Business Process Management

Expanding the Banking Universe with a Mobile-Only Play

Mobile phones continue to help break new ground in the world of Banking. A very interesting example is called Atom Bank, which is in the United Kingdom today, or is it everywhere? Atom Bank was recently awarded a banking license and plans to commence their operations later this year. They have already raised around 25 million pounds (about $39 million). So why is this so interesting and different? Atom Bank will operate only through a mobile app. That is right, they just have an app. Of course there will be no branches, and they will not have a website initially. This is a strange strategy as how will customers be able to find them unless they read my blogs? They claim that customers will be able to open accounts and carry out all their banking activity using only a smartphone. The also said they want to “set new standards for the banking sector” when it comes to technology. Well this matches quite well to what Millennials are thinking about innovation in banking coming from technology companies, not from banks. Viacom Media Networks did research and came up with the Millennial Disruption Index, which is copied below. Notice that 33 percent of Millennials do not think they will ever need a bank, and nearly half are counting on technology start-ups to overhaul the way banks work. Talk about supply meeting demand, and here comes Atom Bank. Or maybe they should be called Atom Software, the smartphone technology company with an app. Banking on Mobile Source: Viacom Media Research Atom is the latest in a string of technology companies shaking up the banking industry. Who would have thought that Apple would create a payment service a la PayPal? It has certainly done well so far. Anybody know a user or two of Venmo, the under 30 set’s current favorite to make small payments to each other? This is not futuristic; they already exist and work well today. So, will Atom Bank be what Millennials are longing for? Well there are a few challenges, or what we might call complexities. They will need to work with a regular retail bank for mundane things like checking and cash deposits. I don’t know if they will be responsible for Know your Customer (KYC) or will have deposit limits or concern themselves about anti-money laundering and SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports). Perhaps the brick-and-mortar bank they plan to partner with will do the heavy compliance lifting for them. Since Atom Bank is all about a high quality customer experience with a smartphone, they are certainly addressing what Millennials are looking for. They are not yet sharing all aspects of what they plan to do, as they said they do not want to assist potential competitors. They did announce that they will have biometric security, 3D visualizations and gaming technology. Sounds like fun! An app on your smart phone will do all of that? Mobile phones, now smartphones, have come a long way. Even if all of this works as planned and Atom Bank is very successful, they will have fierce competitors from startups as well as established organizations. But if they capture the hearts, minds and bank accounts of the Millennials before others do, they will be very successful and the reality of the Millennial Disruption Index will become even more obvious.

Read More

Enterprise Mobility: Are you an Enabler?

Seventy three percent of the world’s population uses mobile phones, more than 5.2 billion people around the globe. The majority of millennials say that their smartphone never leaves their side, 24×7. This is just the tip of a mobility movement that promises to intensify in the future. How is this consumer behavior impacting enterprise mobility? Range of Mobility Responses For some enterprises, mobility means issuing cell phones to employees and ensuring the devices are managed and secured. Other enterprises load iPads and iPhones for their sales force with productivity solutions like travel planning and expense reporting. Enterprises like car rental companies and 3rd party logistics companies, have been giving their field operations specialized mobile capabilities for decades. Mobility has been embraced by the public sector as well, from social case workers to first responders to law enforcement officers, mobile solutions are decreasing response time and even saving lives. “With only a few taps on a smartphone screen magical things happen – laws, services, records and processes turn into something very simple and user friendly.” – City of Barcelona Entire business models are being disrupted by mobile. When mobile devices are integrated with critical business processes, and especially with information flows focused on the customer, mobility raises to whole new level of importance for the enterprise. Think of Uber the taxi alternative that couldn’t have existed without the upsurge in mobile. The Insurance industry will never be the same, with turnarounds for P&E claim settlement dropping dramatically with the integration of mobile. New payment approaches like Square have been spawned by mobile. And there are a whole new set of retail buying behaviors because of mobile. Superior Customer Experience The mobile experience has of course much to do with responsive web design and omni-channel enterprise enablers, but it is also being driven by the proliferation of awesome mobile apps. These apps serve up both consumer and enterprise mobility solutions. A study published by Compuware found that the majority of mobile users prefer apps over web sites; however, only 28 percent said apps offer a better user experience than sites. De veloping an effective enterprise app strategy is no longer a luxury for the mobile enterprise. I had an interesting first hand experience just this week. I am an OpenText Core user and had originally signed up and begun using it through my desktop. Perhaps I’m not totally objective, but it has a great customer experience, easy to use and great collaboration features in the cloud. Earlier this week I received a Core email notification about a document I had been collaborating on and I was mobile at the time. I clicked through the link on my iPhone and was asked if I wanted to download the Core app. I did and it was quick and easy – I was viewing the document almost instantly on my mobile and able to respond to keep the flow going. All About that App? The inflection point for becoming a mobile enterprise, as with any technology disruption, is different for different industries. What is clear at this point is that enterprises need to be mobility enablers. For now, a mix of responsive design solutions and apps seems like a good balanced approach. There will be more on the latest mobility trends and solutions at Enterprise World 2015. Hope to see you there! Author’s Note: Lest we forget… the world of mobile is not just phones and tablets, specialty devices especially wearables are also becoming an integral part of our enterprise ecosystems. Check out this post on the possible future for the iWatch and the supply chain. Image Source: Shutterstock_173233781

Read More

How Small Data Transforms Business Today

Everyone talks about the importance of Big Data and how harnessing the power of information from a plethora of sources can be a real game changer. However, it’s often the more defined data sets that can help transform a business into a competitive powerhouse. This is considered small data, not Big Data. For example, Big Data projects typically cover a broad array of information generated from business sources such as sales transactions combined with geographical data, government data and even social media chatter. Small data, by contrast, is derived from local sources and in more digestible batches. Viewed another way, if Big Data has been largely about machines and processing power, small data is about people, context and individual requirements. And it’s transforming businesses in incredible ways. Consider the case of a lunch shop in California whose manager used her data to help increase cash flow and decrease supply costs. Lindsay Hiken, who owns the Village Cheese House (@VCHPaloAlto) in Palo Alto, Calif., began tracking various bits of known data that were important to her business: the demographics of people coming in, food supply prices, daily receipt data, and more. Companies collect data, but not many small business owners are looking at it. Hiding in those numbers could be some great strategies to make your company thrive. With the help of a small data approach, Hiken found billing and ordering errors that were wasting money, and customer information that helped her streamline her product selection to please her younger clientele. In a recent television program segment on MSNBC’s OPEN Forum, OpenText VP Product Marketing and Innovation Allen Bonde (@abonde) provided some valuable insight into how businesses large and small should be thinking about information. “This is the difference between a business that generates data, which all businesses do, and a business that is data driven where the data becomes part of the decision-making process,” Bonde related. The key to bridging the gap between having data and using it, according to Bonde, is to take a fresh look at the role of data and analytics, and apply a market-driven view informed by the needs of all stakeholders: front-line users, marketers and analysts, clients, and of course IT and development teams. Bridging the gap also requires a simplified view of the analytic process that streamlines how and where we apply various analytic techniques. Feel free to check out the MSNBC segment in the media player below. For more insight into small data and its significance for businesses, check out Bonde’s latest article, Turning Data into Insight: A Market Driven View of Big (and Small) Data Analytics, published by the Wall Street Technology Association.

Read More

8 Top Considerations for a Successful Cloud Partnership

As your organization embarks on creating a cloud strategy, there are many things to consider. What are the top benefits you are looking to achieve by moving workloads into the cloud? What areas of your business are you willing to consider as cloud or hybrid cloud implementations? Most of all, as you move into the cloud you are faced with extending your infrastructure and IT team to include your cloud provider. What are the key things you should consider as you determine the key cloud partnerships you will embrace? One Size Does Not Fit All Developing a cloud strategy is an exercise in understanding your business process, workloads, security rules, compliance requirements, and user adoption–just to name a few. Not a simple task, moving business to the cloud might mean a combination of both deployment and costing strategies. Options for on-premises, public cloud, private cloud (both on and off site), Hybrid cloud, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS all offer organizations flexibility but can also be confusing. What offering is ideal for which business process to generate the highest efficiency and cost benefit? There is no one-size-fits-all solution, which means IT leaders need to be prudent about cloud options and work with their vendors to ensure they get the most value for their investment. Information Matters As we live in the digital age, many organizations recognize the value of information and place significant priority on protecting it. Information Governance, knowing what information you have, where it is and what you need to do with it, has never been more important. When organizations look at moving information to the cloud they need to be extra vigilant to ensure that their information policies and compliance regulations are both understood and upheld by their cloud partner. The value and level of control required over information should play a part in an organization’s decision of what applications and what data will reside in the cloud, on premises or as part of a hybrid cloud implementation.

Read More

Too Much Customer Churn? Don’t Panic, Use Analytics

Customer turnover, or churn, is a fact of life for many businesses. But predicting customer behavior can help mitigate losses due to churn, and may even help turn customer loyalty around. It’s an eye-opening experience when a business we consult with sees how this process works. And even if they discover a huge churn problem using analytics, the main message is this: Don’t panic. What do I mean? For starters, some of our customers began their analytics journey by testing data from their own enterprises. After drilling through reports, dashboards and scorecards, they assume that the first step in the journey is complete. They are happy when they see the “what happened” knowledge, as at least one big question has been answered. But, as often happens, several new questions appear after the “what happened” answer is unveiled: Why did this happen? What made it happen? Will it happen again? Is there a trend? How do my actions affect customer churn? One customer we worked with assumed he knew all about his business challenges. This was shown in the numbers and the charts, and everything pointed to the same pain: their valuable customers were fleeing, slowly but steadily, although the lead generators were going full throttle. At this point, the knowledge about customers and their behaviors was critical. But usually that means working with a lot of data and several heterogeneous sources: demographic data, old transactions, customer service interactions, browsing data from the company’s website, and responses to marketing campaigns. In many cases, in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), the list is even longer. Once this information is integrated and running in a fast columnar database, identifying churners is easy. The real challenge is determining if a customer is not going to come back. With this set of customers, it is possible to find the attributes that define a churner. OpenText Big Data Analytics uses a profile algorithm based on Z-Score statistical analysis and compares all the desired attributes against the set of customers. Classifying and re-classifying data are some of the most common tasks that data scientists and business analysts do. It’s very important for companies make classifications of their customers. (Read more about why in my previous blog post, Why You Need to Classify Your Customers.) OpenText Big Data Analytics offers several algorithms to classify objects, including Naïve-Bayes (recently added to the 5.1 release), Decision Tree and Logistic Regression. It is always a good idea to compare all of the available models with your data to determine which data mining technique performs better. The next step after training and tuning the classification model to identify churners is to apply the model to your loyal customers – ones that have not yet fled. The classification algorithm searches for those patterns that define potential churners among the loyal customers and marks them as “probably future churners.” Now it’s time to take care of those customers. Admittedly, taking care of customers requires time and resources, and probably the company will need to prioritize some customers above others. So why not start with the group of customers that generate a higher profit? Yes, I’m talking again about classifying customers. You will never be finished with classifying customers. If you want to see a step-by-step simple guide on how to look for churners, try our OpenText Big Data Analytics Free Trial and find the Customer Analytics Samples that focus on analyzing and predicting churn. After that, try the techniques with your own customer data. If you find too many churners, please, don’t panic. Just do analytics. And let us know what you find.

Read More

Empowering Government with a Digital Agenda

Like private businesses, governments are driven by information. Consider the amount of information associated with a single citizen: a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, student loans, social security, health-related services, etc. Now multiply that across an entire population. If information is the new currency, then many government organizations are rich—so rich, in fact, that some don’t know what to do with this wealth (of information). The rate at which governments can effectively use their information as an asset is impacted by departmental or application silos. As illustrated below, information that should flow securely and effortlessly across departments, partners, and citizens is often disconnected and processes are fragmented. When this happens, governments don’t have a consolidated view of their information, which means they don’t have an accurate view of their resources, projects, or citizens. The result? Agencies work harder, not smarter. A digital agenda helps government organizations optimize their performance, without compromising governance and security. As part of implementing a digital agenda, digitizing information and processes is a critical first step. It lays the groundwork for collaboration and agility by removing silos that can hamper access and productivity—allowing information to flow freely across departments. Digital transformation requires coordination and collaboration across departments, sectors, jurisdictions, and policy domains; a host of changing relations and communication patterns; and a shift to citizen-centric service delivery. Implementing a digital agenda is critical. Broadly speaking, a digital agenda consists of three phases: Overhauling operations to improve efficiency and profitability. Agencies must reduce costs and increase competitiveness by digitizing their information and processes. Bringing agility into business processes to quickly adapt services and operations. Information processes and platforms need to be relevant for digital citizens, a new workforce, and emerging technologies. Delivering new services to citizens with continuous collaboration and innovation. Efficiency hinges on increasing the speed of information delivery through integrated systems and across projects. Many governments are making great strides in mandating the adoption of a digital strategy. Here are some examples of digital transformation at the federal level in government agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Europe: The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) has the typical mandate to do more with less. Their average daily population exceeds 55,000 prisoners in federal custody with an annual budget of more than $1 billion. Improving time and cost savings across the organization is paramount. By automating administrative activities like prisoner designation, OFDT has eliminated manual, paper-based processes and the use of outdated file-sharing methods (fax, postal mail and FedEx), at a projected cost-savings of $38.8 million. A Security Enterprise in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) relies on an e-government process automation solution to improve its performance. The automated, collaborative nature of this solution enables the agency to efficiently manage 4,000 Foreign Military Sales (valued at $49 billion) while effectively fulfilling its mission and characterizing its motto: “Strength in Cooperation”. CIZ (Centrum Indicatiestelling Zorg) oversees the Dutch Ministry of Health, handling over one million cases a year and supporting over 18,000 users. Challenged by a lack of business process control around the handling of cases combined with siloed data (spread across 17 databases), CIZ implemented an integrated case management solution so they can adapt more quickly to changes in legislation. By digitizing key processes, CIZ has been able to meet their target of processing 100 percent of their cases, reducing costs and increasing citizen satisfaction. Transport Canada works with over 50 partners (including Crown corporations, port authorities, and airport authorities) to ensure a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible transportation system. Fulfillment of their mission is based on timely and informed decision-making. Transport Canada relies on a combined information and records management solution to enable collaboration with all stakeholders, including citizens. Through digitization they have consolidated more than four million records in a single library, bringing together 5,200 users across 117 sites—the largest single library deployment in the Canadian Public Sector. In a Digital-First World, governments will have to support digital business models with new processes. Whether by design or by decree, government organizations will be required to build an e-government infrastructure that digitizes information-based processes. In doing so, they will unlock the potential of information to empower both public servants and citizens, and improve their ability to govern in the process. Agencies around the world are already reaping the benefits of an integrated digital agenda—such as increases in productivity and revenue that amount to cost savings in the millions of dollars; easier access to information through complaint, standardized IT infrastructures; decreases in costs and inefficiencies with automated processes; and improvements in citizen relationships and satisfaction through innovative services. It’s evident that the rewards far outweigh the effort. And the technology is available. You can read all about how governments around the world are implementing digital agendas in my book e-Government or Out of Government. 1. Paul Tellier and David Emerson, “Seventh Report of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service,” Clerk of the Privy Council, March, 2013: http://www.clerk.gc.ca/eng/feature.asp?pageId=314 (accessed December 2013).

Read More

OpenText Partners to Establish the Open Data Exchange (ODX)

This week, OpenText was honored to host the announcement of the Harper Government’s support for the Open Data Exchange (ODX) at our Waterloo office. Minister Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada and long-time proponent of open government and open data movements in Canada, officially introduced the initiative by announcing up to $3 million in funding for Communitech Corporation to establish the Open Data Exchange (ODX) here in Waterloo. Both open government and open data movements are stimulating innovation and fostering economic growth around the world. Open data is information that is accessible, available in digital machine-readable format, and reusable under open license terms. Over the past decade, governments have launched initiatives to promote the reuse open data, developing open license models, establishing regulatory frameworks, and making data publicly available on government websites. The ODX is a component of “Government of Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government 2.0” and a demonstration of the Government’s continued commitment to establishing Canada as a leader in digital innovation. OTX brings together key players focused on unlocking the potential of open data for the economy. Its foundation is based on a partnership between the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the University of Waterloo, Communitech, the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) and tech leaders OpenText and the Desire to Learn (D2L). Representatives from each organization joined Tony Clement to share their thoughts on the importance of the ODX. From left to right, speakers included Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer, D2L; Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the ODX and Vice-President, Digital Media for Communitech; Tom Jenkins, Chairman of OpenText Corporation; the Honourable Tony Clement, Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo; and Dr. George Dixon, Vice-President of Research, University of Waterloo. Data is a part of our DNA here at OpenText. We manage a third of the world’s data behind the firewall. It’s only fitting that we provide a temporary home for the ODX, which will reside at our Waterloo Headquarters in the David Johnston Research & Technology Park in Waterloo, Ontario, until plans are finalized for a permanent home in uptown Waterloo. Data is the raw material for new products and services. Open data promises unlimited potential in its combinations of datasets of information. The ODX is the engine that will help drive to Ontario’s growth and prosperity. Tech innovation is the oil that will power this engine in its race for the digital future. Please join me in welcoming the ODX to OpenText. Read the press release.

Read More

Good Cloud. Bad Cloud. Why Cloud?

Confused about the cloud? You’re not alone. Adoption is projected to grow at double digits despite plentiful guidance on why we should fear the cloud. Pundits tell us, “If your organization is not implementing the cloud, you’re already behind.” Yet it is easy to feel the cloud is just beyond our grasp. So let’s take a look at some real-life use cases from sectors that are leading the way in enterprise adoption of the cloud. Cloud Illusions Ask a few CIOs about the cloud and you are likely to hear a wide range of responses, from concern that the cloud endangers security and privacy to elation that the cloud can be the ultimate platform for change. While much of this reflects well-reasoned advice and counsel, some is pure hype. When even The Onion takes on “that cloud thing that everyone is talking about,” we should realize that we are at hype and jargon saturation. With all the noise around cloud computing, cloud storage and cloud apps and debate about the pros and cons of public, private and hybrid clouds, we need to consider what is real and what is merely illusion, and moreover why we should ultimately care. These beautiful lyrics from the 60s seem to foretell our current state of confusion over the cloud: I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow it’s cloud illusions I recall. I really don’t know clouds at all.” — Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now from the album Clouds The cloud is a growing reality. CIOs and IT teams need to clearly understand how it can best be applied to advance their strategic interests. IDC research forecasts public cloud will grow at double digits and spending on private cloud will top $24 billion by 2016. CompTIA predicts that the next decade will see cloud computing becoming even more accepted as a foundational building block. We are seeingthe cloud go mainstream in the public sector, and Gartner predicts the cloud is moving into digital business, advising CIOs and other IT leaders to continually adapt to leverage increasing cloud capabilities. The Open Group Cloud project analyzed 24 business use-casesdriving adoption. In general, the rationale can be classified in five areas: agility, productivity, QoS, cost and the ability to take advantage of new business opportunities — all of which have been guiding principles for applying technology in the past. So how well are our past years of enterprise hardware and software know-how translating to the cloud for large-scale applications? Here are three sectors that are forging the way with successful cloud implementations in order to drive efficiency, improve time to market, and effect business transformation. The Cloud Drives Cost Efficiency World Economic Forum research reveals that governments are adopting cloud services at higher than expected rates. The growing adoption of cloud technology is happening at all levels of government around the globe. We are already seeing cloud play a role in changing how government agencies fundamentally spend money and allocate their IT resources. We came out with a cloud-first policy because… it offers a faster time to market, a reduction to risk, and hopefully a reduction in cost.” CIO Carlos Ramos, California While adoption is being driven in part by cloud-first mandates, the cloud is clearly aligned with government mission objectives. The public sector has embraced a data-driven approach — including open data and big data initiatives — to be responsive to citizens. Cloud implementations are seen as a means of moving beyond data transparency to achieve a cost-effective state of operational excellence. Four Trends to Watch in 2015 highlights the cloud as a means to be responsive to citizens’ wants, needs and ideas. For municipalities, the cloud provides equal, on-demand cost-effective access to a shared pool of computing resources. The City of Barcelona hosts 1.5 million guests for the La Merce festival using the cloud to help manage the surging foot, bike, auto and public transportation traffic. The state ofDelaware has implemented a cloud-based CRM application for constituent tracking in two months, adopting a cloud-first policy that piggybacks on federal policy. The state set up a private cloud and virtualized 85 percent of the state’s physical servers, saving $4 million per year. Delaware now has 70 applications in the cloud —from event notification to cybersecurity training. For central government organizations, including the US Department of the Interior, shared services are eclipsing “cloud-first” mandates as the driver behind cloud adoption. DOI’s groundbreaking cloud initiative consolidates all the records information programs under one IT governance system, and this shared service is expected to save an estimated $59 million in taxpayer dollars by 2020. The Cloud Supports Business Transformation Gartner Research identified financial services banking and insurance segments as two of the top cloud adopters. These segments are driven by the need for more innovation and the value they get from that innovation. Financial services firms are rewarded for systems that can process transactions faster and more securely and are providing new services, such as mobile banking and claims, that are ready-built for cloud-based systems. There is also growing competition with startups that are shifting the playing field. Way back in 2013 (a decade in cloud years), my article The Art of Banking: How Financial Services Approach Great Customer Experiences talked about how bankers would increasingly take innovation cues from consumer tech and smart retailers as they practice the art of banking. Over the past year, the cloud has proven to be both a major disrupter and an enabler for innovation. Like the other big research firms, IDC sees digital transformation as key for businesses and a bridge that CIOs must learn to cross, and that bridge includes the disruptive influence of cloud computing. A recent article from Banking Technology, “Why I’m backing the banks,” declares that traditional banks are now in a race to remain relevant as they face a slew of non-bank competitors with offer models that consumers increasingly value. Accenture found that one in five consumers would be happy to bank with PayPal — a cloud firm born in Silicon Valley. Though often a cost-saving measure, CIOs are seeing the potential in the cloud to create a flexible platform for future innovation. A poll of financial services sector decision makers revealed the top two benefits of adopting cloud platforms as cost savings (voiced by 62 percent of respondents) and a simplified IT environment (52 percent). It is this simplification of the IT environment that will enable banks to level the playing field with the upstarts: The newer entrants owe much of their success to their extreme agility with ICT: they have got where they are because they use technology better than anyone else. Yet, it would be premature to lament the passing of banks as we know them. They are increasingly taking the tech start-ups’ own medicine… [and the] search for innovation is rapidly pushing the cloud up banks’ technology agendas.” While banking has definitely upped its cloud game in the last few years, insurance is perhaps the granddad of cloud adoption. In How Cloud Computing will Transform Insurance, Accenture highlighted Insurance as being in the forefront of cloud growth and predicted that the cloud would transform the industry. On their list of reasons to adopt cloud, the “ability to respond to market change and reshape operating model[s] to address new and emerging opportunities and challenges.” An SMA study of cloud adoption trends in insurance found that 35 percent of participants said the cloud “provides companies with the flexibility needed to respond quickly to changing needs.” In retrospect, while cost savings has been a driver for insurers to adopt the cloud, there are already a number of insurance cloud success stories that illustrate the cloud’s real potential as a means of innovation and competitive advantage in a changing market with a changing customer demographic. Andre Nieuwendam, director of IT for United Property & Casualty describes their cloud success in customer-centric terms: “From an insured perspective, there are many initiatives on the table that we want to be able to provide them, file a claim electronically, check billing, and interact with customer service people in a real-time environment. Being in the cloud has enabled us to meet all of these objectives in a very, very short period of time.” The Cloud Enables Speed to Market In a recent Forbes article, “Cloud Is the Foundation for Digital Transformation,” Ray Wang (@rwang0) highlights cloud as the single most disruptive of all the new technologies. ”Cloud not only provides a source of unlimited and dynamic capacity, but also helps users consume innovation faster.” The idea of leveraging the cloud as a platform for speed in a changing market is appealing and especially resonates in the communications, media and entertainment sector, one that Gartner has identified as second only to banking in cloud adoption. In Breaking Bad: How Technology is Changing Media & Entertainment, I wrote about the digital media supply chain and how entertainment and broadcast companies are experiencing no less than an industry revolution: Motion pictures used to be cut, approved, and canned for distribution and released in a series of ‘windows’ for consumption. With digital distribution this model stops working — all the traditional ‘windows’ of distribution are collapsing. This has a ripple effect all the way down the chain of production and accounting and requires new IT systems and applications to address the new paradigm.” According to Accenture’s Content in the Cloud in the Broadcast and Entertainment Industry, the cloud can be the platform on which the digital media supply chain operates to better serve changing markets and consumption models. Cloud technology is poised to make an impact by supporting the next round of breakthroughs…from proliferating devices that demand a more flexible business model to new levels of IT capacity requirements that dictate highly scalable IT solutions to competitive pressures for speed and innovation that call for better workflow, business analytics, and customer insight.” How Cloud Computing Will Save Hollywood tells the story of how Lionsgate is using cloud to run their studio and compete with the “big guys” in the industry. Cloud has been helping them deal with their dispersed global environments during film production: media complexity, an unprecedented influx of massive amounts of data, and unique data and workflow requirements. Cloud Resolutions Perhaps the cloud is not so mysterious after all. In a Gathering Clouds interview, David Linthicum (@DavidLinthicum) shared his perspective that businesses that adopt cloud gain a strategic advantage: … the companies who [adopt cloud] can turn on a dime…. These companies will be able to leverage their information in much more innovative ways.” As industries increasingly digitize, the cloud is proving to be a useful partner to the CIO in an increasingly digital-first world. It is not surprising that KPMG’s recent survey, Elevating Business in the Cloud, found the top uses for cloud are to drive cost efficiencies and enact large-scale change including enabling a flexible and mobile workforce, improving alignment and interaction with customers, suppliers and business partners, and better leveraging data to provide insightful business decisions. The key to success, as with any new bright shiny technology, is to apply the cloud to achieve critical business and mission objectives. As Jim Buczkowski of Ford Motor says, The cloud is about delivering services, features, and information…to make the driving experience a better one.” So here’s to accomplishing great things with the cloud! Just keep these tips from KPMG in mind as you resolve to make your cloud initiative a success: Make cloud transformation a continuous process. Drive cloud transformation from the top. Focus on strong leadership and engagement. Avoid silos. Measure success. Plus one bonus tip from me: Avoid the trap of “cloud for cloud’s sake,” lest we discover the biggest truth in Joni Mitchell’s lyric is “So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.” A version of this article first appeared in CMSWire.

Read More

OpenText and SAP Run Together for Exceptional Customer Impact

As we gear up for another year at SAPPHIRE, I’d like to reflect on the strong relationship that OpenText and SAP have shared for decades and look ahead to an exciting future together. For more than 20 years, we have worked together to empower the enterprise to manage its unstructured and structured information for business success. Our combined solutions make information more discoverable, manageable, secure, and valuable. Connecting SAP business suites with OpenText information suites delivers a powerful platform for innovation and opportunity. Together, we have: Transformed processing operations at Bumblebee Foods from being 100 percent reliant on paper to being 100 percent digital, with automated processes reducing costs by over 50 percent and significantly increasing efficiency. Positioned Alagasco for future growth through increased sustainability and performance. Centralized information has helped break down organizational silos, speed up sales processes, and maintain business continuity. Created a culture of innovation at Distell by empowering employees to share best practices and collaborate. As well as increasing productivity, the organization has managed its intellectual capital more effectively to enhance and protect its brand. As the world around us shifts to digital, the combined value that we deliver as partners grows exponentially. In celebration of this valued relationship, OpenText has been awarded the SAP Pinnacle Award for seven years in a row. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we have just received the 2015 SAP Pinnacle Award for “Solution Extension Partner of the Year”, making OpenText a recipient for the past eight years. This category honors partners who co-innovate with SAP to deliver exceptional customer impact. OpenText was selected for this year’s award based on our innovative approach that enriches and extends the capabilities and scope of SAP products and applications OpenText was formally presented with the 2015 SAP Pinnacle Award at the SAP Global Partner Summit last evening, in conjunction with SAPPHIRE® NOW, SAP’s international customer conference in Orlando, Florida. We’re on hand at this event to showcase the latest advancements in joint OpenText and SAP releases. Look for us at booth #130 at the conference where we’ll be demonstrating the power and flexibility of products like SAP Document Presentation, SAP Invoice Management, and Tempo Box Premium. We continue to build out the OpenText and SAP ecosystem. Our strategic solutions now support a broad range of SAP offerings—from HANA database and analytics to Simple Finance and the HANA Enterprise Cloud. Recent releases include HANA integrations for SAP Document Presentment by OpenText and SAP Invoice Management by OpenText—both designed to deliver deeper insight and content value, enhancing an organization’s process efficiency and the ability to make more strategic decisions. These extensions are available in the cloud, on premise, or as a hybrid solution. At Enterprise World 2014, our annual user conference, we introduced the OpenText Business Center for SAP Solutions, a platform for automating mission-critical business processes across the SAP business suite. We have now announced the general availability of this product. Using the OpenText Business Center for SAP, joint customers will be able to digitize entire processes in SAP—from capture to creation—without requiring complex configuration or programming resources. In the Digital-First World, all of an organization’s information and processes will be digital. This release is part of our commitment to simplify, transform, and accelerate business for the digital enterprise—enabling it to drive efficiency through digitization. In addition to expanding our support for SAP processes, we will be also be introducing Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium. Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium are secure solutions for sharing and synchronizing both personal and SAP enterprise content across different platforms and devices. Both deliver tight integration into SAP Extended ECM, giving users greater freedom to share and work with business content across any device, while still maintaining information governance and control. Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium enhance the SAP ecosystem by securely extending content tied to SAP business processes beyond the firewall to non-SAP users, including unlimited external users such as customers, suppliers, and partners across the business network. The ability to manage unstructured information in the enterprise plays a pivotal role in digital transformation—and it is a key capability that the OpenText and SAP ecosystem delivers. Our partnership continues to drive product breakthroughs that produce impactful and tangible results for our customers. Together, we are laying the foundation for a Digital-First World for over 4,500 customers and 50+ million active users—across two decades of innovation and into the future. Read the press release. Visit our website.

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

To Keep or Not to Keep: A Records Management Question

With 90% of the world’s data generated over the last two years and enterprise information growing at an exponential rate, the ability to effectively manage and govern the lifecycle of important electronic business information is more important than ever. Recently, OpenText CMO Adam Howatson sat down with Tracy Caughell, Director of Product Management, to discuss worldwide records management regulations, the consequences of non-compliance, and the cost benefit to organizations who embrace records management solutions. According to Caughell, one of the benefits of OpenText Records Management is the ability to identify when records can be disposed of. “We all know that we need to get rid of stuff,” she says. ” Our strength is allowing [customers] to do it in a way that is defensible, a way that they can prove they did what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it, with minimal disruption to their daily activities.” Watch the video below to learn more, or click here. From capturing, to classifying, to managing information, having an enterprise-wide records management strategy can help organizations to comply with laws, external regulations and internal policies. By providing a structured and transparent way to maintain records from creation through to eventual disposition, Records Management can help to enhance corporate accountability, ensure regulatory compliance, and make it easier to find the information you need. More Information: Read how Sprint uses OpenText Records Management to take control of their records and documents. Learn more about OpenText Records Management solution. photo courtesy of Marcin Wichary

Read More

Why Your EDI and B2B Processes Need Analytics

Once your B2B business processes are automated and transactions are flowing electronically (usually leveraging EDI and XML), you will need to have visibility into those transactions in order to speed up your decision-making, respond quickly to changing customer and market demands, and optimize your business processes.  This type of actionable business insight into your B2B transaction flows is exactly the kind of information you need at your fingertips to remain a competitive leader in your market. There are several types of information – analytics – to which you need quick and easy access in order to make informed and actionable business decisions. According to a recent Aberdeen Group report (1), 65% of companies indicated that they need to improve their analytics capability. And half of all the companies said they are not spending enough on analytics capabilities.  The study also showed that high-performing businesses are three and a half times more likely to use analytics than low performers. Imagine that you are the buyer in an ordering transaction. The analytics capabilities you want will provide answers to questions such as: When will the goods I ordered be delivered? Will there be a shipment delay? What percent of my B2B suppliers are sending me advance ship notices on-time? What are the top document types I’m exchanging with my suppliers? Who are my top suppliers and how many transactions have I completed with them? Who are my top- and bottom- performing suppliers based on specific KPIs (such us complete orders, accurate shipments, on-time deliveries) Now, imagine that you are the supplier in an ordering transaction. You want  answers to questions such as: Has my customer submitted the order I’ve been awaiting? Was my order accepted? Has my invoice been paid? Which of my customers sent me the most orders during the holiday season? Which of my customers send me lots of changes to their purchase orders? Which of my customers pay on time; which ones pay late? For which customers has the order volume increased or decreased by more than 20% over the last 6 months? Armed with the insights from these capabilities you can: Immediately react to exception conditions to avoid problems, such as late deliveries that would negatively impact your customer service, increased costs due to expedited service requirements or increased inventory Evaluate the performance of suppliers against KPIs and then proactively collaborate with them to improve performance and lower costs Award more business to your high performers, based on quality, timeliness, and other key performance indicators Ensure that future sourcing negotiations take performance and quality into account – e.g. when you are the buyer you can negotiate for lower prices in return for more orders with your best suppliers; as a supplier you can highlight excellent performance in requesting more business from your customers. Manage more partners more effectively with automated processes and scoring/analysis tools In my next blog I will describe the different types of analytics that can be applied to obtain these types of critical B2B process insights. To learn more about the steps in the journey to unlock the value of your supply chain data, attend this webinar on Thursday, April 9, 2015: Using Analytics to Unlock the Value of Your B2B Data.  Register Now >> (1) Bob Heaney, “Supply Chain Intelligence: Descriptive, Prescriptive, and Predictive Optimization,” Aberdeen Group, February 2015

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

ISO 20022: The Legos of Payments

There was a time (not long ago) when the use of ISO 20022 standards as building blocks for payment instructions and cash management information was limited to a special club – the lucky providers and users of payment services in the Eurozone.  SWIFT has also adopted ISO 20022 as the basis for its MX message series. You may not know that ISO 20022 is much bigger than payments and cash management (it is being used for all sorts of financial messaging) and its use has broadened to a much larger footprint than Europe. Every continent with a bank (that excludes our friends in Antarctica) has at least one country that has already or is committed to adopting ISO 20022 for upgrading existing payment systems or building brand new ones. Some regions have much more experience building with their Legos.   Others are just diving in – including the United States, Canada, Switzerland, China and South Africa.   In the not too distant future, ISO 20022 will be used for emerging cross-border payment schemes since it enables interoperability between domestic payment systems built on the same foundation. The message to banks and corporates is clear:  if you haven’t learned how to work with ISO 20022, you need to become familiar with the building blocks and learn how you can adapt your existing systems in order to integrate with the various parties required.  If you work for a bank, this means your corporate clients, the payment system operators, and possibly your regulators.  If you work in a corporate treasury or payments organization, that means your banks and your trading partners (who increasingly will be looking for remittance information in ISO 20022 format). Most organizations will not have the resources and expertise to take on an ISO 20022 building project on its own. Even a child using her Lego set for the first time usually needs help from an older sibling or parents to make it stand up.   There are contractors (technology vendors) and consultants and standards organizations (e.g. ISO, SWIFT) available to help. Adopting ISO 20022 standards is bigger than just swapping out one format for another – it has the potential to be the foundation for value-added services and the basis for greatly enhanced data intelligence. As you think about your future payments strategy, it is vitally important that you incorporate a plan for adopting – even better, for leveraging – ISO 20022 for value. If you are attending this year’s NACHA Payments Conference in New Orleans, I encourage you to join OpenText in an interactive “Topical Talk” on Future Proofing your Payment Environment, Tuesday, April 21 at 9:15am in the Great Hall Pre-function Area.   This is a unique opportunity to learn and share best practices on every aspect of payment modernization, including the adoption of ISO 20022.   Please come and contribute to the conversation. Susan Feinberg is a Financial Services Consultant with OpenText specializing in Corporate Banking and Payments.

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

Wholesale Banking: The Drivers Behind Digital Channels

I use a tablet computer for many aspects of my daily life: paying bills, online shopping, social networking and entertainment. There is a slick and easy-to-use app for everything and I can access it instantly for a very low price. These applications are all interconnected, pre-packaged, and running on industrial electronic highways behind the scenes, creating the “instantaneous” experience of the digital life. Strangely, my digital life goes six years back in time, five days a week between 8am and 6pm. This “retro” feeling is experienced by millions of office workers, largely because our consumer world at home is already digital. . Expectations are shifting faster than reality, especially in the workplace. This article focuses on the impact of this digital “gap” in the world of wholesale banking. Enter Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) on my left, Corporates on my right. A Historical Difference Between the SMB and Corporate Market Until recently, the first group ─ the SMB market ─ had the tendency to use local currency bank accounts and domestic “low value” payments through historical clearing with a fairly small financial supply chain. Business Online Banking was the most appropriate channel to capture their payables and receivables, either through web-based file upload/download or manual form input. In other cases, a small or medium business would outsource this function to a payment and payroll Service Bureau. In a last example, a medium business would have a direct “legacy” electronic submission method with the Bank (BACSTEL-IP in the UK). The treasury team is often just one or a small number of individuals with other responsibilities in the business, such as accounting and office administration. The second group, Corporates, is more “industrial”, requiring direct host-to-host integration for both low- and high-value payments coming from a Treasury system ─ part of an organized and optimized Treasury and Financial Supply Chain function. Payroll files, collection instructions, and payment submissions are the result of highly industrial processes, requiring an industrial relationship with the Bank. The day-to-day process is fairly unattended; however the treasury team usually consists of top professionals versed in the world of working capital optimization, intra-day liquidity and cash flow management. SMBs Behaving Like Corporates and Vice-versa On one hand, Small and Medium Businesses are becoming accustomed to commercial “digital” packages that enable them to automate their small treasury and finance operations. Accounting and treasury desktop software ─ usually available as an online or mobile version as well ─ now enable SMBs to “transact” with their Bank, instead of painstakingly browsing an online banking website to upload or type a series of records. SMBs are basically becoming “host-to-host capable” through Internet-based communication protocols like sFTP and HTTPs. On the other hand, Corporates need to manage more and more exceptions in their industrial process, such as prompting a business signatory to execute an action, or “hijacking” and applying manual intervention against a transaction outside the industrial flow. For example, high value payments require multi-eye approval from business executives. Receivables reconciliation issues are flagged up to accountants immediately during an intra-day bank statement report. This leads corporates to require more and more flexibility from their technology to act outside the industrial corporate-to-bank flow of information ─ typically through a digital and user-friendly online banking or mobile-based ecosystem. A corporate treasurer or signatory will be much more open for an iPad-based executive approval prompt from the Bank (with contextual information), rather than go to the office, insert a physical security token on his desktop computer or on one of the treasury workstations. This is the beginning of the “omnichannel” age for wholesale banking. What’s Holding Back the Banks? SMB and corporate channels were designed for their original purpose: online and mobile banking for the former group, host-to-host for the latter. These are usually in silos separated from front- to back-office, with huge Program Management and IT lifecycle structures around them. Digital requirements and converging client markets mean only one thing ─ these banking platforms and the traditional approach are becoming obsolete. So are their mind-boggling costs for keeping the lights on, or applying simple changes. Digital Transformation ─ The Way Forward Digital channels have a positive side effect on the bank’s technology estate: it enables to keep products lean and simple, free of client-specific customization. This is something that banks call their “vanilla flavour”. Client customizations are built and maintained within the channel layer. Payment, trade finance, investment banking, and even consumer products remain leaner, easier to maintain throughout their lifecycle with fewer dependencies and more predictable P&L changes over time. I sincerely believe that banks will start competing with a growing number of non-bank financial suppliers (independent trade finance organizations and PSD2 service providers). The Digital Transformation is necessary now to compete and differentiate tomorrow.

Read More

Treat Contract Management as a Strategic Business Process

EDMS

It is well accepted that contracts are at the crux of every business, and the value delivered by underlying contract management systems can have a direct impact on an organization’s top-line revenues, costs and regulatory compliance (see related post: Contract Center: The Hat-Trick of Business Value ). Yet organizations often treat contracts simply as important legal documents that, once signed, are saved away in shared folders or content repositories (or even in filing cabinets) until a need arises to look for them. By the way, studies show a not-so-small percentage of these “safely stored” contracts are not found after they are stored. Contract management really needs to be looked at as a broader, end-to-end, strategic business process, rather than solely being the activity of aggregating contract documents within a content repository. And, like any organizational core competency or strategic asset, this business process—also referred to as the contract lifecycle—needs to be efficient, consistent, flexible, and built on best practices. It needs to be monitored, analyzed, and continuously improved. But different departments are concerned with their own types of contracts, and each one may have their own policies which are often undocumented or inconsistent, procedures which some may be manual or semi-automated, and people which may be disconnected or disorganized for dealing with drafting, negotiation, and renewal of contracts. A centralized and collaborative platform to manage all contracts transparently is desirable, but how could one fulfill the unique requirements (policy, procedure, and people) of each type, while also ensuring that every individual contract moves flawlessly from request through execution, or from enforcement through renewal? This is where a cutting-edge BPM platform can play a critical role. The newly launched Contract Center application fully harnesses the power of the OpenText Process Suite to orchestrate the contracting process, automate related workflows, execute rules, assign tasks, send reminders, enforce deadlines, track milestones, remove bottlenecks, and implement best practices for all contract types. Contractual terms and other information entered or generated as part of a contracting process can be used not only to build dashboards, reports, and integrations, but also to drive and optimize the progression of this process itself. Contract documents to be authored, negotiated, redlined, or executed are contextually and seamlessly integrated into each stage of the contract lifecycle, and securely governed in the OpenText Content Server which provides best-in-class ECM capabilities. So with Contract Center, contract managers and legal staff can quickly locate (or be alerted) and stay on top of their active or in-progress contracts at all times, and can rest assured that no contract will ever go out of sight. For more information on Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and OpenText Contract Center, view this recorded webinar, Three Pitfalls of Poor Contract Lifecycle Management—and How to Overcome Them.

Read More

Infusing the Supply Chain with Analytics

The strategic use of supply chain information is a key driver of competitive advantage in the Digital-First World. Once a company’s B2B processes are automated and transactions are flowing, visibility into those transactions can fuel better strategic and tactical decision-making across the entire business network. Insights from analytics allow trading partners to speed their decision-making, rapidly respond to changing customer and market demands, and optimize their business processes. Our mission at OpenText is to enable our customers to prepare for and thrive in the digital future. Analytic capabilities will play a key role. As I’ve said in previous posts, analytic technologies represent the next frontier in extracting value from enterprise information. For this reason, we are infusing new analytic capabilities into all our core solutions. We recently added new analytic capabilities to the OpenText Trading Grid to help our customers easily access insights for improving their supply chains’ effectiveness. The OpenText Trading Grid is powered by the OpenText Cloud and is the world’s leading B2B integration network, processing more than 16 billion transactions per year, integrating 600,000 trading partners for more than 60,000 customers around the globe. The solution boasts easy-to-use dashboards which depict and summarize data trends and compare them to key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business. They allow companies to evaluate the performance of suppliers or the behavior of customers and use this information to improve processes and relationships. On a more granular level, ‘track and trace’ data highlights exception information about a specific order, shipment, or invoice. By taking prompt corrective action, companies can remedy a situation before process performance degrades or costs accumulate. There are many, many scenarios in which analytic insights bring incredible benefit to the supply chain. Armed with information about the physical location of products or shipments, companies are able to plan operations with greater efficiency, reduce the number of items lost in transit, and fulfill orders with greater accuracy. They can replenish products as shortages are detected. When it comes to process automation, information about the performance of equipment is used to track degradation, order replacement parts, and schedule service before failure occurs. Today, the digital supply chain is an information supply chain that coordinates the flow of goods, communications, and commerce internally and externally across an extended ecosystem of business partners. It seamlessly integrates data from supply chain processes and smart equipment, and tracks intelligent products, parts, and shipments tagged with sensors. Within a few short years it will expand to integrate data from the Internet of Things (IoT). Data will flow online from myriad devices, including wearable technologies, 3-D printers, and logistics drones. It is expected that we will see a thirty-fold increase in web-enabled physical devices by the year 2020. All of these devices producing volumes of data will create a network rich with information and insights. This is the future. A future in which analytics bring incredible value and competitive advantage to the supply chain. And we are only just beginning to envision it. To learn more about OpenText Trading Grid Analytics, read our press release or visit our website.

Read More

Apple Watch Validates the Power of Analytics

  The Apple Watch is not only the company’s foray into the smartwatch and wearable technology space, but it also validates the importance of digital disruption, cloud delivery and embedded analytics. Even before the company’s smartwatch made its formal debut this week, application developers representing companies that provide sports-related, entertainment, and productivity software were called by Apple to create innovative app designs that highlighted the device as a customized timepiece, instant communications device and health and fitness companion. The result: Apple executives announced 50 new apps that will all work immediately with its upcoming Apple Watch including Instagram, MLB.com At Bat, Nike+ Running, OpenTable, Shazam, Twitter, WeChat, Uber, Salesforce, American Airlines and Honeywell Lyric thermostat. What these applications have in common is that they all disrupt our notion of how content is delivered as well as how and where information is analyzed and provided. For example, Apple demonstrated with the help of supermodel Christy Turlington Burns how apps might access data such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use. Third-party devices and apps can measure the data through a cloud delivery system and then notify the user to take appropriate actions. Other data that can be measured and analyzed include the watch’s accelerometer, taptic engine, haptic feedback, microphone, gyroscope and GPS sensors in your iPhone to gain insight into the wearer’s gait, motor impairment, fitness, speech and even memory. Apple Watch and Digital Disruption In reviewing the potential of the Apple Watch, it is apparent that businesses will be able to capitalize on these digital disruptions in several areas. From a paperwork reduction initiative, Apple said its Watch can make it easier to recruit participants for large-scale research studies. Instead of sending out reams of survey packets, participants can complete tasks or submit surveys right from an app on their wrist, so researchers spend less time on paperwork and more time analyzing data. Using cloud-delivered analytics, researchers might then present an interactive informed consent process. Here are some other ways Apple’s Watch creates opportunities for businesses to take advantage of a cloud-delivered embedded analytics engine: Business Process Management (BPM): The most common process interaction is an approve/reject function. The Apple Watch is likely to raise the bar on how mobile devices handle BPM on the go. Status updates, alerts, reports and approval steps involved in a business process can be conducted on the watch. Enterprise Content Management (ECM): Collaboration will be the likely use case here. Commenting and following comments from co-workers, trending topics, volume of interactions, as well as simple sharing of documents and folders are tasks that may move to a watch. Customer Experience Management (CEM): All content that you see on a watch represents the brand identity of the application provider and defines the essence of the customer experience. Watches will become a digital experience channel that needs to be treated as part of a consistent omni-channel strategy, while delivering the best possible experience given the capabilities a limitations of the device. Information Exchange (IX): The Near field communication (NFC) sensor in Apple Watch will enable a new class of applications that can interact with the physical world. In a factory or warehouse, this may include actions such as retrieving information about a box of parts,  ordering new parts when supplies are low, retrieving status update on current shipments, or delivering supplier alerts. Another Demo to Watch While Apple put on an impressive show of its design strength, the company is by no means the first smartwatch maker to demonstrate applications that tap into Big Data and deliver analytics via the cloud. In November 2014, Actuate (now OpenText) combined the power of integrated Big Data access along multiple devices (including a smartwatch) with visualizations, open APIs and embedded analytics. Check out that demonstration in this video. Any thoughts on the Apple Watch, digital disruption or the future of analytics? Leave your comments below.

Read More

Contract Center: The Hat-Trick of Business Value

A “hat-trick” is something good that happens in threes, typically three scores in a single game in hockey, soccer (football for those of you outside the U.S.), and cricket (for those really outside the U.S.). Being a bit of a sports fan, this is the first thing I thought of as OpenText launched our Contract Center today. Contract Center is a new contract lifecycle management solution that brings together our Process Suite BPM platform with our Content Server ECM system, and wraps those up in an application that includes contract lifecycle best practices, processing functions, workflows, and user interfaces. It is an enterprise-scale platform for sell-side contracts, buy-side contracts, and all types of legal agreements. The hat-trick is due to the fact that Contract Center provides three types of benefits to an organization, including top-line benefits, bottom-line benefits, and security/regulatory benefits. Many software solutions claim to have all three—but really don’t. Score number one includes the top-line revenue benefits of effective contract processing, especially on the sell side. Shorter contract development and execution times due to direct input of approved clauses and phrases, automated negotiation cycles with customers, notifications around contract renewals, and generally a more efficient, effective, and customer-friendly contracting process means buying relationships get off on the right foot and stay that way. Score number two is the cost savings, which are even more significant. Usually very highly paid legal resources are creating contracts, are involved in negotiation and amendment, and are joined by a significant amount of resources facilitating manual approval cycles, leading to a very labor-intensive and expensive process. In addition, Contract Center captures meta-data about contracts, so order volumes and renewals are tracked and alerts are sent so organizations can maximize the value of their contracts in terms of volume discounts, incentives, rebates, and on-time renewals. A side benefit of this automation—besides the savings associated with reducing time and people—is the transparency. With Contract Center, users can see exactly where a contract is at any stage in the process, and what is needed to move it forward. The third score to make the hat-trick is that many organizations have internal information governance mandates or regulatory requirements for contract processing, which are both *very* hard without an automated and flexible system. Contract Center is completely integrated with the industry-leading Content Server repository, which provides complete control of a contract at every stage of its lifecycle, and includes strict authentication and security, full auditability, version control, and retention and termination when appropriate.  Compliance and security are very expensive and inconsistent without a system such as Contract Center, and the penalties for not getting it right includes fines, suspensions, and the inability to produce documents for litigation—adding up to extended time in the penalty box for the management team. The system can be augmented with OCR/ICR functionally via our Capture Center product and contact composition via our StreamServe product. These are integrated out of the box and allow organizations to craft the right solution for their specific needs. Contract Center takes something very expensive and important for an organization and makes it automated and secure, and it’s flexible enough to meet the needs of a variety of organizations and contract types. With our ability to improve the top line, reduce the bottom line (together to increase profits), and manage compliance, I’m sure even Wayne Gretzky would be impressed. As the record holder for the most three-goal games in an NHL career (with 50 total), I’m sure he’s had some pretty big contracts in his lifetime as well. Hmmm, maybe I’ll give him a call… (photo: Guildford Flames at Milton Keynes courtesy of David G. Steadman)

Read More