Digital Transformation

A day in the Life of a Utility Company


In the last in my blog series on Operational Excellence, I’d like to introduce you to BigShock Energy. It’s a utility company with power generation plants in ten countries worldwide. It realized that while each of its plants was managed in isolation, it was impossible to achieve the optimum operational efficiency across the organization. Each plant was managing and maintaining equipment and issues that had been encountered at the other plants without the benefit of the lessons learnt. So BigShock decided to digitally transform its business to create a central operations solution, across all their plants that seamlessly integrates key operations systems. In creating a centralized solution the company integrated enterprise asset management, centralized content management, advanced analytics and a business process engine. The overall objective being to improve operational performance and deliver better business insight across the portfolio of plants. So, what does this mean in practice? Let’s take a look at a typical day. It’s midday in Bangalore. Dinesh Patel, a maintenance technician responsible for overseeing equipment performance at all BigShock plants, is at his desk when a dashboard on the screen flashes red. A pump in one of the company’s Nuclear facilities in Florida has exceeded its optimal working temperature. Dinesh quickly accesses and analyses data about the pump from all the other facilities at BigShock, sees that there is a significant chance of failure with this pump when it starts to exceed operating temperature and decides it needs immediate replacement. He opens the facility’s Maintenance Management System and creates a new work order. It’s 7.30am in Tallahassee. Over his first coffee of the day, maintenance engineer, Jim Smith, opens his iPAD to see his schedule for the day ahead. He notices he has a new instruction to replace one of the older pumps. He examines notes on the pump and can see that it has been regularly exceeding optimal performance over the last 24 hours. Jim accesses the equipment store register, checks the part is in stock and requests the replacement pump. Once accepted, he returns to the maintenance app and schedules replacement for 1pm. It’s 9am when Jim arrives at his desk. He connects his iPAD to the company network and begins to access all the relevant documentation he’ll need to review before replacing the pump. The information is stored within a central corporate Operations Asset Management system at corporate headquarters in New York. Jim downloads all the information he needs onto his iPAD so that he can access and read it while on-site. He heads to the warehouse to pick up the replacement pump. It’s 1pm in Cody, a short drive from Tallahassee where the Nuclear facility is based. Jim is ready to undertake the replacement of the pump. He is standing next to the pump in the plant and accesses the shutdown procedure and replacement procedures from his iPAD app. Once the pump is replaced, Jim starts a pump test process. He opens the relevant test form, completes the required data and adds a photograph of the completed pump – taken with his iPAD. He immediately forwards the completed test form to the Inspection Manager for approval. Finally, he returns to his desk where he starts an MOC process with the affected P&ID, drawing and specifications. It’s 2.30pm in Tallahassee. Freddie Goodwin, the Inspection Manager, sees a new task for a pump inspection appear on his dashboard. The task is labeled ‘critical’ as production cannot be resumed until it is complete. It includes the completed test form, a link to the original maintenance request and links to the associated P&ID, drawing and specifications. Freddie drives to Cody, checks the replacement pump and sends his approval to restart production. At  3.30pm, Willie Bell, the production supervisor, receives a task in his inbox telling him he can now resume production. He begins the startup procedure on the newly installed pump. Willie accesses the procedure from his iPAD, starts the pump and returns the plant to full production. By 4.30pm, full production is resumed. It’s 5pm in Cody. Terry Cooper in the drawing office receives an email. It includes a task to update the P&ID and replace the current ‘as built’ P&ID for the part of the plant that houses the newly installed pump. He decides he can get all that done before the end of the day. Back in New York, it’s 6pm. Gary Rowett, COO, accesses the Operations Systems and finds that uptime across all facilities currently stands at 99.95%. He drills down and notices a potential worry. Including Jim’s pump, over 30 Type 12 pumps have had to be replaced worldwide in the last three months. He thinks the issue needs investigating. He fires off an email to a member of his team and decides to have an early night. BigShock Energy is, of course, a fictitious company but energy companies can do all of this today. The technology and solutions needed to digitally transform your operations aren’t just available. They’re mature. It all starts with a comprehensive Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solution that provides a central backbone for managing and analyzing all your information across all your plants worldwide. We’ll be discussing how EIM can drive Operational Excellence at this year’s Enterprise World.

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OpenText STP for Funds – the Funds Operations Dream

I feel like one of the lucky ones…..but let me explain!  Several years ago I moved roles to support a new Funds & Custody related product in a large global bank. It was a big challenge as the product and related process was in its infancy. But we had high hopes for expansion and a great team around us. However, like a lot of long-established companies, there were a lot of ‘legacy’ applications in place which brought challenges as to how we could mould and fit a new process in. (Somewhat a ‘square peg in the round hole’ type of situation). This was when I was first introduced to the OpenText™ Business Network Straight Through Processing for Funds platform. What a game changer it was for our team. Easily integrated with a slick dynamic user interface….it was the stuff of Operations dreams! Proven, robust, secure Over time the platform matured and evolved, with greater functionality and enhancements to make life easier for our operations teams, but most importantly our underlying clients. They loved the level of transparency that it gave them in to the life-cycle on their trades…..real time updates either via the intuitive web-based portal that they could access anytime anywhere, or a complete suite of messaging that would be fired directly into their internal dealing platform or OMS. In the blink of an eye! FIX, FTP, Swift, email, fax….it can do it all. Take in messaging, translate it, enhance it, add data, and forward it on to Transfer Agents, Fund Accountants, Custody System, Finance Providers, Payment System and the list goes on…..all in the blink of an eye. It was such a pleasure to be able to go into new client meetings and show them what we could do for them. It gave our team a new energy and love for the product, and it really showed in our client satisfaction ratings. MIFID II incoming! With banks and asset managers needing technical solutions which can give them an enhanced client portal, with full transparency and powerful reporting to meet MIFID II requirements, OpenText STP for Funds is ready and waiting to help. But I digress…. Anyway, to get back to my original point of being one of the lucky ones….as you can see above, I built up an attachment to the platform.  But now I get to work with the users of the platform every day, and help new clients overcome those same challenges that I experienced myself in previous years. Finally remove the manual processing, reduce processing costs, increase risk and control, and provide your underlying client with access to the best Funds platform on the street. Welcome to OpenText STP for Funds Reach out Therefore if you are looking for a market leading solution for your Funds order capture, routing, settlement and more, please add a comment below or complete the form on this page as I would love to discuss further.

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Digital Culture, Digital Capability and Digital Influence

digital capability

Invest in Digital Capability to build a Digital Culture and be rewarded with Digital Influence – with social media, video blogs, photo sharing platforms we are all well aware of how digital media is a big part of our daily lives. In the business environment many of the challenges faced today find their roots in the question of how to attract and engage with customers, a necessity to remain competitive and grow market share. The primary strategy to do so is to improve the quality of customer facing content. Or put simply, organisations now recognize the power of digital media as a stimulus beyond that of the written word to grab our attention and entice us into making a transaction. Say No to Silo’s The traditional approach for companies to try to manage this explosive growth in media is to create repositories behind their business systems. These repositories cater for the basic need to search for reuse, repurpose, to distribute and control media within the scope of that business system. The classic example is that of a repository for value marketing material or a repository behind the customer facing ecommerce web sites and so on. However this approach is a bit like asking your water company to provide a new pipe for every tap in your house – it is a tactical solution to what should be regarded as an infrastructure issue. This explains why many companies who when asked whether they have a digital asset management system, will probably reply with a yes, we have many and we are still not sure where to find the most recent version of our content. Say Yes to Innovation without Barriers The concept of a digital culture in the workplace is becoming mainstream with the growth in employment of Millennials. A digital culture ensures that organisations maximize the talent of their employees to drive ideas and innovation with tools and techniques that are already common in social media. A Digital Capability ensures that these new ideas can be captured and applied faster. In order for companies to truly embrace a digital culture across their organisations they need a unified Digital Capability – a business-driven content strategy that enhances the efficiency of media used; it needs to deliver automation, project based collaboration and support the content lifecycle to ensure that material is relevant and valuable to all.

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Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Insurance Industry

Artificial Intelligence

At the RiskMinds Insurance convention, Tony Young, National Clinical Director for Innovation NHS England in a discussion with Rick Morley, Managing Director, Accenture Finance & Risk, mentioned a number of interesting points:  Global Healthcare is about $7 Trillion and the Global Insurance Industry is around $3 Trillion  A large startup sector is springing up in both insurance and healthcare sectors  There is a lot of commonalities and overlap in these two different industries  Technology plays an important role in being a disrupter in both sectors With all the health tracking gadgets – pedometers, calorimeters, fitness pals – something is changing. It’s the health and the longevity of a human being. Diseases or health problems that were once terminal, have become minor but new have surfaced. Tony Young particularly emphasized the use of technology – information technology in particular – as a driver for transformation and growth in future. With all the data collected, analyzed and then made available back to the users of the gadgets, the healthcare and the insurance industries are undergoing a major transformation today. Insurance – general or life, is no longer the focus of the traditional insurance practices. Clients are asking for more visibility and better personalized rules governing their policies. Insurance relies on their policy administration system (PAS) as the sacred engine, and it is often cumbersome to modify the rules in the PAS as it has overarching impacts, and is difficult for policy managers to track. This is precisely where an AI engine could help. “AI’s initial impact primarily relates to improving efficiencies and automating existing customer-facing, underwriting and claims processes,” Price Waterhouse Cooper said in a report about AI in insurance. “Over time, its impact will be more profound; it will identify, assess, and underwrite emerging risks and identify new revenue sources.” While we ponder upon the impact of AI on Insurance firms and their practices, a few have already been early adopters of the technology. See this article on the – Allstate has a chat bot, the Allstate Business Insurance Expert, that leads customers through getting a quote. AIG invested in a company that sticks wearable trackers on workers in order to track safety. Financial insurance provider Manulife is partnering with an AI company to train a system to read news and emails. Chinese giant Baidu said it is already using AI systems to discover patterns that can be used in insurance underwriting. Another area in the Insurance industry that demands a case for AI is the claims process. With the improvements in BPM systems and their integrations with ECM systems (Documentum xCP), the claim processors have become smarter in tracking all the information related to a claim, thus, reducing the claim frauds. This has already been helpful in preventing losses according to the researchers at Insurance Nexis. The mixing of AI in such a process could only enhance the application of the rules and the effectiveness of the process. With the use of AI in policy administration, newer insurance products can be launched quickly and more effectively. They can even integrate with the fast inflow of information coming from various sources and provide a personalized service. Not only this is gratifying to the policyholder, but also rewarding for the policy administrator. Change is coming, though at a smaller pace than perhaps could be expected, given the obvious benefits.

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Is This Your Year for the Final Upgrade?

shift to cloud

After a decade of testing the waters in cloud deployments, more companies will shift their workloads to the cloud. Seeking enterprise-grade security, seamless integrations, and pain-free upgrades, the shift to cloud will continue in earnest. This will drive careful selection of technology providers, as customers seek a new mix of delivery methods to simplify their IT strategy. According to Forrester’s 2017 predictions, the cloud market will accelerate even faster in 2017, while organizations struggle to connect employees, customers and devices at a rapid rate and remain competitive in the marketplace. It’s expected that more than 80% of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud in the next three years. Cloud agility will increasingly play a role in customers choosing to move to cloud – taking advantage of rapid deployment options, and a wide range of cloud service levels to remove delays associated with capital acquisition and time to provision hardware and operating environments. All of these factors are driving the rapid shift to cloud. What has become more urgent is the need to reduce issues around performance, integration, and security with existing on-premises systems, while offering top-notch customer experience in an age of zero tolerance for digital interruptions. With risk transferred to cloud experts, enterprise leaders hope to focus more on transforming their organizations instead of constantly troubleshooting technology. The ultimate goal? Never face technology upgrade challenges again, yet enjoy ongoing new features as cloud services simply serve up the latest software versions. Could 2017 be the year of this “final upgrade”? What to Look for in Cloud Providers Cloud experts advise that CIOs look for providers that offer enterprise-grade security as well as technology standardization, automation, and a data-centric approach to information security. Seamless migration will afford organizations months of saved time, with a 20 to 50% reduction in operational costs over competitors who choose to self-manage their solutions. Mature data migration services can make this easy for organizations. Providers such as OpenText have a dedicated Cloud Practice who manage the applications, services and solutions in the cloud. Professional Services can help with application upgrade and migration planning, and implementation, and even create customized applications and solutions. Full-service providers can also deliver personalized services based on the enterprise’s specific needs, offering cloud delivery managers and dedicated support teams who can quickly resolve service issues. Every enterprise will need some level of user or administrator training as migrations occur, so look for Education Services to fine-tune education – whether accelerating new user education or helping advanced users and administrators achieve an optimal experience. Since the shift to managed cloud is slated to continue well beyond 2017, plan for cloud and hybrid options in your Enterprise systems. As you select strategic partners for your move to the cloud, consider the package of services your provider can deliver, as well as the technology portfolio. Will this be your year to experience the final upgrade for your Enterprise Information Management system?

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Quality and Innovation From Bench to Clinic – the Role of Data Integrity


According to a recent PwC survey of pharma CEOs, 35% consider strengthening innovation a top priority. At the same time, they are facing increasing challenges from more stringent regulatory requirements and rising standards of quality. The Life Sciences track at this year’s Enterprise World looks at the benefits of building the quality-centric enterprise within Life Sciences. Data integrity is a foundation stone of quality and at the very heart of Digital Transformation. How can organizations gain visibility and control over all their data? Digital Transformation, for me, is not just about replacing paper with digital-based processes. It is about releasing the value that an enterprise has in the data it holds. The challenge is that most organizations have developed as a series of departmental silos. This is certainly true for quality. Separate departments or business units have created their own home-grown or legacy systems – often on Excel spreadsheets – to manage product and process quality. Apart from being hugely expensive to maintain and prone to error, these systems lack any enterprise-wide visibility, ability to share information across the organization and its partners, or to manage by exception. How reliable is your quality data? Despite best efforts, the data held within many of these quality systems must be considered less than reliable. Estimates indicate that bringing a new drug to market costs more than a billion dollars and takes up to 15 years so the effective use of quality data can help drive innovation and reduce costs. For example, a new product submission to the FDA can run to 600,000 pages containing data from a wide range of sources. The proper document management of that submission is essential to remove error and cost from the process. Companies are faced with regulatory requirements such as GxPs, reporting mandates, international quality standards and other compliance issues. This is simply part of daily operations and assuring the integrity of data feeding and driving these systems is paramount. This situation would be challenging enough if it were only internal data that the organization had to worry about – neatly held within enterprise applications and databases. However, every Life Sciences company operates in an ecosystem of customers, supplier and research partners. The amount of data is exploding and most of it is unstructured. According to The Economist, as of 2017, more than 1.7 billion healthcare and fitness apps have been downloaded onto smart phones. These apps are collecting mountains of valuable data that companies can use to improve product development and inform innovation. Towards the quality-centric organization To become a quality-centric organization, you have to be able to effectively many multiple data types from multiple sources. This data has to be reliable and available to drive quality through your entire ecosystem (See figure 1). Figure 1: Key drivers for the end-to-end, quality-centric Life Sciences organization Supplier Enterprise Customer Supplier audit Containment & failure analysis Supplier corrective action Cost recovery Supplier KPI/scorecard Inspection/audits Non-conformance CAPA Containment & failure analysis Document control & records management Change control Digital marketing & communication Training Equipment calibration Safety management Quality scorecard Customer issue & complaint management CAPA Containment & failure analysis Change control Document control & records management Product change notification Quality scorecard   It is difficult – if not impossible – to achieve this level of data integrity without a central platform to manage that data and content. With the Documentum acquisition, OpenText is uniquely positioned to provide the most comprehensive Enterprise Information Management platform to Life Sciences companies. Enterprise application integration, B2B integration and advanced analytics build out the ECM solution to give you new levels of visibility and control of the data across end-to-end business processes. This is the focus for Enterprise World. There will be speakers from some of the world’s largest Life Sciences brands talking about their experiences of driving quality and innovation within their companies. There are still a few spaces available so register today. It would be great to see you there.

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Digital Transformation Across Supply Chains – IDC Infographic

Digital Transformation

OpenText recently sponsored a new IDC research study relating to digital transformation across the supply chain. I recently posted another blog to highlight some of the key findings from this new study that OpenText™ Business Network sponsored. The study looked at whether digital transformation was driving supply chain restructuring activities. In addition to the white paper which you can download here, I have included an infographic in this blog post which helps to illustrate some of the key findings from our new study. In the next few weeks we will also be launching two webinars and five executive briefs on key findings from some of the verticals we surveyed. You can also click on the infographic below to download our new study. Don’t forget, keep an eye out for the webinars and industry briefs that we will be releasing in the coming weeks.

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Effective Change Management – Next Step to Operational Excellence for Energy Companies

Change management

In my previous blog, I looked at the need to gain control of your content when creating operational excellence. In this blog I thought I’d cover the role of effective change management. Operational excellence is the main focus of the Energy track at this year’s Enterprise World where some of the world’s largest brands will be discussing industry best practice and their individual approaches. Change management at an operational level provides huge opportunity to drive cost and productivity improvements. The last few years had been tough for energy companies. Low oil prices have seen capital projects cancelled and costs cut to the bone. Wood MacKenzie believes that oil and gas companies, especially, are coming out of survival mode and are set for renewing investment in growth. However, I’d say that the focus on operational efficiency is now ingrained at most energy companies. As Wood MacKenzie points out, one reason that companies can begin to re-invest is that the focus on operations to create revenues has improved cash flow generation. Energy companies are far from out of the woods just yet. The result of years of retrenchment, according to Ernst and Young, is that over 50% of global oil and gas production comes from assets that passed the midpoint of their life cycle. We all know that the older assets get, the less reliable. We may want 100% production and 100% uptime but that is not going to happen. Things go wrong. In fact, Ernst and Young reports an 11% year-on-year decline in E&P operational efficiency between 2008 and 2012. Putting a value on operational change management Delivering a structured approach to change management at an operational level boosts efficiency and productivity by reducing the errors and accelerating workflows and collaboration across the organization and with external parties. It is only one element of operational excellence but it can be highly significant. Ernst and Young predicts that operational costs for major oil and gas suppliers increases at 2.85% per annum – which will see costs rise from just under $250 billion in 2017 to over $280 billion in 2020. The consultancy suggests that there is the potential for $25 billion savings to be made between best-in-class and average operations. In a presentation for Digital Energy Journal, Haliburton discussed the ‘power of the 1%’ – the ability to find a small improvement in operations that brings major benefits. If effective change management can achieve only a 1% improvement – using EY figures – that’s a $250 million saving. In practice, excellent change management offers far greater rewards. Implementing effective change management I define operational change management as the process of improving workflows to minimize the time, effort and cost of delivering peak asset performance. From something that was primarily paper-based, we’re moving to a completely integrated operations and maintenance environment. This means more than digitization. It requires a highly structured approach – underpinned by a central EIM platform – to the capture, management and sharing of information within the change management process. There are five key elements to delivering effective change management: Integrate your Plant Maintenance scheduling system with your critical engineering content: As work orders are issued to the maintenance engineers, links should be generated to lead the engineer to the relevant and up to date documentation required to undertake the task safely and successfully. Capture & coordinate content change: As the plant is modified during a maintenance task, you have to be able to capture all change requests and automatically associate all relevant content to that request. Any necessary revisions to documentation only occur after the changes have been approved. Automate notifications & acknowledgements: All updates to documentation have to be circulated to the people who need them. The process should be fully automated not only to ensure access at the proper time but to also facilitate an audit trail for compliance. Review & approve changes: You require a central system that allows all changes to be managed from a single package. There needs to be stringent version control so all participants know that they are working on correct – and the most up-to-date – information. Share & collaborate: As industry partnerships and cooperation grows, you require an automated and secure means to exchange documents with external parties. The shared information has to be correct and tracked – all changes have to go through exactly the same change and approval process as internal documentation. In this way companies can create a fully end-to-end change management process (see figure 1 below) that has benefits beyond improving the efficiency of operational changes. The energy industry is the midst of a major skills challenge. It’s not just assets that are aging! As people retire or move, essential skills are being lost and are not easy to replace. A digital change management approach lessens that burden on knowledgeable staff and reducing the training overhead for new staff. Figure 1. A structured end-to-end change management platform If you’d like to hear first hand how OpenText is helping the world’s largest energy companies achieve operational excellence, there’s still time to join us at this year’s Enterprise World. There are still a few place left so register today.

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Gain Control of Your Content – First Step to Operational Excellence for Energy Companies

operational excellence

There are many notable anniversaries this year. It’s 50 years since the Sergeant Pepper album. JFK was born in 1917 at the same time as the Russians were having a revolution. You may not be aware of another anniversary: the Mechanicville hydro-electric plant  in New York is 120 years old this year – and it’s still going! Aging assets is just one of the challenges that energy companies face as they increase their focus on operational excellence. At this year’s Enterprise World, we’re going to be looking at best practice approaches to achieve effective operations and maintenance. It all starts by gaining control of your content. It’s a demanding business environment for many energy companies. According to US Energy Information Administration, energy consumption fell by 3.5% between its peak in 2007 and 2015. Companies who undertook expensive capital projects while oil prices were high now find that they need to wring every penny of profit out of the assets they have. The average nuclear power station in the US is 36 years old and companies are looking to extend their life for another 20 years or more. Sweating your aging assets Aging assets mean more maintenance activities on your plant or rig to ensure peak performance for the longest period of time. They mean an increasing struggle with the loss of knowledge and skills as personnel leave or retire. And, there’s paper. Lots and lots of paper. In fact, I worked on the transfer of an asset between oil companies a few years back. The documentation from the previous owners arrived at our door on 16 palettes. It took four months to deploy a production solution to manage the asset that satisfied contractual requirements. Energy companies are now well advanced with their Digital Transformation strategies but they are still to properly gain control of their content. I’d suggest that most energy firms, if they were honest, would admit to still being at the stage of trying to understand what content they have, where it is and what tools they need to effectively manage and utilize it. Today, we still have operational management systems driven by silos of information that rely on both paper-based records and the direction of staff that are knowledgeable in how the system works. Recently I helped another US oil company break down its silos of operations and engineering documentation that were costing millions of dollars in regulatory fines. Pressures surrounding regulatory compliance are growing but they still pale against a situation where an engineer arriving to undertake maintenance doesn’t know what the fault is, whether all the documentation is correct, whether they have the right part or, indeed, whether they’re in the right area of the plant! Gain control of your content The ARC Advisory Group suggests that the global process industry loses $20 billion, or 5% of annual production, due to unscheduled downtime. A major contributory factor to this is the inability to effectively use the information and documentation on all aspects of operations. You can’t implement predictive maintenance when you don’t know what’s actually happening with your assets. Rather than operational information being the impediment, it has to become the enabler. There are two key elements to gaining control of your operational content: Centralized information control  – the first step has to be to ensure that all information is held digitally. Beyond this, it has to be held centrally or easily accessible from a central system. That system must be able to enforce data integrity and security. You need to be able to deliver a ‘single version of the truth’ for every piece of content within your operations. Enterprise information access – the second step is to ensure that all documentation is up-to-date, correct and reliable. You have to be able to limit access to only the correct versions. You must be able to ensure that all changes are made in a systematic and structured way. All rights and security has to be rigorously enforced. Finally, the information has to be accessible quickly wherever and whenever it is needed. Secure mobile access becomes a core component of this. The benefits of using centralized information management to drive operational efficiency can be extremely impressive. Deloitte suggests that the US Navy’s ability to coordinate policy, design and maintenance changes within its shipyards has saved it at $2 billion. EIM: The platform for operational excellence Designed specifically for the energy sector, the Extended ECM Solution from OpenText combines an industry-leading EIM, purpose-built interfaces and workflows, and industry best practices. Figure 1. Gain control of content. The central role of Enterprise Information Management It includes all the control and management functionality an energy company needs to gain full control of its content as well as securely sharing the information across enterprise departments and with suppliers and customers. It integrates the content to the operations and maintenance work orders from systems like SAP and Maximo and with the potential to add on data analytics allows for greater insight to the content and data. All together it provides the information foundation to deliver the productivity gain and cost reduction benefits of operational excellence. In my next blog, I’ll discuss how excellent content control will help you achieve operational excellence through intelligent change management.

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Thoughts From Digiruption Indaba South Africa


Digiruption Indaba is our customer day in Africa – Indaba means ‘gathering’. This year, Digiruption was held at the Galleria in Johannesburg. And what a day it was! Fully packed with highlights. I’ve had the privilege of attending this event for the last 2 years and I’m amazed at the number of customers and partners that attend. This year we finished at just under 400 in total which was a great effort. After some energetic drumming to get everyone excited for the day, Country Manager Lenore Kerrigan acting as host gave a welcome address to everyone and thanked them for attending. This included long term customers, partners and the new customers who joined our family from ECD, HP and others. This was followed by a welcome message and video presentation from OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea (who was unable to join us this year). Lenore then introduced our first guest speaker. “Exploration drives Innovation” Our first guest speaker was Dr Adriana Marais from SAP. Adriana is Head of Innovation at SAP Africa working on such diverse projects as Quantum Cryptography, Block chain and automated drone delivery. During her presentation one of these points was demonstrated by being joined by a drone on stage! All of which are joined by a common thread of being innovative, leading edge and of global benefits.. but wait.. As if those diverse projects weren’t enough to keep her busy, Adriana is one of the final 100 candidates for the extraordinary Mars One Expedition (you can learn about that here and here). She spoke passionately about how the next step for humans to solve our problems can only be found in Space and specifically on Mars. I think everyone came away with a great appreciation and a sense of ‘awe’ at people like Adriana who are prepared to take on some of the largest problems in the world, and solve them. “The best thing about social media it is allows anyone to be a celebrity, and the worst thing is it allows anyone to become a celebrity” Following that on the keynote was Emma Sadleir, who is a consultant lawyer and author specialising in Social Media Law. In her energetic and informative presentation she gave many examples of how to use Social Media correctly and how both famous and more importantly employees use Social Media incorrectly and what the liabilities are for both the company and the employee. Illustrating each point with examples and she had a fair few number of people quickly checking their Twitter accounts! I have asked Emma for her permission to use her image here (but this proves I was listening as if I had used it without permission I could have broken some laws.) The 4th Industrial Revolution and the OpenText Future Sandwiched between the two guest speakers, we had Thomas Dong, VP of Product Marketing presenting the OpenText keynote on our Strategic Direction, the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the new technologies that affect and inspire Digital Transformation. Before that, Detlev Ledger had chaired a panel of our customers, (Capitec, Distell, MediClinic, NHLS and SANBS ) discussing such topics as their use of OpenText (including ECD), their future plans, experiences and their thoughts on the future of EIM. Lunch, Technology, Customers, Public Sector and the Silent Disco… After a nice lunch (including the High Commissioner for Canada saying a few words) everyone was free for some time to mingle with the partners and network. One of the things I’d not seen before was a partner innovation track – similar to a Silent Disco (for those of you not in the know – it’s where you all wear headphones to dance around in silence.. yeah, I wasn’t certain as well!) but in the context of partner day it allowed the partners to give a 15 minute breakout where the audience were not distracted by the background noise of the event. During the afternoon we had breakouts across three tracks and I visited breakouts in all 3 sessions and was pleased to see the partners and customers alike attending and interacting. The 3 tracks were based around OpenText solutions, Customers (all presented by customers) and Public Sector (which makes a sizable part of the African customer base). In the technology track myself, Albert Tay and Arsalan Minhas covered topics such as what’s new in EP2, low Code with Process Suite, where to being with Digital Transformation and AI Implications for the Enterprise. In the Customers track, Distell presented their Release 16 (Distell are a long time customer and are typically one of the first organisations to deploy any new Content Server releases) Capitec Bank (its great to see our new ECD customers already comfortable to talk at an OpenText event) described their approach to Client Centricity. Finally, Mediclinic presented how xECM for SuccessFactors is allowing them to achieve their goal of a central HR functions. Mediclinic are the first customer of OpenText’s to be live on the xECM for SuccessFactors solution and have a great story to tell. In the public sector track we had another ECD customer, the Department for Social Development, presenting their Social Grant Appeals Process, the South African National Blood Service talked about their enterprise wide OpenText and SAP Implementation and finally the National Health Laboratory Service presented their ECM journey. Awards and Final Thoughts Following the event we all adjourned to the roof of the Galleria for food and well deserved cocktails and prize giving to watch the sun go down over Johannesburg. Amongst those receiving prizes were SAP for partner of the year, MediClinic for Go-Live project of the year, Capitec for Customer Visionary, and Engen for Customer of the Year. What really stood out at the event for me was the level of investment and trust that the customers have placed in OpenText and how critical in most cases our solution. Be it from face-to-face discussions or email feedback from various companies, the response to our EIM strategy and acquisitions was overwhelmingly positive. So, from all of us at OpenText attending to all our customers and our partners, Thank you for helping is have a great customer day and hopefully we will all see you each other again next year. Photos by Des Ingham-Brown, Blowfish Productions

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Process Automation Anchors the Delivery of Digital Customer Experiences

process automation

In this blog we welcome guest blogger Maureen Fleming, a Vice President at IDC, focused on middle tier technologies that enable new initiatives. By 2018, 71% of respondents to an IDC 2016 digital experience survey plan to increase their budget for creating and delivering digital experiences. And 82% of respondents to a survey looking at document-centric process disconnects believe they can improve their customer experience by removing the friction between back-office and front-office business processes.These surveys show an awareness and intent to invest in solutions that improve processes involving customer experiences. These investments will significantly impact the types of solutions that can be built for customer experience design and automation as well as the need to rapidly improve decision support. Customer Experience Design and Process Automation Customer experience used to be the result of generally uncoordinated touchpoints that, in aggregate, left a good or bad impression with the customer. Today, businesses are increasingly designing, coordinating and automating workflows optimized for dynamic customer experiences across all touchpoints. Because customers send and receive communications via multiple channels, including stores, phone calls, text, emails, and social networks, content is treated as a consistent and managed asset and integrated across all of the customer-oriented workflows. By automating the customer experience, businesses are able to realize both revenue and cost impacts as they: Improve the standardization and efficiency of communications to one customer across touchpoints Manage the content assets that support the experience Increase the consistency in how all customers are treated Identify and prevent problems to avoid negative customer experiences At IDC, we assume customer communications platforms will become a core solution used to help customers evolve to be able to send relevant messages in the appropriate format and channel based on the customer’s current situation. Customers recognize the importance of content working in tandem with process. In the regulated industries survey, 45% of respondents already integrate enterprise content management into their customer communications systems but that number will grow to 83% by 2018. Analytics-Driven Processes Require Redesign to Support Higher Volumes of Decisions Businesses traditionally have invested very little on end-to-end process visibility aimed at preventing problems. That is changing rapidly as predictive analytics and proactive intelligence become cornerstones of digital transformation. In fact, the top feature priorities of customer communications platforms involve the ability to manage and perform analytics on big data. Use cases of analytics-based solutions are broad but include the shift to real-time or near-real-time offer management, cross-channel marketing or customer social relationship management. On the industrial side, IoT initiatives predict and prevent problems with machines or connected devices and deliver new types of digital services to customers. The shift to analytics-triggered processes has an enormous impact on the workload of customer contact centers and the adequacy of self-service support. Analytics systems predict conditions that require manual follow-up or an automated response. Other than high volume, low risk transactions, the lion’s share of follow-up over the next few years will involve the initiation of a task or case assigned to a worker, who must then decide what to do next. Initially, the volume of decision obligations may swamp existing resources. That typically requires a solution re-design to offer greater situational awareness, by integrating content and back-office applications into case management solutions aimed at speeding up processes involving decisions, while also improving the quality of decisions. About Maureen Fleming Maureen Fleming is a Vice President at IDC, focused on middle tier technologies that enable new initiatives, such as sensor-based computing and API monetization. She is the lead analyst of IDC’s IoT analytics and information management practice and IDC’s research covering process automation, API management and continuous analytics.

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Artificial Intelligence and EIM

Artifical Intelligence

During a recent visit to Los Angeles, California, I happened to stay at Residence Inn Marriott at LAX. Unable to sustain my hunger pangs in the middle of the night, I ordered some food. And I had the best, and the most surprising experience!. The food arrived quickly and was not carried by a server, but a robot – Wally! Wally is a 3 feet tall robot that moves on wheels, can be programmed for the room number and delivers to the room. More than being served by a robot, I was fascinated by the amount of information processing and intelligence built into the machine to be able to take precise turns, get on the right elevator, reach the correct floor and then the correct door number! I was later told that the number of foot falls and the room service requests have increased since Wally has been put to service. Piqued by my interest, I later found Hilton Hotels also deployed a robot “Connie” as a concierge at Hilton in McLean, VA. Connie can greet the guests and answer their questions about the services, amenities and local attractions. Named after the Hilton chain’s founder Conrad Hilton, Connie is powered by machines delivering Artificial Intelligence (AI). Robots delivering a great experience to hotel guests are an example of how Artificial Intelligence coupled with devices can perform tasks that are repeatable, process-oriented, rule-based operations.  AI works on the principle of analyzing data, identifying patterns and turning data into information that may be useful in decision making. This form of AI has been very popular and has been in existence for a long time. Its populist nature and long term existence stems from the underlying principle that it is rules based and can only predict from a fixed set of probably outcomes, based on the information already provided. This form of AI was initially seen in 1997 when IBM’s Deep Blue won a game against Garry Kasparov – Chess Grand Master. Though the computer was retired soon after, the concept of a machine adapting to a large set of rules and able to make decisions became a reality. Later, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa enhanced the powers of AI and entered our daily lives. This form of intelligence which is primarily ability to compute is known as Applied AI or Weak AI or Narrow AI. This is developed quickly to solve a purpose. Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft have yet not ended their quest in being your own personal assistant. They are aiming to be able to understand your emotions when you talk to them, which requires a context in which the data is provided to them. And with this, they want to develop the ability to be able to negotiate decisions for you. Tesla and Google have already tried to take it to the next level by releasing autonomous auto driving software and devices. AI in the true sense. This form of AI is known as the General Purpose Artificial Intelligence. AI is exciting and is growing in presence and applications every day. The stories from Sci-Fi are becoming reality sooner than later. However, at the heart of its growth lies the importance of abundance of data. Data that can be managed, mined, analyzed and processed to get information. Enterprise Information Management has an important role to play in the growth of AI in enterprises. With its ability to store, manage and present data, EIM is only bridging the gap today.

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New IDC Study – 66% Would use B2B Outsourcing to Support Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

Over the past few months I have posted several blogs relating to digital transformation across the supply chain. My last blog discussed how OpenText’s Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions could potentially support an Internet of Things (IoT) platform and an article on Spend Matters looked at how B2B integration and B2B Managed Services are a core part of today’s digital transformation projects. So what’s driving this interest in digital transformation?  After all ‘digital’ emerged in the 1980s but this time around companies around the world and in different industries seem to be taking it more seriously. Why? Customers are driving the need. At OpenText I have met supply chain executives around the world and the subject of digital transformation is a hot topic, especially as it allows companies to leverage new and exciting technologies such as IoT and wearable devices. In customer meetings two key trends started to emerge, firstly companies were keen on establishing a ‘digital backbone’ across their business (to integrate external trading partners to internal business systems) and secondly companies wanted to consider outsourcing the management of their B2B integration platform so that they could focus internal IT resources on new digital transformation projects. Last year this got me thinking, does digital transformation drive supply chain transformation? Certainly an interesting theory and one that I was keen to explore in more detail. Over the years we have completed research projects with the analyst firm IDC so I was only too pleased to engage with IDC on a new study relating to digital transformation in the supply chain. The timing for this study was perfect, not only from a market interest perspective, but digital transformation is a key focus for OpenText and through this study I wanted to prove that B2B Managed Services could support digital transformation initiatives. I want to use this blog to highlight some of the key findings from the study. Due to the large amount of survey data obtained from this particular study I will post further blogs by different industry sectors, regional aspects and also the technologies being adopted today. So where shall I start? Last December we worked with IDC to send out a survey to 254 companies across five different industries and seven countries around the world. I wanted to test the hypothesis of whether digital transformation was driving supply chain restructuring initiatives. Over the years we have found that when companies restructure their supply chains they will consider outsourcing their B2B integration so they can focus on the restructuring process at hand. Overall, digital transformation was widely known, as a definition, across nearly all the companies surveyed, only 7% were not sure what digital transformation actually entailed. 57% of respondents said that their business had appointed a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), however some believe this is more of a transitional type of role as it is expected that the traditional CIO role will absorb this activity moving forwards. However when you look at the role of the CIO in recent years it was about ensuring for example that an ERP system goes live on time or a new warehouse management system could connect into various supply chain solutions. Today, and maybe this is why the CDO role has emerged, the CIO has to embrace new types of networks, new types of devices connected to these networks, and new types of information coming off these devices that needs to be processed, analyzed and then archived. In terms of the maturity of digital transformation projects, the survey had a range of results from 36% of respondents saying they considered themselves as a ‘Digital Transformer’ (business is a leader in its markets, providing world-class digital products, services, and experiences) to only 8% who said they considered themselves as a ‘Digital Resister’ (business is a laggard, providing weak customer experiences and using digital technology only to counter threats). So clearly there is more work to be done to help companies move along the digital transformation maturity curve and of course OpenText is here to help. The interesting observation in the enterprise world is that there are five pieces of disruptive technology that have been embraced more than other technologies and these same technologies are driving consumer driven markets as well. For the purposes of this study we wanted to understand which technologies were being adopted across supply chains and how these adoption rates would grow over the next three years. The table below provides an idea of the technologies that we surveyed against as part of the study, this chart shows technology adoption at the time the study was conducted in December 2016. From a technology adoption point of view there were some interesting observations. 70% of respondents said they were using B2B cloud networks today, interesting given that cloud really started to go mainstream in 2010. After cloud, IoT projects were the next most important investment area but interestingly machine learning and artificial intelligence is going to have the fastest growth rate over the next three years. Some other observations: The great thing about this study was that it was cross industry and covered the main industrial centers around the world. Given IoT is one of the main focus areas I thought it would be interesting to highlight the benefits that companies in different countries have realized from this disruptive technology. The table below ranks the benefits of IoT across some of the countries surveyed as part of this project. In addition to regional cuts of the survey data, there are detailed findings at an industry level. The chart below shows three of the five main industries that were surveyed and the expected benefits these industries have realized with the deployment of IoT based solutions across their supply chains. Needless to say many hours could be spent analyzing all the technology adoption levels by different countries and different industry sectors! So then moving on to how digital transformation is driving supply chain related restructuring initiatives, once again some really interesting findings as can be seen by the following statistics. In order for companies to implement new digital transformation strategies, the survey demonstrated that there is a certain amount of preparation or IT restructuring that has to take place before new technologies can be deployed across a supply chain. However to ensure that companies can focus on this restructuring and then implement these technologies with ease, there are certain business activities, such as B2B integration, that could be outsourced to a trusted partner. In analyst related studies there is usually a ‘golden nugget’ of information that helps to justify the whole research project. So when we asked the question about whether outsourcing the management of B2B integration would help free up internal resources to focus on new digital transformation initiatives, we found a surprising result. 66% of respondents said they would consider outsourcing their B2B integration to a trusted partner. This was an interesting study for another reason, it demonstrated that companies were thinking about their EDI or B2B integration strategy when considering the adoption of new leading edge technologies such as IoT and machine learning. This also helped to demonstrate that EDI was in the next stage of its evolution, a journey that has lasted more than 45 years so far. I have only scraped the surface in this blog with some of the results from this new study and I have more blogs planned that will provide further technology and industry specific insights from our new study, as well as webinars in the near future with IDC to discuss the findings. In the meantime if you would like to download a copy of this new IDC study then you can do so here.

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Getting Hands On With Release 16 and OpenText Professional Services

Professional Services

Over the last year OpenText™ Release 16 solutions have been implemented by customers around the globe. With the acquisition of complementary document and customer experience products in the last 12 months, OpenText now has the most complete, integrated digital information platform in the market. As your organization focuses on an EIM strategy, OpenText Professional Services can provide the “how to” guidance and hands-on expertise needed to plan, integrate and execute effectively with our solutions. Our Professional Services teams have amassed a wealth of experience and best practices working with our customers on planning, designing and building end-to-end solutions that support and optimize key business processes. There is no better place to gain practical assistance and guidance than Enterprise World 2017 in Toronto, Canada July 8-13. This is the largest event ever for our services experts to be there to help you with your EIM strategy, Release 16.x upgrades, consolidating and integrating legacy systems, migrating to the cloud and realizing EIM benefits of all types. Here are some highlights from the many “how to” opportunities available at the event: Learning Services Training Over 35  training courses and workshops will be offered in Toronto. Make the most of your Enterprise World experience by joining these different interactive and informative sessions that will be presented by OpenText experts on July 8-10. Some sessions focused on how to make the most of Release 16 include: OpenText EIM Adoption Strategy Workshop: 2 day course (U-TR-6-5009) Upgrading to Content Server v16: 1 Day Course (U-TR-3-0137) Process Modeling for Process Platform v16: 3-day Course (U-TR-4-4913) Content Server Installation and Configuration v16: 2 Day Course (U-TR-3-0187) Engineering Document Management Suite: 2 Day Course (U-TR-2-0235) Implementing OpenText Media Management v16: 3 day course (U-TR-3-0805a) Documentum Technical Fundamentals : 3 day course (U-TR-3-8010a) Meet with our Professional Services Experts in the Expo hall There will be a significant area focused on Services in the Expo hall this year. Join us at the theatre to learn how to: Upgrade to Release 16.x Migrate to the OpenText™ Cloud Reduce TCO with Optimize service programs Realize EIM strategic goals with Release 16 Practical applications for OpenText™ Content Server Learn how GDPR will impact your business Bring your questions to the Professional Services Expo Theater and our Services experts will be happy to share insight and options for you. Professional Services led Breakout Sessions Optimize your investment with OpenText Services Programs (EIM-100) How to Measure and Enhance User Adoption (EIM-200) GDPR for Compliance & Business Advantage – 10 Things You Can Do Now (EIM-300) OpenText Cloud Breakout Sessions OpenText Cloud – Strategy, Offerings and Meet the Experts (CLD-200) Reduce your TCO by up to 40% by Moving Your Application to the OpenText Cloud (CLD-100) Hear from the Experts on the How, Why, What, Where & When of Moving to the Cloud (ECM-210) Breakout Sessions: EIM Strategy and Total Cost of Ownership Fueling Digital Transformation with Secure Information Exchange & Omni-Channel Messaging (BNN-203) Creating Intelligent Analytic Bots for Slack Using OpenText Analytics (ANA-203) Business Performance Management Analytics (ANA-100) Enterprise World 2017 offers the best chance to learn about the advantages or EIM, the benefits of Release 16 and to gain insights and concrete “how to” advice from our Services experts. Register for the event, the courses, the breakouts and the meetings. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information visit our Enterprise World 2017 site.

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Personalized Public Services Require a new era of Information Sharing

personalized public services

Citizens want to interact digitally with government. It’s not just the young. People of all ages are happy to have service delivered digitally as long as they are targeted, easy to use and secure. Personalization not only offers a better citizen experience, it can deliver the holy grail of agile, low cost operations. All it takes is a new era of information sharing between government, NGOs, businesses, communities and individual citizens. So, where do we go from here? It’s time to re-assess. I want to suggest that the first generation of digital Government – think of it as eGovernment 1.0 – is reaching its conclusion. We knew there was a need to deliver services digitally and we wanted to be able to provide them on the channel that the citizen prefers. It would radically improve citizen experience and make our operations more efficient. Well, there’s some good news and there’s some bad news. The good news is that digital adoption has been a success. Over 40% of respondents to a recent survey reported that the majority of their interacts with government were digital. Almost 90% stated that they want to maintain or increase their digital interactions. The bad news? Only a quarter of the people surveyed by Accenture were actually satisfied by their digital interactions with government. Consider that the respondents’ top five priorities included ‘the ability to have my question answered definitively’ (91%), to ‘be able to see the status of my request or activity’ (79%) and  ‘information organized by my need or issue'(69%) when it came to digital public services. It’s clear the investment made in digital government has yet to consistently deliver the level of information and personalization that citizens want. UK government minister, Ben Gummer has stated that although their digital services ‘delivered excellent web interfaces that better met user needs, back-office processes were often unchanged. In eGovernment 1.0, our focus on citizen experience – while perfectly justified – is failing to deliver the full benefits of Digital Transformation’. eGovernment 2.0 So what about eGovernment 2.0? McKinsey says ineffective governance; a lack of web capabilities and a reluctance to allow user involvement have held eGovernment 1.0 back. I’d like to add something a little more fundamental to that list: a model of information sharing at the heart of service provision and delivery. This is implicit in how the OECD defines ‘digital government‘ which, it says, relies on an ‘ecosystem composed of government actors, non-governmental organizations, businesses, citizens’ associations and individuals, which supports the production of access to data, services and content through interactions with the government’. This requires a new ethos for the sharing information in a sector where even different departments within the same government organization have jealously guarded their own turf. To fully benefit from digital government, the walls have to come down between departments and agencies while becoming much more porous when dealing with the private sector and the individual citizen. Personalized Public Services  In order to achieve the ambition of the personalization of service, governments have to move from the position of service provider to service facilitator or broker. The citizen needs to be able to self-select and self-manage if personalization is to be fully adopted. There has to be an acceptance that this is not something that government can achieve by itself – and, in fact, there are great benefits to be achieved in terms of cost of taking a partnership approach with citizens and private enterprise. We will see an increase in the co-creation of services as we move into eGovernment 2.0. There is plenty of evidence of it beginning to happen. The US Smart Cities open data initiative is a great example of encouraging government, the private sector, NGOs and citizens to collaborate and jointly develop solutions. Underpinning this collaborative approach to delivering co-created personalized services has to be a government platform that allows for the open and secure exchange of information. There has to be a means to centralize access to all content in order that all parties can access and interrogate all the information – both structured and unstructured data – surrounding an issue or service. While the current focus has been on the creation of ‘open’ data that anyone can access, reuse or distribute, there has to be a move towards an Enterprise Information Management approach  that can deliver the single view of service information. There are, of course, many challenges – not least the difficulty of sharing sensitive information between public and private sector organizations. The passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act to enable information sharing between public and private bodies on something as uncontentious as tackling Cybercrime shows the complexity opening the exchange of critical data. Next month, I’ll look at approaches to governance that can enable this new era of information sharing. In the meantime you can read further blogs on government-as-a-platform and agility, and digital transformation vs digitization.

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OpenText at Sapphire 2017


1 and 0 – the two numbers that make up Binary – the foundation some would say of all computing. But also, 10 means other things – a decade in years, 10 Downing Street is the home of the British Prime Minister, 10 is the atomic number for Neon of which there will no doubt be plenty on display around Orlando at Sapphire, 10 is the number of provinces in Canada – the home of OpenText who are also in the top 10 world’s largest software companies. This year at SAP Sapphire you will see the number 10 used liberally at the OpenText stand because, first and foremost, this year celebrates the 10th year of our Solution Extension relationship with SAP. It is with great pride that we have continued our run of winning the Pinnacle Award from SAP again this year. Only 19 Pinnacle awards are given out each year, and this the tenth (10) year that we have won in the category of Solution Extension Partner. However, this year we have gone one better and won 2 Pinnacle awards. Not only have we been recognised as Solution Extension Partner of the year, but also the DDM Partner of the Year based on our strategic roadmap of innovation and our history of satisfied and successful customers. But 10 is also important as we have 10+ Solution Extensions for SAP – all of which received a new software release, EP2 this month. You can read about the latest innovations in this blog.  Each of these products complements the SAP solutions from ERP to SAP, Hybris to SuccessFactors, and S4/HANA and Cloud. But why else is 10 important? At Sapphire we have 10+7 breakout sessions – including 8 customer round tables where you can meet and speak to customers such as NRG, Florida Crystals, General Motors, Salt River Project and Mars Group about their use of our joint solutions in increasing business value, reducing cost or delivering a comprehensive brand management solution. You can view the agenda here (note places are limited so please book ahead). Finally, to celebrate this 10th year we have a truly tremendous prize raffle on our stand. As well as the usual giveaways options this year on our stand (number 730), one lucky winner will receive a $10,000 trip of a lifetime to any destination (or destinations if you fancy multi-stop) in the world. Anywhere. So if you’ve always fancied seeing the sun rise over Mount Everest in Nepal, catching a bullet train in Japan, drinking sundowner cocktails overlooking table mountain in Cape Town, watching the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco – these are just a few possible destinations. I’ve also conducted a poll in our office to get more ideas and suggestions on where you could go – view the slideshare below to find out more. Legal smallprint: Terms and conditions apply, they are available to read at the OpenText booth. So please, come and meet us at the OpenText booth to discuss your SAP solutions, learn more about OpenText and potentially win that trip of a lifetime – we’d love to talk to you about how we can help you Run Digital.

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The Luddite Fallacy: How AI Will Change the Jobs We Do

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and machine learning are automating jobs and bringing sweeping societal change. While this is not a sudden shift, the impact of this disruption is spreading to roles once considered “safe” from automation. We’re seeing automation move from the auto manufacturer’s floor to the legal office, the writer’s desk, the surgeon’s table and beyond. The Luddite Fallacy The thought of job automation is a worrying thought for many people. The idea of losing a job to a computer or robot is obviously unsettling. But, while the Luddites (which I wrote about here) saw an impact on their livelihoods long-term, automation generally created greater wealth and more jobs. This is commonly referred to as the ‘Luddite Fallacy’—the belief that the technological disruption of employment is unique to the present, and will fracture society as we know it. Yet, time and again we see that while a process may be turned over to machines, humans still play a large, and often more satisfying role. Automation-ready Industry Sectors It’s undeniable that automation and AI are making their way into our daily lives. Amazon Go is eliminating the need for cashiers, and self-driving vehicles won’t need truckers and cab drivers at their wheels. Artificial intelligence is beginning to diagnose disease, perform surgery, and even write film trailers. On the face of it, the sectors most affected by automation are manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and transport and storage. Examples of retail exodus are not hard to find; in the U.S., h.h.gregg, Rue21, and JC Penny all announced plans to close a total of 758 stores collectively. In the first half of 2016, the U.K saw more than 15 shop closures a day across the country, and the number of new openings has now fallen to the lowest level in five years, according to a report that highlights the pressure on the retail sector. In retail labor, Amazon has had a huge impact, with warehouse automation all but replacing traditional shipping and packing work that used to be carried out by people. On a typical Amazon order, employees will spend about a minute total taking an item off the shelf, then boxing and shipping it. The rest of the work is done by robots and automated systems. But nuanced human interactions are much harder processes to codify. While managing a machine via software is the norm, automating the deeper “thinking” tasks is much more complex, and until now something that could really only be managed by humans. But technology is now affecting those roles once considered “safe” from automation. The legal profession, once heavy with tradition and a lifetime of experience, is slated for transformation via AI and eDiscovery platforms that can review and create contracts, raise red flags to spot potential fraud and other misconduct, do legal research, and perform due diligence before corporate acquisitions—all tasks that are typically performed by flesh-and-blood attorneys. Automation Touches Every Role From the factory floor to the Boardroom, no position will be untouched by automation. Research suggests, “even the highest-paid occupations in the economy, such as financial managers, physicians and senior executives, including CEOs, have a significant amount of activity that can be automated.” The trend towards automation is one that reaches worldwide. In the U.K., up to 30% of existing jobs are susceptible to automation from robotics and AI by the early 2030s. In the U.S., that number is 38%, in Germany 35%, and in Japan 21%. Life in the Automated World Working life will change radically as we embark on the fourth industrial revolution. The world is ablaze with new ways to automate, and while it is hard to embrace change when it is perceived to threaten your livelihood, perception is not necessarily reality. I believe that job creation—and more specifically interesting job creation—is as much an outcome of automation as job elimination. The challenge is to leverage new automation to improve our way of life—not just eliminate jobs. Technology will radically change the sort of roles we all do—it always has—but we have the opportunity to embrace the areas of technology that can take our abilities from human to superhuman. Learn more about how you can digitize, automate, and optimize your enterprise information flows with OpenText.

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What a Year can do for you: Process Suite 16 EP2


It’s been a year since we brought Release 16 to the market, and how time flies! For OpenText™ Process Suite, Release 16 was significant with the new low-code application development capabilities. A lot has happened in a year. Low-code has become an industry standard term, and we’re seeing customers and partners around the world quickly building, testing, and iterating applications in days and weeks versus months or years. The adoption trend is definitely heading up and to the right. With the ability to address business needs more quickly and effectively, low-code application development is helping companies move forward toward their digital transformation goals. Thinking about digital transformation as a journey and not a destination redefines how we innovate, regardless of industry. Digital transformation accelerates the pace and scalability of a business, and it creates opportunities for new ecosystems to thrive. Yet it also demands more flexibility and speed to get applications to market and adjust them according to ever-changing market dynamics. So over the past year, with Process Suite EP1 and EP2, our focus has been to make low-code more effective and customer applications more impactful. In EP2 we’ve added major enhancements to improve the application development capabilities, from design time improvements in the entity modeling designer for creating, modifying, and customizing forms and building blocks to security enhancements that support conditional properties to manage access and passing of controls. These new capabilities and enhancements allow greater control and ease in developing the user experience for an application. To support the critical need of connecting processes and content, especially for case management applications, we’ve deepened the integration with OpenText™ Extended ECM for Process Suite, which enables users to connect documents to entities and configure for additional metadata. We’ve also added a new configuration report function that provides administrators with a complete report on various configurations related to Extended ECM in Process Suite and status to validate the configurations and take corrective steps if necessary. In addition to easing application design and adding greater forms controls, EP2 also improves integration with external systems to support a key need for case management: the ability to follow the case across applications and systems. We’ve made this easier with a series of enhancements that include a pluggable EIS connector framework to bring external data into Process Suite as entities to use in an application, the ability to import data from external databases and use them as entities in an application, enhancements for the EIS connector to manage external entities and integrations, and better support developer integrations. With EP2, it is now even easier for case management applications to do more, change more, and connect with content better. The tight integration between content and processes connects the right person, system, or thing with the content it needs—at the right time. To learn more about Process Suite 16 and how low-code can help your organization, check out the Process Suite Executive Overview or join us at Enterprise World this July and meet with process and low-code experts and customers who can answer questions and provide insight on how you can use Process Suite to drive toward your digital transformation goals.

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AI-Enhanced Search Goes Further Still With Decisiv 8.0


OpenText™ Decisiv extends enterprise search with the power of unsupervised machine learning, a species of AI. I recently blogged about how Decisiv’s machine learning takes search further, helping users find what they’re looking for, even when they’re not sure what that is.   Now, Decisiv 8.0—part of OpenText™ Release 16 and EP2—takes the reach and depth of AI-enhanced search even further. Take Search to More Places In addition to being embedded in both internal and external SharePoint portals, Decisiv has long been integrated with OpenText eDOCS, enabling law firms to combine AI-enhanced search with sophisticated document management. Decisiv also connects to OpenText™ Content Suite, Documentum, and a wide range of other sources to crawl data for federated search. Decisiv 8.0 expands these integrations with the introduction of a new REST API. With this release, administrators can efficiently embed Decisiv’s powerful search capabilities into an even broader range of applications, such as conflicts systems, project management, CRM, and mobile-optimized search interfaces. Take Search Deeper Other enhancements in Decisiv 8.0 include a new Relevancy Analysis display, which shows researchers precisely why their search results received the rankings they did and even lets them compare the predicted relevance of selected documents. This enhancement helps researchers to prioritize their research more effectively and administrators to understand how the engine is functioning and being leveraged across the enterprise. New Open Smart Filter display options also help researchers benefit from using metadata filters to zero in on useful content. By opting to automatically show the top values in each filter category (left side of the screen below), administrators can educate researchers on how to use filters for faster access to the content they need, without training or explanation. Decisiv Goes Beyond Legal Decisiv’s premier law firm customer base leaves some with the impression that Decisiv is just for legal teams. In fact, Decisiv’s machine learning isn’t limited to any specific industry or use case. That’s because it analyzes unstructured content on a statistical basis, rather than taxonomical. (Surprisingly, sometimes lawyers do lead the way on versatile technology.) …and Decisiv Goes to Toronto Learn more about Decisiv Search and our other award-winning Discovery Suite products at Enterprise World this July. You’ll hear from top corporate, law firm, and government customers how their enterprises are leveraging OpenText’s machine learning to discover what matters in their data.

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The Right Cloud to Meet Your Business Needs


When customers think of moving their Enterprise Information Management (EIM) to the cloud – the question is not so much whether or not to do it – as it is what type of cloud to use and how soon can they start. Recently at the AIIM First Canadian Chapter seminar in Toronto, we talked about managing information in a cloud world. With so many cloud models– like Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, multi-tenant SaaS and dedicated cloud managed services, customers can easily get overwhelmed and confused about what’s right for their business needs. Let’s simplify the different models with a building analogy: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is like a piece of zoned land with utility hookups where you can build a house – there’s a company that takes care of sewers, electrical, phone lines, etc.. If there is a problem with the services you contact the company. If there’s a problem with the house – that’s your responsibility. Many times it is up to you to assess whether the problem is with the house or the infrastructure. Platform as a service (PaaS) is like a mobile home park, where there are shared services used by all residents, but individual land plots are rented on a timed basis. The common areas are updated all at once with some notice from the park. You may make some changes to your own trailer, but some changes are prohibited and others may need to be approved. Software as a service (SaaS) is like a condo building, where you own your own part of it, but it’s within a shared environment including several other units. Many of the building facilities are shared – there is one set of heating and cooling equipment, one pool, one garage, etc. and this provides economies of scale. Within your own unit some adjustments can be done, but there are restrictions – for instance you can increase or decrease the temperature, but only within a defined range. Dedicated (sometimes called hosted) is where you own the land and the home and have virtually complete autonomy, within minimal guidelines. Facilities within the house are dedicated only to this one house. When changes are required you are responsible, and can bring in help (managed services). On-premises is like a cottage, where you need to deal with a lot of the services yourself, such as water and septic systems. You can bring in someone to help, but it’s ultimately all your responsibility. Upgrades here may be more of a challenge. Managed services is like having a property manager, cloud or on-premises, to augment your own efforts (or that of your staff). Managed services saves you time and ensures an expert is managing for you. Hybrid (cloud to cloud, cloud to on-premises integrated scenarios) — is like owning a condo or a house and driving to a cottage.  You have different levels of service at each location but they share information. So what type of cloud is right for your EIM applications and solutions? The answer is – it depends on what your IT team has the resources to do – and what use cases you have. While providing some benefits of cloud, IaaS and PaaS still leave a lot for customers to do – they still have to manage their own middleware, security patching, and the applications themselves. The level of work on the application is similar to what it is when operated in the organization’s own data center. SaaS can be a great answer for specified use cases. It can provide agility and ease of operation with applications that meet a defined set of requirements. Applications such as OpenText™ Core, LEAP, Active Applications, Axcelerate and Extream fulfill use cases for many organizations in several industries. In many other cases, Dedicated or Hybrid cloud may be the key to meeting your business needs. In fact, according to Gartner: “The increased use of multiple public cloud providers, plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multicloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios.”¹ Most of our Enterprise ECM customers have multiple use cases and requirements which may that lead them to prefer dedicated or hybrid deployment. Some want control over timing for patching and upgrades, some have high availability, security, data sovereignty, data protection or corporate directives that necessitate a dedicated environment. For instance, our Life Sciences customers are working on life-changing innovations to cure disease and help people live longer, better lives. Many prefer to protect their Research & Development content in a private cloud dedicated environment, while utilizing SaaS for collaboration on clinical trial data. They don’t want a traditional multi-tenant SaaS model because they don’t want unnecessary patches or upgrades forced upon them in the middle of a big clinical trial or new drug launch. Some of our Energy and Engineering customers are using digital innovations to improve their resource recovery rates and reduce risk. They want their Standard Operating Procedures and other propriety information managed in a private cloud, while having their project-specific content such as drawings and memos that need to be viewed by partners and subcontractors through a SaaS application. The good news is that with OpenText™ Cloud Managed Services, we can provide fully managed solutions in dedicated private or hybrid scenarios, and also provide SaaS applications so businesses have flexibility to meet their business needs. OpenText manages the full stack and all the application related pieces– including: Infrastructure Middleware Security patching Updates Application/Solution Customizations Integrations Because the OpenText Cloud is purpose-built to support our applications, OpenText provides 99.5% availability at the application level – backed by an SLA, and certifications such as ISO and SOC up to and including the applications. For more information use Contact OpenText on the blog site or here. ¹ “ Market Trends: Cloud Adoption Trends Favor Public Cloud With a Hybrid Twist,” Gartner, August 4, 2016.

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