Digital Transformation

3 Questions: John Johnson of Dell Services Discusses Analytics and Reporting for IT Services

Dell Services, the global system integrator and IT outsourcing arm at Dell, provides support, application, cloud, consulting, and many other mission-critical IT services to hundreds of organizations worldwide across many sectors. The company collects and manages massive amounts of data concerning customer infrastructures from simple, high-frequency metrics (such as CPU, memory, and disk utilization) to helpdesk tickets and service requests, including hardware and software asset information. Using this data to understand and respond to customer needs before they become a problem falls to John M. Johnson, Manager, Capacity Management at Dell Services. Johnson recently spoke with OpenText about the type of data Dell Services collects, and the evolving ways his customers consume that data. He also spoke about how he uses this data to plan for the future. OpenText: You have a 12-terabyte data warehouse of performance metrics on your customers’ systems and applications. Tell us about that data and how you use it. Johnson: Our infrastructure reporting data warehouse has been around for seven-plus years. It collects aggregated information about more than a hundred customers, which is just a segment of our base. Originally we started the data warehouse to meet legal retention requirements, and it evolved to become the repository for ticketing data, service request data, and SLA performance data. Now it’s an open warehouse where we continually add information related to our services delivery. It’s fantastic data, and a fantastic amount of data, but we lacked two things: an automated way to present it, and a consistent process behind its presentation. My twenty capacity planners were spending too much of their valuable time churning out Excel reports to present the data to our clients, and far too little time understanding the data. A little less than two years ago we started using open source BIRT for report automation and to eliminate manual errors, consistency issues, and remove the “personal analysis methods” that each engineer was introducing to the process. The next maturing of the process was to leverage iHub to further automate report generation, delivery and presentation. OpenText: Some of your customers and users get dynamic dashboards, while others get static reports. How do you decide who gets what? Johnson: That’s an easy answer: It begins with contract requirements. Those expectations are drawn out and agreed upon by legal counsel on both sides. Once those fundamental requirements are met, the question of, “Who gets what?” is very simply based on how they need and want the data. I have three customer bases: my services customers, and my delivery teams, and peer technical teams who have reporting requirements. And everybody wants a different mix of data. DBAs want to see what’s going on with their infrastructure – their top databases, hardware configurations, software versions and patch level, clusters performance, and replication stats. Other teams, such as service delivery managers, and the account teams, want to see pictures more on a financial level. They need answers to standard questions like, “What has the customer purchased, and is that service meeting the customer’s expectations?” In some cases we handle customer applications in addition to their infrastructure. In those cases, the customer needs reports on uptime, availability, performance, user-response time, outstanding trouble tickets, number of users on each system, and various other application metrics married with the infrastructure data. Those are all static reports we typically deliver on a monthly schedule, but we’re looking to make that particular reporting a daily process with iHub Dashboards. Dashboards will serve three major groups: 1. Application owners, who will see what’s going on with their infrastructure and applications in real-time 2. Our service managers, who coordinate the daily delivery of our services around the world 3. Senior leaders at the director, VP and CxO levels. That last group has much less interest in a single trouble ticket or server performance, but they do care about service levels and want to know how the infrastructure looks on a daily basis. I think the executive-level dashboards will be big consumers of data in the future, so we’re evolving and maturing our offering from a technical level – where we have traditionally been engaged – to the business level. Because that’s where people buy. OpenText: That is an ambitious plan to extend your reporting platform. How do you prioritize your projects, and what advice would you give to peers with similar plans? Johnson: There’s one overall strategy I try to employ with all my applications: Apply modern, agile software development methodologies to them. You have to stay up-to-date on software patches and capabilities. You have to keep your platform relevant. We keep updates coming rapidly enough that our customers don’t have to create workarounds or manual processes. Fortunately, iHub works well with how we manage upgrades. We manage reports as a unit of work inside of iHub, so I don’t have to make monolithic changes. When I’m prioritizing projects, I first ask, “Who is my most willing customer?” The customer who’s going to work with you provides the quickest path to success, and that success is the foundation upon which you build. Second is to expect to get your hands dirty and do a lot of the lifting. Most customers are always going to have trouble verbalizing what they need and how they want data to look. So you have to just get that first visualization done and ask, “Does this data presented this way answer your needs?” Don’t be afraid of responses such as, “That is not what I wanted at all. I told you I wanted a report,” and that’s one of the most frustrating things about the job. You have to accept that you are a statistical artist and visual presentation is something you own, and then embrace and drive it. Fortunately, the ease of developing and managing data with iHub means we can respond to these inputs rapidly.  

Read More

Accessible PDF Discussion:  Web Content Accessibility Drivers

Under pressure from advocacy groups and individuals, organizations such as government agencies, retailers, utilities, telcos, banks, credit card companies, non-profits, and institutions of higher education are now focusing on web and web content accessibility. This series of blog posts explains why demand is increasing for customer communication documents in Accessible PDF format, describes current industry practices for producing these documents, and introduces a new technology option that enables organizations to keep PDF format as their default electronic format for high-volume, web-delivered documents of record while enabling full accessibility and usability of those PDFs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. As a first step, we will look at Web Accessibility Drivers. For more information, download this recent white paper, Enterprise-Level PDF Accessiblity: Drivers, Challenges and Innovative Solutions. Web Accessibility Drivers Currently, over 285 million individuals across the world have visual impairments, including more than 20 million Americans with some form of vision loss, ranging from low vision to blindness. These individuals are valued customers—consumers with buying power— and employees, who have been swept along with everyone else on the internet wave that is revolutionizing how we live, work, play, and communicate. It is now a fact of daily life that organizations of all shapes and sizes urge and incentivize people to interact with them online through self-service websites (which are far less costly than traditional live customer service operations). To thrive and survive in the 24/7 on-demand digital world, blind and visually impaired people have embraced assistive technologies such as screen reader software to help them gain access to electronic, web, and mobile content. With an aging population, adoption and use of these technologies is exploding, driving demand for an online user experience comparable to that enjoyed by sighted customers. Laborious exception processes, in which blind and visually impaired customers request documents in traditional formats such as Braille (and then wait for them to be reproduced and delivered in the mail), are falling into disfavor as consumers become increasingly tech savvy, wanting (and expecting) instant access to both their personal account information and widely available digital content. Caught off guard by this sudden technology-induced shift in customer expectations, a large segment of the private and public sectors have yet to offer websites and web content in a format that is universally accessible to all customers, with or without vision loss. Responding to public pressure, lawmakers are amending legislation and regulatory standards to address web accessibility issues. Also, a mounting number of successful lawsuits and settlements related to inaccessible websites and web content, including web-delivered personal communications, is helping to establish a “new normal” for accessibility on the internet. Accessibility Legislation and Standards Listed below are a few of the legislation and standards that affect web accessibility. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that government agencies, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation organizations must take reasonable steps to provide access to their services. Section 508 of U.S. Rehabilitation Act mandates how the U.S. Federal Government procures, develops, uses, and maintains Electronic and Information Technology (EIT). Private-sector federal contractors and vendors must also comply with Section 508 in order to do business with federal agencies, or to deliver federally funded programs or services. Section 255 of U.S. Telecommunications Act requires telecommunication providers to make products and services, including billing services, accessible. Anticipated Updates to the Rehabilitation Act and Telecommunications Act are on the horizon. For Section 508, the goal is to broaden the scope to include Information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as mobile technology, establish a clear standard for accessible content, and achieve a stronger harmonization with other standards. Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was signed into law in 2010, and is intended to help people with disabilities access broadband, digital, and mobile innovations such as the internet, television programming, mobile content, and emergency information. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was created by the non-profit organization World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They help organizations and individuals develop truly accessible web content. This globally relevant set of standards and practices has been adopted by many countries, providing a solid foundation for web accessibility legislation. Legal Activity around Web Accessibility With accessibility legislation lagging behind the needs of blind and visually impaired people, national advocacy groups have brought web accessibility to the fore by suing highly visible organizations for failing to provide accessible websites and web content to their customers. Many judges have agreed with the interpretation of the ADA’s definition of a “place of public accommodation” to include websites. As a result, organizations have been compelled to retrofit their websites (and all electronic content, including PDF documents) with accessibility features. In conclusion, we believe that with the maturity of the legislation and standards, and the rise in litigation, it is in the best interests of organizations to understand and implement Web Accessibility.

Read More

EDI and B2B Insights – What Kinds of Analytics Do I Need?

In my last blog, Why Your EDI and B2B Processes Need Analytics, I provided examples of the kind of B2B analysis questions that you need to have answers for in order to improve competitiveness in your business. I have found three pre-requisites that will create value from your B2B data via analytics: A foundation of good-quality B2B data for analysis. If you are already automating your B2B processes, you are likely to have some of this critical data already upon which your analysis can be based. The definition of what you want to measure and how the results can be visualized in a way that enables you to understand trends, markets, customers and suppliers. I provided some examples of these in my last blog, Why Your EDI and B2B Processes Need Analytics. The analytics tools to deliver the B2B data visualizations you need and that can help you to engage decision-makers. Below is a “ladder” of the types of analytics capabilities in sequence from the fundamental capabilities at the bottom to the advanced capabilities at the top. Most companies are beginning to incorporate the first few capabilities at the bottom rungs of the ladder, and will need to start to plan how to incorporate those at the top in order to successfully compete in their chosen markets. Standard Reports – these are pre-defined, configurable reports that provide key information about files and transactions you exchange with your trading partners. These typically include powerful capabilities to sort, filter, save, schedule and distribute. For example, you may wish to see a monthly report of all orders received from all your customers. Adhoc Querying & Reporting – this is the capability to search and generate custom reports on your B2B transactions by document type, trading partner, date, time, status, and more. You can define the fields to include on the report and tailor it to your specific needs. Dashboards and Alerts– These provide both the timely “track and trace” data needed to address exception conditions and the summary data needed to identify performance trends, drill down to view specific details and export the data through integration with Microsoft Office. For example, below is a transaction dashboard that provides a visual summary of transaction activity and exception situations. Furthermore, it provides volume trends by document type and trading partner. So now, at a glance you can see which transactions need your immediate attention (e.g. purchase orders that have not been acknowledged), which documents account for the highest volume (e.g. invoices are in the 2nd spot after carrier shipment statuses), and which trading partners account for the highest transaction volumes. Configurable Dashboards – This provides the ability to integrate and combine EDI and non-EDI data from various applications and gain insights into supply chain trends concerning reliability, responsiveness, flexibility, trading partner performance, e-invoicing performance, etc. In addition, these dashboards can be integrated with workflows based upon user-defined rules. For example, if the dashboard shows that order volume from a customer drops by 20% over a month, it can trigger a user-defined business process and/or send a notification to specific users in the organization. Predictive Modelling – This is an advanced capability that few businesses have today, but which is now possible with the latest analytics technology. Sophisticated statistical models that analyze B2B data available from various applications can help you forecast trends and needs in inventory management, logistics and all other areas requiring strategic planning. Scorecards – This is a visual display of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as order acceptance, invoice accuracy, delivery punctuality, ASN timeliness, and fill-rate. The scorecard enables you to measure, evaluate and analyze supplier performance. This information can then be used by buyers and suppliers during negotiations when justifying business awards and pricing. Benchmark / Index – This capability benchmarks an organization’s performance against the industry and provides insight into those processes that trail or exceed your competition, thus enabling your organization to take appropriate action. If this blog has interested you and you would like to learn more, click here to watch this new on-demand webinar, Using Analytics to Unlock the Value of your B2B Data.

Read More

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Real-Time Payments

There is a tremendous amount of confusion over various proposals and initiatives to make US domestic payments move and settle more quickly. How do Same Day ACH (Automated Clearing House), the Fed’s Task Force on Faster Payments, and The Clearing House’s plan to develop a real-time payment system relate to each other? It’s hard enough for a so-called payments expert to keep up with, never mind someone who has an actual business to run! In the interest of full disclosure, I spent more than a dozen years starting in the late 1980s focused almost exclusively on ACH product development, a fact that seems a little embarrassing in hindsight. More than 15 years after expanding my horizons, most banks still rely on outdated technology that limits the processing of ACH transactions to a handful or less of batch windows per day. After all, these banks aren’t running real-time core deposit systems, so what’s the point of processing payments more quickly? (I hope you can come up with at least five reasons). No wonder that multiple efforts to expedite the processing of ACH transactions since 2010 have failed. The world is moving faster, alternative payment solutions are available to transfer funds quickly and efficiently but ACH continues to be a next day solution at best (with some very limited exceptions). As we approach NACHA’s upcoming ballot on Same Day ACH (expected this quarter), let’s give credit where credit is due. If approved, a phased implementation of Same Day ACH settlement would begin in late 2016 with additional capabilities coming online in 2017 and 2018. Let me be clear: There absolutely is value in moving to same day settlement for ACH transactions. But it isn’t enough. The US ACH network’s efficiency, ubiquity and ability to carry large amounts of data make it a key part of our future payments infrastructure. Not all payments need to be made in real-time. NACHA has identified 10 use cases for same day settlement among them same day payroll, expedited bill payment, B2B payments and account-to-account payments. For these use cases, same day ACH is a big move forward. Let’s hope that NACHA has garnered sufficient support to overcome the objections of members who blocked the 2012 Same Day ACH proposal. Having said that, same day is not real time. Let me repeat. Same Day does NOT equal real time. For a growing number of different use cases, the establishment of a new, efficient, low cost, payment network that would allow US consumers and businesses to move funds in real time is a no brainer. Most of the developed world and many of the emerging market countries have already established or are in the process of building such systems. Please indulge me by using my own consulting business as an example. I maintain a personal deposit account at one bank and a business deposit account at a different bank. When I am paid for a consulting engagement (my only source of incoming cash), the funds go into my business account, usually by ACH but sometimes by check or wire despite efforts to get clients onboard with ACH. I need most of those funds to be transferred into my personal account to cover my non-business expenses. Most of the time, scheduling a payment between accounts in advance is perfectly fine. However, if it happens to be… let’s say April 15… and my quarterly estimated federal and state tax payments are due and I don’t have sufficient cash in my personal account, it would be ideal if I could move those funds on a real-time basis from one bank to another. Even same-day ACH would help in a case like this, assuming that I had notification early enough in the day that a client invoice had been paid. But what happens today? I have to use my business bank’s online bill pay module to initiate a future dated payment to my personal account (it usually requires 2-3 business days and payments are settled through the ACH network). I can take a chance and hope that my incoming payment will be received in time to cover the bill pay transaction by the 15th or I have to move funds from an investment account into my personal deposit account to make sure I can cover the tax payments. This is inefficient, risky and takes time away from my ability to do important things like writing blogs about payments. So what are the prospects for real-time payments in the US? The Fed’s newly formed Faster Payments Task Force will have its first meeting in a few weeks with a goal of identifying viable alternatives for creating such a network and establishing a rules framework… by the end of 2016. No timelines beyond 2016 have yet been established. I applaud the effort and plan to participate personally on the task force. But I do wonder whether a task force with such a broad set of constituents is the most effective way to make this happen. In my experience, some organizations will join the task force with the express purpose of slowing it down (if not shutting it down). In the meanwhile, The Clearing House (the operator of CHIPS and EPN, owned by 24 of the largest banks) has committed to building a real-time payment system, the timeline for which has not been announced publicly. Their effort will seemingly take place on a parallel track to the Fed’s Task Force but at some point, the two will need to come together, at least from a governance perspective. Perhaps The Clearing House will become the de facto real-time payment system or there may be one or more competitive schemes that develop out of the work being done by the Fed. So what’s the bottom line? On a personal level, I am hopeful that by the 3rd quarter of 2016, I will be able to transfer same day funds between my business and personal accounts using ACH. Real-time payments… I believe they will happen but it will be a longer and more difficult track before we see results. When I can pay my share of a group dinner by making an instant payment on my mobile phone to a friend who insists on using her credit card for obtaining loyalty points, I’ll be happy. When a young family member (to remain anonymous) calls on a Sunday morning and says he needs some cash in his account to buy a birthday gift for his father and I can send that payment immediately, I’ll be happy. When I am able to manage my liquidity easily and efficiently, I’ll be happy. After all, consumers and consultants from Singapore to Chile to Denmark to Nigeria (and about 15 other nations) can already do this today. It’s long past time for us to get on the express train. On a related note, if you are attending next week’s NACHA Payments 2015 Conference, please don’t miss OpenText’s interactive Topical Talk on Tuesday at 9:15am in the Great Hall Pre-Function area. You can share your thoughts with other leaders in the payments space about how you are going to prepare for the changes that are coming.

Read More

Sports on the Web: Newer, Better, Global

Are you a sports fan? Are you one of the lucky ones that enjoys sports that are carried on your local station at convenient times, or are you like a growing number of fans that enjoy sports that are carried more often in other countries, on their time zone and not broadcast on local television stations? Modern sports viewing is now often enabled by strong web experiences, and a growing number of fans are now able to enjoy their favourite sports on the web, at times of their convenience regardless of where in the world the sport is played live. Many sports franchises are now taking advantage of the streaming vs. viewing methods fans are adopting, and there are some great sites powered by Web Experience Management software such as OpenText’s Customer Experience Suite. Cloud enabled apps provide viewing and stats on all types of devices, and allow viewers to enjoy the sport and the commentary that goes with it – from both the official commentators and the other viewers. As reported in a recent press release, UK-based Aberdeen Football Club (if you are from North America think Soccer) recently remodeled their site with OpenText’s Experience Suite to include real-time stats, commentary, Twitter feed, pre and post game analysis and real-time photos. The omni-channel experience is critical as 58% of their fans enjoy their site on mobile devices, often as they are watching the game live in the stadium. Check out www.afc.co.uk to see the latest. This time of year sees some of my favorite sports back live and online. While the sites stay up all year sharing info, they come alive when the teams are back and playing again. It is rugby season again and the 6 Nations site www.rbs6nations.com once again brought the tournament and all the news to the locals and those of us in other parts of the world. The site is great with game info and pictures and my favourite is the running list of clips that summarize some of the great moments. Even if you don’t watch the full games, you can get a pretty good idea of the play, the emotion and certainly the outcomes from this site. And of course. my favorite Australian Rules Football (AFL) season has just started, so I will be spending increasing time on their site www.afl.com.au checking out the predictions, results and pictures, and watching highlights or full games at times that are convenient wherever in the world I am. Watching with two screens is a bonus so I have the player info and stats handy while streaming the games from a second device. In the immediacy era we live in, sports on the internet can now be consumed at our leisure and our convenience. Thanks to strong web experience sites we now have a PVR-like option for watching the games, and the apps provide extras like real-time stats and commentary. There is no substitute for the excitement of live sport but when you can’t be there in person, web experiences are now a great alternative.

Read More

OpenText Featured on Bloomberg Business

For this year’s global Innovation Tour, we’ve taken our Digital-First World message on the road. Already underway, members of our executive leadership team have presented in major cities in Asia Pacific, including Mumbai, Tokyo, Sydney, and Singapore. As one of many highlights of the tour, OpenText CMO Adam Howatson was featured on Bloomberg Asia’s Brandstanding in Singapore. The interview covers a number of topics, ranging from the value of information in creating new services and opening up new revenue opportunities to why the cloud is it important for brands and businesses, and how OpenText is successfully rewriting the rules of business for successful digital transformation. According to Howatson, “Being able to connect the way [the business is] represented on social platforms and the way that brands are represented and shared on the Internet and through our connected society, through to back office operations, to manufacturing and internal business processes… It truly is the organizations who are able to integrate that experience and that flow of information who will outperform their competitors in every industry.” Bloomberg Business delivers business and markets news, data, analysis, and video nationwide featuring stories from Businessweek and Bloomberg News. As a global business network, Bloomberg has over 22 million visitors to its web video assets. Watch the video. Learn more about the Digital-First World by downloading the book: Digital: Disrupt or Die.

Read More

3 Questions: Adam Dennison Discusses Analytics for CIOs

Adam Dennison, senior vice president and publisher of CIO and IDG Enterprise’s events, boasts a 15-year career in technology publishing. CIO Perspectives, the company’s regional event series, brings CIOs and senior IT executives together with top technology vendors for a day of thought-provoking, action-oriented discussions. “At a high level, we cover three main topics: strategy, innovation and leadership,” Dennison explains. “More specifically, emerging technologies, digital transformation, and security are three major initiatives for CIOs today.”  We asked Dennison (@adamidg) how CIOs can leverage analytics in their work. OpenText: You’re moderating a panel at CIO Perspectives called “Straight Talk about SMAC” in which you’ll share key stats on trends and investments in social, mobile, analytics and cloud. Can you give us a preview of a stat you find compelling or timely? Dennison: Our research and discussions with CIOs show that currently 32 percent of enterprise IT investment is slated for edge technologies (like SMAC) vs. core technologies (like legacy systems and infrastructure). However, this will shift to 45 percent within the next one to three years. Additionally, 54 percent of enterprise CIOs plan to increase their spend with “newer vendors” within the next 12 months. OpenText: Late last year you published CIOs Must Market IT’s Value, arguing that internal marketing of IT can help businesspeople understand the value of IT departments. Meanwhile, marketing efforts are increasingly driven by data and metrics. How do the two relate? Dennison: My column on CIOs marketing IT to the business was more broad-based than just data and analytics. However, if asked to focus on the data aspect of it, I would say showing the business exactly what they are paying for is step one in the process. Explain to the business units through data, facts and transparency that they are getting true value from enterprise IT vs. a “do it yourself” solution. OpenText: A lot of industry research – and anecdotal evidence, including a recent CIO Quick Takes – shows that CIOs are eager to use analytics to improve business insights. What drives CIOs’ push for analytics? Dennison: What I read from the CIO Quick Takes was a laser focus on customers. Our CIO research shows us that 41 percent of CIOs’ current spend is on external customer experience, relationship and interaction. The only way to get closer to your customers and better serve them is to gather data on them and use that to your advantage. Our 2015 State of the CIO research also shows us that Data/Analytics is the number one tech priority for the next 12 months that will drive investment. Mobile and Cloud came in a close second and third respectively, but it’s all about data today. Adam Dennison photo courtesy of IDG Enterprise. Used with permission.

Read More

6 F-Type Examples in DevShare You Can Use Now

With the release of OpenText Information Hub, Free Edition (formerly BIRT iHub F-Type) we added corresponding content to the DevShare portion of the Developer Center. One section of that content, F-Type Examples, houses sample apps and working examples developed specifically for iHub, Free Edition. When it comes to working with a new product, or using aspects of a product I know well but have not used before, I find examples valuable for getting started. Whether I need ideas for what is possible or confirmation I am going down the right path, I find examples to be particularly useful. Currently, six different examples have been uploaded to the DevShare to demonstrate various ways that iHub, Free Edition can help you. These examples range from simple, well-designed reports to a full sample application. In this post, I will step you through these six examples and detail their various aspects and features. The Six Examples Call Center Example Dashboard – With the large number call centers around the world and companies increasingly focusing on custom experience, business leaders demand metrics about call center performance, and expect those metrics on quick-reading, real-time dashboards. This example demonstrates how the iHub, Free Edition can do exactly that by creating a dashboard to quickly and effectively analyze the metrics of a call center. It utilizes a well designed data object that uses CSV files as the data source, includes multiple data sets that have properly configured column properties (format, header, etc.), and uses a well designed data model with proper categories and hierarchies. Additionally, the use of multiple data sets within the data object is part of what makes this a well designed data model. When used against a relational database, the multiple data sets allow for optimal query trimming within the datadesign file and the generated data object will have better compression. The Dashboard itself has two tabs: Call Analysis (screenshot below) displays an interactive dashboard with drill-downs and selectors, and Calls By State displays a United States map; you click a state on the map to launch a sub-report for that state. InfographiX Examples – This example can create three different infographics. These samples can inspire you with ways to display your own data in highy visual formats. The three included samples are: Classic Models – This example uses the Classic Models sample database that comes with iHub, Free Edition and displays information about the customers in the database by geography, purchasing habits and more in graphic form. The result is shown below. Storage Statistics – This example uses static data and displays statistics for data in a cloud-based storage system – for example, data formats (audio, video, photos, etc.), traffic by data type, and downloads vs. uploads. Tornado – Uses example uses a data object for its data source. It displays statistics about tornadoes in the United States, such as the number of tornadoes per month, relative numbers of tornadoes by strength (on the Enhanced Fujita, or EF, scale) and fatalities by state. Chicago Crimes Example Dashboard – As a developer and a user, I am always interested in seeing location information integrated into applications. I find it particularly useful when a map is used to visualize location information as it allows you to quickly analyze important geographic information about a data set. This web application demonstrates how we can interact with location information. It uses the Custom Visualizations feature in iHub 3.1 to display a Google Map of the Windy City, and adds custom icons and marker clustering to show crime data. It also provides a data selector gadget so users can choose which types of crimes to display. This example, which can be deployed to iHub as an application, shows you how to display a Dashboard when opening a BIRT application. Simple and Well Designed Reports – This example includes two well designed reports that are simple and elegant. By “well designed,” we mean that elements of the data model have been configured to use libraries for styles, which unifies the whole report and makes its appearance consistent. Additionally, they conform to industry standards for layout and design. If you are new to report development, these are good examples to use as a starting point for developing quality reports with a uniform look and feel. If you are more experienced, these are still worth going over because you may find a feature you have not used before, and they will reinforce good practices on the features you already know. These reports demonstrate how to use a report library, and they highlight several features – such as alternate rows, hyperlinks, highlighting, aggregations and formatting – that help you to display complex data more efficiently and effectively. The reports also show how to use themes to standardize the look and feel of charts and tables, and demonstrate parameters with drop-down lists that use both static and scripted default values. A screenshot of one of the reports appears below. BIRT with the Power of jQuery – This includes two examples that use jQuery to add functionality to BIRT reports. Expand and Collapse – This example uses jQuery to automatically expand and collapse sections in a report. A plus (+) or minus (-) is added next to the report elements that, when clicked, will expand or collapse various sections for the report. For example, say you have organized your customers based on region and country. With this added interactivity, you can start with a compact table and then expand the table into the desired country and region in real time. This enables you to limit the displayed results without the need for filtering or re-rendering the report. Highlight on Mouse Hover – This example (shown below) uses jQuery to highlight rows and columns when the user’s mouse hovers over them, which helps users navigate through very wide or very tall tables. The jQuery used to achieve this behavior updates the CSS properties of the various elements, which gives you flexibility when modifying the styling of the report elements. The effects in this example are primarily achieved through modifying the background color, so any color you specify though standard CSS can be used for the highlight. City Taxi Sample App – This example, as the name implies, is a sample application for an imaginary urban transportation company. It demonstrates how BIRT can power compelling embedded analytic applications. Features demonstrated by this application include: Information graphics for displaying data in visually appealing formats Columnar reports with filtering capabilities Interactive reports that end users can modify from their browsers Geospatial visualization built into a report Dashboards designed for Big Data analysis Additionally, this application demonstrates how BIRT can seamlessly add analytic capabilities to existing web applications. All content is presented as part of the HTML web pages, providing a consistent overall user experience for data analysis. The app also demonstrates how to use the Javascript API to embed content with minimal coding. As you can see, this new DevShare section provides a unified area where iHub, Free Edition examples can be shared and distributed. The multiple examples already available range from simple, elegant reports for people who are just getting started, to full sample applications for developers who are ready to integrate BIRT into your existing applications. Thank you for reading this post on the Examples DevShare. We encourage you to download and work with the examples, then tell us what you like and what more you want to see.

Read More

OpenText Study Proves that B2B Integration Significantly Improves Supply Chain Performance

Over the past few months I have posted a few blogs highlighting the results from a new OpenText sponsored study by IDC Manufacturing Insights. The study demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between how increased adoption of B2B Integration technologies directly improves supply chain performance. In fact take a look at how key supply chain metrics are improved through the adoption of B2B integration technologies. To wrap up this project I just wanted to highlight how you can download further information about this study. The following link will allow you to access a recorded version of the webinar that we hosted with IDC in early March, a copy of the webinar slides, the executive white paper and finally the infographic shown below. IDC created the infographic to help illustrate some of the key findings from the study. Click here to access this content. Finally, if you would like to access the various blogs that I have written in support of this new study then please click on the following links :- General Introduction to the Study Automotive Industry Findings High Tech Industry Findings CPG Industry Findings  

Read More

OpenText is Accelerating Healthcare Interoperability at HIMSS 15

We can’t wait to go to HIMSS 2015 in Chicago. As the event for technology and innovation in healthcare we couldn’t think of a better place to preview our latest fax solution to help healthcare professionals redefine the way they exchange their essential digital information. We know that many organizations rely on integrated, electronic fax as their primary method of exchanging information. And since these fax integrations are the very core of how EMR information is sent and received, changing this process can be very complex. However, there are countless forces driving health care organizations to share health information via Direct messaging to attest to Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. But does your organization know how to adopt Direct Project standards? That’s why we’re talking about RightFax Healthcare Direct at HIMSS to show you how leveraging existing RightFax integrations and EMR systems can give you the interoperability you need without the complications.

Read More

Information Security in the Digital Age [Podcast]

This is the first of what we hope to be many podcasts in which we explore the technology and culture of Enterprise Information Management (EIM). We’re going to share stories about how OpenText is delivering world class technology and improving our Customer Experience on a daily basis. In this installment, we hope to give you a better understanding of the current cyber security climate, show you what we’re doing to keep your data secure and protect your privacy, and tell you how you can protect yourself online. Our discussion on information security has been recorded as a podcast! If you’d like to listen but don’t see the player above click here. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast, we’ve transcribed it for you below: … The unknown unknown… … If it was three in the morning and there was a bunch of guys standing down a poorly lit alley, would you walk down there by yourself? Probably not. Yet on the Internet, we do that continuously—we walk down that street—and then we’re shocked when negative things happen… … People have an expectation that once they put a lock on their door they’re secure. And that might be the case in their home. But electronically it’s not quite so simple… Are we safe online? Perhaps a better question is whether our information is safe online. 2014 was a banner year for information, data—what we now call cyber—security, and if analyst reports can be any indication, security professionals are on high alert in 2015. International governing bodies have also placed an urgency on better understanding cyber security risks and putting in place strategies to ensure stable telecommunications and safeguard information. There has also been growing concern around data privacy. Though security and privacy work hand-in- hand and it’s difficult to have data privacy without security, there is a difference between the two terms. Security involves the confidentiality, availability and integrity of data. It’s about only collecting information that’s required, then keeping that information safe and destroying it when it’s no longer needed. On the other hand, privacy is about the appropriate use of data. To help us through the topic of cyber security, we talked to Greg Murray, VP of Information Security and Chief Information Security Officer at OpenText. The OpenText security team is made up of specialists around the world who provide operational response, risk assessments and compliance. They also brief executive leadership regularly, and keep development teams abreast of pertinent security information. More importantly, Greg and his team work with our customers to ensure their unique security needs are covered end-to-end. “It starts early in the process,” says Greg. “It starts in the presales cycle where we try to understand the risks that [our customers] are trying to manage in their organization. We find out how they are applying security against that, and then that becomes contractual obligation that we make sure is clearly stated in our agreement with the customer. From there, it goes into our operations center—or risk center, depending on what we’re looking at—and we ensure that whatever our obligations, we’re on top of them and following the different verticals and industries.” Again, 2014 was a big year for cyber security in the news (I think we all remember the stories of not too long ago). But while news agencies focused on the scope and possible future threats, Greg learned something else: “I think if we look at media, one probably would not have argued until last year that media was a high threat area compared to something like aerospace defense. That has changed. Clearly that has changed. As a result, customers come back and say, ‘Hey, our environment has changed. What can you do to help us with that?’” “What a financial institution requires is very different than what a manufacturing provider requires or a pharmaceutical organization. Some of that, as a provider to these organizations and customers, we can carry for them on their behalf. In other cases they must carry it themselves. A lot of the discussions that we have with customers are in regards to ‘Where’s that line?’” “At the end of the day, there’s a collaboration. It’s not all on the customer, it’s not all on OpenText. We have to work together to be able to prove compliance and prove security across the environment.” Regardless of the size, industry or location of an organization, security needs to be a top priority. This concept isn’t a new one. As Greg told Adam Howatson, OpenText CMO in a recent Tech Talk interview, information security hasn’t evolved that much over the last 50 years (view the discussion on YouTube). Greg’s answer may surprise, but after some digging I learned that back in 1998, the Russian Federation brought the issue of information security to the UN’s attention by suggesting that telecommunications were beginning to be used for purposes “inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security.” Since then, the UN has been trying to increase transparency, predictability and cooperation among the nations of the world in an effort to police the Internet and private networks. Additionally, if you have seen the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, you know that people have been trying to encrypt and decipher messages since the 1940s and probably even earlier. Today, the lack of physical borders online has certainly complicated things, but the information security game remains the same, and cooperation among allies remains the key. “Are we all contributing together?” Greg asks. “If we’re all working together—just like Neighborhood Watch—we need that same neighborhood community watch on the internet. If you see stuff that doesn’t look right, you should probably report it.” The bad guys are organized and we need to be organized as well. The more we share information and the more we work together… Particularly at OpenText, we have a lot of customer outreach programs and security work where we work hand-in-hand with customer security teams. By doing that, we improve not only our security, but we improve security across the industry.” Recently I attended a talk given by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, former Ontario Privacy Commissioner and Executive Director at the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto. In it, she said that “privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance must ideally become an organization’s default mode of operation.” She said that privacy—which again, involves the appropriate use of information—must be at the core of IT systems, accountable business practices and in the physical design and networked infrastructure. Privacy needs to be built into the very design of a business. And I think it’s evident from what Greg says about security, and the way OpenText designs its software with the users’ needs in mind, that our customers’ privacy and security is an essential part of what we offer. “We have a tremendous number of technical controls that are in place throughout all of our systems. For us, though, it starts on the drawing board. That’s when we start thinking about security.” “As soon as Product Management comes up with a new idea, we sit down with them to understand what they’re trying to achieve for the customer and how we’re going to secure it. So that by the time somebody’s uploading that document, it’s already gone through design, engineering, regression testing analysis, security penetration testing.” “One of the other things we do is called threat modelling. Typically we look at the different types of solutions—whether they’re file transfer or transactional, for example—and we look across the industry to see who has been breached and how. We then specifically include that in all of our security and regression testing.” You don’t need to look further than the OpenText Cloud Bill of Rights for proof in our dedication to information security and privacy. In it, we guarantee for our cloud customers the following: You own your content We will not lose your data We will not spy on your data We will not sell your data We will not withhold your data You locate your data where you want it Not everyone is up front with their data privacy policy, but with people becoming more aware of information security and privacy concerns, organizations are going to find themselves facing serious consequences if they do not make the appropriate changes to internal processes and policy. Data security doesn’t lie solely in the hands of cloud vendors or software developers, however. We asked Greg what users and IT administrators can do to protect themselves, and he said it comes down to three things: “One is change your passwords regularly. I know it sounds kind of foolish, but in this day and age if you can use two-factor or multi-factor authentication that does make a big difference.” “The second thing you can do is make sure your systems are patched. 95% of breaches happen because systems aren’t patched. When people ask ‘What’s the sexy side of security?’, it’s not patching. But it works. And it’s not that expensive—it’s typically included free from most vendors.” “The third thing is ‘think before you click.’ If you don’t know who it is or you don’t know what it is… Curiosity kills the cat and curiosity infects computers.” We hope you enjoyed our discussion on information privacy and cyber security. If you’d like to know more about the topics discussed today, visit opencanada.org, privacybydesign.com and of course Opentext.com. We also encourage you to learn more about security regulations and compliance by visiting the CCIRC and FS-ISAC websites.  

Read More

Business Process: The Future of ECM

For years, enterprise content management (ECM) solutions were adopted primarily for two main use cases. The first was to achieve compliance, and many early adopters of ECM continue to successfully use it to address various regulatory requirements. Compliance provided functionality for records management, archiving, and information governance. A while back I wrote a blog post titled What Features Ensure Compliance? that elaborates on the functionality required for compliance use cases. The second use case was around team effectiveness with functionality such as collaboration, document sharing, and social capabilities. Collaboration is subject to frequent changes in direction as every new technology promises an easier and more compelling user experience—from mobility and social software to file sync-and-share. The frequent feature churn in the collaborative use cases doesn’t go well with the compliance requirements that often need the system to remain unchanged for several years (validated environments, anyone?). ROI and Dependency on the User Not only were the two primary use cases not really well aligned in their feature requirements, they had two additional challenges. Neither use case provides a very strong ROI. Sure, we marketers always calculate the savings in storage and government fines that compliance solutions help you avoid. But let’s face it: preventing penalties is not exactly a hard ROI and storage is cheap (or at least everybody thinks it is). The collaborative use cases are even worse—measuring the ROI here is fuzzy at best and often impossible. The second challenge was the dependency on the users to do the right thing. For the compliance use cases, users were expected to diligently file their documents, weed out their inboxes, type in the metadata, and apply the right retention policies. Obviously, users are not very consistent at it, even if you try to force them. In the case of collaboration, users were expected to share their documents openly with others, comment in a productive way, and stay away from email and all the other collaboration tools around them. As it turns out, this type of behavior very much depends on the culture of the team—it works for some, but it will never work for others. The adoption of any collaboration solution is therefore usually very tribal. So, is there any hope for ECM? Can we get an ROI and get employees to use it without someone watching over their shoulder? ECM: Part of the Process As it turns out, there is a third type of use case emerging. It is the use of ECM as part of a business process. Business processes are something people already do—we don’t have to force anyone. That’s what companies and working in them is all about: everything we do is part of a business process. Business processes are also important, relevant, and very measurable. There is an ROI behind every business process. Every instance of a business process includes the context, which can be used to populate the metadata and to select the right policy automatically. Business processes can handle the automation of content management and don’t have to rely on the end user to do it. But business processes don’t live in ECM. Sure, the process artifacts usually reside in a content repository, but it would be a stretch to claim that the entire business process happens in an ECM application. Nor does it live in the BPM application, even if that application may be the primary application for some users. In fact, there is usually a master application from the structured data world that rules the business process: enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM), supply chain management (SCM), etc. That’s why it is important for ECM to connect with the master applications through the business process. This is not just a simple way to link data sets or to hand over data from one system to another. Using modern, REST-based technology, it is possible to achieve integration that goes much deeper and involves users, roles, permissions, classifications, and of course the user experience. Deal with Content Chaos ECM addresses some very important problems that every organization has to deal with. Given the volume and relentless growth of content in every enterprise, it has to be managed. Yet ECM struggled to be adopted widely because of lack of tangible ROI and a difficulty to attract end users. Tying ECM to a business process through a master application addresses these challenges. It may not solve every problem with content in the enterprise and there will still be content outside of any business process, but it will go a long way to dealing with what AIIM calls “Content Chaos”. Click below to view my SlideShare presentation from the AIIM Conference 2015 on the challenges with traditional approaches to ECM and a solution provided by tying ECM to business processes: Business Process – the Future of ECM from Lubor Ptacek  

Read More

Cloud Quotation Management: Mobility Redefined

Consider this. It’s Friday afternoon. The sun is shining and everyone at the office is enjoying the chance to eat lunch outside. You’re already considering your plans for the weekend. Then the phone rings with a customer on the other end. He needs a quotation. Right away. You have two options. You can wolf down your lunch, return to your office, and ruin not just your own afternoon, but that of your co-workers and office staff too – trying to put everything together as fast as possible for the client in question. Maybe you are getting home at 8 p.m., if you’re lucky, with no energy to enjoy the rest of the day. Alternatively, you can take out your smartphone and have the quotation ready to go before your next bite, sending it directly to the customer or to your manager for approval. And you can have all of that done in a couple of minutes, with calculated prices and discounts, up-to-date information and your company’s corporate branding incorporated. Sounds impossible? It isn’t. In fact, that’s precisely what cloud quotation management is for. It’s true that cloud computing has had its fair share of growing pains and inconsistencies over the past few years. At first, scalability, document production, storage and printing from the cloud were, at best, available only by using unwieldy workarounds. And to make matters worse, there were all kinds of uncertainties regarding hosting and the countries in which sensitive data would be stored. But things have changed: many of those problems are now a thing of the past.   The impact of these changes couldn’t be clearer. Cloud-based CRM systems are becoming increasingly more prevalent, and the number of cloud products, apps and solutions designed to increase productivity is growing day by day. This, in turn, has resulted in the slow but sure migration of processes to the cloud as well. And quotation management is no exception, with benefits that include not only completely new possibilities for sales departments, but also an unparalleled boost in efficiency. Save Time by Using Cloud Quotation Management There’s nothing worse than having to waste time. Commuting, traveling, waiting at the airport or train station – few other things are as maddeningly unproductive. That’s why vendors such as Salesforce.com, Cobra and SugarCRM are releasing solutions that push the envelope in terms of how useful smartphone business apps can be. And their users couldn’t be happier. This trend may or may not have been kick-started by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who had a vision of managing his company through his smartphone. And now software vendors and app programmers are pursuing that same vision too, coming up with new business apps every second. The result? Even the most experienced salesperson can now increase their productivity and save valuable time by using cloud-based tools – including cloud quotation management – wherever they are. Increase Reliability by Using Cloud Quotation Management If you work with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, you are probably already aware of the fact that appropriate process-specific actions are triggered automatically. However, you may not be aware that you can take advantage of this exact same behavior when using cloud quotation management systems. Just like a local or on-premise CRM system, you can rely on processes and actions that will run automatically as soon as they’re initiated. Cloud quotation management enables you to trigger these actions and processes from your smartphone or tablet. In fact, these processes can take care of most of the work in the background. They can be used, for example, with PowerDocs to prepare quotations, request approvals and send emails automatically. Reduce Risk by Using Cloud Quotation Management By mapping and integrating company-specific processes into your cloud quotation management system, you can minimize quotation errors before you even get started. For example, the editing process, the data retrieval process and the quotation writing process can all be centrally managed. In addition, the system can be set up in such a way that outside and inside salespeople will be able to access the content they need based on permissions, create quotations with only a few taps by relying on smart querying processes, and send their quotations directly to their customers or to their supervisors for approval. And that’s regardless of the number of pages, documents and attachments involved. To put it simply, correctly delineating and defining the processes for cloud quotation management in advance takes a load off sales departments’ shoulders, making their work much easier overall. Using the Right Cloud Quotation Management Tool What else do you need to know about cloud quotation management? First of all, it doesn’t necessarily require a cloud-based CRM. Cloud quotation management solutions can also be effectively combined with on-premises systems, meaning that, for instance, you can merge data from ERP, CRM and inventory control systems and retrieve, modify or edit it while you’re with a customer. In addition, every large CRM vendor has cloud apps available, though these are admittedly difficult when it comes to company-specific processes and mapping workflows in detail. Not surprisingly, this means that independent tools are often worth a look. In fact, these tools can come in very handy when switching between database systems or merging data from various systems, as they allow salespeople to continue working with the user interface they are familiar with, eliminating frustration and the need for time-consuming training in the process. PowerDocs is one of such tools. Be Ready for the Future Today, with Cloud Quotation Management The revolution that is cloud computing, apps for business applications, and mobile working solutions has only just begun and will keep growing more and more in the coming years. Not surprisingly, communications, as well as the speed at which business is conducted, are changing along with it. This is why it’s necessary to automate as many processes now as possible, in order to be able to meet the future needs of customers today. Cloud quotation management is not only the perfect solution, but is also an ideal way to optimize quotation management – all while making it easier and faster.

Read More

Industry Innovation on Tour

Our industry strategist team is on the move. Today we are in London for featured sessions and customer meetings at our OpenText Innovation Tour. Gerry Gibney, Patricia Burke, Mark Morley, and Rob Gasho (not pictured) are sharing best practices for current projects in Financial Services, the Public Sector, Manufacturing and Energy, plus actionable strategies for digital transformation. Next stop for the Tour is Munich and then on to the North Amercian leg for our industry folk. You can follow the tour on Twitter #OTinnovate and we hope we get to see you when we get to your city!

Read More

Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 4]

Editor’s note: Shaku Atre (at right, above, at our Data Driven Summit last December) is the founder and managing partner of the Atre Group, Inc. of New York City, NY and Santa Cruz, California. (Read more about Atre here.) Atre has written a thorough and compelling treatise on the disruptive power of mobile apps, and supported her analysis and conclusions with templates and case studies.  We are privileged to present her analysis here in four parts. In Part 1, she made the case for mobile apps and laid out  some of the forces behind digital disruption. In Part 2 Atre described two more disruptive forces, and in Part 3 she shared two templates for creating mobile app case studies. Today, the series concludes with mobile app case studies in financial services, telecommunications, car rental, and pharmaceutical industries. At the end of this post we share a link to download the entire series.  —– Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 4 of 4] Copyright by Atre Group, Inc.   Case Study 1: Financial Services Let us consider a basic consumer and small business bank as a publisher of a smart app for “Business Advantage Checking with Mobile Banking” Figure 3 Who are the primary beneficiaries? a. The bank’s customers Who are the secondary beneficiaries? a. The banks’ customer base grows with very good referrals. The bank   itself will be the beneficiary.b. Banks make money by using customers’ money in loaning the money at higher rates for loans given out as compared to what the banks pay their customers. c. If a bank has a good amount of money in reserves, the bank can get a better interest rate from the Federal Reserve Bank. d. Telecommunications companies that supply Internet capabilities to the banks e. Credit score companies which keep track of credit worthiness of the individuals f. Government which can put a hold on the accounts if taxes are   not paid g. Mortgage banks; credit card companies; employees: city, state and federal governments with electronic funds transfers from the checking account – any recipients of the EFT Examples of functionalities to be provided by the bank’s App: • The main intent of this app is to have your own bank in your back pocket. • Which devices are used for online banking? (most frequently used devices are as follows – and we will have many more that we can’t even think of): a. iPhone (iOS)b. iPad (iOS) c. Android Phone d. Windows Phone e. Blackberry f. iPad (iOS) g. Android Tablet h. Kindle Fire i. Other Devices • The main functions that are expected of a successful bank are: Login, account authentication, account overview on one screen– easy creation of your own banking dashboard, deposit, bill-pay, transfers, person to person payment, message center, customization, PFM (Personal Finance Management) with possible integration with an accounting software. • Your own banking dashboard addressing needs of different customer segments: Total control of the end-user, customized dashboard with drag and drop capability of widgets, widget catalog, store personal likes and dislikes to make the experience desirable. • Accounts and Transactions: a. Monitoring balances of all types of accounts at the bank: checking, savings, debit and credit cards, mortgage loans,    personal loansb. Transaction details with various filtering options, tools to help categorize and tag. c. Tracking of completed as well as pending transactions, ATM withdrawals and deposits, check deposits, cash deposits, online    deposits, warnings about when the deposited money will be available to withdraw, grouping of accounts, joint accounts and       setting limits how much each person can withdraw at once-        within what timeframe, adding accounts from other external banks • Deposits & Loans: a. Keep track of details of deposits and loansb. Verify on an ongoing basis credit card limits, credit card payments each month, loans and overdrafts, interest rates, c. Prioritize repayment schedules paying the highest interest rates’ loans first, etc. d. New loan application process simplification • Money Transfers & Person To Person Payments: a. Money transfers of multiple types such as P2P (Person to Person) Transfers, as well as Account to Account Transfers (A2A)b. Domestic Transfers and International Transfers c. Scheduled and Recurring payments are supported d. Connection with social address books so that friends can transfer money using email addresses or mobile phones e. Transfers that are pending or scheduled are watched • Bill Pay: a. Vendors should be able to email bills to a secure message centerb. Optical Character Recognition and mobile scanning capabilities for paper invoices for previously verified vendors for quick      payments • Split & Share: a. Receiving invoices together and splitting them by automatic debits of accounts among already declared friendsb. Social address books to be integrated with the banking transactions • Alerts: a. If the balance in the account goes down to a certain amount an alert message is sent to the account holder’s smartphoneb. An alert about a bounced check and charge taken out of the checking account • Which services would you like to search for? a. ATMsb. Banking centers c. 24-Hour ATMs d. Banking centers open Saturdays e. Drive-Up ATMs near my current location Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used?   Figure 4 • Customers’ Data Storage: • Primary Beneficiaries: direct deposits, direct debit, EFTs, account to account & person to person transfers, balance transfer, account management with QuickBooks Integration • Customers’ (Primary & Secondary) Transactional Data: • Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data Storage: • Data such as referrals received, Credit scores, accounting integration • External Data Storage: • Marketing and Industry big data such as: FIX, SWIFT, competitive data; data such as: Bank Reserves, Troubled Banks, Prime Rate Changes are streamed   Case Study 2: Telecommunications Let us consider a Mobile Telecommunications Service Provider as a publisher of a smart app for Smart Telephone Service Provider   Figure 5 Who are the primary beneficiaries? • Consumers, small and large business owners Who are the secondary beneficiaries? • Telephone manufacturers• Independent telephone service providers • Insurance companies insuring hardware • All types of industries that have mushroomed with mobile equipment and services Examples of functionalities to be provided by the telecom’s App: • View your usage• Purchased Extras • Manage your plan & Extras • View recent transactions • Top Up – Credit Card • Top Up – Prepaid Voucher • Pay your bill • View Activity – For Prepaid • Alerts & Notifications – For Prepaid Novel Apps for Telecom: • Public health: e. g. Ebola Outbreak: • Connect with Toll Free Numbers necessary human resources needed to help save lives at a massive scale. Telecom and Internet are the two most important ingredients. • Interactive voice response currency converter App: • Providing up-to-date exchange rate information • Finding missing children           Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used?   Figure 6 • Customers’ Data Storage: • Customer’s usage, recent transactions, Voice usage, data usage, bill payment, top-up credit card • Customers’ Transactional Data: • Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data Storage • Telephone manufacturers’ special discounts, Insurance companies’ special offers for lost telephones, special deals • External Data Storage • Telephones’ sales statistics, regulatory commissions data, marketing campaigns by various telephone service companies, FTC rules and regulations   Case Study 3: Car Rental Let us consider a car rental company as a publisher of a smart app for “Automobile Traffic Management App – ATMA” Figure 7 Primary Beneficiaries of the App: Drivers, accompanying passengers Secondary beneficiaries of the App and what are their benefits? 1. Police Department • Severity of the accidents’ info and any actions necessary based on that info 2. Hospitals • Which types of ambulances should be sent and how big should they be?• Which specialty of physicians should be ready to help the injured people? • Which equipment should be kept ready? 3. Property & Casualty Insurance Companies • Which roads are hazardous and cause property damage?• Which drivers are “high risk”? Examples of functionalities to be provided by ATMA: • ŸTraffic Maps to show the travel route taken by the driver (a visualization)• Alerts (Deployment of mobile technology – Speaking App – the driver can set the timer about how often the app should be speaking, e.g. every five minutes or every ten minutes) • Traffic Congestion: i. Maps – a visualization that integrates a map with easy to understand visual icons such as bumper to bumper traffic, ambulances, etc. ii. What type of interaction could be provided to avoid hazardous situations iii. The possible reasons for the backup 1. Construction 2. Accident 3. A specific event 4. Inclement weather iv. How long is the backup as far as the time is concernedv. What is the average speedvi. How long is the expected delay to reach the destination vii. What is the average speed? viii. Should someone be informed about the delay? (This information could be set up before starting the journey. If the delay is longer than fifteen minutes the consumer should be informed with a text message.) Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used? Figure 8 • Customers’ Data Storage: Driver’s information about driving records, DMV records, car information, starting and ending locations, etc. • Customers’ Transactional Data: Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data: Police reports of various accidents, hospitals’ reports, insurance claims, state & county roads renewal plans, new construction plans • External Data Storage: State Highway Patrol Data, Road Sensors Data, Maps, Construction data updates, previous accidents data in each part of the traffic area Which parts of Big Data could be used? i. State Highway Patrol Dataii. Road Sensors for accurate readings iii. Maps should be zoomable, clickable and should provide accurate speeds for each exit along the highway. iv. Drivers should be able to report by “speaking” in the car, keeping both hands on the steering wheel, about any incidents on the roads and that “voice data” could be a part of the “Big Data” for traffic information What are novel ways for decision making by drivers? v. Getting alerts to save timeo By driving routes with less traffic vi. Avoiding hazardous situations vii. Recording the problem areas in the database stored in the automobile’s database memory and evaluating the database records before starting any trip which is going to be longer than an hour viii. The app informing the parties at the destinations so that they know that the driver is delayed because of such and such ix. If a restaurant lunch or dinner is set at a certain time requesting scheduled time of reservation and estimated time of delay and another 15 minutes x. Police reports of various accidents, hospitals’ reports, insurance claims, state & county roads renewal plans, new construction plans   Case Study 4: Pharma Let us consider a pharmaceutical company as a publisher of an app and people with ailments as primary customers and pharmacies, Physicians, Hospitals, Clinics, Medical Insurance Companies, Medicare, and Medicaid as secondary customers. Figure 9 Examples of functionalities provided by the Pharma Apps: • Diary based apps: • Assisting the patients with the day, the time, and the dose taken or to be taken. Medication passport (Astra Zeneca) with names of the medications, doses and timings of the drugs.• Glucose monitoring apps for patients afflicted by diabetes. • Helping patients to track test results and appointments. (Eli Lilly – MyNet Manager) • Contraceptive reminder My iPill by Bayer • Procedures: • Showing how to administer certain procedures e.g. self-administered insulin injection to the diabetes patients. (Eli Lilly) • Educational: • Foods that reduce the risk of a diabetes on one side and the ones that exasperate on the other side (Boehringer Ingelheim’s Complications combat) • Alerts: • Sending alerts to family members when someone doesn’t take their medication– ad produces charts showing adherence to treatment regimens. (Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary – Janssen – about half of the patients miss medications) • Weight Loss: Keeping track of the weight, food intake (Noom Weight Loss Coach) Which parts of Big Data can be stored and used? < Figure 10 • Primary Customers’ (Patients’) Data Storage: • Patients report which drugs they take, related improvement in ailments, Undesired reactions experienced by the patients, severity of the reactions • Customers’ (Primary & Secondary) Transactional Data: • Customers’ invoices & archived internal data • Potential Customers’ Data Storage: • Pharmacies record sales of drugs, the most frequently sold to the least frequently sold, which physicians recommend which drugs • External Data Storage: Data from National Health Services, Global Registry of Coronary Events (GRACE), Center for Disease Control (CDC) Prepare and act to handle the Digital Disruption which is rumbling around the corner. —– These four blog posts by Shaku Atre are available as PDF downloads here: Parts 1 and 2. Parts 3 and 4.  References for Parts 3 and 4: Mobile Application Development: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_application_development Telecom: http://help.spark.co.nz/app/answers/detail/a_id/33187/~/smartphone-app http://tadsummit.com/2013/ http://blog.tadsummit.com/ Pharma: http://www.fiercebiotechit.com/special-reports/20-big-pharma-and-biotech-mobile-apps-2013?page=0,0 Some of Iodine’s competitors: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/index-drugs.aspx http://www.drugs.com/drug_information.html http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements One difference between Iodine and its competitors is Iodine’s data-driven approach vs. other competitive websites’ content-driven approach. Here is the write up about Iodine in The New York Times dated Wednesday, September 24, 2014: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/technology/to-gather-drug-information-a-health-start-up-turns-to-consumers.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A6%22%7D Embedded Analytics: http://www.slideshare.net/JessicaSprinkel/the-complete-guide-to-embedded-analytics New York City Medallion: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/28/upshot/under-pressure-from-uber-taxi-medallion-prices-are-plummeting.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A17%22%7D&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1  

Read More

Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 3]

Editor’s note: Shaku Atre (at right, above, at our Data Driven Summit last December) is the founder and managing partner of the Atre Group, Inc. of New York City, NY and Santa Cruz, California. (Read more about Atre here.) Atre has written a thorough and compelling treatise on the disruptive power of mobile apps, and supported her analysis and conclusions with templates and case studies.  We are privileged to present her analysis here in four parts. In Part 1, she made the case for mobile apps and described some of the forces behind digital disruption. In Part 2 she expanded on those forces. In this post, Atre shares two templates for conceptualizing smart apps, and on March 19 she presents case studies in financial services, telecommunications, car rental, and pharmaceutical industries.  —– Digital Disruption: The Forces of Data Driven Smart Apps [Part 3 of 4] Copyright by Atre Group, Inc. We will use the following two templates for planning our case studies for various industries to conceptually plan and design smart apps: Template 1: Representation of three major participants who create and use data as input to the app.   Figure 1 Publisher X of the app: From a particular industry. The apps, most likely, are stored with the servers in the cloud. Reponses of the customers, as well as those of potential customers, are collected in the cloud servers. Functions provided by the publisher’s app: The app will provide certain functions. Let us consider a commercial bank providing a function such as “Basic Consumer and Business Advantage checking with mobile banking.”Who are the publisher’s customers? E.g. Consumers and small business owners. These are the primary users of the app and primary beneficiaries. What benefits do these customers (the primary beneficiaries) receive? The consumers save substantial time by not having to travel to an ATM. They can deposit checks much quicker and can have access to the funds much faster. Potential customers (secondary beneficiaries) may become the publisher’s customers based on referrals of the customers of the publisher of the app. Referrals could be direct contact between the primary and secondary beneficiaries, or they could happen via web-based reviews or some other vehicle. Once the potential customers become customers they too receive the very same benefits as the primary beneficiaries. There are other types of beneficiaries: Credit scorekeepers of the customers, for example. Publisher of the app’s benefits: The publisher, in our case the bank, receives capital, which it can give out as loans to customers at higher interest rates than the depositing entities. Data is being driven from one of the three participants to other two participants. Decision making with analytics can take place by using the appropriate tools to use the apps by all participants. Template 2: Representation of Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Analysis and Discovery, Data Visualization, and the use of Mobile Technology as the messenger to supply messages to the participants of the Template 1. Figure 2   Generic and High Level View of Big Data and App Logic for the Smart and Novel Apps for your Customers, the Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries of your Industry, along with a multitude of Interfaces. Interface A: Customers are using the app and creating data, such as purchases, returns, money transactions, etc. This results in web logs using the cloud servers. Responses may be sent back via the cloud servers to the customers.Interface B: Potential customers are using the app and creating data, such as purchases, returns, money transactions, etc. This results in web logs using the cloud servers. Responses may be sent back by the cloud servers to the potential customers.Interface C: Some data created by the customers may be sent directly to Data Storage. Similar interface may exist for potential customers.Interface D: Customers’ invoices and archived internal data may be stored.  Potential customers’ invoices and archived internal data may be stored. Interface E: Data created by the customers and by the potential customers using the app and the cloud servers is transmitted to and from the customers’ data storage. Interface F: Archived data, created by customers and potential customers, may be stored with the cloud servers and might be retrieved when necessary. Interface G: Potential customers (secondary beneficiaries) create data with web logs, click stream, likes, dislikes, and sentiments Interface H: Customers’ and potential customers’ transactional data is stored in real time storage. Interface I:  Potential customers’ (secondary beneficiaries’) data with web logs, click stream, likes, dislikes and sentiments is transferred to Real Time Data Storage Interface J:  Customers’ (primary beneficiaries’) data with weblogs, click stream, likes, dislikes and sentiments is sent to the Real Time Data Storage Interface K: Cloud Severs provide marketing and industry related big data such as competitive data, data collected by sensors or other means, social media data (customers’ DNA) are streamed Interface L: Marketing and industry related big data such as competitive data, data collected by sensors or other means, social media data (customers’ DNA) are streamed to the Real Time Data storage Interface M: Real Time data is transferred to the Analytics Logic Box: Data is analyzed and discoveries are made of customers’ and of potential customers’ performance, likes, dislikes with analytics Interface N: Events are processed at mobile speed, Analytics Logic Box and Real Time “Make It Happen” Logic Box work together. Results are modified and travel between the Analytics Logic Box and Real Time “Make It Happen Box” in real time. Interface O & P: At the same time Analytics Logic Box and Real Time “Make it Happen Logic Box” work together with matching your Products/Services Logic Box for Matching of your products and/or of services with customers’ and potential customers’ likes and dislikes discoveries and analytics results are performed Interface Q: Real Time Make It Happen Logic Box provides visual display from Real Time Make It Happen Logic Box Interface R: Matching your Products/Services Logic Box Provides results of matches and/or mismatches to the Digital Responses Logic Box Interface S: Digital responses are created for communication with the smart phones of the customers and potential customers. If necessary, human staff contacts the customers and/or potential customers. Interface T & V:  Visualization Logic Box transfers to the customers and to the potential customers’ digital responses pictured in visual format. Interface U & W:  Digital responses are sent by the app to the customers and the potential customers. The customers and the potential customers respond back to the app. —– On March 19, this four-part blog series will wrap up with Shaku Atre’s case studies for smart apps in financial services, telecommunications, car rental and pharmaceutical industries. Subscribe (at left) to be notified when the posts are available.    

Read More

How B2B Integration Drives Superior Supply Chain Performance

Today’s manufacturers face a constant challenge of balancing supply chain efficiency with the investment placed in their B2B integration platform. To try and get a better understanding of whether increased use of B2B solutions and services impacts the performance of a supply chain, OpenText sponsored a new B2B integration related study with IDC Manufacturing Insights. This blog will briefly summarise some of the key findings from the study. IDC conducted a one hour qualitative survey with 270 global manufacturers across the automotive, high tech and consumer product goods sub-sectors. We had representation from eight countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and North America. In order to try and develop the hypothesis, IDC asked a number of questions about current B2B implementation initiatives across the 270 companies and they also asked questions relating to key supply chain metrics across each company. I spent a few months working with IDC on this study, so let me just highlight some of the B2B responses first. The first question looked at the key business initiatives that companies were embarking on over the next three years and international expansion into new markets was the key project as shown by the chart below. It is interesting to note that while many companies are trying to improve supply chain visibility and improve supply chain responsiveness they were not as high up in the chart as international expansion, develop more services and reduce operational costs. Indeed diversification into new sub-sectors is a key activity for many manufacturers today, for example high-tech companies exploring new opportunities in the growing electric vehicle market. In order to try and understand how pervasive B2B technologies were across the companies surveyed, the next question asked about the volume of electronic transactions that were being conducted today. Given the consumer driven, fast moving nature of the automotive and high tech sectors, I guess it is no surprise that it is these two industries that are exchanging transactions electronically with more than 75% of their trading partners. CPG on the other hand has a relatively low level, probably due to the fact that many CPG goods are manufactured in countries such as India and China where the use of B2B tools is relatively low when compared to other manufacturing hubs around the world. The study found there were a number of business drivers for companies needing to improve their B2B environment over the next three years. According to leading analysts, the manufacturing sector is going to be the fastest growing adopter of new Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) regulations. This was confirmed by the responses to our study which said that increased regulatory compliance was the number one reason why companies were increasing investment in their B2B infrastructure. This was closely followed by an increasing pressure from customers to adopt B2B integration processes. The survey showed that there was a marked shift in terms of the key barriers to adopting new B2B services. One of the main barriers in the past was getting top level management buy in that B2B integration could bring significant benefits to the business. Our study showed that this barrier was the least likely to prevent a new B2B project from starting. In fact the number one barrier to increased B2B adoption was competing IT projects such as ERP. ERP is typically the number one focus area for CIOs and as such tend to get the most budget and resources to deploy. ERP systems typically have to be live by a specific date and if the date slips then IT resources from other projects are pulled in as required. This could leave other IT projects such as a B2B on-boarding project severely exposed. Even when companies have deployed an ERP and B2B environment, our study showed that nearly 40% of companies had still not integrated their ERP and B2B platforms together. Here at OpenText we find ERP B2B integration projects as a key driver for companies adopting our B2B Managed Services environment. In terms of the benefits gained from B2B integration, companies cited lower inventories as the main benefit. This was most apparent from nearly 60% of automotive respondents who have invested heavily in recent years following the last economic downturn and to help support their global expansion initiatives. As I highlighted at the beginning of this blog post, the study was truly global in nature, covering all the major manufacturing hubs around the world and I just wanted to briefly highlight some of the key findings by region: 71% of German companies trade electronically with less than 50% of their trading partners 80% of Japanese companies said that inventory reduction was a key benefit of B2B integration 62% of US companies trading electronically with more than 50% of their trading partners 27% of Chinese companies trading electronically with more than 50% of their trading partners 57% of South Korean companies said that supply chain complexity was a key barrier to B2B adoption One of the major goals of the study was to find out how companies were progressing in their understanding of how modern B2B technologies can help drive superior business results. To achieve this, it was important to get an understanding of the perceived performance of specific supply chain activities. Once these supply chain metrics were analysed it would then be possible to see if there was any correlation between supply chain performance and the impact of B2B technologies. Here are some examples of the metrics that were measured as part of the analysis: 50% of US companies can process an invoice in under one hour 73% of Chinese companies have an average time to market of less than 120 days 90% of Brazilian companies perform up to two inventory turns per month 87% of Chinese companies deliver greater than 95% perfect orders 60% of Japanese companies have an average customer order delivery time of less than 7 days Overall, there were some interesting findings from a supply chain metrics point of view and I will write a separate blog that examines some of these results. But in the meantime I just wanted to include one chart relating to a specific business process that is seeing increasing levels of digitisation, namely invoicing. The chart below highlights the time it takes for the surveyed companies to process an invoice. The real-time numbers shown below would indicate companies that have adopted electronic invoicing solutions. Acknowledging that the supply chain metrics would be different for each industry, average metrics were created for each industry and IDC then identified ‘top performer’ companies for each metric, ie companies with a performance that significantly exceeds industry average. Building upon this analysis, four ‘performance groups’ were defined according to the amount of times each company was over performing their industry average. Leaders – Companies that are “top performers” in 4 or more metrics Experts – Companies that are “top performers” in 2 or 3 metrics Beginners – Companies that are “top performers” in just one metric Laggards – Companies that are never “top performers” Now I could just provide the final chart that shows the correlation between B2B integration and these four performance groups, however to get a better understanding of this study and the responses we got from these 270 global manufacturers, I would actively encourage you to download a copy of the study, which is available to download FROM HERE. IDC drew a number of conclusions from the results of the study and the complete list of recommendations are available by downloading the study, however some key points include: Start from Business Integration to Achieve Collaboration – To obtain a comprehensive view of the extended supply chain and collaborate with business partners you should first be able to integrate with them Redesign Supply Chains – Having a collaborative information exchange process is core to being able to support global trading partners and ensure that supply chains are resilient in the face of volatile demand or unexpected supply chain disruptions Acknowledge the Opportunity of Elevating the Role of Your B2B Infrastructure – B2B infrastructures are in many cases still considered a commodity tool, but moving forward manufacturers will need to make it: ‘The central information exchange layer of the organization’ In summary, the study demonstrated that manufacturers can achieve hard benefits by improving their B2B related processes. In fact the study demonstrated that there was a strict correlation between having a pervasive, more modern and collaborative B2B platform in place and being a leader in supply chain performance. To get a better understanding of the analysis and to get IDC’s direct response to the findings from the study I would encourage you to DOWNLOAD the study and if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact OpenText. Over the next few weeks I will take a deeper look at some of the industry specific results from the study

Read More

On-Boarding Supply Chain Partners Should Take 5 Minutes

Jibun Bank in Japan allows consumers to open a bank account  simply by uploading a photo of your driver’s license to the financial institution.  U-Bank of Australia promises to open a bank account in less than 5 minutes if you scan a passport or Medicare card.  If risk-averse banks can make customer on-boarding almost instantaneous and effortless then why can’t we do the same for on-boarding of business partners in the supply chain?  Adding a new customer (or supplier) to a business network take days and often requires lots of forms, emails or phone calls.  Here is a hypothetical scenario: Suppose you are a startup making a hot new gadget (think wearable tech). Your sales team recently got the merchandising department of Walmart.com to resell your product on their website. But the sales team forgot to setup an electronic commerce relationship. You already do business electronically with the other online retailers that sell your product.  And you enjoy the convenience of not having to track PDF purchase orders and invoices coming into various email inboxes. How do you go about exchanging electronic orders, invoices and shipping documents with Walmart.com? You could visit Walmart’s supplier portal and read through pages and pages of documentation to discern the best way to exchange electronic purchase orders and invoices.  Alternatively, you could call your business network and ask how to get electronically connected to Walmart. After a few phone calls and emails with a little bit of luck you may be up and running in a few days. But I would argue there should be a much faster way.  Here is how the on-boarding process should work: 1) You open up the app for your business network on your smartphone. To begin exchanging electronic documents with one of your customers simply take a photo of a recent purchase order.  The image of the document then is uploaded to your business network. 2) Optical character recognition technology identifies your customer’s name (e.g. Walmart.com) and address based upon the image. An algorithm then matches the customer using a database of all the companies on the business network.  The logo of the company (e.g. Walmart) comes up on your smartphone screen asking you to confirm that this is the customer you wish to do electronic business with. 3) Next, the smartphone app looks up your profile. How does your company typically interact with the business network – Do you type information into a web form? Do you move files into Dropbox or Box.net? Do you upload an extract from your ERP or invoicing system? Your preferred method is identified and displayed on your phone with a request to confirm. 4) Based upon your customer’s (e.g. Walmart.com) profile, the app then identifies the business documents that your customer uses – purchase orders, ship notices, bills of lading, invoices, product catalogs, sales forecasts and remittance advice.   The list is displayed on your phone.  You check the boxes for the documents you wish to send and receive. 5) The necessary maps or forms (based upon your preference in step #3) are then auto-magically provisioned on to the business network. 6) You are sent an email or SMS text message confirming completion of the process. 7) You are offered the option to send a test transaction to confirm that everything is working properly.  Data taken from the scanned purchase order is used to populate a sample order confirmation that is sent to the customer.  A successful confirmation is returned and you are now ready to do business electronically. The post On-Boarding Supply Chain Partners Should Take 5 Minutes appeared first on All About B2B.

Read More

Did You Know That 77% of CPG Companies are ‘Low Adopters’ of B2B Integration Technologies?

AS2 FTP

In the last of a series of industry focused blogs relating to a new B2B study that OpenText commissioned from IDC Manufacturing Insights, I just wanted to briefly review the responses from the CPG related manufacturers. As I mentioned before, the aim of the study was to see if there was any correlation between B2B integration and how it impacts supply chain performance. We recently hosted a webinar with IDC to discuss the findings from the study.  You will be able to get access to this and other downloads related to our study at the end of this blog. The consumer product goods industry has undergone immense financial pressures in recent years, with retailers squeezing their margins and continually changing payment terms to suit market conditions. CPG companies are now having to source manufactured goods from new low cost markets. The introduction of the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries is starting to cause a global shift away from the BRIC markets where many CPG related goods have traditionally been manufactured.  Even Chinese based manufacturers are looking at new markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam as they offer lower cost manufacturing than their own country. This constant shift in production location is being driven by a need to source the highest quality goods at the lowest prices. Some CPG manufacturers headquartered in North America and Europe have struggled to automate their supply chain processes due to B2B enablement issues relating to suppliers in the new generation of emerging markets.  It should be every company’s goal to electronically enable 100% of their trading partner community but the findings from the IDC study showed that the CPG sector is actually behind the more advanced B2B infrastructures used in the automotive and high tech industries. Here are some of the key findings from the IDC study: 94% said they trade electronically with less than 50% of their trading partners – this highlights a huge opportunity to B2B enable an entire trading partner community.  It is highly likely that companies struggle to enable suppliers in emerging markets, perhaps due to limited technical skills within the supply base, poor IT infrastructures to support B2B solutions and limited availability of skilled resources on the ground in these particular locations. If CPG companies are to 100% enable trading partner engagement then they need to offer a range of B2B enablement tools and more importantly work with a B2B provider that can help onboard these really small suppliers in the most remote of locations.  Needless to say this is an area that OpenText has significant experience in. 49% said that their customers are driving new B2B projects – changing consumer demand and a switch to Omni-channel retailing is having a dramatic effect on CPG manufacturers.  Retailers are having to become more responsive to these fluctuations in consumer demand by embracing new retail concepts such as ‘dark stores’ and shipping direct to the consumer. The explosive growth in online retail, especially across mobile devices such as the iPad, means that retailers need to be more responsive to their customers and this has led to a need to modernize B2B infrastructures and offer tighter integration to backend enterprise platforms such as ERP. 49% said reduced logistics costs was a key benefit of B2B integration – ensuring that a CPG manufacturer has end to end visibility across their supply chain has become a key initiative for today’s Supply Chain Director.  From being able to identify inventory located in a distribution centre anywhere in the world to tracking inventory in transit in real time across multi-modal third party logistics providers, B2B integration provides the opportunity to seamlessly keep track of inventory movements.  B2B integration, especially via tools being deployed in the cloud, allows 3PL providers to automate many manual, paper based processes. In the past, delays in shipping goods would have been caused by simply mis-typing information into shipping related documentation. Extracting this information automatically from other business systems through B2B integration and then creating the correct shipping labels or 2D bar codes has significantly helped to reduce logistics costs and simplify the cross border shipment of goods. 42% said that competing IT projects such as ERP were a barrier to starting B2B projects – this was actually a common issue across all the industries surveyed for this study.  However out of all the B2B adoption barriers highlighted by the CPG respondents to the study, introduction of new ERP projects was by far the most common barrier to starting a new B2B project.  As highlighted in the automotive related findings, ERP integration is typically the most high profile project undertaken by today’s CIO and if an ERP go live date is missed then IT resources will be pulled in from other projects to complete as required.  This will for example leave a B2B project exposed or could indefinitely delay the start of a new B2B project.  A simple solution to this particular problem is to use the B2B resources of an outsourced provider such as OpenText who can look after your B2B project whilst your IT organization focusses on your ERP deployment. So despite operating in a very fast moving, consumer driven market, CPG companies tend to lag behind other industries in terms of B2B adoption. In fact the study showed that 77% of CPG respondents said they were low adopters of electronic transactions and B2B processes. It is no surprise that companies in this sector perceived fewer benefits from their installed B2B technologies and at the same time this highlights the opportunity for savvy companies willing to take their B2B infrastructures to the next stage. From a general supply chain metrics point of view, 84% of CPG respondents had an average customer order delivery time of less than seven days and 97% of CPG companies have an average time to market of less than 120 days. Finally, another interesting result from the study relates to which new and disruptive technologies are going to have the most impact on CPG manufacturers.  The study highlighted that In the automotive industry it was 3D printing, in the high tech industry it was advanced robotics and in the CPG industry it is the ‘Internet of Things’.  The benefits of IoT are well documented and in the fast moving consumer goods market having the ability to track shipments through a broad network of connected ‘things’ and to also be able to detect out of stock situations more quickly will help to improve the overall performance of CPG related supply chains. For me it is just interesting that CPG companies have latched onto IoT as being a key enabler for improving their business operations before they have even got the basic B2B infrastructure in place to be able to exchange information electronically across their trading partner community. If you would like to download your own copy of the new B2B study from OpenText then please complete the registration form here. When you have registered you will also be able to get access to an on demand webinar that we recently recorded with IDC, a copy of the webinar slides and an infographic that illustrates some of the key findings from the study.

Read More

Managing your Digital Media Assets

In the expanding world of digital creation, the ability to effectively manage digital media assets is becoming increasingly important to organizations. Gone are the days of filing digital assets on personal computers. From creation to consumption, companies are increasingly looking for ways to centrally manage their digital media assets, all while maximizing value and minimizing the cost of running a media management system. According to Michael Scott, Vice President of Engineering for OpenText Media Management (OTMM), one of the most important aspects of effective digital media management is the ability to quickly access the content you need, when and where you need it. OpenText Media Management Recently Adam Howatson, OpenText CMO, sat down with Scott to discuss digital media management. For Scott, OpenText Media Management (OTMM) offers “a way to manage (an asset), to be able to find it again, to be able to reuse it, to be able to distribute it in different formats, whether that’s a high-resolution video file for broadcast or whether it’s something that can be streamable over the web to a mobile device”. But what makes OTMM better, faster, stronger than its competition? With a redesigned user experience, the newest release of OTMM makes it easier than ever for users to access the digital content they need, anywhere and on any device. Built for large enterprise deployments, Media Management 10.5 is a powerful yet easy-to-use platform that will help you to simplify, accelerate, and transform your business. Watch the Tech Talk video here to listen to Scott as he gives insight and advice on the changes in the industry and discusses how to best manage your organization’s media assets.

Read More