CEO Blog

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

International Women’s Day – Accelerating the Agenda

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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 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


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

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

#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

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: How does 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, 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

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

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!

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


“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


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

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

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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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Subscription Economy

Pre-digital, subscription was for periodicals, newspapers, cars, and book-of-the-month clubs. Today, it is a required part of businesses. If you do not have a subscription model in your business, you need to—and it is not easy to do. Every business must have a subscription model. Millennials expect it. Your investors expect it. There is a class of users that prefers to own an asset. Is it generational? In regulated industries? Is it for strategic or balance sheet reasons? Whatever it is, make sure your selection criteria are clear. All others prefer to have access to the asset. We have officially reached the tipping point. Access is the preferred method and thus we are in the “The Subscription Economy”. Subscription models challenge the incumbent or can create a competitive barrier. Netflix challenged Blockbuster and continues to challenge the entertainment industry in Hollywood. Salesforce challenges Oracle and SAP. Apple challenges music and the mobile/telco industries. You can now subscribe to an iPhone via a new Apple service. Heck, you can even subscribe to an IBM Mainframe today. One of the prizes of subscription is loyalty. But buyer beware. Subscription models are usually more expensive in the long term. Do your math. If you intend to subscribe for the long term, it can be two to three times more expensive than purchasing outright. There are also challenges in making your products or services available as a subscription. You have to move from one-time transactions to multiple transactions. You also move from receiving value up front to receiving a lifetime of value. And the greatest determinant to long-term value and loyalty is rapid and continuous usage of your service. Successful transitions to the Subscription Economy are well thought out, financially planned through, well communicated, and capture new spend. They identify new streams of revenue using new channels of engagement to appeal to the emerging powerhouse consumer—Millennials. In my next post in this series, I’ll discuss how this new generation is changing the face of business—as both consumer and employee. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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Investing in Information Governance: OpenText Acquires Daegis Inc.

Back in October we announced our intention to acquire Daegis Inc. I’m pleased to announce that as of today the acquisition has been finalized. With 30 years of expertise, Daegis is a proven provider of software solutions for information governance, application migration, data management, and application development. This acquisition helps to further strengthen OpenText’s position as a market leader in Information Governance. Daegis brings with it many marquee customers, including 20 percent of the Fortune 100 companies. OpenText is committed to building on these important relationships and ensuring customers continue to receive the best return on their investments. I would like to welcome Daegis employees to OpenText. I look forward to an exciting journey ahead as we work together to advance our global leadership in Enterprise Information Management. Please join me in welcoming the Daegis team, customers, and partners into the OpenText family. Read the press release on the acquisition.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: Disruption

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”. In the Digital Era, we are talking about being “ubered”. Uber has: Tapped into labor at mass scale Ripped down a hundred year history of “medallion” value Exposed and cured the inadequacies and inefficiencies of a major incumbent Made employee and employer one (though Uber claims it has no employees, we will see) Demonstrated the most perfect example of matching supply to demand that I have ever seen Operated a business in which cash is not used Every industry is vulnerable. Every incumbent is vulnerable. And burying your head in the sand won’t change the fact that disruption is all around us. A common thread to digital disruption is that the middleman is gone, in every industry. The average age of an Insurance Agent in the U.S. is 59. The middleman will be gone in Insurance over the next five years. Movies are direct. Music is direct. Insurance is direct. Logistics and supply chains are massively changing. Amazon is running algorithms on your buying behaviors. If you buy an outdoor table online, they are shipping an umbrella to a fulfillment center close by for same-day delivery. Uber is ultimately a logistics business. Salesforce redefined the partner ecosystem in software and services. Why do you need a middleman when you are selling a subscription service? Simple answer: you do not. Uber vs. the traditional taxi model, Netflix vs. Blockbuster… these are examples of how digital disruptors have unseated giants. Part of their success is due to the emergence of the Subscription Economy. In my next post in this series, I’ll explore how this model—pioneered by magazines and book-of-the-month clubs—has become a required part of business. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.  

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: Hyperscale

Do a search on “hyperscale”. You will get a definition along these lines: “Hyperscale is the ability of an architecture to scale appropriately as increased demand is added to the system. This typically involves the ability to seamlessly provision and add computers, memory, networking, and storage resources to a given node or set of nodes that make up a larger computing environment”. This may all be well and true, but friends DO NOT let friends BUY data centers. Hyperscale is an outcome. It is about dreaming big, and delivering big, and imagining the reach of your business at new scale. It is digital scale in a gravity-free Internet. You can be assured a competitor of yours is in a conference room as you read this attempting to out-scale you. Some companies are scaling so large, they are pushing the edges of conventional thinking: Twitter with 500 million tweets in 150 countries daily; Google with around 4 billion searches a day in 200 countries; Alibaba with 254 million orders in one day; and Facebook and China Mobile with about 1 billion subscribers each. Cars are producing 1.3 gigabytes of data every hour. Boeing 787s generate a terabyte of data every day. With 10,000 flights a day, it only takes a couple of years to get to a zettabyte. You would not be able to process these amounts of data with today’s technology. And imagine the possibilities (and warnings) when a company flexes their hyperscale muscle. Heck, even my refrigerator is trying to talk to me. Digitalization is redefining scale. Scale requires a network effect for competitiveness and differentiation. Scale creates captive ecosystems. Scale creates barriers for competitors. Will Digital redefine “bigger vs. better”? It will for those who achieve hyperscale. What can we learn from this? Hyperscale is changing the game. It’s turning conventional business models upside down and causing organizations to think outside of the box. It’s disrupting the status quo. Uber has managed to do this magnificently. The ability to disrupt business models, value chains, and even entire industries is a characteristic of Digital Leaders. In my next post in this series, I’ll look at examples of digital disruption and explore what it takes to be a Digital Leader. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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Introducing a Better Way to Work: The Next Generation of EIM

New digital competitors in every industry are taking advantage of emerging platforms, tools, and integrations to challenge incumbents. History has shown that the only way to compete is to evolve. In the digital world, that means updating—and even overhauling—business models and processes and fully embracing digital technologies. Over 2,000 innovators are currently gathered in Las Vegas at Enterprise World, and for the past three days they’ve been exploring how to enable the digital world. I’m pleased to announce that earlier today, we previewed two new, highly anticipated offerings designed to do just that. OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16 are the next generation of OpenText Enterprise Information Management (EIM) software and mark the biggest release in the history of the company. These suites have been designed to help our customers fully embrace new technology so they can take advantage of digital disruption and create a better way to work. OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16: The Next Generation of EIM OpenText Suite 16 is a set of four suites that includes ECM, BPM, CEM, and Analytics. Each suite represents a set of integrated products that have been packaged together and can be deployed on-premises, as a subscription in the OpenText Cloud, or as a managed service. OpenText Cloud 16 is a set of five cloud-based offerings that includes ECM, BPM, CEM, Business Network, and Analytics solutions, which are designed exclusively for cloud deployment, spanning solutions from native Software as a Service (SaaS) to suite configurations delivered as Managed Cloud Services. By providing the world’s best integrated EIM platform and applications, these new offerings will ensure that global organizations are able to digitally transform their operations, processes, and information to better service and interact with their customers, suppliers, and partners. Better engagement, productivity, insight, innovation, and control are core to doing better business. These themes form the foundation of our new offerings. OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16 will empower organizations to more efficiently pursue these strategic goals to drive digital transformation in the following ways: Better Engagement: Transform suppliers into partners, connect with employees and the extended enterprise, and engage with customers at every interaction in the entire customer lifecycle with the goal of maximizing the customer lifetime value. Better Productivity: Maximize the volume and quality of output from employees, teams, and ecosystems by easily accessing and using enterprise content, collaborating with internal and external teams, automating business processes and the supply chain. Better Insight: Gain greater visibility into enterprise data for a better understanding of customers, markets, and business to make smarter decisions and personalized recommendations. Better Innovation: Foster innovation with the flexibility to quickly and effectively respond to changes in market conditions, customer needs, and business requirements to achieve customer centricity and higher productivity. Better Control: Find better ways to address rising concerns about information governance, regulatory compliance, and information security and privacy without jeopardizing the ability to pursue the best customer experience and productivity goals. Leveraging the power of analytics, OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16 will help organizations to more effectively manage their information, better integrate their business network, and make smarter business decisions. In addition, we’ve enhanced our developer platform, AppWorks, so organizations can easily build innovative, tailored mobile solutions as a key part of their information management strategy. Technological innovations are impacting every aspect of our lives. They trigger a digital disruption that fundamentally changes the way we work, the way we interact with customers, and the way we approach business processes. When fully integrated into the enterprise, they create better ways to work, equipping organizations to excel in the digital world. Enterprise World attendees can visit the Enterprise Expo today and tomorrow for an exclusive preview of the next generation of EIM software. Both OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16 will be generally available in late March, 2016. For more information, read the press release.

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