Enterprise Content Management

How We’re Using Discovery Analytics to Solve GDPR Challenges

discovery analytics

We’re still over a year away from General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) “go live” date, but the sense of dread at recent conferences is tangible. And understandably so: The GDPR imposes sweeping requirements on organizations to understand and protect the personal data they process and use. While records management and infosec have so far dominated the GDPR discussion, your lawyers and compliance teams are also gearing up with discovery analytics, including machine learning, to help them manage GDPR risk.  The New Cost of Personal Data The GDPR introduces a slew of IG regulations that attach to Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which is defined as any information relating to an individual. If that sounds broad, it’s because it is. Your name, your pictures, your email, your IP address—really anything that could be used to identify you is included. The GDPR creates personal rights in this data, like the right to be forgotten, the right to audit your data, the right to correct it, or transfer it. It also includes enhanced data breach notification and response obligations. Basically, if your organization touches consumer data in some fashion you’re likely covered by the GDPR. And if your organization’s products or services regularly involve personal data, security takes on even more prominence. Failure to comply with the GDPR could incur fines of up to 20 million Euro or an enormous 4% of global turnover.    The dramatic penalties have spurred organizations to conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) and proactively audit their own data to measure risk & exposure. Understanding how and where you handle personal data is the first challenge, and a significant one since PII can be embedded in nearly all your business documents and some are more important than others. Finding a Needle in a Stack of Needles If a basic component of GDPR is understanding your data, then naturally you need tools to search, identify, categorize, and flag documents. Traditional search methods of manually reviewing contracts one by one for language about PII treatment, processing, or warehousing is unreliable and inefficient. During a breach response or a PII-assessment, triage is key; you need to rapidly identify the most sensitive documents and tag them for special handling (more on that later). To do so, you need discovery analytics and machine learning. Pattern identification is a crucial technology to rapidly identify simple documents containing standardized PII like credit cards, licenses, medical records, and more. But this technology on its own won’t identify all the documents necessary for a PIA because not all PII is pattern-based and is often highly contextual. That’s where concept analysis, an unsupervised machine learning algorithm, comes in. This technology analyzes the co-occurrence of words and clusters them together according to contextual themes—even if they lack specific keywords—and without any human feedback. These tools can, with astounding accuracy, distinguish between different contexts that influence how we interpret words. For instance, if the word “private” appears in a number of documents related to military ranks the engine could group those documents aside from ones that feature the word “private” in relation to personal data.   These automated tools can get you started on a privacy evaluation, but the ultimate analysis is too nuanced to rely exclusively on machine categorization. Human review is an indispensable element, so having document review workflows and administration tools is necessary. This means the ability to batch out documents in related groups to keep legal reviewers engaged with relevant content. And with a continuous machine learning algorithm running in the background, each decision that our legal team makes while eyeballing documents will train a recommendation engine. This algorithm can then evaluate the remaining documents and predict which ones are likely to contain sensitive data (much more on that interesting topic here). In this way, you can start with a known dataset (like your vendor contracts database) and then leverage analytics to identify unknown, risk-prone documents. As you review more documents and find more PII-laden content, the algorithm is constantly learning in the background. It conducts broad sweeps of your remaining data to prioritize batches of content that are likely to contain PII. What’s more, these algorithms can run on an issue-specific basis—a crucial ability since the GDPR distinguishes between “personal data” and “sensitive personal data.” Knowing is Half the Battle The broader impact of GDPR will shake out over years, it’s still unclear how individuals will exercise their rights or how DPAs will enforce the rules. But organizations can take steps today towards understanding their risk exposure and doing what they can to mitigate potential consequences. OpenText™ Discovery combines tools like machine learning, pattern identification, and entity extraction with data visualizations, keywords, and metadata filters to help legal and compliance teams identify any PII-carrying data. All of this is guided by a document review workflow that has been honed over years of litigation projects and layered security. Register today for OpenText and Digital Clarity Group GDPR Webinar on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at 11:00 AM EST.

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Excellence in Sales Order Entry – From Document to Digital

digital sales orders

Sales orders, the documents with the odor of company success attached to them! Physical (or electronic) proof that your company sells products that your customers like. Proof that you make money and create and retain jobs. So what could there be that is not to like about sales orders? Well, the question here is: Are your sales orders solely creating value and financial success for your company? Or are they also costing you money? Are they slowing down your business? Maybe even creating conflicts with your customers? Fully digital sales order process – why? In a digital world, you should consider automating your sales order entry process from beginning to end. The digital sales order process should start the minute a sales order enters your company, from document to digital. This should be independent from your input channel – whether your sales orders reach you via EDI, email, fax or paper document, make sure to digitize your sales orders when they first touch your company. Many of our customers have EDI in place for 60 – 80% of their sales orders. However, the remaining 20-40% slows down their business, preventing them from having full insight and transparency of the status of ALL sales orders. The impact When our customers started to capture the data also from PDFs, emails and paper documents, they realized how valuable a fully automated a digital process is. With their model from document to digital they turned the sales order process into a fast, customer-friendly and fully transparent process. They now have full insight into the status of any sales order. If a customer has a request referring to a sales order, they can answer it within seconds, independent from its input channel or process status. Reporting and transparency have exponentially improved. Management is now able to track the performance of the sales order process across countries, from month to month or year over year. Now, even the performance tracking task is a simple activity, too. It is fast and it is accurate. Not only for the electronic input channel, but for all sales orders. The information extracted is also proof that with the new integrated sales order automation, customers have been able to cut sales order cycle time in half by also automating the remaining 20-40% of sales orders. Customer relationships have also improved because disputes over orders and invoices or wrong deliveries have reached an all-time low. The analysis of sales orders allows making purchasing recommendations to customers from evaluating other customer orders – those who regularly order specific products in combination with other products. These cross-sell opportunities are well-received by customers as they create value and often help to meet their core business needs. Have you identified a need to further digitize your sales order entry process? Take a look at how OpenText™ Business Center for SAP Solutions helps to improve the sales order process and much more.

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OpenText ApplicationXtender 8.1 SP1 is Here!

ApplicationXtender

ApplicationXtender is now part of OpenText. Like you, we’ve always known that ApplicationXtender was a jewel within the Dell EMC Enterprise Content Division, but now that we’re part of OpenText, it’s great hearing this validation from our new colleagues as well. If you’d like to know more about the ECD integration, we recommend you read Stephen Ludlow’s recent blog which will also point you to the recording of an interesting AIIM webinar. OpenText invests in products and technologies that have the opportunity to address new markets and opportunities. ApplicationXtender fits into this category, offering a quick-to-implement and easy-to-use solution for companies and departments that don’t have the budget or IT support for a full-scale ECM implementation. As early proof of this commitment, we just launched the first service pack for ApplicationXtender 8.1: Certification / Security for Microsoft Windows Server 2016, SQL Server 2016, and Microsoft Office 2016 Image Capture Supportability update and PDF rendering performance enhancements Microsoft Office Integration Supportability update Cumulative Patches If you are new to ApplicationXtender or haven’t moved to ApplicationXtender 8.x yet, you may want to know that ApplicationXtender is a scalable, cost-efficient document management solution, optimized for line-of-business content. With ApplicationXtender 8, we’ve started our mobile and cloud-first journey, with a long list of enhancements over previous versions. Take a look: Mobile-enabled, with an intuitive user interface, no plugins required Cloud-ready, for public, private or hybrid cloud deployment Easy to learn! Users can stay in their familiar business applications. They can easily view content without invoking the application that created them Rapid to deploy, requiring minimal IT involvement Based on open standards such as RESTful Services and HTML5 Available in English, German, Simplified Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian We’re excited not only about this release of ApplicationXtender, but its future as well! Learn more about ApplicationXtender here. Existing customers current on maintenance can access the latest release of the software by visiting the Dell EMC Support site.

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Webinar Outlines a Bright Future as OpenText and Documentum Come Together

Documentum webinar

On February 2, I had the good fortune to participate in a very interesting webinar hosted by AIIM. Inspired by the new union of OpenText and Documentum, the event brought together a variety of experts to discuss what the pairing means to customers of both, the partner network, and the industry in general. And the interest was certainly there — registration numbers were some of the highest AIIM has ever seen. Well, we covered what we set out to, and more! The roundtable discussion and subsequent Q&A session were wide-ranging and dynamic, addressing the concerns of the customer base and future product integration plans, but also delving into a wide open sharing of views around the present and future state of ECM and the skills that organizations are going to need in order to be successful. If you didn’t get the chance to attend the webinar, then setting aside some time to listen to the webinar-on-demand would be 60 minutes of your time well spent. Regardless of your current solution provider or your role in ECM, there’s some thought-provoking perspectives on topics like “the difference between ECM and Content Services” and “the kinds of technology and business competencies an organization needs to have – or develop – in order to embrace this shift toward content services.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Finally, please join us on February 14 as AIIM Chief Evangelist John Mancini and I connect once again to present Next-Gen Information Management — Succeeding in a New Era. We’ll be examining the emerging age of Content Services and what that means to the traditional concept and practice of ECM. Sit in to gain valuable insight into the changing definition of ECM and learn the next steps that will allow you to prepare for the future while maximizing your current investment. Here’s hoping everything OpenText and Documentum do together in the future is as great as our first webinar!

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ECM that Works the Way You Do – Announcing eDOCS 16.1

eDocs

It’s here and it’s shipping! OpenText is pleased to launch eDOCS 16.1 – overflowing with innovations for an increasingly secure, flexible work environment that ‘works the way you do’. The release reflects our continued pursuit of secure, easy ECM. Innovations provide greater protection against security threats and data breaches, while helping you meet the needs of your changing workforce and their desire for easier, faster access to information and more flexible ways of sharing and collaborating. Flexible and Intuitive eDOCS 16.1 includes a host of functionality for more a more flexible and intuitive work environment – such as FlexFolders to view content based on preferences and re-inherit security and metadata when moving documents between folders, Desktop Sync and Save to synchronize content between a DM folder or workspace and your local drive, targeted records search to constrain a search within a specific file part for faster results, and responsive webtop design to optimize the user experience across devices. Increased Security and Collaboration eDOCS 16.1 also introduces new layers of security and easy ways of adding it, including single-click document security and metadata “look up” security (native ethical walls). For improved sharing and collaboration, Shared Workspaces let you create, secure, and share a workspace with others in eDOCS DM, and integration with OpenText™ Core provides easy, secure content sharing with external parties via the cloud. Streamlined Administration Ease of administration is critical for organizations looking to do more with less. With 16.1 we’ve incorporated library maintenance, FlexFolder administration, and management of client settings into the DM Management Studio. This provides streamlined administration of on-premises or private cloud deployments within a single application. Curious to learn more? View our slideshare presentation, watch our 16.1 Preview Video, visit our microsite, or contact us for a demo at eDOCSinfo@opentext.com.

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OpenText Completes its Acquisition of Dell EMC Enterprise Content Division, including Documentum

As many of you know, OpenText has recently completed on the previously announced acquisition of Dell EMC’s Enterprise Content Division, including Documentum. This acquisition cements OpenText’s position as the ECM market leader and represents an exciting time for the company! Firstly, Documentum is here to stay. We are committed to protecting Documentum customers’ investment with new innovations and continued support for both the OpenText Content Suite and OpenText Documentum. OpenText will expand ECD’s strategy of developing next generation, cloud-native content applications based on the OpenText LEAP Platform. The acquisition of Documentum only strengthens OpenText’s position as the Next-Generation Cloud Content Services Leader and helps drive our promise to accelerate Digital Transformation for our customers. Integrating the ECD portfolio within the OpenText EIM solution presents an amazing opportunity for all of OpenText’s customers. And, with our Innovation Tour continuing to travel around the globe we have a perfect opportunity to share our vision.  For example bringing analytics and intelligence to Documentum, D2, Life Sciences Application, Capture, InfoArchive and Leap. The Innovation Tour is an exciting opportunity to hear more about how the OpenText roadmap will encompass all of the ECD products to deliver on the promise of digital transformation.  I am also excited to deliver a live code demonstration of the very first integration of an ECD product into the OpenText suite. The upcoming tour schedule is: London: March 21, 2017  – Register Now Paris: March 23, 2017 – Register Now Munich: March 28, 2017- Register Now Stockholm: March 29, 2017 – Register Now Eindhoven: March 30, 2017 – Register Now I look forward to seeing you in one of the EMEA innovation Tour stops. I have also included my contact information and would love to hear from you and learn more about your use of the ECD, Documentum Products. Kind regards Muhi S. Majzoub EVP,  Engineering and Information Technology e: mmajzoub@opentext.com t:  muhismajzoub

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Finding the Right Information in your Stockpiled Content

content search

Where did that document go? If you’re like me, one of the most frustrating things in your workday is searching for some piece of information that you’re sure you have, but is just out of your grasp.  Is it in my email?  Did I put that in the team folder?  Which folder? Is it archived? A report by Hyperion Group confirms that a major barrier to adopting Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems is that users find it too difficult to locate documents (Source: Hyperion Research, MarketView Report 2016). Content needs to be findable Organizations continue to create a massive amount of content – from contracts to engineering drawings, email messages, images, and much more. For the most part, ECM systems have brought good rigor to collecting and storing content – and applying basic metadata to aid in classification and retrieval. So why can’t I find that document – even using the search function? Well, it could be a couple of things. The metadata captured from the user when submitting the document to the repository was limited. Over time, terminology has changed – and the metadata associated with the document has become less meaningful (e.g. you’re searching for “terminations” but the content was originally classified as “layoffs”) New approach required For searches to be effective, an investment into organizing your content must be made. And this can’t just be forcing your staff to fill out more metadata fields when they submit a document to the system. Fortunately, there have been many advancements in software that can automate the capture of metadata in order to augment the findability of information. I really believe that this promises to be the next leap forward that will drive user adoption of ECM systems and make ECM an indispensable tool rather than an obligation that is mandated from management. Beyond structured metadata Take for example OpenText™ eDOCS which can be paired with OpenText™ Content Analytics to dramatically improve the content search experience.  It’s all about using technology to automate the remediation of metadata. It can be as simple as using metadata to coalesce all kinds of content (e.g. “find all contracts for vendor ACME”).  But it’s also about going beyond structural metadata (e.g. title, date) and leveraging semantic metadata.  By this, I mean things like: Similarity analysis that enables you to find similar documents for any document Sentiment analysis that addresses what one might think of as subjective things like the tonality of an item (e.g. negative opinions). Companies are investing in these sorts of technologies in order to unlock business value from stockpiled content by applying automation to the capture of inferred metadata. These companies are at the forefront of driving adoption of ECM systems by appealing to that most basic need – i.e. making your content more findable. Visit our microsite to learn more.

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Join us for a Special AIIM Webinar Discussing the OpenText Acquisition of Documentum and the Future of ECM

AIIM webinar

The deal is sealed! Today, OpenText announced that we’ve finalized our acquisition of Dell EMC’s Enterprise Content Division, including the Documentum product group. When the proposed purchase was first announced last September, it generated speculation and opinion. Now, as the teams formally begin working together, it’s time to have an honest, straightforward conversation about what this union of leading ECM organizations really means to customers, to the combined partner network, and to the larger ECM marketplace in general. To help answer these questions, I’d like to invite you to a unique webinar on February 2. In partnership with AIIM, it will be part round table discussion, part Q&A session, and all valuable insight providing answers to the questions you may have. The roundtable will feature AIIM Chief Evangelist John Mancini, OpenText product experts, a successful Documentum partner, and the highly respected analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe from Digital Clarity Group. The wide discussion will range from where ECM has come from, to upcoming integration strategies, and then to where ECM is headed next. Discussion should be lively to say the least! Please join us and register to attend here.

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Why Lawyers are Adopting AI Faster Than You

AI

When you think of bold, innovative users of transformational technology like artificial intelligence (AI), you naturally think: lawyers. It’s obvious, right? Risk-averse, measured, charge-by-the-hour, brick-and-mortar professionals that parse the written word (“Heretofore? No, hitherto!”) and deliver cautious, nuanced advice (“I didn’t hear your question, but regardless my answer is: It depends.”). Who better to make practical use of today’s cutting-edge AI? (“Alexa, draft an amicus brief in support of my motion in limine. Please.”) Lest the irony be missed, the legal industry is deservedly notorious for being a technological step or two—or more—behind its clients. Yet law firms and savvy corporate legal teams have been pioneering the use of artificial intelligence since the last decade. There is not a litigator of note today that hasn’t heard of Predictive Coding or Technology Assisted Review. These terms refer to the use of machine learning to mimic an attorney’s decision-making in the context of legal discovery, the process of identifying and reviewing up to millions of documents to determine which must be produced to the other side in litigation or an investigation. Predictive Coding can mean dramatically faster and more accurate document analysis and review. Why are lawyers leveraging AI for document review? Big Data: The growing amounts and kinds of data generated by workers—in office programs, cloud apps, chat systems, shared workspaces—means an ever-increasing challenge for legal and compliance officers. To them, all of this work product is potential evidence. Bigger cost: Of the more than $200B spent on litigation across the US annually, 70% is spent on discovery, and 70% of that discovery spend goes to document review. So, anything that can accelerate or reduce review means substantial savings for corporate clients. Irrelevant content: No one likes reviewing irrelevant data. (Imagine if you had to carefully read your junk email before deleting it.) Front-loading relevant content makes document review more engaging for attorneys, which improves their productivity and accuracy. The need for speed—to insight: Over 95% of civil cases settle, as the uncertainty and cost of a trial is generally to be avoided at nearly all costs. Finding the evidence that proves or disproves your liability early on is key to negotiating a favorable settlement. Think Netflix or Pandora on steroids. Predictive Coding is about finding more like this, where this is a piece of unstructured data (an e-mail, slide deck, letter, memo, etc.) and the more like are documents that are conceptually similar—even though they may not contain the same words that made this relevant in the first place. Documents that are similar in concept but use substantially different language can be equally significant for litigation and investigations. That’s why Predictive Coding goes far beyond traditional Boolean keyword search. To enable Predictive Coding, the system performs statistical analysis on the co-occurrences of all the words in each document ingested, even across millions of documents. It then creates sophisticated models around a handful of documents judged by attorneys to be relevant to the issue under review. It looks across the data set and finds more documents closely related to those models and suggests them to the attorneys for priority review. As attorneys review the suggested documents and label them relevant or irrelevant, the system gets smarter, refining the document models for even better results in the next round. With Predictive Coding, attorneys can find virtually all the relevant content in a data set by reviewing just 10-30% of it, shaving off weeks or months of tedious review and surfacing critical evidence far faster. What OpenText is doing about it: In 2016, OpenText acquired Recommind, a pioneer in advanced analytics for the legal industry for over 15 years. With unparalleled Predictive Coding and other unique capabilities, OpenText™ Discovery Suite helps enterprises discover what matters in their data—faster and more accurately. 2017 is poised to be a banner year for legal technology, as awareness and experience with Predictive Coding are approaching critical mass. Our vision is to see machine learning used to add value to every matter, on virtually every data set. After all, who better to drive technological innovation than your venerable counsel?

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2016 was a Year of Unprecedented Change for ECM. What’s in Store for 2017?

ECM futures

Happy 2017 from all of us at OpenText! Flipping the calendar is always an occasion for a few moments of reflection and prognostication. And, as 2017 finds its footing, my thoughts keep returning to the words of one of 2016’s newly minted Nobel Laureates: “The times they are a-changin’.” In both the larger world and our smaller, tech-focused arena, change seems to have moved from constant to relentless — it’s everywhere and the pace is increasing. The impact of change can be uplifting or devastating. Some of 2016’s amazing revelations were seen in things like a robotic arm being successfully wired to a paralyzed man’s brain, the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in over 100 years, and Amazon making a delivery via drone. These were countered by the loss of a host of cultural luminaries, from David Bowie to Prince to Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali, Harper Lee, Princess Leia and way too many others to list here. And, of course, let’s not forget 2016’s biggest example of change, a certain federal election that I can’t help but filter through ECM-tinted goggles: Did a presidential candidate’s basic email governance issues alter the course of modern history? Only time will tell, but I’m thinking this point may come up in more than a few Information Governance presentations over the rest of this decade. That was just one instance where information management influenced change — and vice versa — in 2016. See below for more: Box continued to dance with the IBM elephant Hewlett Packard Enterprise continued to restructure, agreeing to multi-billion dollar deals that will spin-off/merge its Enterprise Services division with CSC and its software business (including Autonomy) with Micro Focus Lexmark was sold, with its software unit reportedly put up for sale immediately by its new owners OpenText celebrated its 25th anniversary by announcing its intention to acquire Documentum Increasingly staggering tales of data leaks and hacking garnered even more of attention thanks to everything from the Panama Papers to the Democratic National Committee to Yahoo Digital Transformation continued to expand the possibilities and expectations of content within enterprises, often resulting in a not-entirely-comfortable spotlight being turned on ECM’s history of implementations and adoption Together, these disruptors tell a tale of a sector seemingly in the throes of transition and uncertainty. It was enough for some industry analysts and experts to begin sounding the death knell for traditional ECM platforms: They’re too complex, too unwieldy, and too expensive. Maybe they have a point? More than a few commentators also raised the suggestion that the very concept of enterprise-wide content management is obsolete — the market is oscillating back towards standalone, easily digestible solutions to specific use cases rather than bulkier, unified platforms. This piecemeal approach comes with its own set of issues, though. Employing independent, niche apps for specifics like content creation, collaboration, and sharing can run counter to maximizing integration, security, compliance, and analysis. All of which are absolutely essential to realizing success in the coming years. ECM in 2017 and Beyond Future ECM success will be found in technology that can be both a platform for massive, document intensive business processes as well as a lightweight solution for integration and built-for-purpose apps. Success will be seamless collaboration inside and outside the confines of the firewall. And successful ECM will still bridge information sources, aggregating data to drive processes through contextual workspaces – all while providing the governance capabilities we still need. Critically, ECM will sneak into the background as part of applications and processes; functioning as a fully integrated, behind-the-scenes facilitator supporting productivity. Bonus points are awarded if it allows organizations to leverage the sizable capital and knowledge investment they already have in their current ECM platforms. How do we get there? OpenText has a vision for the future of ECM: Cloud-First — quickly deployed, elastic, always available, and constantly updated Independently Consumable — micro-service architecture and REST APIs make it easy to embed ECM in lead business applications and purpose-build new, lightweight apps Consumer Experience — simple, clean UIs; self-administered to maximize adoption Analytics — built-in for light-touch insight into usage, workflow, and continual improvement Repository Agnostic — stands independently or integrates with existing storehouses to eliminate migrations and leverage existing investments Application-Centric — a platform designed for the development of low- and no-code apps to solve specific business problems Can it be achieved? Yes. And it starts with the understanding that you don’t have to throw away your legacy ECM platform like an old 2016 calendar. Build on it. Start small. Aim for targeted solutions by thinking in terms of “content services”: Address your specific business needs strategically, then source and apply the appropriate technology to solve them, integrating it with the core infrastructure you already have. Whether it’s extending ECM functionality further into your business processes, enhancing content sharing and collaboration, or creating purpose-built apps to achieve specific goals, the foundation you’ll need is probably already there. That’s the key to the future of ECM; one that can be realized more quickly and successfully by fully appreciating the fact that “the times they are a-changing.”

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A Duty to Safeguard Client Content

safeguard client content

We’ve all read the headlines. Security breaches continue to shock us for their magnitude and reach—from reports on hacking of Democratic National Convention (DNC) email servers during the 2016 presidential election; to the reported theft of more than 1 billion Yahoo account holders in December. The impact of a breach can be significant. And, not just for the clients—whose loss of personal information can make them vulnerable to financial loss—but also for the organizations who have failed to safeguard that information. A Measured, Disciplined Approach Digital security is complex and requires a multi-pronged approach. One part of this approach is provided by Enterprise Content Management (ECM), which many consider a “must have”—a foundational technology to safeguard sensitive digital content, while ensuring it remains readily accessible for day-to-day operations. At the core of every ECM solution is a Document Management repository—providing a secure home and a structured approach for saving, managing, and governing digital content. Content in the repository is protected by system-wide security and varying levels of more granular security. The ability to securely access content anytime, anywhere by mobile devices is key, as is the ability to check out and securely share content externally in the cloud. User Adoption is Essential Solutions for securing content are only as good those who use them—and many choose not to. Hyperion Research tells us that in the average ECM-enabled legal organization, for example, only 70 percent of users actually use the system. The rest store content however and wherever they like—on desktops, in file shares, in unsanctioned, poorly secured cloud file-sharing repositories. Ethical Reasons to Safeguard Client Content Everyone gravitates to what is easy; to the path of least resistance. In the end, however, the decision to safeguard client content can be considered an ethical or moral one. Lawyers, in particular—regardless of whether they are employed by law firms, in government, or in legal departments of organizations across varying industries—have a professional duty to safeguard client content or “property”. The American Bar Association, for example, requires that lawyers safeguard client property in their possession by holding it separate from their own property to prevent co-mingling (ABA, section 1.15). It is generally accepted that files and documents belong to the client, not the firm. In addition, lawyers must maintain client property in a way that is not only secure, but also readily available and retrievable over time. Complying with Regulatory Requirements ECM solutions are purpose-built to meet these fiduciary requirements, as well as applicable regulatory requirements—and not just for legal, but for firms in many industries. If employees don’t effectively maintain client information they may compromise ethical obligations to safeguard client property and also increase their firm’s exposure to compliance risk. In the end, those firms will have a tough time demonstrating compliance with HIPAA. They’ll have difficulty securing documents in compliance with ISO 27001, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), and countless other regulations. Client information is a valuable commodity and a growing target for theft. Hacking techniques are constantly evolving. Regulations are growing to protect that information. We all have an obligation to ensure the safe, secure management of client information, and with ECM solutions like eDOCS, securing content is not only possible, but easier than ever. More information is available here.

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OpenText Named Leader in Five Functional Areas of new Gartner ECM Critical Capabilities Report

enterprise content management

Last month, the highly respected analysts at Gartner released their 2016 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management. As I wrote in my last blog, the report provides some excellent insight into the changing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) landscape and how ECM solutions are evolving to meet the needs of digital enterprises. It’s compelling reading. And, yes, OpenText was once again named a leader in the sector—the 13th year in a row we’ve been honored with that designation. This month sees the release of the Magic Quadrant’s companion report, Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Content Management. As in the earlier Magic Quadrant, OpenText™ Content Suite scored extremely well in the Critical Capabilities report, ranking first in three categories and second in the other two. So, two Gartner reports, two leadership positions for OpenText Content Suite! What’s the difference between the two reports? In Gartner’s own words: “The Magic Quadrant assesses the ECM vendors with respect to their ability to execute in the market and their vision. This Critical Capabilities document assesses the 15 vendors in terms of their ECM suites’ functional capabilities to support the following five use cases: Personal and team productivity Records management and compliance Process applications Content ecosystem Digital transformation/modernization” It’s clear by looking at these five areas of assessment that the expectations and functionality of ECM have changed. Gone are the days when ECM platforms were viewed and assessed as labor-intensive, one-way repositories where part of an organization’s information was filed to meet compliance requirements. New use cases cover everything from digital modernization to employee productivity to process integration. What’s involved in each? Personal and Team Productivity A new generation of knowledge workers demands new ways to share, collaborate, and create. The new ECM standard is to make adoption and usability simple, allowing users to work they want to work, while providing relevant content in the context of projects and tasks and integrating with leading productivity suites like Office. Records Management and Compliance ECM is a traditional driver and a long-standing strength of OpenText. But governance can no longer hamper throughput. It must be an underlying, concurrent by-product of process and personal productivity. Automation and transparency are key. Process Applications ECM was never about ECM, it was actually about making the business better. Next-gen ECM must excel at the use of automation and workspaces to increase the reach, security, velocity, and value of process-generated content. Think case and contract management, M&A, RFPs, claims processing, and more. Content Ecosystem If ECM is about making business process better, it means that it needs to be extended into business processes and the business applications where the process lives. Previously isolated applications are now linked with ECM has the central hub, information can flow across functions, and governance can be extended. Digital Transformation/Modernization The first four use cases fit into our “new normal” understanding of ECM. However, the last one, ECM as a driver for digital transformation, definitely stands on its own. It’s certainly a source of pride that OpenText leads this category and it’s obviously critical to our customers as digital transformation tops the agenda for many organizations’ strategic plans right now. However, digital transformation starts with customer centricity. The question is: Does ECM have a role to play in customer engagement? Yes! It certainly does if you consider that enterprises now realize the digital employee has the same choices as the digital consumer when it comes to when, where, and how they get their information. Engaging and enabling knowledge workers is where customer centricity starts, and ECM is a vital part of that experience. Customer centricity also typically requires an improvement in digital operations. Based on the first four use cases above, ECM’s ability to improve personal and process productivity positions it as a key difference maker. Information is still the lifeblood of the organization and transformation initiatives almost always involve making the flow of information easier within the organization. What does it mean in terms of your success with ECM? OpenText believes the concept of ECM—whether referencing the product itself or the traditional definition of “content management” within the enterprise—MUST change in order for organizations to thrive as digital entities. Success in the coming decade requires a new approach to information management. Enterprises need to adopt a new stance in order to have full control over, and be able to extract maximum value from, their most important asset; the information that flows from every person and process in the organization. Next-gen ECM solutions will play a key role in that. Just not in the way many have traditionally viewed ECM. As Gartner’s new report highlights, technology advances now allow ECM platforms to play a lead role in driving light-touch collaboration, bridging isolated siloes, and instilling automated, transparent governance in every corner of the enterprise. Still not up to speed on the new way of thinking about ECM and how it can contribute to your success? The two aforementioned Gartner reports are required reading. And there is also some great insight here and here. Then, take a few minutes and explore how OpenText ECM solutions are meeting the needs of progressive organizations here, here, and here.

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Inspiration for Financial Services Transformation, from IOT to Amazon

Disruption by its very nature is an agitator, but there is no reason it can’t be turned into inspiration. Let’s look at developments from the Internet of Things (IOT) to convenience shopping on Amazon, all of which can help financial services companies amidst FinTech, but really, can help any enterprise. We can then outline how an enterprise content management (ECM) strategy can launch you safely into your own transformation. First, consider how sensors and contextual information can inform how you shape, price and deliver your market offerings. A great example? As the latest automobiles roll out with telematics that track mileage, speed and driving behavior, there is a chance to reinvent offerings like insurance plans. Rather than plans that apply a blanket risk to all drivers in an age range, insurance companies can individualize risk and price accordingly, thanks to IOT data. Now, take it a step further – if you’re a car company, why not partner with an insurance company to provide purpose-built cars for new drivers? Equip them with more sensors, in exchange for the better insurance package. Chances are, you will not only sell many such packages, but you might help reduce collision risk overall, as monitored teenagers slow down, knowing their car is sensored. For house insurance, the same idea is possible by sending drones to accident sites to objectively capture information. Fraud goes down, while claim processing speeds up. If the flooded washing machine calls in the drone automatically, even better. Similarly, home IOT devices are only getting more connected, with smoke alarms sending alerts to smart phones, and house shutters automatically closing when a tornado alert is issued. Do any of these new communication paths and data loops create good reasons for you to help your customers? Second, start to make connections between different IOT types and different industries. Many people today wear heart monitoring or fitness wrist bands. Could those be tied to auto-trigger financial decisions? As blood pressure boils, is that a good time to liquidize some assets for emergency use? It sounds far fetched, but the concept here is that learning more about what’s impacting your customers can make you more proactive to help in meaningful ways. This type of thinking may help you uncover new partnerships. I have seen a mobile phone company offer contracts that include free life insurance. Later, those policies are upsold for a new source of customer acquisition. Consider healthcare companies that share your customer base and how you could work together, or automotive companies or manufacturers. What could you do together to delight your joint customers? Finally, use the magic wands of convenience and retention and cast them across IOT.  You might say a spell: “bring me ample customers who are happy to pay me.” You might be surprised how many of your customers care for convenience far more than the actual value initially driving your product’s creation. For Amazon, the service began selling books, then added millions of items. Most recently, it rolled out Pantry for capturing day-to-day purchases. This is no longer just a play to cut out middlemen and cost. In fact, Pantry may cost more for a customer than visiting a store or using different shipping methods per store. It is convenience built into the Amazon experience that makes customers willing to buy practically anything through the service. Knowing Amazon is continually adding new ideas couples this convenience with a stronger motivation to stay loyal. At time of this blog writing, news broke they are looking at brick and mortar grocery stores. Amazon customers may have their license plates read as they pull in and pick up pre-ordered food! There are many more examples, from kids choosing their coffee shop based on free wifi availability, to busy urbanites choosing only restaurants that offer valet parking together with their secured reservation. Loyalty and retention goes to those providers who make life convenient and better, sometimes in seemingly small ways. All of these scenarios involve transforming how you look at and evolve your business. All of them have one thing in common – the never-ending need to manage content, house it, and use it. We have already covered in previous blogs the need to look at your value chain and how to harness innovations, but I encourage you to especially consider IOT and the need for convenience in your transformation and ECM planning. For a bank, this might mean ensuring data feeds from Google Alexa data, to identify which customers are always asking for an Uber or Lyft, then partnering with those companies to bulk-buy free rides for $100k+ deposit customers. For an insurance company, maybe it’s airplane tickets bought on a sister credit card that prompts travel insurance automatically texted to the customer, pre-flight. If you are a Mac user and have had to search hundreds of photos, you know how their search capabilities can save you hours to find “Mom” pictures, tagged through facial recognition. For a bank, it might be as simple as giving your checking customers better mobile device search terms – “Suzy meeting” or “new printer” — to help them speed tax document preparation. Instead of sifting through transactions by date or account type, their broadened ability to search POS device data or mobile app purchasing info removes hassles on their end, and shows you understand their bigger world. Before any creative use of technology, start by learning as much as you can about your customers. Draw inspiration from the 26 billion new IOT devices Gartner predicts by 2020 to help you do this, as well as the new content and data that IOT sensors enable.

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ECM Success in the Real World, Part 3: Information Governance

Information Governance

If I were to pare it right down, there are only a handful of sure things when it comes to Information Governance (InfoGov): Every organization needs effective InfoGov. The odds of success are stacked against you without complete control of your information. It’s your most valuable asset. Every organization’s ideal InfoGov recipe is different. Depending on its sector, culture, infrastructure and other factors, each enterprise requires unique ingredients. We can all name some of the general governance concerns: Banks and privacy, Pharma and compliance, Tech and intellectual property, etc. But also factor in mature companies with established systems versus start-ups just developing their core policies. And don’t forget varying employee demographics. The combinations are endless. Every organization is struggling to achieve their InfoGov goals. It’s not just you. The influence of digital technologies on every aspect of the enterprise has redefined and reinvented the creation and flow of information like nothing before. And this is just the beginning of the disruptions to come. We hear about that last bullet a lot. Enterprises are seeing that the InfoGov models they’ve been using for years no longer work. Business applications have changed, the people using them have changed, the use cases for the information involved have changed. About the only thing that hasn’t changed for most organizations is the legacy ECM platform they’re employing to try and manage this new environment — a system most likely implemented years ago as a labor-intensive, one-way repository for information storage. It’s just not enough for today’s business needs. It’s Time to Rethink ECM’s Role in Your Information Governance Strategy Over the past year at events like Enterprise World, I’ve been having conversations with customers and industry leaders about how a new generation of ECM technologies offers an attainable solution to meeting today’s InfoGov needs. Advances in technology now mean ECM solutions have the ability to create a cross-enterprise information grid that integrates into processes and seamlessly aggregates and distributes information to the people that need it. It’s a massive step-change in information management, resulting in huge gains in productivity. And it also means InfoGov policies and practices can be extended to information generated in almost every corner of the enterprise—from social to ERP, BPM, HCM, SCM, CEM, CRM, and just about every other acronym you can think of. The key to fully understanding the potential of this new approach really means a wholesale reset of the concept of ECM—casting aside outdated perceptions to redefine the role of ECM in your organization and what success with ECM can mean. It’s a lot to digest, and hard for some practitioners to even visualize. As with most other things, I’ve seen that real-world success stories and examples help people relate. A great resource right now is the IGI Snapshots series, a compilation of five, unique stories that outline how different enterprises are approaching modern InfoGov, everything from planning through to learnings and insights. Most importantly, they show what’s possible if stakeholders adopt a new approach to ECM. Take a few minutes and let the case studies here inspire your InfoGov thought process. Then explore how OpenText Information Governance solutions can bring it to reality.

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20 Years and 3 Minutes: The Most Thought-Provoking Comments from Energy Industry Leaders

energy

I admire leaders who make you think, long after their presentation or keynote is over. Here are three ideas I found “most thought-provoking,” after I reflected on all the industry events I attended this past quarter. I hope you will share your own reactions and comments about my selections, but also share any great points you have gleaned from your industry interactions. 1 – “We want to make decisions within three minutes” This is how a panelist from Chevron defined Engineering Information Management, a super-set of Enterprise Content Management, at AVEVA World this October. There was silence, and a long pause among the rapt audience as this comment sunk in. It was not about technology. It was not about process integration. It was about how the company could increase business agility in utilities or power plants, once all the technical innovation was in place. What I like about this comment is that it brings to life a best practice we strongly believe in at ECD – leading with your business objectives. It also expresses the business vision in a statement that is both simple and controversial. By starting with this well-articulated goal of three minutes, the right conversations will undoubtedly start happening: “Then we would need to access approvals from our smart phones.” “We would have to add automation to the offshore piece of the process.” You can imagine how much faster the brainstorming could occur and utilization of technology could begin, if you start with this kind of statement. 2 – “How do you shoot a cannon?” It turns out that firing a cannon includes a process step of pausing, as I learned from the “Transforming Engineering Project Delivery” panel at AVEVA World. When cannons were used during times of war, this step prevented accidents and human injury. Modern firing equipment, however, no longer requires such efforts – yet it still took twenty years to eliminate this step. To me, this is a relevant insight applicable to Enterprise Content Management in today’s multi-faceted enterprise. Perhaps it was multiple acquisitions, staff turnover, or fondness for tradition, but whatever the cause, many of today’s plant processes have never been revisited or improved. As digital transformation takes hold, companies are now starting to approach their workflows with an open mind. Do we really need legal review of a document before it has been through VP approval? Why are we still storing architectural drawings on paper? What good is a photo badge ID if 90% of our workers are remote? As this speaker emphasized, some processes are carried into modern times even though they are not needed anymore. There is no reason to let outdated issues wait years before phasing them out. By breaking habits and looking at our work anew, we may save time or better service customers. 3 – “Raise your hand if….” This panelist at our recent Digital Transformation in the Energy Industry breakfast asked the crowd for a show of hands if anyone is able to enter an asset tag number into a system and quickly locate all the documentation about that asset – enough to get your job done. Surprisingly, NO HANDS went up. This exemplifies how fundamental document management is so critical to basic operational efficiency. With all this talk of digital transformation, big data and predictive analytics, it seems that we have a long way to go with getting practical and down to earth with the simple stuff. This can be made easier these days, as ECM solutions are delivered in more modular ways, and the cloud allows greater elasticity. Bonus – We Still Need Humans I’d like to add one bonus round to this collection. It’s not exactly a number four, because it actually relates to all of the points above. What I heard at more than one of these events is that we cannot assume technology will take the place of human determination or human judgment and setting standards. In at least two cases, presenters shared how they used to have paper document controllers and central ownership over content. In both cases, once they digitized (without staff accountability or a structured system), the organization lost its standardized approach to retaining and sharing knowledge. Either each person individually updated a document in different ways, or each thought the other would update a document — until nobody updated documents consistently at all. No process steps, standardization rules or workflows were developed together with the technology. As the pace at which companies deliver services and interact with stakeholders only accelerates, I would argue there is an even stronger need to standardize. Using ECM together with your human experts brings efficiencies to new levels, tapping the strengths of both. This is one of many reasons why we design in features like vertical-specific standards, the ability to collaborate with multiple reviewers, and track changes to as-built documentations. So as we look ahead to more digital transformation and continuous improvement in our industry, let’s think about the points these smart leaders have shared. What can you add to this list? Have you heard great points from other industries that still apply to the energy sector?

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Opening the Doors to Data: Make Sure Yours Aren’t Locked When Your Customers Call

enterprise document capture

Customer data once came in exclusively through the mailroom door, and while much of it still does, today multiple channels carry data at light speed. Whether it is coming from a phone or mobile device, tablet, camera, VR headset or smart glasses, data increasingly arrives via digital channels in addition to the traditional ones. When data arrives, your business needs the right doors – all of them – to receive, process, and respond to it. Sure, you can still count on your mailroom for traditional capture, where practical efficiencies mean letter opening, routing, scanning, and data entry result in actionable information – although it may take a day or two. The explosion of digital formats, however, means you need new portals into your business workflow to make sure you don’t miss out – and drive your tech savvy customers elsewhere. Intelligent enterprise capture expands data acquisition beyond the mailroom, taking it to front line staff, field agents, and to your clients themselves. When your client can directly connect, by sharing files and information right to the service inbox, you remove obstacles and create new efficiency. More important, you create a more personal connection with your client. For your business to thrive in this dynamic digital landscape, you need the tools to capture data from every known channel, while you get ready for the ones we haven’t even seen yet. It’s not enough to have an email address for information, another for forms, and another for customer service. You need direct channels with your clients for their needs, in the ways they want and at all times. You require the picture your client took from a mobile phone, and you need it available for data access and analysis. You must connect that photo with a form, your client’s profile and contact information, and possibly also with an active claim or request. And, you need to do all of that in real-time-, all day, every day. Think of your traditional mailroom-centered processes. You’re equipped to sort, open, and route paper correspondence and fax. All these processes will continue, along with the rules you’ve developed to accommodate them.  Increase that effect exponentially, and every key front line employee will have email, device capacity, chat, video uploads and FTP. You still need to capture information from nondigital formats like phone calls and conversations, handwritten notes, and forms. But when information arrives as PDFs, photo files, scans, documents, and video, via dynamic online forms and apps, you need the ability to capture and process it. In the share-everything climate of social media, your client may post a relevant image and you need a clear path to receive that information, in a usable form that feeds into the metadata you rely on to make top-level decisions for your company. Having this capacity means data can arrive through any door, in any format. You can route it in real time, with the certainty that it will be available in a format producing the results your client expects. In the immediate environment of digital business, you need to do it faster and more accurately than ever. It’s vital not to overlook the value of improved customer experience as part of this capture transformation. It’s estimated that 89 percent of companies now consider customer experience the key to succeeding over their competitors. That number was only 36 percent in 2010. What’s more, only about 17 percent of respondents in a 2015 survey said their data was fully integrated through all aspects of their organization. Failing to integrate can be fatal, and time is of the essence. It’s predicted that in a few years, customer experience will become more important than product and even price as a key attribute of brand success. As you open more doors to data and customer interaction, expect bottom-line business benefits.  As mailroom batch volumes decline, you can reassign employees to value added positions within your business. Trim response times to minutes, rather than days. Streamline materials needs as you ramp up digital infrastructure. And once you have all the doors open for data, enjoy the results of a multidimensional digital organization. Your digital doors will fit your business, too, with dedicated, well integrated apps for your customers. Enabled with this direct connection, they benefit from expedient dialogue, and a closer relationship. That’s the heart of improving consumer experience. Intelligent enterprise capture, metadata, and the analytic capacity you need comprise the new business infrastructure. Just as essential as your mailroom process and staffing, think of it as a 360 mailroom, in every dimension. Your customers are using every available data channel and they expect you to, as well. If they find a closed door – data receiving capacity you lack, formats your system fails to recognize, or inaccessible processing – your customers can easily find an open door to your competitor’s multifunctional, virtual mailroom. Having multiple portals keeps you accessible, and your business thriving. What’s more, the doors to your mailroom are more than just a pathway to your business. They are your business.

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Wrapping Up 2016

For many, this time of year is full of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, preparing for time with families, and pondering what the New Year has in store. For Team ECD it’s no different, only this year there’s additional activities, excitement and anticipation about the road ahead as we prepare to join forces with OpenText.  With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment and provide an update on progress to date and unwrap a little of what’s to come. Do You Hear What I Hear? It’s hard to believe that we just passed the 90-day mark since signing the agreement with OpenText in September. Since then, the focus has been primarily been on you, our valued customers and partners. We’ve spent hundreds of hours talking with you and receiving feedback at events in the U.S., Momentum Europe in Barcelona, and a multitude of 1:1 meetings across the globe. As always, our goal is to be as transparent as possible with our ECD family and ecosystem, and we hope you’ve found these interactions as valuable as we have. On a tactical level, the main driver behind our “hustle and bustle” has been to ensure consistency and continuity – everything from the products to the processes to the people – we want to make the transition as seamless as possible for you. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Closing… There has also been tremendous effort focused on delivering the items that are needed for regulatory approvals and closing the deal. I’m pleased to report that everything seems to be moving ahead as planned. Just as we were all fortunate to participate in the close of the Dell EMC deal, the team is looking forward to celebrating this next step for ECD in the New Year. As we get closer to finalizing a close date, we will share opportunities for you to get involved and celebrate with us. A Toast to You It’s been an amazing 2016, with big, successful events like ECD Ready, Momentum in Las Vegas and Barcelona, and Customer.Next. We’ve delivered more than 65 products, solutions and betas over the past 12 months, with major initiatives across the product families, including the release of 5 LEAP apps and the LEAP Platform beta; Documentum 7.3 with significant updates to the full Documentum family and vertical solutions; and the introduction of extreme archiving with InfoArchive 4.0 and Clinical Archiving 2.0. We’ve been recognized as a leader by five industry analyst firms, including our 13th time as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management, and have won multiple product and strategy awards. And it’s all for, and because of, you. On behalf of the entire ECD team, I’d like to raise a virtual toast to you – for your continued business, loyalty and friendship. Cheers and best wishes for a happy holiday season and a joyous new year!

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Personalizing the Customer Experience is the Key to Success in 2017

personalized customer engagement

As consumers, nothing is worse than a bad customer service experience. Most of us have experienced entering information in an automated phone system as fast as possible in hopes of eventually talking to a real human. But when we finally got a real human on the line, instead someone ready, willing (and able) to solve our problem, we were made to first verify our name, address and birthdate and remember some obscure PIN number. And then after all that hassle – it turned out our issue couldn’t be solved – at least not right then by the person we were talking to – yet that person had the gall to ask “is there anything else I can help you with?” before ending the call. According to Forrester’s 2017 predictions understanding and personalizing engagement with customers is one of the most prized leadership dimensions in today’s customer-led, digital-centric business landscape. In the consumer space, we’ve come to expect a personalized customer-service experience – intelligent call routing that gets us where we need to be faster, credit card fraud detection that proactively alerts us to purchases we didn’t make, and internet-enabled self service that lets us upload documents to accomplish transactions instead of faxing or mailing in paperwork then following up by phone. Not only does well executed, personalized customer service delight customers and turn them into brand advocates – it’s necessary for customer retention. Customer loyalty is only as strong as the last customer interaction – in fact it takes 12 good experiences to make up for one bad interaction. And customers are making good on their threats – 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service, and they’re four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related. In the B2B space, customers are looking to buy business outcomes – and demand their suppliers have more “skin in the game.” B2B buyers have become wary of sole-source contracts and vendor lock-in tactics – in fact they’re increasingly choosing “pay-by-the-drink” consumption models such as software as a service – that guarantees performance with Service Level Agreements – and they’re building systems with the mindset of being able to easily switch providers if they don’t get the service they expect. At ECD, our Customer Success practice offers a holistic approach to the personalized customer engagement. It starts with consulting services that help customers with upgrades and migrations or even creating custom mobile applications to search, view and browse Documentum. We offer Education Services that can fine-tune training to the customer’s needs – whether you’re unfamiliar with our products or an experienced user. And our Value Added Support Services take the personalized customer experience to the next level with technical account managers and dedicated support engineers who know the customer’s unique environment so they can do things like quickly resolve service issues or ensure upgrades are backward compatible.

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Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, and Commitment to the Success of our Partners

ECD partners

This is the time of year when we try to pause from our busy schedules and take some time for friends and family. As the calendar year winds down, we would also like to take a moment to say thank you to our customers and partners. For the ECD partner organization, our primary customers are you, our partners, and we recognize that we can’t be successful without you. So thank you for everything you do. In 2016 we made your experience with ECD a top priority. We focused on the partner experience as we also invested significantly in two related areas: customer experience (CX) and digital transformation (DX). In fact, these goals are all interrelated.  “Being customer-centric and maintaining a continual focus on improving the customer experience is a necessity for any organization looking to move forward as a digital enterprise.” We believe that to become a digital enterprise, you must not only focus on the customer experience, you must become obsessive about customers. Here’s what we wrote in our digital transformation eBook: “Digital enterprises make the customer relationship priority #1. They center the business around customer needs and customer experiences. They leverage technology to enable collaboration in cross-functional, cross-organizational teams, always in the service of the customer relationship.” Erik Raper, who heads Marketing and Advisory Services for Paragon Solutions (which was named the ECD “DX Partner of the Year”) shared similar thoughts in a blog post he published on digital transformation: “It’s crucial for enterprise leadership to be the champions of digital change, recognizing digital transformation is not a one-time project but, rather, a long-term initiative to positioning the enterprise for greater operational efficiency, customer engagement, and strong market growth.” We couldn’t agree more. Our investment in digital transformation – from our updated digital marketing platform to LEAP, our new cloud-based product platform – is creating new opportunities for us to collaborate digitally with our partners. Together we can help customers embrace digital and transform the way they do business. Your feedback, input, and passion around the software and solutions we create is tremendous. We appreciate your trust in us. We take that commitment seriously. And we look forward to our next chapter and to continuing this journey together. Happy holidays to all of our partners. Thank you for a great year, and here’s to continued success in 2017!

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Long Term Archiving for “in-memory” ERP Systems? Really?

in-memory

Unlike other hype trends in IT, implementation of in-memory databases is a trend that has really taken off. Today, leading ERP system providers push “in-memory” as the only option for their customers. Enterprise IT now accepts the idea (which was once perceived as crazy and/or dangerous) that it is preferable to have all their precious ERP data in RAM memory instead of on a “good old” SAN storage array. Has this trend made long term archiving obsolete? Long term archiving is still a valid (and actually must have) requirement – even in the “in-memory” world.  Compliance requirements haven’t disappeared with the in-memory rise. You’ll still have to keep your invoicing data verifiably unchanged for some 5-10 years depending on your legislation. You’ll have to make sure you can prove to your auditors that nobody could have tempered with your data since it was created. When to start with data archiving Is there a right time for archiving your data? Most probably, you’ll be “forced” to archive your historical data before you migrate to an in-memory system. Forced is an exaggerated expression, of course, but it can quickly become your truth if your other option is to purchase the in-memory hardware that is 3+ times the size of your current data volume. If you were ignoring data archiving before (since the SAN DB storage cost was so low, right?) you’ll want to run it before the in-memory ERP onboarding project.Now your ERP system is running in-memory. What’s next? For sure you’ll focus in the upcoming months on getting the best out of your new in-memory system. But sooner or later you’ll have to return to archiving again. Storing the data on the Flash storage will not be recognized as a compliant option in case of an audit. Refresh your data archiving skills since you’ll have to start archiving your data even from the new in-memory ERP. Ideal archive characteristics What should be the main characteristics of the ideal target archiving platform? Have these changed in the last years? It would be a pity to archive in a closed, siloed archive and have the data de-facto locked there. You want to make sure that your historical data can be used even after archiving it – in analytics, business warehouse scenarios, from call center operators – in the same way as your current data. The same platform should support not only your data archiving requirements but also your document archiving needs (all those outgoing invoices and reports have to be stored safely for a number of years). Your requirements for the new archiving platform shouldn’t stop there. I’d propose that you add to your wish list the following: Open design: Vendor lock-in is not cool any more. Ask for industry standard design patterns (like OAIS – Open Archival Information Systems), ask for universality and support of both structured and unstructured data. Open access: If you’re not locked in with one vendor then ensure that your data isn’t locked in your archive either. It should be possible to reuse it throughout the enterprise. Hadoop Analytics and REST API design are the least that you should request to be able to gain value from your historical data. JDBC would be a nice-to-have on top of the below requirements – you’ll be able to stick with your current reporting tool (by letting it connect to the new archiving platform). Cost predictability: One of the reasons you’ll start with archiving data from in-memory ERP systems is to avoid unnecessary cost. In the days of cloud and SaaS solutions you have the right to ask for clear and predictable cost and licensing terms for your archiving platform as well. You shouldn’t be accepting obscure product bundles with complex licensing terms and limitations. Instead ask for simple and predictable licensing – good example: per terabyte of data managed in the system. The “in-memory ERP” era didn’t put data archiving into retirement. It’s just the opposite. Long term archiving is becoming more important today than it was before. And if you’re asking yourself what archiving platform to pick – talk to us about InfoArchive.

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