CEO Blog

The CEO of OpenText, Mark Barrenechea, shares his insights and observations on enterprise information management and the latest technologies.

The Future of Information: The Rise of Cognitive

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The Digital Revolution is heralding the third significant era in the history of computer technology: the Cognitive Era. The first era, the Tabulating Era, took place post 1900s and describes the early use of mechanical systems to tabulate calculations. The second era, the Programming Era, emerged in 1960 when scientists created computers that were dependent on the programming of processes or rules. Which brings us to our immediate future (perhaps as near as 2020) with the emergence of the Cognitive Era and the development of cognitive systems. The Three Eras of Computing Cognitive computing is modeled after the human brain (as the most powerful computing system in the world) and its thought processes in a computerized model. Cognitive systems are self-learning systems that simulate the way a brain works using data mining, analytics, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to learn, interact, and make decisions. During the Cognitive Era, computers will mature into learning systems. They will be able to understand data—or analyze, adapt, and suggest solutions based on data. Cognitive technology is becoming a part of everyday life. Anti-lock braking systems, air bags, and crash avoidance systems are fully automated standard features in cars. Smart cities are optimizing performance by automating traffic flow, energy use, pollution, and transit systems. Prototypes for autonomous driverless cars are already on the road—and we have yet to enter the Cognitive Era. The next two decades will see the development of next generation cognitive systems into enterprise systems, processes, and practices. Cognitive computing will push the limits of what is possible with technology. Digital enterprises of the future will incorporate cognitive tools and analytics into their infrastructures. They will be used to amplify human capabilities, working seamlessly alongside people to uncover underlying patterns and trends, provide insights, make decisions, and prescribe actions. At OpenText, we see cognitive computing and machine-to-machine communications as the next big technologies on the horizon. They are an essential part of any comprehensive EIM platform, and they are part of the OpenText view of the World. But that’s a whole other topic of discussion…which I’ll address in my next post in this series.  

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Enterprise World 2016: From Engagement to Insight

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The Digital Revolution is introducing another mass inflection in the development of enterprise technology. Over the next decade, cognitive systems will eclipse digital as the next big technology trend. Every organization will make a transformational journey to digital and embrace cognitive systems of insight. This is one of the key themes of our upcoming annual user conference, Enterprise World 2016. We have moved from systems of record to systems of engagement. Systems of record help us protect and preserve our content—from capture through to archive and final disposition. With Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions, we can rest assured that information is governed and compliant. New ways to work means that ECM should also foster collaboration, increase productivity, and deliver insights based on enterprise information. People work smarter and not harder, with the right information delivered to them at the right time. To compete in a digital world, organizations require the agility to continually deploy and refine processes. Cognitive capabilities applied to Business Process Management (BPM) creates intelligent BPM. This allows the tens of thousands of processes that are running at any given time to be examined to locate bottlenecks, elevate priority processes, or identify processes that can be automated. There are many examples of how cognitive can be applied to BPM for extreme automation and efficiency gains. Our systems of record (and all the unstructured data in them) were augmented by systems of engagement as new technologies emerged like email, social networks, and collaborative technologies. Within systems of engagement, discovery and dialogue influence the single source of the truth and conversations are communal, replacing documents as primary record types. Customer Experience Management (CEM) technologies are systems of engagement that give organizations unprecedented insight into and control of the customer journey—at any stage, across any channel. Both systems of record and systems of engagement have been extended through analytics. Analytics deliver leading edge capabilities for information companies to mine, extract, and present the true value of their business data. Agility extends beyond processes and into the business network. The efficient, secure, and compliant exchange of information between organizations drives extreme connectivity and the integration of operations to streamline the flow of goods and services across the business network. Connectivity is enriched by collaborative technologies like CORE, a cloud-based platform that connects people with the files and information they need to get things done quickly and easily with secure access to files in the Cloud. Organizations are already combining their portfolios of data with analytics, cloud, mobile, social, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to derive new forms of business value and transform their industries. The adoption of these technologies is part of the movement to systems of insight in the shift to cognitive systems. We’ve designed our latest Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform, OpenText Release 16, to be more cognitive. Smart meters are embedded into our Business Network, supporting machine-to-machine communications across millions of transactions every month. First responders in the healthcare industry are capturing real-time videos and uploading this into our content server repository. In engineering and construction, we’re working with companies that are deploying drones at construction sites for greater reach, portability, and capabilities. They’re capturing video and telemetry data which is then being stored in an EIM system. In OpenText Release 16, the machines are waking up, and they’re talking to each other. Cognitive Applied with OpenText Release 16 Being able to mine and build information-oriented applications is the next frontier of EIM. Join us in Nashville from July 11 to 14 to discover how OpenText Release 16 can help transform your enterprise through the application of cognition to information. With more opportunities than ever to maximize your investment in OpenText solutions, Enterprise World is your roadmap to transformation. Register today and take advantage of our special offers.

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The Future of Information: Enter the Machines

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As the Millennials enter the workforce, the machines will follow. And so cometh the machine. The Internet is constantly evolving. The Internet of Things (IoT) has been identified as the next phase in the evolution of the Internet. It will transform the world as we know it, creating a giant, global network of devices and machines that are connected, communicating, and exchanging information. This market will see 50 billion devices connected by 2020 and a value of $14.4 trillion. The potential impact of the IoT on every industry is huge. While the IoT is viewed by many as a nebulous, futuristic concept, in reality it already exists: we wear pedometers, smart watches, and cameras; our pets are micro-chipped; and we drive cars with built-in sensors. Thanks to the IoT, many of our everyday appliances will soon have the ability to self-monitor and communicate with a network. The growth of the IoT is being driven by low-cost sensors and beacons, cloud computing, analytics, and mobility. The IoT automatically exchanges information over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Instead, data exchange is based on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The IoT will add a whole new level of extreme automation, letting us program our homes, and even entire factory floors. Extreme automation will bring extreme efficiency. Robotics, sensors, and AI systems will continue to evolve and as they interact with the IoT. The true promise of the IoT lies in the vast amounts of data it will exchange across billions of connected machines. Analytics will add a layer of intelligence to devices, delivering unprecedented levels of insight to dramatically improve customer engagement and experience, optimize process automation and performance, reduce risks of fraud and non-compliance, and quicken the pace of innovation. Companies that learn to use this information will gain competitive advantage. To capitalize on the power of the IoT and the massive volumes of data it will generate, organizations will be required to plug into their customers’ digital ecosystems. To accommodate the IoT, they will invest in disruptive technologies, integrate emerging technologies with legacy IT infrastructure, standardize their data across systems, and create dynamic and flexible processes to support new technologies and devices. All of this is possible with an EIM  platform. EIM – Enter the Machines EIM helps transform the enterprise into a digital enterprise. A digital enterprise climbs the technology curve with ease. Every transaction, every process, and all of the data that flows in between is digital—from internal systems and infrastructure to external systems in an extended business network in the Cloud. Its underlying systems are fast and configurable. It supports technologies that enhance automation, like sensors, M2M, communications, and cognitive systems. When processes and data are fully integrated, predictive analytics can be applied to add value all across the enterprise and its supply network—to offer insights into better performance, customer behavior, and product innovation. As the machines evolve, they will herald in the next great shift in the history of technology—the Cognitive Era. Find out more about its impact on the enterprise, the economy, and humankind in my next post: The Rise of Cognitive Systems.

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The Future of Information: Enter the Millennials

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The Millennials are one of the biggest disruptors of the enterprise. They have usurped the Baby Boomers and GenXers as the largest demographic in the workplace and now account for over 25 percent of the world’s population. And, at almost 2 billion strong, they are a force to be reckoned with. Digital is second nature to Millennials and plays a significant part in their lives. They believe new technology makes life easier and brings people closer together. Millennials are mobile. They are hyper-connected and always on. Enter the Millennials This demographic will soon make up 50 percent of the global workforce. As they enter the workforce, the enterprise will need to change its business models and approach to recruiting, retaining, and motivating this workforce. Transitioning new employees and retiring older generations will mean shifting talent management strategies. The enterprise will have to bridge the gaps between generations to transition corporate knowledge and IP, mentoring the younger generations and preserving the knowledge of the older generations as they retire. The shift toward jobs that are tacit and non-routine will bring a shortage of workers with the skills required to fill them. The talent pool is shrinking and organizations will have to compete vigorously to attract Millennials, especially those with the skill sets needed to manage disruptive technologies. It will be critical to create a work environment that attracts and retains the right talent. Millennials are looking for employment almost exclusively through social media channels and submit their resumes in video format. Once the right employees are recruited, organizations will need to offer exceptional training and career development programs to retain their top talent. Many of these programs will incorporate learning into social media, gaming, real-time feedback, and simulations. Millennials want to work in an environment that caters to how they like to work, including flex hours, remote access, and BYOD or Bring-Your-Own-Device policies. Millennials are fickle; if their demands are not met, they will simply move on. Millennials are radically changing the nature of work. As the promoters of technology and drivers of innovation, the enterprise must embrace their value systems, their diversity, and new ways of working. As the Millennials enter the workforce, the machines will follow. I’ll explore this in my next post in the series: Enter the Machines.

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The Future of Information: Climbing the Curve is Insanely Hard

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Every organization will make a transformational journey to digital, to embrace cognitive systems of insight. As outlined in my previous post in this series, key disruptive forces are making the journey a challenge for the enterprise. The Enterprise Technology Curve Many organizations are struggling along this path of technology adoption, caught between the two extremes of paper-based legacy systems and moving their business to the Cloud. This is even more challenging for the global industry leaders, who are not born digital. In fact, of the Global 2000, only around ten percent are moving their systems and data to the Cloud. Because climbing this curve is insanely hard. At OpenText, we have been following this evolution, watching Enterprise Information Management (EIM) overtake ERP information systems as the future of Information. In its development, EIM is following a similar trajectory to ERP. While ERP manages structured information and transactions, EIM manages unstructured information. Its functionality eclipses ERP as it provides a complete platform for digitalization, integrating with ERP to bring together structured and unstructured information inside the enterprise and across the business network. The Digital Revolution is introducing new digital formats to the enterprise that are based on robotics, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, and cognitive systems. This is where the future of EIM lies and where we will focus to help the enterprise embrace new technologies and new information formats. Millennials are accelerating this requirement to adopt new and disruptive technologies. They are the topic of my next post in this series.

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Your Roadmap to a Better Way to Work: Enterprise World 2016

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Enterprise World 2016 is quickly approaching, and this year we’ve got something new in store. I am pleased to announce a new location for our annual user conference this year: this year’s event will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. I encourage you to join our global community of customers, partners, thought leaders, and OpenText staff as we converge to explore and share how Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is the platform for digital transformation. “Enterprise World is an opportunity to learn more about OpenText solutions and “next-generation” development, connect with customers using OpenText in innovative ways, and take home solutions that can be immediately applied to the organization environment.” – Angela Fares, BNSF Railway Enterprise World 2016 to be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee Ultimately, Enterprise World is about the people who use our software, partner with us to develop it, and those who share our vision of developing technologies that enable a better way to work. You spoke and we listened. So, in addition to a new venue, we’ve overhauled this year’s event based on your feedback. This year’s conference boasts 100 percent more breakout sessions and technical speakers, 75 percent more technical sessions, and 50 percent more networking opportunities—to deliver 100 percent value. The star of the show, along with Special Guest Speaker, Colonel Chris Hadfield, is our latest release– OpenText Release 16—the most functionally and integration-complete digital platform in the market today. You’ll discover how, with over 1,000 points of integration, each of our EIM suites can be connected with many existing technologies and platforms out of the box. Rich analytics capabilities have been infused throughout and deployment options include on-premises, in the Cloud, or a hybrid of both. With more breakouts and technical sessions, the Developer Lab, and increased access to OpenText staff, Enterprise World is the perfect opportunity for you to find out what’s new in Release 16 and maximize your investment in OpenText solutions. Not only will you learn about our products and applications, this is also your chance to influence future product development at OpenText. The Innovation Lab is your test track for evaluating innovative new designs and collaborating with OpenText user experience designers and researchers to shape future products to meet your needs. In addition to roadmaps and demonstrations of next-gen solutions, the event will focus on collectively preparing for the broader information landscape of tomorrow. Through keynotes and interactive sessions, you will gain insight into how to transform your business into an information company. With more opportunities than ever to learn and network with OpenText experts, Enterprise World 2016 is your roadmap to a better way to work. “Great event from an education and learning perspective, and the ability to meet with OpenText experts to work toward solving eBusiness issues in one week is incredibly valuable. Enterprise World is a must-do if you’re serious about content and how content can help drive your business.” – Michael Ridley, Parker Hannifin Register now to take advantage of our Early Bird Rate and save.

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The Future of Information: The Key Disruptive Forces

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In the current Digital Revolution, organizations are facing a confluence of disruptive forces as they climb the technology adoption curve on their journeys to digital transformation. Key Disruptive Forces Disintermediation is one of the top forces of change. Today’s digital disruptors are using technology to disintermediate entire industries and unseat corporate giants. New nomenclature has emerged to describe this transformational process. In the Internet Era, we talked about being “amazoned”. During the Digital Revolution, we are talking about being “ubered”. A common thread to digital disruption is that the middleman is gone in every industry. The relationship to the buyer is direct. Insurance is direct. Movies are direct. Music is direct. The business model pioneered by magazines and publishers is now everywhere. Consumers want the choice to own the asset or have access to it. A subscription model is no longer optional, the Subscription Economy is now a mainstream part of our lives. In every sector, digital technologies are introducing new business models and changing the rules of business. From completely free models of subscription (like Facebook and Google) to free access with the option to upgrade (iTunes and Skype) to a marketplace model such as eBay or Etsy, a crowdsourcing model such as Kickstarter, or an on-demand model like Spotify or Uber. There are hundreds of examples that cross all industries. In fact, it’s rare to find an industry that hasn’t been disrupted. As well as new business models, a new workforce is finding its way into the enterprise. In less than a decade, Millennials will overtake retiring demographics and completely reconfigure the workforce. The enterprise will have to cater to Millennials as the first “digital” generation to enter the workforce. Technology is central to the way this demographic works and plays. They take extreme connectivity for granted, functioning on the immediacy of real-time insight and action. The enterprise will need to rethink its organizational structure, its IT infrastructure, and its approach to recruiting, retaining, and motivating this workforce. Like the Millennials, digital consumers and their expectations are impacting the enterprise. In the digital world, success is based on hyper-differentiation. The digital leaders know this. To maximize engagement, they are digitalizing the entire customer journey, delivering a consistently branded experience on any device, consolidating customer information, and mining this to gain insights into consumer behavior to deliver exactly the right experience at the right moment. Digital delivers new ways to engage with customers and build relationships. Information is the new currency in the Digital Revolution. New businesses and whole industries are emerging to support the digitalization of content. They’re collecting it, analyzing it, and monetizing it at great profit. But where there is opportunity there is also risk. Data is vulnerable. Like money, data can be stolen. As information grows in value, so will the need to protect and manage it. The protection of corporate Intellectual Property (IP) is becoming an increasing concern for organizations as confidential information is housed in digital format. Extreme automation and extreme connectivity will give rise to virtual trade in ideas and a greater need to protect IP. So information will only grow in value, and its value will be intensified by cognitive systems. Cognitive computing is a game changer for the enterprise with its promise of extreme automation and the creation of highly intelligent, self-learning cognitive technologies. Our devices can already listen to us (through speech recognition software), act as our eyes to monitor aspects of our lives (visually and otherwise) and respond to our touch. While touch screens and wearable devices have revolutionized how we interact with computers; cognitive systems will take interaction to a whole new level. With their ability to make complex decisions quickly based on volumes of data, they will expand our cognition, improve our efficiency, and empower us to be more innovative. Getting to this point—the adoption of cognitive systems by the enterprise—will be insanely hard. Read my next post to discover how EIM has evolved to help the enterprise overcome these disruptive forces on its transformational journey.

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The Future of Information: The Impact of the Digital Revolution

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This Digital Revolution is not about job creation, it is about job destruction. As many as 25 to 40 million jobs will disappear as a direct result of extreme automation and extreme connectivity. The greatest losses will occur in white-collar office and administrative roles. Its Impact will be Profound We experienced similar waves of automation when Material Requirements Planning (MRP) replaced Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and ERP shifted to CRM, and these were replaced by e-business suites. When this happened, jobs were created, many of which were offshore. New research shows that over the next two decades, nearly half of all jobs will be susceptible to automation. The Digital Revolution will bring an increasing reliance on self-service technology, sensors, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and artificial intelligence (AI). These will transform the workplace as menial tasks and some non-routine jobs are digitalized through robotics and process automation. These systems will make businesses more efficient. AI will be pervasive. Based on advances in computing, automation will include the processing of languages, images, and data. As paper is removed and processes automated, clerical work will be eliminated. Other jobs that will be impacted include customer services, sales, and support. Robotics and 3-D printing will render low- and even middle-skill-level jobs redundant. Extreme automation will make robotics more mobile, giving them a greater range of movement and functionality. M2M communications will enable machines to process data and make decisions based on this data as we move toward more intelligent, cognitive systems. In many cases, the intelligence that these systems deliver will be more accurate, immediate, and safer than humanly capable. Digital is playing a larger role in our economy. By 2020, 25 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will not be touched by a human hand. This is significant. A quarter of the world’s GDP will be digital. The economic impact of digital is vast. Internet maturity correlates with wealth creation. It is used by companies in every industry. Businesses that use the Internet tend to grow more quickly, export two times as much as those that don’t, and create more than twice as many jobs. Despite these statistics, many companies are off to a poor start on the journey toward digital transformation. While organizations are taking advantage of digital technologies, many economies remain digitally immature. This means that the ability to unlock the value of digital is far from being realized. Key disruptive forces are impacting the enterprise on its journey to digital transformation. In my next post, we’ll take a closer look at these.

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The Future of Information: Extreme Automation and Extreme Connectivity

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We’re in the middle of a Digital Revolution. Like previous industrial revolutions, similar forces are having significant impact. From innovations in mechanization in the early 18th century to mass production in the late 19th century and ensuing developments in computing, two forces are causing massive change, and they are extreme automation and extreme connectivity. Extreme Automation and Extreme Connectivity Extreme automation describes an increasing reliance on robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all aspects of our lives. It includes disruptive technologies like three-dimensional (3-D) printing, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine communications (like sensors), and cognitive systems. Extreme connectivity happens when all of these systems interact and communicate with each other and people in real time. It is 4 billion users connecting with 1 trillion devices across fifth generation (5G) wireless networks. When extreme automation is combined with extreme connectivity, the power of our computing systems increases exponentially. The global Internet is being fueled by advances in connectivity and capacity. These advances aren’t happening in baby steps; they are 1,000-fold gains in capacity, connections for trillions of devices, and from a user perspective, incredibly low latency and rapid response rates. As more people connect with more machines, we are moving closer to zero-distance connectivity with technology. The impact of these forces—extreme automation and extreme connectivity—will be profound. As new economic systems and new business models emerge, a wide range of businesses that act as intermediaries will become obsolete. Automation and AI will replace many low-skill jobs and even some middle-skill, routine jobs, offsetting human capital costs. Entirely new jobs, companies, and sectors will be born. Only the organizations that embrace digitalization with the flexibility to innovate will be able to overcome barriers to business to reinvent themselves, their workforce, and their markets. The Digital Revolution will destroy jobs. In my next post, we’ll explore the impact of the Digital Revolution. Download The Future of Information – OpenText Release 16 white paper to discover how OpenText can help you navigate the Digital Revolution.

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Expanding the OpenText Business Network: OpenText Completes the Acquisition of ANX

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I am pleased to announce we have completed the acquisition of ANX, a leading provider of cloud-based information exchange services in the automotive and healthcare industries. ANX will be integrated into the OpenText Business Network for more efficient, secure, and compliant information exchange between organizations. For organizations in the automotive and healthcare industries that need to digitalize their partner ecosystems and supply chains for greater efficiency and agility, the addition of ANX delivers a proven automation and integration platform in the Cloud. ANX expands the OpenText Business Network with industry presence and domain expertise, deep customer relationships, and the addition of product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions to complement supply chain management solutions already delivered in the OpenText Business Network. The OpenText Business Network is the world’s leading ecosystem of trading partners with automation, integration, and deep visibility across all B2B functions, enabling compliance and accelerated time-to-revenue. The integration of ANX solutions with our existing Business Network solutions provides customers with even more partners to connect to and collaborate with. OpenText is committed to supporting the Cloud and digital transformation across business networks. To succeed in the digital world, organizations require modernized platforms, a consolidated infrastructure, integrated B2B systems, and a highly customized (or customizable) supply chain network.  Outsourcing to the Cloud helps our customers streamline operations, reduce costs, facilitate the end-to-end flow of information, and accelerate business transactions securely—all while supporting future growth. We look forward to working with the ANX team to further enhance the OpenText Business Network, expanding our scale, reach, and global community of trading partners. Please join me in welcoming the ANX team, customers, and partners into the OpenText family.    

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OpenText Completes HP Inc. Asset Acquisition, Welcomes Customers and Employees

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Yesterday was a very exciting day for OpenText and our new customers and employees as we completed the acquisition of certain customer experience software assets of HP Inc., including TeamSite and MediaBin. OpenText is focused on enabling organizations to deepen engagement with their customers with highly personalized communications and compelling omni-channel digital experiences. Our expanded offerings will help organizations digitalize the entire customer journey, from end-to-end, while effectively managing data integrity, complex data manipulation, and governance. With these solutions as part of our portfolio, customers can gain insights to create consistent and engaging digital experiences. They also increase the agility required to develop and deploy custom applications that integrate with enterprise systems of engagement for increased productivity and better innovation. TeamSite is a multi-channel digital experience management platform. As a core offering in Web Content Management (WCM), it enables multichannel engagement and content targeting. MediaBin allows for centralized digital content storage, management and access, and a rich media workflow to provide organizations with a single source of marketing truth.  As a core offering in Digital Asset Management (DAM), it supports video and audio formats, as well as facial recognition. Other capabilities include targeted asset distribution with compliance and license management to protect intellectual property. In today’s world, change happens at the speed of digital. Enhancing our Experience Suite will empower organizations to keep pace by digitalizing their traditional print marketing into measurable mobile interaction, advancing them along on their digital journey. At OpenText, we continually strive to expand the presence and reach of our digital solutions for global enterprises. This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to leading digital transformation and enabling the management of enterprise information to digitalize the customer journey. I’m very pleased to welcome our new customers, employees and partners to OpenText. For more information, please visit: http://engage.opentext.com/.

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Introducing The Future of Information

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I’m excited to kick off my latest blog series, “The Future of Information”. It’s based on my Innovation Tour (“iTour”) presentations and provides the OpenText view of the Digital Revolution, explores its impact on the enterprise, and introduces OpenText Release 16 as the transformative enabler. To help organizations take advantage of digital disruption and create a better way to work within their enterprise, we have just announced OpenText Release 16, the most comprehensive, integrated digital information platform in the market today. We are all information companies. Whether we are a bank, an insurance agency, a mining company, a manufacturer, a technology company—all of our daily business operations hinge on information in its many formats. Our information is valuable. Not only does information drive business, it is also a key differentiator that will define our competitiveness in the future. I invite you to follow the series, and together, we’ll explore the future of information with topics like: Extreme Automation and Extreme Connectivity The Impact of the Digital Revolution The Key Disruptive Forces Climbing the Curve is Insanely Hard Enter the Millennials Enter the Machines The Rise of Cognitive Systems The OpenText View of the World EIM – A Single Source of the Truth OpenText Release 16: THE Digital Platform Introducing OpenText Suite 16 Introducing OpenText Cloud 16 Information Governance and Security It’s Time to Rethink ECM BPM: Creating Digital Business Processes CEM Delivers the Full Customer Journey Analytics Everywhere OpenText Release 16 Introduces Cognitive Systems Business Network…Extreme Connectivity The OpenText Cloud Architecture Matters

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CIO Magazine Interview: One Does Not Upgrade to Digital

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In late March, I was featured in an article in CIO Magazine online, in which I discuss how Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is the transformative technology for enabling enterprise transformation in the digital world. Here are some highlights from the interview: “We’re at this point in time that has extreme connectivity like we’ve never seen before combined with extreme automation and extreme computing power. All that is enabling previously unimagined business models. At the same time, there’s also a generational shift occurring with the arrival into the workforce of millennials, who bring a new set of priorities.” “Every company is an information company today, and transforming for the digital era requires looking beyond the ERP systems that have played such a central role in the corporate world over the past few decades.” “Much the way ERP comprises numerous components, so EIM has multiple pieces as well, including enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), customer experience management (CEM) and business intelligence (BI). EIM plays a critical role in transformation: “Transformation is a powerful word and needs to be used sparingly and correctly. But in the digital context, it’s the right one: One does not ‘upgrade’ to digital.” Read the CIO Article.

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The Future of Information: Introducing OpenText Release 16

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We are in the midst of a Digital Revolution and for every company it is digital or die. To succeed, organizations must embrace digital transformation or risk being disintermediated. Success will depend on the ability to embrace extreme automation, extreme connectivity, and cognitive systems – engineered together in a single and integrated digital platform. Today, I am pleased to announce the general availability and launch of OpenText Release 16. As the most comprehensive, integrated digital Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform in the market today, OpenText Release 16 offers our customers a unique opportunity for a coordinated digital transformation that yields the benefits of scale and single-vendor interaction. Only OpenText offers the breadth of capability and solutions or the capacity to deliver these capabilities from a single release and platform. OpenText Release 16 is composed of two major product components: OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16. Each is made up of tightly coordinated features to drive digital transformation across the following OpenText product suites: Content Suite enables better governance and control of business information. Content Suite is Enterprise Content Management (ECM) reimagined and moves beyond information governance to foster collaboration, increase productivity, and deliver insights based on enterprise information. New capabilities include: Workspaces that connect information silos for better collaboration and true connectivity gains Social interaction with content to improve collaboration, deepen engagement, and enrich searches Process Suite delivers more agile and flexible processes for better performance and innovation. Process Suite empowers organizations to realize the benefits of extreme automation and connectivity with features such as: A low-code application development approach for the citizen developer Increased visibility into processes for smarter business decisions Experience Suite offers better engagement with employees, customers, and partners. In this time of intense disruption and competition, Experience Suite delivers omni-channel experiences that satisfy and delight with innovations like: A state-of-the-art interface with customized widgets and anytime, anywhere access to content A responsive design approach for content delivery across multiple channels Analytics Suite provides an easier way to access, blend, explore, and analyze big data. OpenText Analytics Suite includes cognitive capabilities for deeper levels of insight as well as: A lightweight development tool that easily embeds analytics capabilities across enterprise systems Expanded out-of-the-box connectivity to work with over a dozen sources–from Apache to XML to Salesforce Business Network is a set of cloud-based solutions that facilitates efficient, secure, and compliant exchange of information between organizations. The latest release of the OpenText Business Network represents the next step in the evolution of information exchange with the right combination of Business-to-Business (B2B) integration software, the OpenText Trading Grid, and Managed Services. New functionality includes: The integration of Trading Grid analytics for added insight into operational and supply chain performance Logistics Track & Trace to follow the physical movement of goods for improved end-to-end supply chain visibility The Cloud is quickly becoming a business imperative and, as such, plays a big role in Release 16. We want our customers to have the Cloud in their arsenal, so we have made Release 16 available in the OpenText Cloud, and as on-premises or hybrid deployments. Release 16 is infused with analytics. Everything from Content Suite to Process Suite to the Business Network has been designed to leverage the power of analytics, bringing significantly more value to enterprise information. This release is part of the movement from systems of record and engagement to systems of insight in the technology shift to cognitive systems. OpenText Release 16 delivers a variety of innovations of significant value to new and existing customers. The combination of cloud availability, an open stack, massive new functional capabilities, and deeper integrations make OpenText Release 16 a destination release for anyone looking to take EIM to the next level. This release represents the next generation of digital, bringing customers one step closer to more intelligent systems, allowing them to realize greater benefits like lower costs, higher efficiency, greater output, and innovation opportunities. As a platform of fully integrated EIM suites, OpenText Release 16 is the transformative platform of choice for information companies. At the end of the day, we are all information companies. And OpenText Release 16 is the key technology enabler. To discover how OpenText Release 16 can help you on your journey to digital transformation, download the white paper. For more information, visit www.opentext.com/16 or read the press release.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Digital Mindset

mindset

Today’s startups are tomorrow’s Wall Street winners. These are the businesses who are not afraid to risk it all. They are not afraid to fail. They are the game changers, the disruptors, the new thinkers. They are creating a sharing, Subscription Economy based on Digital and information. The Digital Mindset is the cacophony of ON DIGITAL. It includes these top 10 tenants: Immediacy Urgency Ease of use (aka not just easy, but intuitive) Grabbing subscribers Scaling really fast Redefining business models (aka disruption) Creating a sense of community A journey-based approach Always on My data is omni-present and accessible anywhere, anytime The Digital Mindset is driven by disruption, immediacy, scale, centricity on journeys, experience, and a sense of real-time. Just like we have an IQ and EQ, we also need to develop a DQ, a digital quotient, where strategy, culture, people, and capabilities converge. Once your organization has the Digital Mindset, it will move with speed and purpose. The Digital Leaders are ahead of the game. They have identified opportunities for digital transformation. They are thinking and acting in entrepreneurial ways, and shaking off the shackles of legacy to move forward. They have adopted a Digital Mindset. And the Digital Mindset stands out in the crowd. You can spot it a mile away. Embrace it. Promote it. Give it freedom from structure and convention. To digitalize or not to digitalize is NOT the question. There is no question. Digitalization changes everything. The way we think, who we compete against, how we innovate, how we experiment, the customer journey, our supply chains, the workplace, our pace and cadence. It has shattered entire industries, displaced market leaders, introduced new business models—radically changing consumers, corporate cultures, and mindsets. If you do not have the mindset, you cannot even get out of the gate. You are simply throwing Krugerrands down the toilet. Creative leadership will succeed. A transformational leader has to overcome outmoded structures and old management styles to empower Millennials to self-direct, make decisions, experiment, generate ideas, and take risks. The pace of change in markets underlies the urgency with which the enterprise must transform itself. The time to disrupt business and capture opportunity is now. To operate outside of traditional comfort zones and partner with startups or build out capacity to diversify products and services. These are ways to scale and grow new revenue. It’s time to take stock. What is your digital quotient? How digitally mature are your operations, your workforce, your supply network? Do you have the strategy, culture, technology, and mindset it takes to transform your organization into a digital enterprise? If you recall, I began the ON DIGITAL-First Fridays series with an anecdote about Hernán Cortés’ conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1519. After what could only be seen as a catastrophic failure, his troops felt there was nothing left to do but to admit defeat and sail back home. But, before they could, Cortés burned his fleet and gave his troops a simple choice: Conquest or Die. And so, Cortés’ lesson endures. True transformation requires a pervasive shift throughout your enterprise. The only path forward is to digitalize. Standing still is always the riskiest action to take—you are an easy target. Change is always the safer path. It really is Digital or Die. Thank you for joining me on this transformative journey. I hope you found this informative. We are all information companies. In my next series, I’ll elaborate on this. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.  

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International Women’s Day – Accelerating the Agenda

Optimost Audience Builder

Each year in March, we take a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. International Women’s Day gives us a reason not only to reflect on the progress we’ve made, but also to look at the path ahead and at the work that we have yet to do. As the 21st century marches on and we continue to make strides towards diversity and equality, we must commit to advancing equality and representation of women—both in the workplace and society. While we’ve made great headway over the past century, there is still much work to be done. We must accelerate the agenda for change.   Success in Diversity Innovation requires diversity.  Diverse experiences, backgrounds, and ideas produce better business results and yield greater innovation. Without diversity, innovation is incomplete. Research shows that an optimized workforce is linked to higher GDP, more productivity, and more prosperity, and organizations with gender balanced leadership benefit from better all-around performance. That’s why, at OpenText, we strive to challenge standards and change the status quo when it comes to equality and diversity within our workforce every day. We continuously work to put the same level of innovation we bring to our products towards creating innovative diversity initiatives and raising the industry standard. In an ongoing effort to reduce gender disparity, we support a number of initiatives throughout the year. Sponsoring and attending events like the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing allows OpenText to play an active role in bringing the research and career interest of women in technology to the forefront while investing in our own employees. And, by participating in movements like the Hour of Code, we are able to introduce young women in our community to the exciting field of computer science and plant the seed of a future in technology at an early age. As Marie-Eve Racicot, Director of R&D at OpenText shared in an interview with The Globe and Mail, “It’s important for girls to know that there are opportunities available to them…The more women working in technology today, the more role models we will have for the next generation.” While International Women’s Day may be a one-day event, it is important to recognize that it requires a year-round commitment. In the words of Amelia Earhart, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity.” Let us be tenacious in our quest to make a profound and lasting change for the betterment of the equality and posterity of women. I urge you to join me and my colleagues as we commit to work together to provide equitable and fair opportunities that further diversity objectives and close the gender gap. On behalf of OpenText—and organizations all around the world—I’d like to recognize and celebrate women in the many ways in which they make our companies, our lives, and the world a better place.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: New Digital Foundation

digital foundation

Digital is impacting every aspect of enterprise IT infrastructure. Achieving balance between supporting new business models (the business) and delivering support and services (technology) is hard. To survive in the digital world, radical shifts will be made in enterprise architecture, core IT competencies, and development approaches. For any organization that is “re-born digital,” this requires implementing a New Digital Foundation. This means no more legacy infrastructure. No more siloed repositories. No more disconnected data. A New Digital Foundation is a modernized platform approach that includes extreme automation, predictive analytics, centralized and consolidated architectures, and lightweight development tools Follow the disruptors and you’ll see that their processes are digitalized from end-to-end. This means every transaction, every process, and all of the data that flows in between is digital. Their underlying systems are fast and configurable. They support technologies that enhance automation, like sensors, machine-to-machine communications, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is extreme automation, and it lies at the core of any digital business. When processes and data are fully integrated, predictive analytics can be applied to add value all across the supply network—to offer insights into better performance, customer behavior, and product innovation. Consolidation is key. Consolidating different operating systems and applications onto a single platform is one of the most challenging IT projects, but the risk of not consolidating is greater. It could mean obsolescence. Adopting a consolidated, modern platform produces benefits in process efficiencies and reductions in IT costs. Standardization is achievable. Silos of information are united and more secure. But consolidation does more than this: It helps to lay the groundwork for Digital. With a consolidated infrastructure, your organization will be better equipped to add digital technologies and hyperscale your capabilities. A consolidated infrastructure paves the way for a modular approach, based on the development of lightweight, easy-to-integrate apps. Flexibility is a key element in future, pristine enterprise architectures, along with the ability to include global operations in a digital supply network. Whether you’re a born-digital startup or a re-born incumbent, the future of your business is intrinsically tied to building a New Digital Foundation. In many cases, this will mean rethinking your existing platform strategy, or re-platforming entirely. It may sound daunting, or even crazy, but, remember throwing away the Mainframe and client-server platforms? Welcoming (and implementing) a modernized platform approach is the only way forward. But none of this is possible without the right mentality. In my next post, I’ll look at what it means to have a “Digital Mindset” and how this attitude sets the leaders apart from the laggards. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: Experimentation at Scale

TeamSite

The Web is the greatest and most accessible research lab that ever existed. The ability to rapidly deploy and iterate and reiterate (often in randomized experiments) at mass scale is one of the most significant platforms for innovation in the field of technology today. In the pre-digital world, we test marketed an idea or feature with a working group. In the digital world, you have the opportunity to think differently and create experiments at massive scale. Large Internet companies are already doing this. Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Groupon, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Yahoo, and Zynga are using Experimentation at Scale to drive innovation and improve their online products and services. Whether you have 10 or 100 million subscribers, you can add a new button or feature to your website and see what happens. Instantly, all your subscribers can see it. Don’t like where it’s going? Turn it off. Instantly. Experimentation at Scale helps organizations make data-driven decisions about product development based on consumer behavior. It’s especially valuable when it’s used with Agile Development. Highly scalable systems can be engineered to process data, support millions of users, and run hundreds of simultaneous experiments. This is a new approach to engineering; standard testing and debugging techniques don’t belong here. It’s about immediate causation and correlation. The goal is to conduct a large number of experiments, rapidly, to evaluate and learn at a faster pace and a larger scale. Running thousands of experiments at the same time can produce results that typical approaches—based on iterative product releases, fixes, and customer feedback—do not. The outcomes are focused around larger effects based on data and the sheer number of users involved. Experimentation at Scale can make huge leaps forward in innovation. Then there’s the bottom line. Imagine if just a percentage of a percentage of revenue was increased by experimentation, and then multiply this by hundreds of thousands. It could mean increases in revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars. The key to effective Experimentation at Scale is the ability to admit that mistakes will happen, to iterate, and consider each idea. Digital experimentation has awesome potential. As the boundaries between reality and digital blur, Experimentation at Scale will play a critical role in the evolution of science, technology, and medicine. And it can change the way you do business. In my next post, I’ll look at how a modernized platform approach will enable organizations to harness the potential of digital while capitalizing on the opportunities it presents. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: Trust and Security

hacker

The Internet is the Autobahn for Digital. And if you’ve ever driven on the Autobahn, you know that it can be a daunting—even dangerous—stretch of road to navigate. The same can be said of the Internet. The security state of the Internet is fragile, and it is up to companies and employees to take control. Digital raises your profile, raises your risk, and requires new techniques to build, earn, and keep trust. From governments to healthcare providers to employers, all of our valuable and highly confidential data floats around behind firewalls, hidden in the Deep Web. On the Public Web, millions of people access their personal data every day. Transactions are made and money is exchanged—but how safe is the Internet? I recently read in the Financial Times that customer data at a large telco was breached in the process flow between themselves and a credit check company as credit checks were completed on phone purchases. And some “bad actor” had been breaching this data for years. Wow. It’s not the Internet that’s not safe, it’s the businesses that protect information that are not safe. Our economy is online, and companies are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. If trust breaks down on the Internet, then the Internet as an economic platform will collapse. The list of casualties grows every day, with big names falling victim to cyber breaches. The attacks are becoming more sophisticated and harder to trace. And they’re becoming more frequent. You need to assume you are under attack every day, that the bad guys are on your network, and that other nation states may not share your integrity. Ultimately, you need to build a moat around your most important systems. Most companies forget that security is all about “back to basics”. Employees must be educated. Hardware and software should be up to date. And your perimeter needs to be defined and protected. When it is a trusted environment, the Web is one of the most significant platforms for innovation in the field of technology today. I’ll explore “Experimentation at Scale” in my next post in this series. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Experience of Community

Community

#thisbrandsucks All it takes is a single tweet or post and a groundswell of followers—or detractors. The Experience of Community can build brand loyalty almost overnight, and it can tear it down just as quickly. Remember “United Breaks Guitars”? A Canadian songwriter wrote a trilogy of songs about how United Airlines broke his guitar during a flight and the videos went viral, receiving 15 million views on YouTube. The songs were a public relations fiasco for United, who failed to respond quickly enough to undo the damage to its image, demonstrating the power of one disgruntled digital customer. Or how about the Lululemon SNAFU? One of the co-founders blamed women’s bodies for a dysfunctional product line, causing mass outrage from female consumers and contributing to a 20% drop in the company’s stock. But what happens when a brand is able to harness the power of its community? Using the #AirbnbHV hashtag, the Airbnb Hollywood & Vines campaign collected more than 750 global submissions in a video contest. It then edited the top picks into a short film about travel and adventure. As a result of the campaign, Airbnb received 75,000 Twitter impressions with 10,000 new followers in only five days. In the analog advertising world, these results would have come with a hefty price tag, over a considerably longer timeframe. Instead, they used digital to get big results at very little cost. These results aren’t limited to business-to-consumer markets. Companies like GE, Deloitte, and InVision are using the community experience to share ideas and engage with their consumers. While Digital provides new opportunities to connect online, it’s about the people, not the platform. In successful communities, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Choice flourish. And this is a good thing because feedback allows for better content, better products, and better services. Control should be minimal. Allowing a community to self-direct leads to greater interaction and innovation. If this is not part of the Experience of Community, members (and potential brand advocates) will leave. In the old days, if a customer was dissatisfied with a product they would speak to a manager and get their money back. Today they post blogs, comments, ratings, or reviews. And the moment a tweet, video, or post goes live, users can comment and share. This happens faster than companies can respond, and when they do respond, the story has spiraled out of their control into a PR crisis. Once customers complain, they can move on. Your competitors are just a click away. In the digital world, community building is a necessary component of a digital business. So is building and maintaining trust. If your user base cannot trust your services, you will not succeed. In my next post, I’ll explore the concept of digital trust and security in more detail. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: A New Asset Class Emerges. Data

Data Asset

We live in a digital world. A testament to this new reality is the growing value of digital content: we design complex products, manage our pipelines, transfer cash, procure trillions, hire employees—all in the form of digital content. This is the new digital reality. Information is the new currency. The impact this is having on society, business, and government is profound. Will data replace the Dollar, the Euro, the Yen? It certainly has started to. New businesses and whole industries are emerging to support the digitalization of content. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have built their businesses on the economics of data. They’re collecting it, analyzing it, and monetizing it at great profit. Data is new digital legal tender and everyone’s getting in the game. As it is commoditized in its various formats, businesses will have to find ways to reward customers in exchange for their data. Marketers will have to be more sophisticated in their use of personal data. Individual consumers will sell their personal data to organizations that are currently benefiting from collecting vast amounts of it for free. This will become common practice. When we consider the rate of increase in the amount of data generated by today’s society, we can understand how this new business model is a lucrative one. There is more data in more formats being exchanged at faster rates than ever before. Each day, we produce massive streams of data. As a result, every digital business has data to monetize. In a digital world, organizations will use analytics to mine their data for information and insight to improve business performance, to protect against fraud and risk, to get to know their customers better, and to capitalize on new opportunities. If data is the new asset class, then analytics is the next frontier in deriving value from information, uncovering “moments of truth” that empower organizations. Analytics has the power to transform facts into strategic insights that deliver intelligence for profound impact. But where there is opportunity, there is also risk. Data is vulnerable. Like money, data can be stolen. As information grows in value, so will the need to protect and manage it—and this will be increasingly mandated by governments and regulatory bodies. As a new asset class emerges, so will a new role: The Chief Data Officer. As the executive advocate for data management, the Chief Data Officer will use the exploding volumes of data and analytics to improve decision making and identify new revenue opportunities. Across the organization, every function will want access to data and insights about their operations. The Chief Data Officer will make this possible by optimizing the management of data (integrating, deploying, securing, governing) and mobilizing their organization around an information management strategy. Good data and analytics lead to strategic insights that can be used to engage customers. In my next post, I’ll look at how organizations can use these insights to not only engage customers, but to harness the power of a community of digital customers. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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OpenText Releases U.S. Presidential Election Application, Powered by OpenText Release 16

Election Tracker

As the highly contested 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the Iowa caucus approach, I’m pleased to announce the release of Election Tracker ‘16, an online application tool for users who want to monitor, compare, and gain insights into the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. For more information, please visit the following site: Electiontracker.us. How does Electiontracker.us work?  Utilizing OpenText Release 16 (Content Suite, and Analytics Suite), Election Tracker ‘16 automatically scans and reads hundreds of top online media publications around the world, capitalizing on the knowledge buried in the unstructured information. This data is analyzed daily to determine sentiment and extract additional information, such as people, places, and topics. It is then translated into visual summaries and embedded into the election app where it can be accessed using interactive dashboards and reports. That is correct, hundreds of websites, a billion words, processed, stored and visualized, in real time. And we have been collecting this data for months to show trends and sentiment changes. Powered by OpenText Release 16, this information-based application provides anyone interested in following the critical 2016 election with deep insights into candidate information, revealing much more than traditional polling data. Using electiontracker.us, election enthusiasts are able to gain a holistic view of how candidates are performing based on media sentiment, which can be a more accurate indication of future success. Election Tracker ‘16 is built using OpenText Release 16, which includes Content Suite (store) and Analytics Suite (visualize and predict), bringing seemingly unstructured data to life. OpenText Release 16 can do what no human can do. Read, analyze, process, and visualize a billion words a day. Transforming Unstructured Data into Interactive Insights All three components of OpenText Release 16 are important, but let me focus on the analytic aspects of Election Tracker ‘16.  As we saw in the 2012 U.S. election, analytics played a major role in the success of the Obama campaign. Drawing from a centralized database of voter information, President Obama’s team was able to leverage analytics to make smarter, more efficient campaign decisions. Everything—from media buy placements to campaign fundraising to voter outreach—was driven by insight into data. This year, analytics promises to play an even bigger role in the U.S. Presidential election. Analytics has made its way into every industry and has become a part of everyday life. Just as candidates look for a competitive advantage to help them win, so too must businesses. Research shows that organizations that are data driven are more profitable and productive than their competitors. Analytics and reporting solutions help organizations become data driven by extracting value from their business data and making it available across the enterprise to facilitate better decision making. Organizations have been using analytics to unlock the power of their business data for years. Marketing analysts are using analytics to evaluate social content and understand customer sentiment. Legal analysts can gain a quick understanding of the context and sentiment of large volumes of legal briefs. Data directors, tasked with organizing and governing enterprise data, are applying analytics to solve complex business problems. But basic analytics has become table stakes, with laggards, smaller companies, and even skeptics jumping on the bandwagon. Embedded analytics is the new competitive advantage. When you scan the most pure-play “text analytics” solutions on the market today, they clearly stop short of actual analysis. They are limited to translating free text to entities and taxonomies, leaving the actual visualization and analysis for organizations to figure out using other technologies. At the other end of the spectrum, traditional dashboard tools lack the sophistication needed to process free text effectively, and they struggle with large amounts of data. With OpenText Release 16, our Analytics Suite accomplishes both with ease, empowering users to quickly and easily build customized enterprise reporting applications to summarize and visualize insights from unstructured big data, securely delivered across web browsers, tablets, and phones. So, whether you’re out to win the race for the U.S. Presidency, gain market share, or attract new customers, an embedded analytics and reporting solution like Election Tracker ’16 can help you cross the finish line first. Throughout the race to November 2016, we’ll be tapping into the power of Election Tracker ’16 to shed light on how candidates perform during key election milestones. Join us for a behind the scenes look at the campaign trail. For more information on the Election Tracker ’16—powered by OpenText read the press release.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Internet of Things

IOt2

The convergence of technology and the Internet has created a perfect storm for innovation. Self-driving cars, refrigerators that suggest recipes based on their contents, warehouses that automatically replenish stock, and equipment that schedules its own maintenance… these sound like futuristic, sci-fi fantasies—but they are all available today. The IoT is transforming the world as we know it, creating a giant, global network of devices and machines that are connected, communicating, and exchanging data. Current estimates find that in the next decade, the IoT will add trillions of dollars to the global economy. The rapid growth of the IoT will be driven by low-cost sensors and beacons, cloud computing, analytics, and mobility. It promises a future in which every sector will be part of a hyper-connected world. While the IoT is viewed by many as a nebulous, futuristic concept, in reality, it already exists: we wear pedometers, smart watches, and cameras; our pets are microchipped; and we drive cars with built-in sensors. Wearable devices are becoming mainstream, contributing to the trend of the “quantified self”—or data-driven knowledge gained through tracking with technology. Thanks to the IoT, many of our everyday appliances will have the ability to self-monitor and communicate with a network—think Marge’s fully automated “Ultrahouse 3000” in the Simpsons. Over one-third of U.S. consumers already have IoT devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat and smart TVs in their homes. Consumers are collecting their own first-party information, and they’re using it to improve their lifestyles. Once everything is digitalized and automated across the IoT, organizations will become equally “self-aware”. Just as the quantified self is able to make healthier choices, the quantified enterprise will be empowered to make more strategic business decisions based on more accurate information. Measuring the impact of the IoT is difficult, but its potential is enormous. As the IoT introduces new streams of data, enterprises that are equipped to manage and mine exploding volumes of information will come out on top. In the digital world, data is emerging as a new asset class. In my next post, I’ll look at the opportunities (and risks) data presents and how, when coupled with analytics, organizations can transform business information into strategic insights for competitive advantage. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: It is a Network, Not a Chain

on-digital-min

In the digital world the supply chain is not a chain, it’s a network. The network is made up of connections between businesses, suppliers, partners, and customers. The customer sits at the hub of this network, driving the supply chain, assembling goods and services from a variety of vendors. Participation is plug-and-play, with suppliers filling in gaps to deliver satisfying customer experiences. The customer experience is really only as good as the supply network that supports it. The “value chain” of the past has been replaced by the consumer’s “whole-life platform”. As part of this platform, consumers expect mass customization, same-day delivery, dynamic pricing, and real-time visibility. All of these expectations are impacting today’s supply chain (which is really a network). The full potential of Digital cannot be realized without reinventing the supply chain. In the digital world, supply networks are flexible, with fully integrated end-to-end processes and commerce. Low-cost suppliers and digital manufacturers have agility built into their production lines. Operations can scale rapidly—at a global level—so they are digitalized and run in the Cloud. New channels are used to serve new markets. The entire network is enriched through analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). There is visibility at all nodes in the graph. Analytics move beyond contributing to supply chain optimization, revealing customer preferences and new paths to value. Better decisions can be made, so that better products and services can be delivered, faster. The IoT will streamline the exchange of data and commerce across the network, with Business-to-Business (B2B) integration operating as the collaborative platform for managing global business transactions, securely and compliantly. Every high-performing supply chain is essentially a dynamic digital network. Over the next few years, more than half of the Global 2,000s will re-design their supply chains into networks to support digital business. The IoT will play a central role not only in creating wired, intelligent, and instrumented supply networks, but also a global, connected network. I’ll examine how in more detail my next post in this series. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.  

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: Innovation Redefined

B2B integration

It used to be that a startup would raise capital, hire employees, and purchase physical equipment all to produce version 1 of a product. And this process would take years. While this worked ten years ago, in a digital world, it would end in catastrophic failure. Today, this process involves rented computers. Services are built fast and deployed globally using cloud services. A sales force often isn’t required for years (if at all). Customers are able to take simultaneous advantage of the latest version of subscription-based services (which are centrally updated on a weekly basis). Technology stacks are free. And feedback is immediate via social apps and sensors built right into the software. Innovation is redefined, with a whole new set of rules: Scale fast Build exactly what customers want Functional specifications are dead Storyboards are in children’s books Innovation is about turning ideas into outrageously successful products and services. And that act of creation—from idea to concept to completion—is insanely hard. And to complicate things, it has to happen insanely fast. Innovation is a race. There’s no time for Waterfall methods and Mythical Man-Months, and Agile just isn’t agile enough. Sprints are becoming hyper-connected dashes. Innovation cycles are faster, compressed, and even approach the spontaneous. Companies are becoming more creative in their approach to innovation. Leaders know that in order to win, they have to think outside of the box—and even outside of the enterprise—to partner and innovate. This includes partnering with consumers to co-create. That’s why organizations like Facebook, NASA, GE, and Amazon are crowdsourcing to develop new products and services that solve complex business problems. Technology is transforming the very nature of business, making it more fluid, social, global, accelerated, risky, and competitive. And this is allowing startups to disrupt the incumbents. It took the human species over 150,000 years to move from cave drawings to the printing press, a few more centuries to get to the steam engine, and two decades for the Internet Revolution to get up and running. And by 2020, mobile phones—which have been in wide circulation for less than a decade—will surpass the human population. When you look back in time, it becomes apparent that the speed at which we are innovating is constantly increasing. If we can learn anything from this progression, it’s that the pace of innovation is quickening. Which means that, in order for organizations to thrive in the digital world, they must not only operate at the speed of digital, they must innovate at the speed of digital too. Digital radically redefines how we innovate, regardless of industry. It accelerates the pace and scale, and creates opportunities for new ecosystems to thrive. In my next post, I’ll explore how these ecosystems are evolving and once-linear supply chains are being re-conceptualized into intricate and connected networks of connections between business, suppliers, partners, and customers. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: Sold? But I Never Started the Sales Cycle!

Experience-Matters

Consumers expect highly personalized products and services, delivered in real time. Instant gratification means no more waiting in long lines, no more trudging through shopping malls, no more cash purchases. Even tangible goods are fading into services delivered in the Cloud. In the Subscription Economy, the customer is in control, sitting in the driver seat: creating ecosystems around products and services, driving distribution across networks (not chains), co-creating and crowdsourcing, and forcing product development and service availability to be “outside the box”. Forget the funnel. The sales funnel is being replaced by an orbital model, based on multiple interactions that create a lifetime of value. It’s no longer about quantity—or the more leads you feed into the funnel, the more deals you’ll close. It’s a more complex process based on multiple interactions taking place across multiple touchpoints and channels. The focus is on nurturing long-term relationships with loyal customers and community members rather than funneling leads through the buying cycle. In the digital world, purchasers are either 100% sold self-service or 90% sold by the time they contact a sales rep. Big Box retailers are attracting aisle browsers who look at goods in the store and immediately surf the web for a better price. Consumers of digital do not want a sales call, they want a compelling digital experience to take them from need to sold. No matter where customers are in their purchasing journey, it’s your job to support them by giving them what they need in a consistently branded experience. If customers leave the journey partway through, they have to be able to pick up where they left off when they return—it’s all part of a seamless experience. While the customer is in the driver seat, you are a passenger on the journey. But you can control the interactions that your customers experience. You can find out what platforms they’re using and reach out to them there. If they’re on Twitter, start tweeting. If they’re on Facebook, build a community. Communities of buyers are the people you can cross-sell and upsell to. To do this effectively, your programs must be adaptive and deft, sales and marketing tactics have to be constantly measured and refined. And your messaging has to speak to your customers. In a pull-model of communications, when customers ask for information, make sure you have it ready. Or anticipate their needs and send them recommendations preemptively. With digital consumers, you have a captive online audience that you can connect with directly. Digitalization is the most direct route to market. It has wiped out the traditional sales cycle and is redefining innovation. In my next post, I’ll look at how technology is accelerating the pace of innovation and how digitalization is allowing enterprises to experiment at massive scale—instantly. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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Top Tech Trends for 2016

WFO

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” – Peter Drucker In the Internet era, we talked about being “amazoned”. In the digital world, we talk about being “ubered”. But what does it mean to be ubered? In simple terms, it means you’ve been disintermediated. The term is fitting, because Uber is perhaps the best example of digital disintermediation available today. Uber is marginalizing established competitors using a digital business model. As a provider of transportation, their model satisfies the laws of economy, matching supply with demand by directly connecting drivers and customers. The middleman has gone the way of the Dodo. But they’re not stopping there. True to the digital world they operate in, Uber is continually re-inventing itself. Experimenting with food delivery (UberEATS) and bike messenger (UberRUSH) services, Uber is disrupting its own business models to deliver relevant services to its customers. They could very well deliver your next pizza. New technologies and diminished barriers to entry have created an ecosystem with unlimited business potential. There are now abundant opportunities to “uber” any business in any industry.  So what does the future hold during this time of massive digital upheaval? I see the following trends having the most significant business impact in 2016. The IoT will be reality In 2016, we’ll work smarter, not harder. Human beings, appliances, homes, factories, cars, businesses, and cities will become more interconnected. If these items aren’t already, they’ll soon be “talking” to the Internet of Things (IoT). In a few short years, there will be more than 25 billion devices generating data about every topic imaginable. We’ll see broader enterprise adoption of the IoT due to its economic impact (which analysts estimate to be between $4 trillion to $11 trillion in the next few years), as well as in terms of opportunities to improve productivity and gain better business insight. The IoT will cause massive disruption through better automation, integration, and communication. Insurance companies are deploying sensors and software to monitor how drivers behave and generate risk profiles using big data analytics that accurately align to or construct on-demand products to suit individual behavior. Thermostats communicate with residents and accumulate behavioral data to formulate the most energy efficient and comfortable schedules and settings. Software agents move money, stocks, goods, and people around the world, routing, optimizing, and transacting innumerable times a year—and these are just three examples already in enterprise use today. They will quickly evolve and proliferate into 2016. As we move forward through 2016 and beyond, more devices, agents, sensors, and people will join the IoT. Perhaps we will even progress as a society to a post-scarcity economy and information itself will become our commodity of trade. Monetizing the exchange of information, micro-licensing, and transactions become prominent tasks as our automation and machine-to-machine networks take care of daily needs. Imagine algorithms as apps for applying big data analysis over the connected masses of information generated by the IoT and its billions upon billions of connected devices in every aspect of our lives. Owning the data, analyzing the data, and improving and innovating become the keys to corporate success—all empowered by a connected digital society. Though this may have some Orwellian overtones, the IoT is really about the Zen of Things—our application of software and technology to help customers consume products and to help businesses build better products and deliver better services. In 2016, the IoT will continue to combine big data, analytics, the Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation to propel industries forward and create the next industrial revolution. Social Media takes over the world Social media sites are supporting populations that are bigger than entire nations. Facebook has 1 billion subscribers, Instagram has 400 million active users each month, over 300 million Twitter subscribers post 500 million tweets in 150 countries daily. These are massive numbers. Social media sites are diverse and always “on”. They are the new marketing forums. Your biggest opportunities are here because the most eyeballs are here. In 2016, digital engagement on social media sites will no longer be optional, it will be a business requirement. Digital consumers have power. The new Digital Echo Chamber of Social has awesome powers of creation and destruction, and it needs to be actively managed. In the old days, if a customer was dissatisfied with a product they would speak to a manager and get their money back. Today, they post blogs, comments, ratings, or reviews on social media sites, potentially reaching millions of peers in hours and at no cost. Managing social reputation and being actively engaged is an absolute must. The moment a tweet or post goes live, consumers comment and share. Often, by the time a business has reacted, the story has gone viral. Digital memory is infinite and digital consumers are fickle—remember, your competitors are just a click away. The good news is, you can follow, monitor, and participate in the social interactions your customers are having. They’re more than willing to tell you what they want. You just have to be listening because the inverse is also true: a single customer sharing a positive experience can reach the same audience at the same speed to the benefit of the active Social Enterprise. Millennials enter the management ranks and reshape the world In 2016, we will see Millennials enter management-level roles. These young leaders will radically restructure all aspects of business—from productivity tools to HR policies (like working from home and remote offices), and organizational structure to corporate cultural—essentially reinventing the workplace as we know it. As managers, Millennials will be in a position to transform corporate culture, accommodating expectations like social media freedom, device flexibility, and a high tolerance for risk taking. Innovation will be a key competitive differentiator and its application will be based on new ways to collaborate that include crowdsourcing and co-creation with customers. Communication will be open, two-way, and always “on”. The office of the future will take root in 2016. Holographic images, interactive surfaces, and video conferencing will begin to replace the boardroom in earnest. The mobile office will replace the cubicle and work and life will reach an equilibrium and intermixing we haven’t seen before in this digital age. As Millennials undergo a professional “coming of age”, the enterprise will follow suit. Culture will be a determining factor for failure or success in the digital world. Millennial managers will pull from a global pool of talent, hiring the best employees from around the world to create highly skilled, dispersed teams. Organizations with cultures that can attract (and keep) top talent will emerge as winners, changing the game and disrupting traditional business models—and even entire industries. Fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies will collapse The rise of Internet-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies over the years has been tied to a new model: cash over time, rather than the traditional cash upfront model. But, the aim of profitability remains the same: no more waiting. Cash is still king and businesses need profit. Many of these so-called multi-billion dollar businesses have no revenue, no asset value, no employees and no chance of survival, as long-standing, cash, asset, idea, and employee-rich companies reorganize to compete. Nimble, fast, and flexible is great—and the startups have done a great job in cornering that market. Enterprises might learn slowly, but they learn. And the further along they are on their journey towards digitalization, the more market share they can win back. So, as quickly as the fast-growing, no-profit SaaS companies have appeared, they will now begin to collapse. Digital becomes top priority for CEOs It’s clear that in 2016 digital disruption will impact all markets. Earlier this year, I predicted that 50% of all market leaders will be obsolete in the coming decade because of digital disruption. Competition will come fast and furious from unforeseen sources. In a 2015 CEO survey, 58% of CEOs surveyed consider the rapid-fire rate of digital disruption a challenge to their business. But where there is risk there is also opportunity: 80% believe that disruptive technologies (mobile, the Cloud, analytics) will bring tremendous value to their business. That’s a heartening statistic. To capitalize on opportunity, CEOs will need to understand how disruption impacts all functions of their organization. In 2016, CEOs will become the drivers of digital transformation initiatives, incorporating them in their corporate strategies and all parts of the business. Adaptive and creative leadership will succeed. Across the C-Suite, transformational leadership will overcome outmoded structures and old management styles to empower Millennials to self-direct, make decisions, experiment, innovate, and take risks; while providing the systems, structure and governance to protect the company, its assets and information from this ‘digital sandbox’ style cultural transformation. CEOs will have to obsess even more about the customer and rethink customer value and experiences. They will extend their ecosystems with a new willingness to partner to discover new consumers and markets. Over the next five years, CEOs will lead by example, adopting a Digital Mindset. The Digital Mindset is driven by disruption, immediacy, and scale with centricity on journeys, experience, and a real-time-ness. Just like we have an IQ and EQ, organizations need to develop a DQ, a digital quotient, where strategy, culture, people, and capabilities converge. The CEO will lead this charge. Whether you’re ready or not, the next wave of disruption is here. For more insight into what 2016 has in store, read my book ON DIGITAL. I wish you all a Happy New Year and great success in 2016.  

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Customer Journey

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Peter Drucker was right when he said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer”. This is the goal of every business: to create and keep customers. This principle survives Digital. Digital helps you keep this focus by giving you more ways to know your customer better. The best way to satisfy your customer is to truly understand them. You can do this by mapping every point of contact a customer has with your brand—known as their customer journey. Customers are leaving digital footprints. The transactions, videos, peer reviews on social media sites, blog posts, web forms, call center discussions, point-of-sale promotions, and devices people use on their purchasing journeys—these are your navigation points on the digital customer journey. Data accumulates (and becomes more valuable) at every intersection. This detritus is pure gold. It is key to differentiating products and services because it can be examined and analyzed to uncover insights into buyer behavior—to reveal wants, needs, and motives at each step in the journey. Your Digital Sherpa is your guide in making sure that the experience is targeted and consistent, no matter what channels your customers are using. Digital consumers are very transparent about their brand preferences, experiences, and sentiments. The more that people consume online, the more touchpoints they use and the more information they share, the more you can learn. Your Digital Sherpa will help you find moments of truth. Moments of truth can be tied back to actions that drive processes. When the journey is deconstructed and digitalized, the delivery of information or goods can be customized, automated, and real time. The journey has to be smooth and the experience consistently great. If you ignore your Digital Sherpa, the journey can be treacherous. One mistake, and you lose your way, or worse, you lose a customer. But chances are good the customer will come back, and when they resume their journey, you have to be ready for them. That’s why it’s important to map out and connect each navigation point, so you can anticipate your customer’s needs at each step along the way. Good maps are based on accurate data. Accurate data gives you a 360-degree view of each customer. Once you understand what motivates your customer at each step in a journey, you can more effectively satisfy their expectations, in their moment of need. Your Digital Sherpa helps you equip your customers with the right tools at the right time. You don’t give a climber a 50-foot rope on a 100-foot cliff. And you wouldn’t expect a Millennial to shop from a mailbox. Compelling, personalized digital experiences take customers from need to sold. In my next post, I’ll explore how digital engagement puts the customer in the driver’s seat, changing the sales cycle and doing away with the sales funnel. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.  

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: It Only Takes a Finger

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My niece recently went up to my TV and said the “swipe” wasn’t working. When I read her a children’s book, she asked, “What’s a radio?” She’s five, which means touchscreen devices have been around longer than she’s been alive. New college graduates have been completely raised in the Internet Era. In ten years, college graduates will have been raised on “one finger”. Digital engagement isn’t optional, it’s required. And it has to go beyond easy, and be intuitive. When a five year old goes up to a TV to swipe it, that’s intuitive. Consumers have grown accustomed to sending messages, downloading music, opening a bank account, and even purchasing a house—all with just one finger. In the digital world, they have infinite choices at their fingertips. Customers can browse, compare, research, and purchase without setting foot into a physical location—at any time, from anywhere. The digital world is always on. Decisions are made quickly, but they are informed. Gratification is immediate. This means that you have mere seconds to captivate a customer. And you have to demonstrate that you “know” them in those few seconds. So that first impression (which can be your only and your last) is more important than ever. Customers are growing increasingly savvy and fickle, and their loyalty must be earned. Every unnecessary click or irrelevant message aggravates, pushing your customer into the welcoming arms of your competitor. The Digital Leaders know this. That’s why they’re already innovating and creating wildly compelling omni-channel experiences. But this requires digitalized customer journeys and consolidated information. This starts behind the firewall and extends outside the enterprise across the supply network. Only then will you be able to predict what content will positively influence your customers, respond in real time, and deliver highly curated and satisfying experiences. Remember, your customers have the world in the palm of their hand. If you don’t impress, it only takes a finger… to unlike, unsubscribe, post a bad review, or buy now—from your competitor. In the next post in this series I’ll look at how seamless, consistent, personal, and engaging experiences are they key to winning and keeping customers. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The New Barbarians

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Digital is second nature to Millennials and plays a significant part in their lives. They believe new technology makes life easier and brings people closer together. Millennials are mobile. They are hyper-connected and always on. Based on their love of all things Digital, Millennials are introducing a whole new value system to the workplace. They eschew traditional hierarchical structures, prefer working in ways that are open, flexible and social, and are introducing new digital technologies into the enterprise (even if it means circumventing IT policy). They are multicultural, global, and believe in a work-life balance. This demographic will soon make up 50% of the global workforce. To accommodate their needs, corporate cultures will have to create an environment that caters to them (flex hours, remote access, BYOD). And if their demands are not met, this band of talented nomads will simply move on. Their influence extends beyond the enterprise. Millennials are making demands in the marketplace too. Being hyper-connected has created an “anytime, anywhere” expectation. As consumers, convenience and instant gratification are key—otherwise they’ll find another brand that can satisfy their expectations. Millennials are informed. They are communicators. And they value authenticity. All of these factors are driving brands to support digital, omni-channel shopping experiences, forums for open dialogue, and co-creation—where the consumer is empowered to interact with and influence a brand. Armed with new technology, influential opinions, and wallet power, Millennials have the means to supplant incumbents. If you fall short of meeting expectations—if you fail to deliver relevant and authentic digital experiences, provide flexible work environments, and adopt open communications—you will not survive the invasion. In my next post in this series, I’ll explore how engaging digital experiences are no longer optional, and what Digital Leaders are doing to fulfill this new business requirement. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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