 16 hours after leaving the UK I was checking into the North Pole Ice Hotel, a stone’s throw from the entrance to Santa’s primary toy manufacturing and distribution facility. I decided to get an early night as I knew the following day would be quite busy! The next day I walked across to Santa’s factory and I was whisked up to the executive briefing centre where I was introduced to Santa’s board members. Five minutes later and the main man himself walked through the frosted glass doors to the board room. Following introductions, Santa’s Chief Elf Information Officer provided an update on their current IT and B2B related projects. I have documented many of these projects quite extensively in the earlier articles which I listed at the beginning of this blog. Needless to say I was very impressed by the ROI that Santa had obtained by deploying OpenText Managed Services. Santa’s core B2B platform, the Present Delivery Network (shown above), processes billions of transactions each year and over the last five years, Santa had seen a 40% growth in new present orders through SantaNet, a web form based toy ordering environment that our company setup in 2008. The growth in new orders had come from the so called omni-channel effect with children placing toy orders through PCs, mobiles and tablet based devices. In addition to deploying a world leading B2B platform, Santa’s team rolled out their ‘Internet of Santa’s Things’ infrastructure, a high profile initiative to provide improved visibility across Santa’s Present Delivery Network. The Internet of Things has become one of the most talked about disruptive digital technologies of 2014, and Santa had no concerns about deploying his IoST environment and he certainly proved to be a digital trail blazer in this particular area. In addition, Santa had embraced a number of other disruptive technologies during 2014. Last year I discussed how Santa’s elves were using Google Glass in their warehouses to improve their toy pick rates. In addition to Glass, Santa had tested some other high profile disruptive technologies. A few years ago Santa invited Steve Jobs to his factory and following lengthy discussions Santa Claus Enterprises became a leading member of Apple’s beta test program. As soon as the early iWatch wearable devices were revealed to the world’s media in 2014, Apple despatched a shipment of iWatches for every elf in the factory. These came pre-loaded with a number of festive mobile apps to help improve the day to day efficiency of Santa’s team of elves. 3D printing was rolled out across Santa’s production department, not just for manufacturing proof of concept toy designs but to build scale models of new sleigh designs that would then be refined in Santa’s onsite wind tunnel. Sleigh research budgets have increased significantly over the years and 3D printing was helping to develop the most aerodynamically refined sleigh in the world. The final area of digital disruption that Santa embraced in 2014 was advanced robotics. Santa had heard that Foxconn, a leading contract manufacturer to Apple, was deploying up to a million ‘Foxbots’ across their manufacturing operations. Santa decided that he wanted to deploy ‘Elfbots’ to bring similar efficiencies to his own production operations. Santa is now working with Andy Rubin, head of Google’s newly formed robotics division, to define a development plan for his network of 2,000 Elfbots. Santa has done a great job of ensuring that he can seamlessly connect with the little children around the world. So in many ways Santa’s operations were already significantly digitally enabled but now that GXS had been acquired by OpenText there was scope for the deployment of further digital information tools. After all, many of the new disruptive technologies such as connected IoST devices were producing high volumes of unstructured data that would need to be archived, analysed and acted upon as required. After the CEIO had provided his updates it was time for me to take to the floor. I provided Santa and the board with a high level introduction to OpenText and they were very impressed with the joint customer base and the opportunities available to embrace new Enterprise Information Management solutions. Even though Santa had consolidated many back end business systems, such as his Elf Resources Platform (ERP), there were still many different information silos located within the various departments of his operations. Just finding the right information at the right time proved to be a challenge on occasions. To gain further efficiencies across Santa’s operations it would be important to ensure that all departments could feed off of a centralised digital information hub. This hub would be accessible any time, any place or anywhere, useful considering the global nature and complexity of Santa’s operations. OpenText solutions are divided across five key ‘pillars’, shown by way of the chart below, Santa’s B2B solutions are under the Information Exchange pillar. Before I had even explained each of the five solution pillars, Santa could immediately see that there was a significant opportunity to increase the footprint of OpenText solutions across his business. Santa said that he would like OpenText to become his trusted guide during his journey into the digital first world. But first he wanted me to highlight how OpenText could manage different types of information from the key stages of a toy’s lifecycle. I created the chart below to help illustrate some of the key process stages across Santa’s manufacturing operations. I have also overlaid, where appropriate the five key solution pillars as they apply to each stage of the lifecycle of a toy (which in reality could represent any manufactured product). Now I could go into detail around how OpenText can help manage information across each of these twelve process steps, but for the purposes of this article, let me just expand on five of these. Toy Design & Engineering – At this phase of a toy’s lifecycle, any information associated with the design of a toy will need to be centrally managed and archived in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution. Typical files managed at this stage include 3D CADCAM models, 3D printer files, 2D drawings, production related information and high quality rendered images and 3D animations. A Digital Asset Management solution from OpenText would allow Santa’s marketing elves and outside PR agencies to review and download high quality rendered images and videos for use in promotional materials. Information Exchange (IX), solutions such as Managed File Transfer, allows Santa’s design elves to send large file size design information anywhere across the external enterprise, including contract manufacturers. Procurement / Supplier Onboarding – This is part of the toy’s lifecycle that GXS, now Information Exchange, has been supporting over the past few years, from on-boarding suppliers and ensuring they can exchange B2B transactions electronically to providing back end integration to Santa’s ERP platform. In addition, it is important for a procurement team to work collaboratively with their suppliers and all proposal, contract and contact information will need to be centrally managed. The procurement elves may need to undertake some form of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) assessments across their trading partner community. The area of GRC is becoming an increasingly important area for many companies and new regulations such as conflict minerals compliance needs to be adhered to and managed in an effective way. Just as an aside, Santa takes Corporate Social Responsibility really seriously, so much so that he would like to setup an Elf Information Management System (EIMS) to help with the day to day management of his elves and ensure the quality of their welfare whilst working in the toy factory. Plant Maintenance and Asset Management – Santa has an army of elves conducting proactive maintenance on shop floor related manufacturing and assembly equipment. Given the tight production schedule that Santa has each year, his elves ideally need quick access to maintenance and machine test procedures, 2D maintenance drawings and equipment test and compliance certificates. Even ensuring that Santa’s elves adhere to the latest Elf and Safety procedures has become a challenge over the years. The elves already have access to ruggedized tablet devices for use on the shop floor. Using Appworks, OpenText’s mobile app development platform, Santa’s elves would be able to get remote access to any information archived in the central content management system. In addition, the elves need to follow a standard process for maintaining each piece of equipment and OpenText’s Business Process Management (BPM) solution would be able to more effectively manage all the process steps involved with maintaining Santa’s production equipment. Can you imagine what would happen on the 24th December each year if the toy production lines are halted due to a malfunctioning assembly robot? Online Customer Experience – The SantaNet portal had worked well over the years and allowed the little children of the world to login to a portal and submit their present wish lists! At this stage of the toy’s lifecycle, various web related assets will need to be created and managed, eg product brochures, toy promotion videos and animations will need to be accessed by different elves across the extended enterprise and outside video production agencies. OpenText Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions are ideal for this purpose. Given the connected nature of today’s children, Santa would be able to setup a best in class ‘Young Person Experience Management’ offering that would leverage OpenText’s Web Experience Management offering. In addition, all other internal websites used by his elves could be upgraded with the latest portal technologies offered by OpenText. Recalls and Warranty Repair – The final stage of a toy’s lifecycle relates to the potential recall or repair of toys. Unfortunately not every toy delivered via the chimney makes it safely down to the fireplace and breakages can occur. Santa established a toy repair and recall centre ten years ago however many of the processes used to recover broken toys from the world’s children are quite lengthy and prone to delays due to the amount of manual paperwork that needs to be processed. In addition to repairs, sometimes toys have to be recalled, perhaps due to poor quality workmanship by Santa’s elves. Whether repairing broken toys or recalling faulty toys, Santa’s elves could significantly improve operational efficiencies by deploying OpenText’s Business Process Management (BPM) solution. BPM will ensure that every toy that needs to be repaired or recalled follows a strict series of process steps. This ensures that a consistent and repeatable repair/recall process can be established and this helps to improve Child Satisfaction Levels, a key metric used by Santa to keep the world’s children happy with their toys. In addition to providing an overview of these five solution areas, I explained to Santa that OpenText was looking at how the different pillar solutions could be integrated together. I also showed a new fast moving video which helps to describe the OpenText Cloud. To wrap up my presentation to Santa and the board I also discussed new development areas and highlighted a recent announcement concerning OpenText’s intention to acquire the business intelligence company, Actuate. Last year when I visited Santa Claus Enterprises HQ, I was shown the latest beta version of SantaPad, a Big Data analytics engine for processing toy consumption trends across the little boys and girls of the world. Actuate could potentially provide the business intelligence platform to significantly improve the big data analytics capabilities across Santa’s operations. Santa was so excited by this news that he requested a briefing of Actuate’s capabilities, as and when it was convenient for OpenText to do so. We had just gone over our two hour presentation slot with Santa and I decided to summarise how OpenText helps businesses move to a 100% digital business. Firstly OpenText can help to Simplify Santa’s back end platforms to manage enterprise wide business information, irrespective of which application the information was originally created in. Secondly, OpenText can help to Transform information from literally any format to another and ensure that digital information can be exchanged both internally across the elf community and externally across third party contract manufacturers and logistics providers. Thirdly, OpenText can help to Accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, which would allow faster business decisions to be made. Santa’s operations would ultimately become more responsive to changing consumer demand and increased competition from new emerging toy markets. This brought our meeting to a close and I had a number of actions to follow up on with my colleagues back at OpenText! In closing, Santa wished OpenText and our global customers Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year and he said he was looking forward to working closely with OpenText during 2015 and beyond. So it just leaves me to say season’s greetings and best of luck for 2015!  

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Demand Forecasting for Star Wars VII Merchandise – Use the Force

One year from today (December 18, 2015) the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga will be released into movie theaters around the world. The movie will only last two hours, but kids will relive the movie for years afterwards with the Star Wars action figures and other new toys that will accompany the film. Forecasting demand for toys and merchandise associated with a major movie release can be quite challenging. When the original Star Wars action figures were released in late 1977 there was a huge supply shortage the following Christmas. A small toy company named Kenner had licensed the rights to produce toys for the original Star Wars film.  With numerous production delays and budget overruns, few associated with the film expected Star Wars to be a success before its release.  Consequently, Kenner had not bothered to manufacture any merchandise in time for the release.  Needless to say, the film was a smashing success breaking box office sales records and creating a loyal fan based of millions seemingly overnight. As a result, Kenner had to develop a merchandising strategy to capitalize on the film’s widespread popularity.   But the development of plastic toys required over a year.  The action figures needed to be designed, sculpted and tested.  Expensive and time consuming steel molds were needed to support the manufacturing activities.   Starting in mid-summer, Kenner would not be able to get the products to market in time for the all-important Christmas holiday season.  Although Kenner held the license rights to the biggest movie in history, it could not capitalize on the opportunity because it get its merchandise to market fast enough. Toy manufacturers won’t make the same mistake with Episode VII. With filming already completed in Iceland and Abu Dhabi earlier this year, I suspect design has already started on action figures, replica ships and other merchandise in preparation for launch day. Manufacturing on the toys will need to start four to six months in advance (July-September 2015) to allow adequate time for product to be shipped from China via ocean freight to stores around the world. Forecasting demand for toys will require the usual guesswork. Which action figures will be the most popular? Will it be the older versions of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo or will it be new additions Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren? Only the force could be used to accurately make these predictions. Episode VII’s release seven days before the Christmas holiday will complicate matters even further. Millions of kids will view the movie in the first few days then make last minute additions to their holiday wish lists. Santa and his elves will have to work quickly to respond to changing demand patterns up until Christmas Eve. I think the best way to launch the toys would be not to mass manufacture them in China, but instead to produce them on-demand in retail stores with 3D printers.

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Could File Sync and Share Radically Simplify B2B Commerce?

File Sync and Share services like Dropbox and Box.net have made it easier than ever to share files with co-workers or colleagues at other companies. You create a shared folder with another registered user then drag and drop the file you want to exchange. A copy will be placed in the other user’s folders. Even unregistered users can receive files. They receive an email with a download link. Why can’t exchanging documents with business partners in your supply chain be this easy? What if there was a file sync and share service designed for Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions? Here is how it would work. A user would establish a shared folder with each of their key business partners (customers, suppliers, banks). To make things simpler, they could search through a directory of all the businesses registered on the service and simply check a box next to those they wanted to share with. For example, a small apparel supplier (let’s call them Stripes Inc) might create folders for each of their customers – Walmart, JC Penney, Macys and Sears. When Stripes wanted to send an invoice to a retailer (for merchandise it shipped to their stores) an accounting clerk would simply copy and paste the file (PDF, spreadsheet, EDI) into the appropriate shared folder. Every few minutes the file sync serve would poll Stripes’ folder for new content. Each new (or changed) file would be copied to the retailer’s folder. Similarly, Stripes could set up folders for its banking partners (factors, cash management and trade finance providers). When Stripes wanted to send payment instructions an accounts payable clerk would simply copy them into the appropriate folder. The file sync service would identify the new files and copy them to the bank’s folder as well. Doesn’t this sound much easier than the painful supplier portals that small businesses have to endure today? No more logging into 10 different web portals. No more re-keying data (e.g. invoice fields from an accounting system). No more swivel chairing back and forth between your internal business applications and an online forms. File Sync and Share services would be faster, cheaper and easier to use than today’s web portals. File sync and share is extremely low cost. In fact, it is free in some cases. As a cloud service, file sync and share does not require users to purchase any additional software. And there is no re-keying of data required. Most end-users would require no training to learn the technology. To make this a reality, file sync and share services would need to evolve. First, these services would need to adopt enterprise-grade security. Second, file sync and share vendors would need to change their privacy policies so they could not snoop on the data being exchanged. Third, formal service level agreements would need to be in place to ensure high availability. Some functional enhancements would be required as well. Big companies are already exchanging millions of B2B transactions per day using communications protocols such as AS2, FTP and MQ. To gain adoption and endorsement, a new B2B file sync and share service could not expect large retailers, automakers, manufacturers and financial institutions to make significant changes to their IT environment. The file sync service would need to be able to send/receive files to/from corporate B2B gateways using B2B protocols such as AS2 and FTP. RESTful APIs could allow big companies to pull files every few minutes onto their own B2B gateways as well as to obtain meta-data about the files exchanged. A whole suite of value-added services could be created in the cloud. Examples might include: • Translation – PDF, Word and other unstructured document formats could be scanned and converted into XML using OCR technologies. Similarly, variants of EDI, XML and other standardized messages could be translated from one format to another in the cloud. • Data Validation – Services that check to ensure all the appropriate fields in a document (e.g. invoice) are populated. Documents with missing data would not sync. The sender could be notified with a user-friendly error message highlighting the fields requiring attention. More thoughts on file sync and share in an upcoming post.

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Self-Service: Joining the Dots with Digital Wholesale Banking?

The retail banking space is currently dominating headlines when it comes to the topic of self-service. In their market segment, everything is about “omnichannel,” personal convenience. It is challenging to transpose what self-service could look like in the world of wholesale banking. This post is designed to join the dots and provoke initial thoughts for transaction banking. Corporate, institutional and investment clients are driven by a number of factors, creating a compelling case for self-service. These factors include: Digitization of the Financial Supply Chain: Corporates consume banking services as part of their integrated processes, instead of separate data integration silos. Standardization of Business Processes and Technology: Each bank tries to differentiate themselves from a product and services perspective, therefore creating standardization “loose ends” for the corporate to deal with. Self-service is perceived as an area of flexibility corporates can leverage to bridge that gap with their business processes. Increased “consumerization” Culture: While straight-through processing and host-to-host integration are cornerstones of a banking relationship, corporates still require key individuals in their organization to have liquidity and transactional visibility, together with approval controls. The world of mobile banking in retail is setting high expectations with these individuals. Downwards Segmentation of Corporate Banking: Upper mid-market companies are increasingly adopting host-to-host channels, as opposed to business online banking. Every wholesale bank I’ve spoken to in the last two years has a growth of mid-market companies adopting corporate channels, leaving behind the realm of online business banking. How could these compelling drivers manifest themselves, and what could “self-service” look like for each case? Digitization of Business On-Boarding : Collecting business information, structured and unstructured, is usually the first hurdle on both sides. “Know Your Customer” (KYC) data—such as signatories’ passport information, reference information, and contractual artifacts—are gathered and maintained over time through a manual process. A content management repository is only half of the solution; the biggest opportunity for client self-service is to enable customers to share business and personal information in a nimble, automated, scalable, and user-friendly manner. T echnical On-Boarding Automation : The collection of connectivity, API, digital certificates, and other IT reference data is something done manually nowadays, with a bank’s client implementations team having to both educate and collect information with spreadsheets and email. Self-service is about on-boarding workflow portals, which validate the structure and quality of the information share by the customer, automating a huge part of the mundane on-boarding tasks. If you add a provisioning facility that leverages that data to prepare the channel and front-office technology, self-service provides the banks with exponential scale, ensuring the on-boarding teams are able to focus on high-value activities. Readiness & Compliance Testing : Historically, banks maintain expensive and complex “staging environments” (also known as pre-production CAT, or Client Acceptance Testing, setups). This effectively duplicates their entire banking architecture and staffing to flush out any issues with the client’s data and processes during on-boarding. Replace all of this with a smart, partly unattended self-test tool, with channels and front office rules replicating the production environments, and you get a digital self-service experience that can achieve tremendous business outcomes for both clients and banks. Unattended Relationship Housekeeping : Over time, people, processes, and technologies change on both sides. Client information becomes outdated; people change roles and contact details; digital certificates may expire or become revoked; the client may lose track of the bank’s decommissioning notice for their FTP backup connection; and so forth: The list goes on forever. Self-service comes with a number of artifacts such as collaborative workspaces and community management tools. It may start with simple things such as regularly prompting clients to validate or repopulate their contact details, or to revisit their reference documents and important correspondence. Is everything and anything good for a “self-serve” model? Self-Provisioning: Enabling clients to manage and change their integration setup sounds great on paper, but it could cause a lot of disruptions if left unsupervised. To use an analogy: The Engine Order Telegraph (also known as “chadburn”) was a communications device used on ship s. The pilot or captain would move a lever from “stop” to “full ahead,” which would in turn move a needle on a dial in the engine room. This way, the captain never actuates the engine components (what we would call “provisioning” in terms of banking technology), but instead provides a prompt to the engine room’s crew to act upon. I believe the “self-serve” client tools should be largely based on a web or mobile version of this device, together with “engine room SLAs” at the bank. Exposed Data Normalization Tools: While readiness and compliance “self-tests” are great value-adds for both clients and banks, I have also heard terrible ideas that would enable clients to cause chaos during an on-boarding. Just to share a few: Clients should never be allowed to develop their mapping algorithms on their own on an application exposed by the bank. Equally bad, clients should not be granted visibility into middle-office systems (I was told once clients should see their full AML hits details). And last but not least, clients should not be given control over amending their submissions after the Bank has received it in the payment processing chain (fix/repair functionality in middle-office exposed to clients). So, what stands in the bank’s way to achieve self-service? Two words: Digital Transformation. Self-service has to be part of a consistent and coordinated strategy, executed in conjunction with other areas of transformation. For instance, it takes a consolidated and smart channel to build self-service for “any product over any channel,” a degree of customer centricity awareness, as well as further IT automation. My personal take on the whole topic is that not everything should be “self service”.

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Enterprise World 2014 – Digital Disruption Across Tomorrow’s Manufacturing Supply Chains

OpenText hosted Enterprise World 2014 in Orlando last week, our main customer focused conference for the year. With nearly 2000 attendees, the event was a huge success and it provided the ideal opportunity for our customers to learn more about how OpenText will be helping companies develop a digital first strategy. OpenText also unveiled a number of exciting cloud based announcements as well as provide an opportunity to showcase enhancements to our Enterprise Information Management suite of product offerings. There was also a very strong industry focus at this year’s event and it provided me with the opportunity to define my vision of how digital disruption would impact tomorrow’s manufacturing supply chains. I wanted to use this blog entry to highlight some of the key messages from this particular session. I began the session by describing some of the macro-economic trends that were impacting today’s manufacturing industry. From globalisation to consumer driven product innovation, today’s manufacturers are quickly restructuring their supply chains to accommodate future growth and new digital trends. Much of this growth will occur in a new set of emerging markets collectively known as the MINT, (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries. For the past decade companies have focused on the BRIC countries and now they have the MINT countries to contend with! You can find out more about the MINT countries through one of my earlier blog entries. I then went on to discuss the evolution of the digital manufacturing business, this was an area that I discussed quite extensively in an earlier blog entry, click here.  I wanted to try and highlight that the manufacturing industry has seen pockets of ‘digital innovation’ evolve over the years, however most of this digital innovation has centred around information that has originated from the design department. The design department has essentially provided the central hub from which various departments across a manufacturing business have utilised digital information. I then went on to explain how digital information powers the integrated value chain and how Enterprise Information Management solutions from OpenText can help to manage all types of digital information across the entire lifecycle of a manufactured product.  I explained how at a simplistic level, an end to end product lifecycle could be broken down into twelve key process steps. From managing digital information at the market / customer requirements stage, through to production and aftermarket support, each stage of the process generates different types of digital information that needs to be managed, archived and potentially exchanged across a digital supply chain. I will expand on this concept in a future blog entry but you can see at a high level below how I have mapped across OpenText’s key solutions across each step of a product’s lifecycle, further details on this are available via the SlideShare link at the end of this blog. Following this discussion I went on to discuss the future of the digital manufacturing business and in particular how key technologies being introduced today would impact digital manufacturing strategies of the future. For the past few years manufacturers have been embracing cloud based ERP, PLM and B2B solutions, but moving forwards CIOs across the manufacturing industry will have to support a broad range of digital information coming from a variety of different sources. I highlighted five of the more popular technologies that were getting a lot of air time in the media at the moment. For example: Wearable devices such as Google Glass and how they will help in for example the warehouse and logistics management space How 3D printing was likely to revolutionise manufacturing and see ‘zero length’ supply chains being introduced Deployment of advanced robotics platforms such as ‘Baxter’ and the so called ‘Fox Bots’ to automate manual production processes Introduction of drone based logistics and how they will potentially improve the efficiency of short distance delivery networks The Internet of Things and how it was likely to impact the design of future B2B platforms and improve the efficiency of supply chain networks The Internet of Things was the last area that I covered in my presentation and this was probably the most significant from a digital disruption point of view. I have discussed the IoT in earlier blog entries, most recent example is shown here, and what I wanted to do for this presentation was provide a point of view for how B2B, EIM and IoT will work together in future manufacturing environments. I used the graphic below to try and provide a high level view of what a future manufacturing business could look like with digital information being both visible and accessible from one end of the manufacturing supply chain to the other. The grey area depicts the traditional information management space that OpenText has served over recent years.  The blue area highlights the external connectivity and exchange of digital information, provided by GXS and EasyLink, across the extended enterprise, and the orange section highlights the information that will be coming into the enterprise from thousands of connected devices that will be connected to digital business networks in the future. I had some great feedback from this presentation at Enterprise World and it certainly helped provide attendees with a vision of how OpenText can help manufacturers fight their way through the complexity of managing digital information in the future. If you would like to see my entire presentation from Enterprise World, then please click on the following link to view the SlideShare based presentation. Enterprise World 2014 – Manufacturing Industry Breakout Session from Mark Morley

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Focus on Industry at Enterprise World 2014

Tuesday at Enterprise World was THE place to be this year for industry perspectives and peer networking. Customers and partners joined our OpenText industry team led sessions for Energy, Resources and Utilities, Financial Services and Insurance, Manufacturing and supply chain, Life Sciences, Media, Entertainment and Telecommunications, and the Public Sector. And we wrapped with a reception and industry meet-and-greet, followed by the OpenText Heroes Awards ceremony! The impact of digital on your industry “The only source of knowledge is experience.” — Albert Einstein What better way to learn about the latest best practices than from peers in your respective vertical industry! Whether it’s Agenda 2020 consumerism, digital disruption or transformative technologies like the Internet of Things, our industry sessions touched on top of mind topics; including: Powering Business Transformation in the Energy Sector Manufacturing Supply Chains of the Future Targeted Digital Marketing and Client Onboarding in Financial Services The M&E Digital Media Supply Chain How Digital is Driving Government Transformation The New Quality Paradigm for Life Sciences Meeting Compliance Objectives in 2014 & Beyond And thats not all Our main stage and keynotes were incredible and our industry discussions continued throughout the week, with solution case studies plus first hand customer success stories and roundtables. And each morning colleagues dialoged at the “Birds of a Feather” industry breakfast tables. Industry topped if off with our Financial Services Advisory Council and our Energy User Group serssions. Thanks to our awesome customers, partners and OpenText colleagues for making #EW2014 a meaningful memorable event. Now stay tuned for Innovation Tour and in the meantime check out our Industry Insights community and Blog!

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What Google Can Teach Us About Monetizing Business Networks

In my last post I discussed the dramatic differences in business models between social networks and business networks. Social networks derive revenue primarily from monetizing the content generated by their users with third parties. Business networks, however, charge end-users directly for the services they consume. The CEOs of many business networks have talked about creating analytics and reporting services for the past 10 years, but there are few examples of success. Is the data on business networks simply not of interest (or worth analyzing)? Let’s start by understanding the types of data that passes through business networks. The most popular transactions include Purchase orders Shipment notifications Commercial invoices Delivery confirmations Payment instructions Bank statements Inventory positions Product catalogs Point-of-Sale Many people review this list and think of it as mundane data. What could we learn from reviewing a company’s delivery confirmations or inventory reports? How boring? It is far more fun and interesting to focus on performing sentiment analysis of Facebook posts to guess who will win the next US Presidential election. And far more rewarding to make stock picks based upon which new high tech gadgets are getting the most buzz on Twitter. But I would argue that people thought about maps as boring 15 years ago. What could be more boring than street maps? Fifteen years ago most people owned a set of maps for their car. And the roads didn’t change much so there was relatively little repeat purchasing. So you might ask – why would anyone focus their time investing in reinventing the map?   But Google, Apple and Yahoo clearly did not agree. All three have been battling to become the de facto source of mapping and driving instructions data for over a decade – first on the browser and now mobile apps. And now these vendors are best positioned to exploit the multi-billion dollar opportunity for location-based services and mobile advertising. Out-of-print books offer another example. Google has spent the last 10 years cataloguing and digitizing 30 million different books – many of which are out of print. They have fought legal battles over copyright violations and suffered negative publicity in the press. Who cares about out-of-print books? If the books were worth reading they would still be on the printing presses, right? But Google had a broader vision. Google wanted to democratize knowledge to everyone by continuing to improve its search engine. And it also saw an opportunity to build a real-time language translator. By comparing copies of the same book published in multiple languages Google could build an algorithm that could automatically translate text from French to English, German to Dutch, Italian to Portuguese. Think “Translate This Page.”  Ten years later, who is best positioned to build a mobile app that can listen to human speech and translate it in real-time? Google is one of the top contenders. How do maps and books relate to purchase orders and invoices? They all appear on the surface to be uninteresting for analysis purposes, but are sources of unlocked potential. When it comes to data beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many types of information that would seem fundamentally uninteresting or irrelevant to the general public have immeasurable value in the eyes of a visionary entrepreneur or ambitious data scientist. By analyzing the data on business networks companies could determine – What is their perfect order fill rate? What shipments are at risk of being delayed? How does their on-time delivery performance compare to your competitors?

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Monetizing the Data on Business Networks

The business model for most social networks is to offer free access to a large community of users then seek to monetize the content being created on the network with third parties. Some networks use the content on their networks to offer more highly targeted advertising than has been available historically. For example, LinkedIn can better target job ads by leveraging the data it has about its users (e.g. the skills and experiences listed in their profiles). Facebook takes a similar approach to targeted advertising. Facebook can analyze the content you offer about hobbies, interests and products you have purchased (data most brands would struggle to get through other channels) to serve up relevant ads. Business networks, however, have very different business models than social networks. Business networks do not offer their services for free. And they historically have not tried to monetize the data being exchanged on their network. Business networks have grown up using old-fashioned, 20th century business models in which you charge end-users directly for services they consume. Suppose a bank sends 100,000 daily account statements out to its customers. The bank would then pay a per document change for each of the 100,000 statements. If a retailer issues 5,000 purchase orders in a month then it pays a corresponding fee for each purchase order. In some cases, customers are offered a flat monthly fee as long as they do not exceed a certain transaction volume. A direct fee, usage-based model would never work on social networks. Can you imagine if Twitter charged you for every tweet or follower? Or if Instagram charged by the megabyte for every photo you shared? Or if Facebook charged you for each post you liked? Conversely, the business model for social networks would never work for business networks. A business network that analyzes their data for the benefits of an unknown third party would scare off most companies. The data exchanged on a business network is not in the public domain (like a social network) so it cannot be sold to advertising agencies or any third party. The data really cannot be sold to anyone. It is owned by the companies that send or receive it. However, business networks could analyze the data from individual companies and sell the insights back to them. Using data from business networks we could better understand financial and supply chain performance. Networks could possibly identify risks or issues that are not easily obtainable from a company’s ERP systems. For example, you might be able to identify changing consumer demand patterns that would provide you with an early warning of a possible economic slowdown. Or you could estimate how long it will take shipments to traverse the pre-holiday congestion at California ports. Despite the massive potential, few business networks have released analytics or reporting services to customers. And those who have released these services have not been able to generate a significant revenue stream yet – at least not that has been publicly disclosed. Are business networks simply failing to execute on the opportunity? Could it be that customers don’t really see the value analyzing data in business networks make sense? Or are the privacy concerns by corporate users providing too big of an obstacle to overcome?  

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How Not to Build a Digital Business

How do you become a digital business? You may discover many different paths to success on your digital journey, and even more opportunities to take a wrong turn along the way. Here are three traps to avoid, inspired by some classic Beatles songs plus a turn of phrase from Taylor Swift. Be sure you never ever get caught in these mistakes as you build your digital business. What’s a Digital Business? In Gartner’s recent study, 22 percent of the respondents defined themselves as already being a digital business: one focused on a world where people, businesses and things communicate, interact and even negotiate with one another. What paths are being taken to build those digital businesses? A large segment of the Gartner study — 41 percent — defined themselves as a digital marketing business, a stage that leverages the Nexus of Forces (social, mobile, cloud and information) to build intimate relationships with their customers that advance their businesses. Cognizant views businesses being reshaped into digital businesses by how customers behave: “the way we shop, consume entertainment, socialize, learn and do just about everything, every day. It’s the digital lives of customers that are changing the rules of engagement and we’re seeing their loyalty grow stronger for the brands that keep pace.” Based on a survey conducted by Circle Research for Vodafone, machine “behavior” is driving digital business and more importantly digital business returns. The research found that digital Machine-to-Machine (M2M) adoption has increased by more than 80 percent globally in the last year and revealed that nearly all (96 percent) of the America organizations implementing M2M strategies have experienced a return on their investment (ROI) such as greater competitive advantage, customer service and productivity. For Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author of The Second Machine Age, it is all about artificial intelligence and the pace at which digital technologies are growing in power that will inform the path to digital business. An interesting article in Tech Republic gives some examples, from Brynjolfsson and others, of what our digital business future might look like. These range from call center operators gradually being replaced by question-answering, automated systems (Think “When Watson Met Siri”), to the declining cost of sensors “driving” automation of transportation and logistics occupations. A new research report from the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) assessed the readiness of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, designed to transmit safety information between autos and warn drivers of imminent crashes. NHTSA estimates that anywhere from 25,000 to 592,000 crashes could be prevented and save roughly 50 to 1,083 lives per year. In a recent meeting with ARC Advisory, the conversation turned to the industrial Internet of Things and then on to the subject of consumer impacts. In the digital business world of the future, refrigerators will alert what and when they need to replenish, and grocery shelves will leverage their connected digital supply chain to drive demand response back through to supplier distribution centers and logistics providers. Cars will drive themselves and notify insurance firms and garage services when they break down, negotiate claims and arrange payment and repair. While we consider just how distant or near a future all this might be, I wish to make it clear I would much prefer to have a chef and a chauffeur. Just old fashioned I guess, but one who does recognize that our collective progress towards digital business is at times exhilarating, at other times disappointing, and at all times inevitable. So with that as backdrop, here are three common mistakes to avoid as you build your digital business. Mistake #1: Digital business is just a new kind of psychedelic experience Gartner states, “Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.” It predicts that by 2020, 75 percent of businesses will be a digital business or will be preparing to become one. Some might say the best way to achieve this blurring is through psychedelic experience — just listen to the Beatles Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds to be transported to a world of “tangerine trees and marmalade skies.” As business people we need to be careful that the bright shiny object of “digital” does not blind us on our path forward. Digital innovation and creativity need to stay grounded in and aligned with the strategic direction of the business, with clear context to the parent industry. As McKinsey states in finding your Digital Sweet Spot, “To capture the value available, organizations will need to assess the value at stake, invest proportionally to that value, and align their business and operating models accordingly.” Not all industries face the same opportunities or the same threats. The McKinsey study found that industries in the “eye of the digital storm,” like retail banking, property and casualty insurance, and mobile telecommunications that offer virtual rather than physical products and focus on processing and servicing, need to have a strategy for digital that includes omnichannel distribution. McKinsey projects that digital-channel use in these sectors will average 35 percent bottom-line impact, while cost-base potential reductions could average 20 percent. On the other hand, industry sectors like grocery retail and apparel need a different strategy. For them, digital sales may realize only a 20 percent average bottom-line impact over the next five years. A significant opportunity, but much less than the potential bottom-line impact from digital driven cost reductions, which could average 36 percent. So as business moves on its digital path, those who forget the basics of good market analysis and business strategy do so at their own peril. Just look back to the dot.com days, when Webvan was founded as an online grocery store. According to C-Net, “Webvan went from being a $1.2 Billion company with 4,500 employees to being liquidated in under two years.” What looks to be a much smarter trend is the birth of gourmet marketplaces like Foodoro with food crafted by artisan producers. A startup with a targeted market aligned with their digital business strategy. Hmmm, I need to look to see if they are selling “tangerine trees and marmalade skies.” Mistake #2: To find the right path you must look within The great George Harrison wrote a song called The Inner Light based on a passage from Tao Te Ching “Without going out of my door I can know all things on earth.” He was heavily influenced by the Beatles time in India and his truly inspirational advice might work well for the path to enlightenment. For the path to digital business, I believe this approach could prove to be fatal. Getting outside yourself is critical, look outside your business, to your partners and your customers, and keeping your industry structure and dynamics in mind. McKinsey notes “The potential impact of digital technology varies widely by industry, but most enterprise leaders share an important challenge: how to get beyond the small share of the prize they are capturing today by looking for impact across the whole value chain.” The Boston Consulting Group perspective, Exploiting Digital Disruption, asserts that because digital technologies enable companies to work more easily across traditional boundaries, it can result in leapfrogging entire links in the value chain. “The most common example is manufacturers using e-commerce capabilities to bypass wholesalers and distributors by establishing or strengthening direct distribution channels with customers. The risk to traditional wholesalers and distributors is high.” McKinsey also makes the critical point that a too-narrow focus on distribution channels means organizations are getting only a small share of the full value that digital transformation can provide. That narrow focus may also be leaving organizations vulnerable to new entrants and agile incumbents that can translate operational improvements across the full value chain, combined with innovative operating models, into better, cheaper, more customized products, faster service, and an improved customer experience. For organizations that can step back and apply their digital investments in such a holistic way, the prize is significant.” This dynamic is showing itself in the Financial Services industry where new entrants are employing digital business models to disrupt traditional banks and insurance companies. Point approaches or applications fall short as a means to counter this insurgency. What is needed is a digital omnichannel approach integrated with digital marketing, client onboarding and servicing. As important as it is to take an external view on your digital transformation journey, it is also important to look within to ensure you have the competencies in place to execute on your holistic digital business vision. Perhaps George had it right all along. Mistake #3: Digital business is all about process. Digital business is all about content There is a constant and natural tension between those who favor process and those who favor content as THE best path for digitizing business in a meaningful way. Your personal perspective is shaped by professional history, your current role in the organization, and often by the nature of the particular challenge you presently face in building your digital business. Here again, we can learn much from the Beatles song book. Come Together is the lead song on their Abbey Road album that had some of the last Beatles recording sessions. Recorded in 1969 and originally politically inspired, this song wound up illustrating the clash between Lennon and McCartney that would ultimately lead to the end of the Beatles in 1970. If Team John vs. Team Paul gives us any lesson, then it is perhaps that it is time for Team Process and Team Content to come together to best move the digital business forward. I’ve written extensively about adaptive case management technology and disciplines that can bring together process and content for your business initiatives. Business processes are essential to digital business as the engines of work activity. They move you forward in your daily job, help propel strategic initiatives, and perhaps most importantly, give you the framework to make and implement good business decisions. Content is equally critical because it represents essential information needed to fuel your business decisions, and as such it is most valuable when properly served and effectively consumed by your business processes. My conclusion then is that process and content together are a powerful means to drive better business results. Digital business advances are increasingly being used by companies to differentiate and gain advantage over the competition. If you’re in the Insurance industry, that might mean a focus on better approaches to managing customers through multiple channels – brokers, agents, online and more. In Banking, efficient customer on-boarding, new account opening and servicing are considered critical to success. And, in the supply chain sector, meeting customer and supplier SLAs (service level agreements) can be the singular difference. All of these will require an integrated content and process strategy with technology that comes together to support that approach. The long and winding road As in so many disruptive situations, there is no single straight path to success. To build a digital roadmap for your business, you’ll need to ask where the value is to your enterprise in operating as a digital business. To identify and pursue the value you will need to align to your strategic business initiatives, look to the external forces impacting your vertical industry, and consider the full breadth of digital technologies and methodologies available to you. While you are doing all that it couldn’t hurt to listen to more Beatles for inspiration!  

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iTAC Helps Manufacturers Improve Operations with BIRT iHub [Case Study]

We think we live in a digital world, but manufacturing still touches every aspect of our lives today. The cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the tools we use, and even the food we eat today is the product of an integrated global supply chain and complex manufacturing processes. But the digital world of IT and physical world of manufacturing are inextricably connected: Successful manufacturers leverage powerful IT to monitor and manage their machines, resources, logistics and more to improve quality, reduce costs, and deliver the right goods at the right time. For more than 15 years, Germany-based iTAC Software AG has helped companies merge the worlds of IT and manufacturing. iTAC (short for Internet Technologies and Consulting) produces highly specialized manufacturing software. Its Manufacturing Execution System (MES) suite is cloud-based, Java EE-powered application that enables IP-based monitoring and management of every aspect of a manufacturing environment – essentially turning factories and supply chains into a real-world workbench in the Internet of Things (IoT). Automotive, electronics, medical, and other discrete manufacturers worldwide use iTAC.MES.Suite to optimize product quality and increase production. iTAC maintains a diverse team of skilled developers who clearly know how to produce powerful, useful software. So when iTAC decided to integrate Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics capabilities into iTAC.MES.Suite, the company’s developers could have built these embedded analytics capabilities on their own, from scratch. But instead, they chose the iHub platform to provide embedded analytics in their application.  iTAC selected iHub for its flexibility, speed, and ability to integrate seamlessly into iTAC.MES.Suite. “With iHub, we can produce attractive, compelling visualizations in no time from application data,” said Dieter Meuser, iTAC’s CTO. “Just as quickly and easily, the iHub platform can be integrated in any IT architecture and takes on the branding and security model of the main application.” A new Actuate case study, available for free download, explores iTAC’s use of BIRT iHub. The case study explains why iTAC chose BIRT iHub for embedded analytics and details the benefits of Actuate’s software, including secure integration, enhanced reporting, and support for the Internet of Things (IoT) – a key element of Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative for creating smart factories. Download and read the iTAC case study today.

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Building Smarter Cities with EIM

History is written by the winners. In a Digital-First world, there’s a whole slew of them: Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Wikipedia, Pinterest, YouTube, GoPro, T-Mobile, Yelp— the list goes on and on. These organizations have successfully fused imagination with technology to introduce new business models and change the way consumers buy, the way companies market, and the way enterprises operate. There are examples in every industry, as the winners outpace the losers who to fail to reinvent themselves as digital enterprises, passing over opportunities fueled by disruptive digital technologies. This is why transformation in a Digital-First world is the focus of Enterprise World 2014, our annual user conference. Join us this year in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, as we look ahead to the year 2020 and explore a new enterprise landscape—one that is impacted by innovative technologies, digital and mobile consumers, changing demographics in the workplace, a digital supply chain, and the digitization of information and processes. At the conference we’ll demonstrate how Enterprise Information Management (EIM) equips the enterprise to simplify, transform, and accelerate its business in a Digital-First world. Highlights of the conference include: The very talented Martin Short, guest speaker at this year’s conference takes the stage on Wednesday, November 12. You won’t want to miss a chance to spend time with one of comedy’s finest performers. Thought-provoking keynote presentations. We’re bringing together an array of business leaders, industry visionaries, acclaimed analysts, and innovative customers to share their experience, best practices, and strategies for success in a Digital-First world. Join me as I sit down with special guests Fox Broadcasting Company and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) for a fireside chat. An extensive and engaging agenda, packed with informative presentations, breakouts, and roundtable discussions designed to help you maximize your investment in OpenText technology. Preview future OpenText solutions and product roadmaps that have been developed to support business evolution and transformation. Hundreds of training and workshop sessions will be available, organized by track across technologies, solutions, and industries—designed to help your business excel. Become part of a growing global ecosystem. Connect with professionals from all industries, including OpenText partners and solution providers. See solutions in action and become a part of a network with innovation at its core. Evaluate and test drive recent innovations at the Innovation Lab. Collaborate with OpenText user experience designers and researchers. Have a say, and influence future product development. The release of latest book, Digital: Disrupt or Die. Hot off the presses, this book explores the future of digital technologies, their impact on the enterprise, and how EIM equips the enterprise to brace for change and opportunity in the year 2020 and beyond. Also available: a 2020 Readiness Assessment Tool. Stay tuned for more details. Join in the conversation. Follow us on Twitter (#OTEW2014) and explore our other social channels to access conference highlights and network with your peers. Engage, explore, and absorb the tools and strategies that combine to create success in a Digital-First world. Enterprise World 2014 is a celebration of our customers and partners. We are committed to working with all of our stakeholders to embrace emerging technologies, digitize key processes and information, and increase the speed of information delivery throughout the entire business network. I invite you to be a part of the energy, excitement, and ingenuity that builds new partnerships, and drives business transformation.

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