Enterprise Content Management

How to Use Data Visualization to Improve Your Customer Communications

Financial services, retail, utility and government organizations are all looking for ways to make their customer communications more engaging and effective, in order to obtain an advantage in dealing with their customers. But customers today get plenty of communications from organizations. The key to using customer communications to improve your brand is to cut through the clutter and be noticed. Using data visualization with your communications can be a distinctive advantage for your business. Customer communications include statements, correspondence, bills, invoices and even advertising or flyers. Statements can contain financial information, cell phone usage, utility data or retail buying patterns. Customer communications can be delivered in multiple channels, and multiple formats including on the web, in emails, on smart phones and tablets and even in paper format. In a previous blog post, we talked about personalizing and targeting the messages to your customers. In this post, we will examine how data visualization will give you a more effective communication and a better likelihood of engaging with your customers. Using Dynamic Data Visualization Everyone knows about using charts and graphs on customer statements. Anyone with an investment, banking or credit card account can see that organizations have added pie charts and trending graphs to help the customers view their spending or savings allocations and trends. There are three ways this concept can be enhanced by unlocking the full value of the data stored in the customer statement. Provide interactive access to your statements Provide larger amounts of data to reference Provide cross referenced data to other accounts and external data sources. Let’s take a look at each of these ideas. Interactivity Customer statements are the proven source of truth, or statement of record, for a customer’s interactions with the organization. By taking your customer’s statement, translating it online to a secure web site, and then allowing the customer to view dashboards and dynamically interact with statement data, you provide the ultimate in convenience and customization. A customer can monitor and view summaries of transactions, filter and sort them, search for specific transaction information, categorize and develop sub-totals based on the data and even view the data in charts and/or graphs. Allowing the customer to view and interact with the statement will provide more insight, problem solving and customer engagement with your statement. This may even lead to the customer solving previously unanswered problems. Large Data Samples Let’s expand the scope of the interactive statement by expanding the time period for the archived and dormant content stored in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system or document archive. This will facilitate delivering more insights, over a longer period of time and provide a different perspective on the data. By providing more data, you provide the ability to look at trends and to analyze information in a meaningful way. Multiple Sources of Content Along with more data history, you may provide external data and data from other systems, to complement your interactive statement. The value of bringing in data from other systems allows your customers to analyze activity across their accounts. For example, you could compare and contrast your variable mortgage payments to your credit card purchases. Or you could compare your mortgage payments to outside data, such as the interest rate. The benefits to the consumer are obvious. More data, solving more problems, will provide better knowledge to your customers and a competitive advantage over your competitors. With these concepts, organizations can use their customer communications to provide useful information to their customers, and further engage and interact with them.

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Achieving ROI from Enterprise Archiving: Part 2 – The Rush to the Cloud

As organizations look to stem the tide of content growth and the ever-increasing sources to manage, they have been taking advantage of the economic and operational benefits of cloud solutions. It’s becoming commonplace to move email systems, enterprise archives, and even CRM applications to the cloud. Microsoft estimates nearly 1 in 5 Exchange mailboxes will be in the cloud with Office365™ 32% of corporations will archive in the cloud Clearly this trend is here to stay and growing. Whether you join the rush to the cloud depends on your views around risk, data sovereignty, and long-term storage requirements. Organizations that are considering a move to the cloud should take note of cloud Service Level Agreements. The public cloud does not come with assurances that your content will be stored in the country your business operates in, nor do SLAs absolve vendors (for instance, Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox) from any data loss or security breach. Along these same lines, some nation states have raised red flags around data sovereignty, privacy, and security in the public cloud, extending from revelations around the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program. Many countries have regulated new compliance requirements by amending their current laws or enacting new legislation that requires customer data to be kept within the country in which the customer resides. Switzerland, Uruguay, and Brazil have even either implemented or planned to implement “nationalized” clouds in attempts to secure citizens’ personal information and provide alternatives to businesses looking for cloud solutions. Ask These Questions When Looking at the ROI and Benefits of the Cloud Storing data in the public cloud can be inexpensive and very effective. Just be aware that there are risks that need to be mitigated and addressed: 1. What is the current cost of operations for running your mail environment today (storage, resources to manage and maintain)? 2. What is the current cost of operations for running your current archive (resources to manage and maintain, cost of storage plus future data growth estimates, number of electronic investigations and estimated average cost of the related disruption/productivity loss)? 3. Would a hybrid model for archiving make more sense—e.g. storing confidential/proprietary content or Intellectual Property (IP)? 4. Has the legal department reviewed and blessed the cloud providers’ Service Level Agreement (SLA)? 5. Do your corporate retention policies on enterprise content align with your compliance obligations and risk threshold? 6. What security measures are in place to safeguard corporate information in the cloud—e.g. encryption and security policies to be implemented in the data center? 7. What’s the cloud vendor’s process for supporting eDiscovery and output formats? Learn more in the full white paper, Achieving ROI from Your Enterprise Archiving. > Also check out more information on deriving ROI blueprints from enterprise archiving and information governance at www.opentext.com/archive. Coming up next in this series: The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Regulatory reform in Financial Services brought about the necessity of archiving email. As the volume and sources of content continue to grow and compliance requirements evolve, the need for archiving further intensifies. The need to control costs and mitigate risks is intrinsic to enterprise archiving, while the goal of extracting value from your content is amplified. If you have any comments or questions feel free to reach out to me: Twitter: @bygregclark LinkedIn: linkedin.com/gregclark Email: gregc@opentext.com

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Achieving ROI from Enterprise Archiving: Part 1

Part 1 of 3: The Evolution of Archiving Email Management For years, organizations have been archiving email in order to offload expensive storage, improve performance, and reduce legal risks and the potential for fines stemming from non-compliance. Email archiving has been primarily deployed following two methodologies: envelope journaling to capture unaltered copies of corporate email and ensure 100 percent legal compliance, and mailbox management, which is selective archiving/stubbing where content is collected and archived and a link is left behind for users to retrieve and restore messages from the archive. Both approaches have their merits and concerns: Journaling ensures complete capture of all inbound, outbound, and internal mail. However, journaling alone can lead to inconsistent information management across your organization (e.g. if you selectively journal only C-level), over-retention, and bloated storage. Mailbox management scenarios capture and stub content based on policy (e.g. after 30 days) and enable users to maintain control over their content, ensure ready access for collaboration, and seamlessly access all emails including those stored in an archive. The concern here is two-fold. First, since archiving only occurs after a set period of time, messages can be deleted or moved and missed during collection. Second, asking users to manage their information in accordance to corporate policy can prove to be inconsistent at best, and with the advent of bigger mailboxes and cloud-based systems, users have access to more content than ever before. Managing a Broader Set of Enterprise Sources First-generation archive architectures could easily handle the volume of data created by email and files back in 2005, but as email volumes continue to grow—exceeding 143 billion by 2016 as estimated by Radicati —and as enterprise content creation and consumption soars—exceeding 44 zetabytes by 2020—many organizations are faced with increased costs to manage and store the content associated with the volume. Gartner estimates that, at this rate, spending on Information Governance programs will need to increase by five times over the next few years to keep pace. As a result, new strategies are required to ensure your content is being managed both appropriately and holistically, according to policy. In response to this, many organizations are weighing the benefits of either upgrading to a new version that can handle the scale, volume, and new content sources (ERP data, machine to machine communications, web and social content), or selecting a new vendor altogether. Consider different strategies to build defensible information governance practices: Look for ways to automate the process where possible to improve consistency and defensibility of information governance practices. Document and stand by your retention and records policies and practices. All businesses are different. Look for flexibility and multi-tiered approaches to identifying and classifying business-relevant content and take reasonable steps to dispose of that content (including transient and non-business-related content).   Ask These Questions When Considering Your Archiving Priorities and Associated Cost Savings and ROI: 1. What are the costs of the status quo? What are your human costs in managing and operating your current systems? What are your storage and recurring costs associated with your current systems? 2. What lead applications are the most expensive to manage and maintain? 3. Have you evaluated the amount of redundancy, age, and relevancy of legacy content? 4. What other sources are you required to capture and govern over (e.g. social, web, IM, VoIP)? 5. How prolific is SharePoint®? Is SharePoint sprawl, inactive content and data duplication a problem? 6. How bloated is your ECM with inactive, redundant, and seldom-accessed content and versions? 7. Is it important to capture business process outputs and outcomes (e.g. customer communications, marketing campaign outreach, HR, Finance, and LOB business process approvals)? 8. What sorts of retention and storage requirements exist for these content types? Do they require compliant WORM media? 9. Do users prefer to classify/file messages on their own? Is mobile growing in importance? Don’t miss the full white paper, Achieving ROI from Your Enterprise Archiving. Also check out more information on deriving ROI blueprints from archiving an information governance at www.opentext.com/archive. Coming up next in this series: Archiving in the cloud has been a natural first step for many organizations looking to offload the costs and resources required to manage their email infrastructure. However, it’s not for everyone. Check out Part 2 of the series where I explore some considerations when looking at archiving in the cloud.

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Regulatory Matters: The Year Ahead in Life Sciences

As I began to write this article to prognosticate on the year ahead, I recalled a Ladies’ Home Journal article from 1900, where an engineer named John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. predicted what life would be like in the year 2000. Surprisingly, many of his predictions, such as the use of cell phones, had actually become reality by 2000. Luckily, government regulations ensure a somewhat predictable rate of change making my job somewhat easier than Mr. Watkins’. But first, let’s take a quick look back at 2014… 2014 was a great year for life sciences, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. Forty-four drugs were approved by the FDA, an 18-year high. When compared to the dismal 27 approvals in 2013, there seems to be some much needed innovation occuring, especially considering the estimated $100 billion loss in patent protection this year. In 2015, the biggest challenge will remain to innovate and launch products faster while maintaining the highest degree of patient safety amidst increasing global regulatory scrutiny. The industry is poised to meet this challenge head on. In fact, seven drugs have already launched for 14 indications in January. At the heart of this challenge is to solve the dual Big Data and Quality problems. Every year, exabytes of data are being created within our industry. Digital technologies, such as remote monitoring and wearable devices, are only increasing the data points. However, data quality is a critical issue. Corporate data warehouses are rapidly becoming akin to landfills with ever growing piles of digital garbage obscuring the nuggets of information which can have a truly transformative effect on the business. I predict that, this year, much effort will be placed on developing and refining methodologies and technologies to make sense of the massive amounts of data generated by our industry. Improved statistical tools, real-time analytics and information exchange will yield important correlations and allow life science companies to discern which data and which process improvements enhance the business. In effect, quality processes and metrics will be applied to functions beyond manufactuing in building better models for everything from drug safety and efficacy to supply chain operations. For those companies with ECM and BPM platforms, incorporating new digital technologies into their workflows will dramatically improve their business but only if aligned with a solid EIM strategy based on industry best practice. For those companies without an EIM strategy, the time to move forward is now. Come hear how OpenText is helping global organizations to utilize information to transform their businesses at one of the Innovation Tour events near you. Keep innovating!

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Welcome Informative Graphics Corporation!

Today is a very exciting day for our customers as we announce the acquisition of Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC). Having more than 250 joint customers and more than 300,000 seats of Brava!® for OpenText Content Server, we are thrilled to be able to deepen our relationship with this long-time partner. The need for advanced document viewing and collaboration capabilities exists in almost every industry. It has become a critical capability in the way that we interact with electronic content. Fast, fluid and secure access to content on any device on any browser has become essential to the mobile experience for today’s workers. At the other end of the spectrum are complex 2-D and 3-D design documents that need to be viewed in the browser in order to annotate and collaborate on documents. IGC gives OpenText a significant advantage in addressing this need with best-in-class solutions for viewing, annotation, redaction and publishing that cover the complete spectrum of use cases. With a full suite of powerful, proven software that helps organizations securely view, share, redact and transform documents, images including CAD drawings, IGC offers more efficient collaboration, better control and increased productivity. IGC and its technologies allow us to strengthen OpenText’s offerings for secure access to any content, on any device, on premises and in the cloud. Having already seen success in offering these integrated solutions to the marketplace, we have the opportunity to further integrate IGC technologies into the ECM product portfolio. We will now be able to extend into other OpenText Suites, reaching more customers using additional OpenText solutions globally. At OpenText, we are committed to leading innovation and creating the most complete EIM solution for the industry’s continuously evolving needs. As we make the shift to the digital workplace, document viewing and mark-up on any device will enable our customers to leverage their information and drive growth and success in their organization. We look forward to working closer with the IGC team and growing our relationship with its new ECM, Engineering Solutions and eDiscovery partners and their customers. As we continue to work together to support our customers and shape the EIM market, we expect nothing less than remarkable innovations and contributions from the IGC team. Please join me in welcoming IGC employees, partners, and customers to OpenText. Read the press release on the acquisition here.

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Join Santa Claus on his Journey to the Digital First World!

When OpenText acquired GXS in January 2014, little did the company know that they would also be acquiring a customer widely regarded as having one of the most secretive businesses in the world. Over the years, many companies have decided to outsource the management of their B2B environment and in 2008, GXS signed a Managed Services contract with its most high profile customer, Santa Claus Enterprises in the North Pole. Over the years I have kept in close contact with this particular customer as they have been a shining example of how to deploy the full portfolio of B2B solutions from OpenText. Each year, just before Santa’s busiest period, I have provided a summary of the enhancements to their B2B environment. The evolution of Santa’s B2B environment is documented via the blogs below, feel free to take a look through as they will also provide some interesting insights into what it takes to deliver millions of Christmas presents on just one night of the year. 2013 – Santa deploys the Internet of Things across his North Pole Operations 2012 – Santa begins to evaluate the information flowing across SantaNet and implements a Big Data strategy 2011 – OpenText Active Community gets rolled out across Santa’s trading partner community to improve day to day collaboration across his Present Delivery Network and he also gets nominated for B2B Heroes award 2010 – Santa evaluates how cloud computing and mobile devices could improve North Pole operations 2009 – Santa completes deployment of OpenText Managed Services and begins to embrace social media tools 2008 – OpenText Managed Services chosen to support Santa’s new B2B hub, OpenText Intelligent Web Forms deployed to create SantaNet Santa’s little helpers, namely his army of elves, were asked by Santa to review the portfolio of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions from OpenText to see where further benefits could be made by automating manual business processes and digitising the remainder of his business operations. Many companies are embarking on a digital journey to improve the way in which different departments manage and get access to their corporate information. In fact ‘Digital Transformation’ projects are high on the agenda of many CIOs around the world at the moment and OpenText is in a unique position to provide a one stop shop to transform companies into a digital business. In August I received an email from Sonja Lundström, Santa’s trusted advisor and executive assistant, inviting me to go up to the North Pole to provide a digital business briefing for Santa and his executive board. Santa’s board members comprise of senior executives from some of the world’s leading toy manufacturers including Mattel, Hasbro and Lego. As with previous trips up to the North Pole, I was asked to check in at the Elf Air desk at a secret terminal at Schipol Airport just outside Amsterdam. This year I had the privilege of travelling on one of Santa’s new Airbus A380’s, a converted passenger plane that allows Santa, when required, to expedite the shipment of thousands of parcels to any one of his Present Distribution Hubs located in strategic locations around the world. The plane I travelled on, call sign ELF020, was one of a fleet of ten aircraft that Santa had chartered for the 2014 holiday season. 16 hours after leaving the UK I was checking into the North Pole Ice Hotel, a stone’s throw from the entrance to Santa’s primary toy manufacturing and distribution facility. I decided to get an early night as I knew the following day would be quite busy! The next day I walked across to Santa’s factory and I was whisked up to the executive briefing centre where I was introduced to Santa’s board members. Five minutes later and the main man himself walked through the frosted glass doors to the board room. Following introductions, Santa’s Chief Elf Information Officer provided an update on their current IT and B2B related projects. I have documented many of these projects quite extensively in the earlier articles which I listed at the beginning of this blog. Needless to say I was very impressed by the ROI that Santa had obtained by deploying OpenText Managed Services. Santa’s core B2B platform, the Present Delivery Network (shown above), processes billions of transactions each year and over the last five years, Santa had seen a 40% growth in new present orders through SantaNet, a web form based toy ordering environment that our company setup in 2008. The growth in new orders had come from the so called omni-channel effect with children placing toy orders through PCs, mobiles and tablet based devices. In addition to deploying a world leading B2B platform, Santa’s team rolled out their ‘Internet of Santa’s Things’ infrastructure, a high profile initiative to provide improved visibility across Santa’s Present Delivery Network. The Internet of Things has become one of the most talked about disruptive digital technologies of 2014, and Santa had no concerns about deploying his IoST environment and he certainly proved to be a digital trail blazer in this particular area. In addition, Santa had embraced a number of other disruptive technologies during 2014. Last year I discussed how Santa’s elves were using Google Glass in their warehouses to improve their toy pick rates. In addition to Glass, Santa had tested some other high profile disruptive technologies. A few years ago Santa invited Steve Jobs to his factory and following lengthy discussions Santa Claus Enterprises became a leading member of Apple’s beta test program. As soon as the early iWatch wearable devices were revealed to the world’s media in 2014, Apple despatched a shipment of iWatches for every elf in the factory. These came pre-loaded with a number of festive mobile apps to help improve the day to day efficiency of Santa’s team of elves. 3D printing was rolled out across Santa’s production department, not just for manufacturing proof of concept toy designs but to build scale models of new sleigh designs that would then be refined in Santa’s onsite wind tunnel. Sleigh research budgets have increased significantly over the years and 3D printing was helping to develop the most aerodynamically refined sleigh in the world. The final area of digital disruption that Santa embraced in 2014 was advanced robotics. Santa had heard that Foxconn, a leading contract manufacturer to Apple, was deploying up to a million ‘Foxbots’ across their manufacturing operations. Santa decided that he wanted to deploy ‘Elfbots’ to bring similar efficiencies to his own production operations. Santa is now working with Andy Rubin, head of Google’s newly formed robotics division, to define a development plan for his network of 2,000 Elfbots. Santa has done a great job of ensuring that he can seamlessly connect with the little children around the world. So in many ways Santa’s operations were already significantly digitally enabled but now that GXS had been acquired by OpenText there was scope for the deployment of further digital information tools. After all, many of the new disruptive technologies such as connected IoST devices were producing high volumes of unstructured data that would need to be archived, analysed and acted upon as required. After the CEIO had provided his updates it was time for me to take to the floor. I provided Santa and the board with a high level introduction to OpenText and they were very impressed with the joint customer base and the opportunities available to embrace new Enterprise Information Management solutions. Even though Santa had consolidated many back end business systems, such as his Elf Resources Platform (ERP), there were still many different information silos located within the various departments of his operations. Just finding the right information at the right time proved to be a challenge on occasions. To gain further efficiencies across Santa’s operations it would be important to ensure that all departments could feed off of a centralised digital information hub. This hub would be accessible any time, any place or anywhere, useful considering the global nature and complexity of Santa’s operations. OpenText solutions are divided across five key ‘pillars’, shown by way of the chart below, Santa’s B2B solutions are under the Information Exchange pillar. Before I had even explained each of the five solution pillars, Santa could immediately see that there was a significant opportunity to increase the footprint of OpenText solutions across his business. Santa said that he would like OpenText to become his trusted guide during his journey into the digital first world. But first he wanted me to highlight how OpenText could manage different types of information from the key stages of a toy’s lifecycle. I created the chart below to help illustrate some of the key process stages across Santa’s manufacturing operations. I have also overlaid, where appropriate the five key solution pillars as they apply to each stage of the lifecycle of a toy (which in reality could represent any manufactured product). Now I could go into detail around how OpenText can help manage information across each of these twelve process steps, but for the purposes of this article, let me just expand on five of these. Toy Design & Engineering – At this phase of a toy’s lifecycle, any information associated with the design of a toy will need to be centrally managed and archived in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution. Typical files managed at this stage include 3D CADCAM models, 3D printer files, 2D drawings, production related information and high quality rendered images and 3D animations. A Digital Asset Management solution from OpenText would allow Santa’s marketing elves and outside PR agencies to review and download high quality rendered images and videos for use in promotional materials. Information Exchange (IX), solutions such as Managed File Transfer, allows Santa’s design elves to send large file size design information anywhere across the external enterprise, including contract manufacturers. Procurement / Supplier Onboarding – This is part of the toy’s lifecycle that GXS, now Information Exchange, has been supporting over the past few years, from on-boarding suppliers and ensuring they can exchange B2B transactions electronically to providing back end integration to Santa’s ERP platform. In addition, it is important for a procurement team to work collaboratively with their suppliers and all proposal, contract and contact information will need to be centrally managed. The procurement elves may need to undertake some form of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) assessments across their trading partner community. The area of GRC is becoming an increasingly important area for many companies and new regulations such as conflict minerals compliance needs to be adhered to and managed in an effective way. Just as an aside, Santa takes Corporate Social Responsibility really seriously, so much so that he would like to setup an Elf Information Management System (EIMS) to help with the day to day management of his elves and ensure the quality of their welfare whilst working in the toy factory. Plant Maintenance and Asset Management – Santa has an army of elves conducting proactive maintenance on shop floor related manufacturing and assembly equipment. Given the tight production schedule that Santa has each year, his elves ideally need quick access to maintenance and machine test procedures, 2D maintenance drawings and equipment test and compliance certificates. Even ensuring that Santa’s elves adhere to the latest Elf and Safety procedures has become a challenge over the years. The elves already have access to ruggedized tablet devices for use on the shop floor. Using Appworks, OpenText’s mobile app development platform, Santa’s elves would be able to get remote access to any information archived in the central content management system. In addition, the elves need to follow a standard process for maintaining each piece of equipment and OpenText’s Business Process Management (BPM) solution would be able to more effectively manage all the process steps involved with maintaining Santa’s production equipment. Can you imagine what would happen on the 24th December each year if the toy production lines are halted due to a malfunctioning assembly robot? Online Customer Experience – The SantaNet portal had worked well over the years and allowed the little children of the world to login to a portal and submit their present wish lists! At this stage of the toy’s lifecycle, various web related assets will need to be created and managed, eg product brochures, toy promotion videos and animations will need to be accessed by different elves across the extended enterprise and outside video production agencies. OpenText Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions are ideal for this purpose. Given the connected nature of today’s children, Santa would be able to setup a best in class ‘Young Person Experience Management’ offering that would leverage OpenText’s Web Experience Management offering. In addition, all other internal websites used by his elves could be upgraded with the latest portal technologies offered by OpenText. Recalls and Warranty Repair – The final stage of a toy’s lifecycle relates to the potential recall or repair of toys. Unfortunately not every toy delivered via the chimney makes it safely down to the fireplace and breakages can occur. Santa established a toy repair and recall centre ten years ago however many of the processes used to recover broken toys from the world’s children are quite lengthy and prone to delays due to the amount of manual paperwork that needs to be processed. In addition to repairs, sometimes toys have to be recalled, perhaps due to poor quality workmanship by Santa’s elves. Whether repairing broken toys or recalling faulty toys, Santa’s elves could significantly improve operational efficiencies by deploying OpenText’s Business Process Management (BPM) solution. BPM will ensure that every toy that needs to be repaired or recalled follows a strict series of process steps. This ensures that a consistent and repeatable repair/recall process can be established and this helps to improve Child Satisfaction Levels, a key metric used by Santa to keep the world’s children happy with their toys. In addition to providing an overview of these five solution areas, I explained to Santa that OpenText was looking at how the different pillar solutions could be integrated together. I also showed a new fast moving video which helps to describe the OpenText Cloud. To wrap up my presentation to Santa and the board I also discussed new development areas and highlighted a recent announcement concerning OpenText’s intention to acquire the business intelligence company, Actuate. Last year when I visited Santa Claus Enterprises HQ, I was shown the latest beta version of SantaPad, a Big Data analytics engine for processing toy consumption trends across the little boys and girls of the world. Actuate could potentially provide the business intelligence platform to significantly improve the big data analytics capabilities across Santa’s operations. Santa was so excited by this news that he requested a briefing of Actuate’s capabilities, as and when it was convenient for OpenText to do so. We had just gone over our two hour presentation slot with Santa and I decided to summarise how OpenText helps businesses move to a 100% digital business. Firstly OpenText can help to Simplify Santa’s back end platforms to manage enterprise wide business information, irrespective of which application the information was originally created in. Secondly, OpenText can help to Transform information from literally any format to another and ensure that digital information can be exchanged both internally across the elf community and externally across third party contract manufacturers and logistics providers. Thirdly, OpenText can help to Accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, which would allow faster business decisions to be made. Santa’s operations would ultimately become more responsive to changing consumer demand and increased competition from new emerging toy markets. This brought our meeting to a close and I had a number of actions to follow up on with my colleagues back at OpenText! In closing, Santa wished OpenText and our global customers Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year and he said he was looking forward to working closely with OpenText during 2015 and beyond. So it just leaves me to say season’s greetings and best of luck for 2015!  

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Bring Your Information Into Focus With PDF Conversion Software

PDF conversion software

Employees spend 1.8 hours a day or 9.3 hours a week searching for and gathering information, according to a McKinsey report. As an Under the Radar blog post suggests, this translates to a business hiring 5 employees “but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.” But what if you could provide answers to that “fifth employee” by merging files to bring all the information they need into one file? Or by splitting files to separate out the information they don’t need—so they can focus on the information they do need? We’ve found that people are using OpenText™ Blazon PDF conversion software to do just that, working with Microsoft Office documents, images and CAD drawings to make one file with just the right content—complete with a hyperlinked table of contents. And they’re able to publish that file into one of several formats of choice: PDF, TIFF, JPEG and our secure content sealed format (CSF). And it’s not just helping employees; whole industries are realizing the benefits of increased productivity and faster assembly of transmittals, responses to RFPs and content archives. Look at the examples below: Healthcare. Patient information is easier to find when multiple patient records are combined into one cohesive patient document. Life sciences. Once a pharmaceutical company has a drug at proof-of-concept stage, they need to seek out partners for development and production. Potential partners need to see full documentation in order to perform due diligence before making a commitment. Documents published to CSF can be set to expire (time bombed) when the due diligence period has expired, rendering the content inaccessible. Blazon is also used to apply watermarks and banners to display legal information, helping to help protect IP and providing useful information like life cycle state, approval date or status. Energy and engineering. Blazon is used to generate transmittals of individual or groups of documents. These documents contain various formats and are typically converted to PDF for distribution. Because Blazon can burn in markups made in OpenText™ Brava, this makes it easy to share them with outside reviewers. Other uses. Blazon also is used to put together mortgage packages, marketing rollout communications, project proposals, sales proposals, insurance claim processing and automatically converting Word documents to PDF for archiving.

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Time for a new Laptop

I’m in the market for a new laptop. My current home model is six years old and the Windows XP OS runs like an old dog. It’s got a 250 GB HDD that is so full I can’t even defrag it. It’s only used for personal email, Office documents and surfing the net, so I guess I could spend a bit of time and effort going through six years-worth of old documents, files and emails, deleting those that are no longer needed, backing up, wiping, reinstalling Windows, and give the thing a fresh start. But that requires effort and, like most people, I’ll take the path of least resistance. It’s far easier for me to buy a new laptop on Amazon. With a faster processor and a 1 TB HDD I can solve my storage problems instantly for the reasonable cost of £300. What’s more, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up, which makes it perfect timing. I could easily transfer everything from the old 250 GB drive on to my new, much more spacious one in a folder called ‘Old Laptop’. Heck, that’s what I did when I upgraded from my old 80 GB model to the 250 GB one! Then I could back it all up to the cloud. 250 GB of ‘old stuff’ that may or may not be useful to me, stored somewhere in the cloud for as long as I keep paying the annual fee. Keep everything and buy more storage, or de-clutter existing hardware. Sound familiar? On a much bigger scale, companies everywhere are struggling with a similar choice to mine so that they can cope with the ever-increasing amount of electronically stored information that has proliferated across their business. The average employee creates around 1 GB of data annually, and the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Counsel found that typically only 25 percent of that information has real business value, 5 percent must be kept as business records, and 1 percent is retained due to litigation holds. For companies examining, and looking to optimize, their information governance strategy, that means that nearly 70 percent of information in most companies has no tangible business, legal or regulatory value.So, just like most of the stuff on my 250 GB drive, if it is pretty much useless, why keep it? For those looking to improve their information governance strategies, I encourage you to sit in on Real Customer Successes: Business Transformation Through Information Governance, on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 1pm EDT. Guest speaker Barclay Blair, Executive Director and Founder of the Information Governance Initiative and Stephen Ludlow, Director of Product Marketing for OpenText, will share tips and stories to help businesses increase productivity and reduce costs through effective information management. If companies can identify and dispose of the ‘information debris’ that’s in their business, they can use more of their budgets for strategic investment rather than needless storage and backup. Applying that logic, if I just spend the time to clean up my home laptop, I’ll save £300 and be able to buy a new TV on Black Friday instead!

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Why not go Paper Free for a day?

paper free

As the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) embarks on World Paper Free Day on Thursday, November 6th, here are a few facts about paper for you: The United States produced about 20.7 million tons of paper last year, which can take as many as 55 to 110 million trees to make, according to Sierra magazine Also, as if this wasn’t enough reason for participating, business processes can get stilted by paper use. Hard copies can get misplaced and handwritten notations are often hard to read, as one manufacturer revealed in a recent white paper Becoming paper free has been an enterprise content management mantra since the launch of the first document imaging systems in the 1980s, according to an AIIM blog post. And as AIIM points out, “If you are looking for a benefit, how does improved workflow and operating efficiency work for you? Or how about increased findability and responsiveness?” So why not “test the paper-free waters” by eliminating paper from just one process for World Paper Free Day? Some simple suggestions include: Obtaining signatures digitally Ggetting retail receipts emailed instead of printed Emailing documents to your customers rather than mailing them “The idea is simple,” as AIIM points out. “Pick a process, eliminate a piece of paper from that process by keeping it digital, and work with it that way.” Even if you can’t do it for World Paper Free Day, it seems easy enough and worth looking into for your own paper-reduction initiatives.

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Top 5 ECM Activities at Enterprise World

Enterprise World brings people together and sparks off planned and unplanned opportunities. It’s a place where new acquaintances, friends and mentors can be made because at Enterprise World, everyone there shares a commonality of purpose and interest. Face to face networking connects you with new people and ideas that will expand your thinking and your social networks in the months and years to come. The keynotes and breakout sessions enable you to learn what you know you need to know – but additionally the chance encounters and conversations will allow you learn things you didn’t even know you needed to know, leading you in new directions. Immerse yourself in a new way of thinking at Enterprise World. There are 99 ECM and Discovery sessions in addition to BPM, CEM, Cloud and Industry sessions. So which ones are they key ones you don’t want to miss? Here are my top 5 ECM choices. ECM Keynote. Wednesday, Nov 12th 10:50 AM – 12:00 PM. The ECM Keynote includes Cheryl McKinnon Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Inc. identifying the top trends shaping ECM today. Also hear about new product enhancements, product roadmaps, customer stories and more… Real Customers Speak : Business Transformation through Information Governance. Thursday, Nov 13th 1pm – 1:45pm. This Interactive Customer Panel, moderated by Barclay Blair of the Information Governance Initiative, will draw out the real world experiences of 3 customers with live Information Governance Program in play in the Energy Sector, Local Government and a national railway. ECM-213 Tech Talk: Best Practices – Upgrading to Content Server 10.5. Wednesday, Nov 12th, 1:55 PM – 2:40 PM. The latest release of Content Suite Platform simplifies the upgrade process for administrators by providing many new tools and dashboards. Join the development team to learn about golden copies, cluster management, upgrade companion and tips from the field. ECM Lab. Tuesday, Nov 11th and Wednesday, Nov 12th 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM. The ECM Lab in the Expo hall is the go to place to get to know all the latest innovations that are being added to the Content Suite Platform in December . Customer Roundtables. Register for these exclusive opportunities to ask questions of customers who have implemented ECM.  I’m looking forward to Enterprise World because it brings everything and everyone together. Thousands of OpenText customers, employees and partners immersing themselves in today’s greatest technologies and sharing ideas to simplify, transform and accelerate the journey to their digital future.

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Safely Bring Your Data out of the Dark

dark data

The idea of “dark data” might sound a bit ominous, but it is simply the information “organizations collect, process and store in the course of their regular business activity, but generally fail to use for other purposes,” according to research firms, who also report that up to 90 percent of our “big data” is dark data. The risks of dark data, according to a CIO magazine article, include: Legal and regulatory risk, if the data contains confidential, financial information (credit card or other account data), patient records or other data covered by mandate or regulation Intelligence risk, if it encompasses proprietary or sensitive business information Reputation risk, which applies to any kind of data breaches Opportunity costs from the lack of analysis and mining of the dark data, by definition Open-ended exposure, since it contains unknown (and therefore unevaluated) sources of intelligence that can be exposed to loss or harm To mitigate such risks, the article suggests an ongoing inventory and assessment, using encryption when possible, establishing retention policies and methods for safe disposal and conducting periodic security audits. But dark data isn’t just about risk. A recent CMSWire post points out that it “may also be viewed as an asset when accessed and protected appropriately.” The article goes on to say that by using compliance technology to not only discover dark data for compliance purposes, but also for knowledge management and data discovery purposes, means that organizations can effectively: Lower overall total cost of ownership Enable business self-service Accelerate data access and collaboration capabilities Adhere to compliance policies and mitigate data risks Whether you see dark data as a risk or opportunity, it’s important to know how to make the most of it. Fred Pulzello, president of ARMA International, suggests some best practices in a TechTarget article that I think are worth sharing here: Define and identify it. Pulzello adds that if dark data is employee generated, it is a less likely candidate for repurposing than system-generated data—with employee-generated data often consisting of working drafts and “just-in-case” copies. Perform a cost-benefit analysis of the data’s potential usefulness. Define a specific purpose for keeping it, with a short retention time frame such as six to nine months. Assign the responsibility of follow-up to an individual or group for accountability purposes. Make the business case for keeping any data that can be useful and for deleting any data that has no apparent value. Map data to the retention and disposition schedule to justify deletion. As needed, create new categories on the retention schedule to address data that is not otherwise addressed in a policy statement. Execute your defensible disposition plan. Make sure the data slated for disposition is actually deleted or destroyed. Keep documentation that cites the “why” and the “when” of deletion. Determine annually whether the repurposed data is bringing value. If not, then it is once again dark data and should be deleted in a proper, defensible manner. Pulzello adds that dark data continues to be such a hot topic in information circles because of the “relentless, immeasurable increase in electronically stored information and the places to store it.” He says, “Dark data might seem like a buzzword, but the reality is that it’s here to stay. … An organization’s best response is to implement an information governance program that properly manages all of its data throughout its life cycle, recognizes the probability of dark data and implements measures to repurpose or properly delete it.” Read more here.

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Getting Started With Digital Asset Management

digital asset management

All too often knowledge workers find themselves spending valuable time sifting through poorly organized content on shared network drives to find the assets that they need to do their jobs. An IDC report quantified the problem a couple of years back: Knowledge workers typically waste about 2.3 hours per week fruitlessly searching for information. I’m sure that this problem is not limited to marketing organizations, but I can speak from personal experience here. Without a clear digital asset management (DAM) plan in place, finding that screen shot I took a few months ago, say, or that report I meant to review a while back, is far too difficult—and sometimes impossible. Studies have shown that having a DAM solution can mean an annual savings of close to $40,000 annually. Other benefits include being able to find files quickly, avoiding the interruption of having to ask coworkers for images or documents, being able to reuse and repurpose content rather than redoing projects and providing access to content to offsite partners and teams. It’s time to consider building a DAM. In my quest for practical advice, I found a good overview at CMSWire. According to DAM expert Jeff Lawrence, the steps are fairly straightforward. Step 1, build a team. You’ll want to include stakeholders from IT, Marketing, Art, Records Management, and so on. I especially like his advice to recruit “that person who is the loudest in the crowd.” Step 2, define the vision. Before you roll up your sleeves, you and the team need to establish the project scope and define business goals. Step 3, be a cheerleader—get everyone excited. It makes good sense to get people involved early and keep them engaged so they are invested in the project. Rolling out new policies and procedures is always tough, and getting buy-in from the troops is key. Steps 4 and 5, performing a content inventory and making a migration plan, need no explanation. You need to know what assets you’ve already got on hand and figure out how to move them to the new DAM system before you can move forward. Step 6 moves into information governance territory. It’s essential to establish well-defined governance strategies and policies that define what assets will be moved into the DAM, a metadata policy and more. For an exploration of the relationship between information governance and DAM, read “The Greatness of Information Governance.” Step 7, work with your IT security team to define a secure infrastructure and establish clear policies for use of the system. Step 8, consider employing a content management system. As Lawrence writes, “automation helps.” An enterprise content management (ECM) system can provide useful automation and universal viewing/annotation tools that make it easier to find and collaborate with content. Finally, invest in ongoing maintenance. DAM is not a “set it and forget it” endeavor. And if it saves you time and money in the long run, doesn’t it make sense to have it operating at its best?

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Streamlining the Signing Process With Electronic Signatures

electronic signatures

With business stakeholders becoming increasingly mobile, it can be challenging to get a document in front of someone for signature or approval. Many industries are turning to electronic signatures, often building them into their enterprise content management (ECM) systems, as a more efficient and cost-effective way of obtaining those signatures. There are two types of electronic signatures that are currently prevalent: A digital signature, which is a type of electronic signature that incorporates encryption and passwords Electronic or e-signatures, which more broadly includes any “electronic sound, symbol or process” used to sign an electronic transaction, according to The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act Both can save time, money and the resources associated with getting a hard copy of a document in front of someone to sign, but let’s look at what makes them work. Digital Signatures Larry Kluger, marketing manager at CoSign by Arx, explains how organizations are using digital signatures for customers, clients and other external signers. Instead of employing an outside service, they can use their own digital signature systems—as long as a couple of important conditions are met. First, the signer must be properly authenticated. This is most easily accomplished in person, with appropriate identification, but there are some reliable ways to authenticate “remote signers.” Second, there must be a way to certify that the remote signer really is the person who digitally signed the document. Kluger suggests having a staff member digitally sign the document, attesting to the validity of the first signature, or having the external signer use encrypted digital certificate technology (commonly used by third-party services). Electronic signatures The procedures that Kluger outlines, however, can seem cumbersome for frequent signatories. Wouldn’t it be easier to authenticate external signers once and input scanned signatures, official seals and initials into one central repository? External signers could then be provided documents on a secure website and easily sign as required. Enter electronic signatures, which can be as legally binding as digital signatures provided the user is logged into their ECM system (the authentication) and that the ECM system records the signature action. This type of electronic signature even meets the strict requirements of FDA CFR 21 part 11. OpenText™ Brava makes adding electronic signatures easy. Simply set up your signature once using either an image or choosing a script font to type it in electronically. Going forward, you can quickly and easily apply the signature, initials and even professional seals—a particularly useful feature for CAD users. When integrated to an ECM system, it alerts the system that the signing event has been completed so it can record it in the database.

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Using File Transformation Software to Simplify Compliance in Life Sciences

file transformation software

Pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and other Life Sciences organizations must comply with a barrage of regulations in the U.S. and abroad. One key aspect of compliance involves following strict records management requirements throughout the R&D process, and when submitting new drugs for approval. Documentation for a single research study can run to thousands of pages, and key results might be recorded in various ways, including Microsoft Office documents, digital images and even handwritten notes. In addition, Life Sciences organizations often deal with multiple jurisdictions, patent laws and a dispersed workforce—so it’s no wonder that staying in compliance is complex and time consuming. And as in any other industry, time is money. For example, bringing a drug to market one day earlier can save a pharmaceutical company as much as $37,000 in out-of-pocket development costs and net an additional $1.1 million in daily prescription revenue, according to a Tufts study. To streamline the submission and review process, and reduce time to market, the FDA and other regulatory agencies are encouraging Life Sciences organizations to move to electronic submissions. However, the requirements are daunting. For example, the FDA requires submissions to include PDF versions of case reports that are extensively cross-referenced, hyperlinked and bookmarked. An electronic submission comprises a series of electronic documents, with each document pulling together information that includes forms, reports and data. Specialized content management systems from can help Life Sciences organizations to manage complex workflows and stay in compliance. These systems combine enterprise content management (ECM) features such as shared file repositories and document permissions with workflows that move projects through R&D, clinical trials, regulatory approval and manufacturing. They can also incorporate technologies such as OpenText™ Blazon that make it possible to pull content from many different files and produce merged PDFs for review or inclusion in a submission package. Blazon also automates the file transformation process, allowing organizations to create PDFs from files in many different formats. Life Sciences organizations must also comply with data handling and archiving regulations. Drug development, clinical trial data and documentation pertaining to medical devices must be archived in accordance with very strict rules. For example, FDA 21 CFR Part 11 governs how electronic records are to be managed, while FDA CFR 820 (in the U.S.) and ISO 13485 (in the EU and elsewhere) both require that records pertaining to medical devices be retained for lengthy periods of time. These regulations do not specify the format in which data is to be stored, but our customers tend to use PDF/A for archiving purposes. Batch file transformation software, such as Blazon, can be embedded into workflow processes to ensure that documents are automatically transformed to the required format for archiving or submittal. With Blazon, organizations can ensure adherence to regulatory or internal mandates by using the optimal output format—whether it’s PDF/A for long-term archiving, conventional PDF for distribution or filing with a government agency or TIFF for a widely supported format that doesn’t allow text selection.

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Don’t let document delivery be the bottleneck in workflow processes

Enterprises invest in highly sophisticated information systems to harness data and information within a company. Back-office automation systems, such as ERP, ECM, vertical and various other business applications, have provided a distinct advantage for the companies that deploy them. These programs are designed to handle everything from a one-to-one communication to massive one-to-many batch-produced documents. These systems turn data into invoices, purchase orders, delivery confirmations and statements of any kind. Modern business systems provide a competitive advantage for information-driven organizations by turning raw data into the documents that are critical to run operations and gain efficiency. These vastly complex business systems have transformed how information is managed and controlled, but these incredibly efficient systems can still have challenges: delivering this information quickly with a traceable receipt confirmation. Many organizations turned to manual faxing with fax machines as a delivery method that was much faster than postal mail or courier, far more secure than email, and provided a sent/received confirmation. However, manual faxing is a significant bottleneck in an otherwise efficient workflow process. Faxing with fax machines is time-consuming, expensive and prone to human error for employees to sort, send, and manage stacks and stacks of paper. And the sheer volume of documents that information systems produce quickly makes this manual process inefficient and a significant bottleneck in a workflow process. Production faxing eliminates the bottleneck of document delivery for business workflows Production faxing provides automated delivery of documents produced by business applications. A production fax solution captures large batches of raw print stream data generated typically from host systems, renders it a faxable electronic image, distributes the document via fax, email, certified email or print and creates customized reports, including notifications for delivery confirmation. It removes the bottleneck of delivering workflow documents by delivering documents fully automated and unattended, which makes this delivery method very efficient and cost effective. Production fax operations eliminate repetitive, batch-oriented processes by automating document delivery from back-end, legacy and host applications. This eliminates the manual paper shuffling and envelope stuffing that most batch processes require. Fax-enable back office applications: Business applications produce data can be integrated with a production fax solution to automatically and intelligently send documents as a fax. Document assembly and preprocessing: Production fax integrations integrate with back-end systems and assemble the content in templates or forms, customizable depending on the business need. The document and its content are assembled and ready to be faxed. Automatic document delivery: Production faxing provides unattended, real-time delivery of business documents. No paper shuffling. No envelope stuffing. No human error. Document tracking, notifications and reporting: Production fax operations send documents electronically and securely as faxes, automatically delivering the business documents that run your organization. Get notifications of transmissions and run detailed reports on all transmissions and fax traffic history.

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Who Does What in Information Governance?

information governance

Are there weaknesses in your company’s data management strategies? If your information governance roles aren’t clearly defined, then it’s likely there are. According to analysts, information governance is how organizations “enforce desirable behavior in the creation, use, archiving and disposition of corporate information.” Information governance’s goal is to “ensure compliance with laws and regulations, mitigate risks and protect the confidentiality of sensitive company and customer data.” Failure to comply with such regulations can result in significant penalty, legal liability and loss of reputation. Check out Information Governance is Good Business for more information on this big topic. While it’s clear to see why information governance is important, implementing it is not without its challenges. One of the major challenges stems from insufficient collaboration among key stakeholders, according to EDRM’s (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM). IGRM seeks to help stakeholders understand their responsibilities, processes and practices for information governance—as well as understand the importance of collaboration across the enterprise. According to IGRM, the key responsibilities are divided among three key groups: Business users. They need the information to operate the organization and are the primary stakeholders. Their responsibility is to define and declare the specific value of information. Legal, risk and regulatory departments. Once business value has been established, these stakeholders are chartered to manage risk for the company. They define what to put on hold and what and when to collect data for discovery. They also are charged with ensuring regulatory obligations for information are met, including what to retain and archive and for how long. IT organizations. They must manage the information accordingly, ensuring privacy, security and appropriate retention. Without collaboration with the other two sets of stakeholders, IT can’t speak to what information has value or what duties apply to specific information. Once an organization has established these roles, the hope is that the diagram can be used to facilitate better cooperation, cross-functional processes and better information governance. It can be hard work to design an information governance program and then implement it across the enterprise—but establishing who does what and fostering collaboration among the stakeholders can mean a huge payoff in terms of reduced risk and increased data security.

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Meet OpenText at Gartner PCC in London, 15-16th September

OpenText is proud to be a premier sponsor of the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit in London, 15-16th September. We are ready to fully embrace this year’s theme, “Engage, Collaborate, Innovate – Thriving in a Digital Enterprise.” OpenText will be talking about digital transformation – how companies can create a “Digital First World” and transform their business to accelerate innovation and generate competitive advantage. On the main stage following the keynotes, Lubor Ptacek, VP Product Marketing at OpenText, will take part in a panel discussion centered on the impact of new technologies and the emergence of the digital workplace. OpenText customer Will Smart will also present at the event on how The Royal Free NHS Trust turned digital disruption into opportunity. He’ll discuss how the digital transformation journey combined compliant patient record management with the ease of access that a tablet provides to drive efficiency and productivity. Meanwhile, at the OpenText booth (#P1), delegates can experience a walkthrough of their very own digital transformation with our digital caricature artist at the ready to digitize and capture the moment. For me, the theme of the whole event, “Thriving in a Digital Enterprise”, reminds me that it’s something that many of us strive to achieve every day. We make the best use of the technology available to us, whether that be provided by our company, using our own set of hardware and software, or in most cases a combination of the two. Whatever it takes to get the job done! OpenText’s theme of Digital Transformation is a call to companies to embrace the inevitable. It’s more than just converting paper documents into searchable PDFs, or replicating existing paper workflows with electronic formats (although in many cases that can be the start of the transformation journey). The opportunities are much more exciting than that. It’s about the new ways of working that become possible once things have “gone digital.” It’s about deciding on the outcome that you want and then working back to reimagine the internal processes that allow that outcome to become a reality. Imagine being able to provide new levels of customer service and customer experience that exceed expectations. What about having the agility to respond to disruptive technologies and take advantage of sudden opportunities that arise? What would it mean to your business if it had the ability to share information easily across channels and geographies while remaining secure and compliant? What about having a real-time centralized view of all information across the enterprise… In short, by starting out on a digital transformation journey, you’ll soon discover that the possibilities are endless! Stop by and meet OpenText at Gartner PCC, the most important annual gathering of business and IT leaders responsible for collaboration and engagement between employees, customers, partners, and suppliers. This summit will give you the vision and future trends, as well as the practical advice for immediate implementation. Connect with us on Twitter @OpenText and be sure to follow to #OpenText and #GartnerPCC hashtags through the conference.

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Information, the new currency making companies successful in a digital world

We’ve all been on the receiving end of information requests, where organizations demand more and more (personal) data to strengthen their customer profiling objectives. “More accurate information will enable us to serve you better.” Organizations are constantly trying to understand the information they own and battling to use it to drive more business and/or better customer service. Those seemingly endless Big Data projects spring to mind. Projects that, in my opinion, will never be completed since data is being created at an ever increasing pace. Increasing the complexity and also undoubtedly the biggest challenge of all is having to deal with unstructured information. Besides the challenges of an ever-growing information repository and its questionable accuracy, IT and Business departments also have to deal with the demands of users wanting to work with the most efficient and innovative technology on the market. Where IT might still be able to control what technology is in use internally, external users (consumers, business partners, etc.) determine how they want to communicate with you. Many companies have embraced Twitter and Facebook, perhaps they’ll be looking into WhatsApp next and who knows what other innovative tool may become the flavor of the day. Strategic CIOs have already reached out to their Marketing Executives and Customer Services Executives to expand the use of Social Media and mobile tools in the workplace, aiming to enable faster, more efficient and effective responses to customer requests. Organizations are introducing extraordinary systems into the workplace, transforming them into collaborative environments where cutting-edge technology brings unparalleled value to their market place and places them comfortably ahead of the competition. Traditional organizations are evolving into digital enterprises. Technology has changed the game. Digital disruptors are entering your market. Your competitors, your customers and your business partners have embraced this disruptive technology which makes a digital information strategy inevitable. All of these technologies have one thing in common which is information – information about customers, usage, orders, complaints, discounts, deliveries, manuals, and so on. Organizations wishing to remain competitive will have to innovate and transform to become digital businesses. Enterprise Information Management (EIM) will help you deal with the digital disruptions you face in your business every day and will be instrumental in transforming your information into the currency upon which your organization becomes successful. OpenText constructs the digital world for customers wanting to differentiate themselves through an EIM strategy. Is your organization equipped to be the disruptor instead of being disrupted?

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The File-Sharing Dilemma (a.k.a. It’s 3 a.m.: Do You Know Where Your Content Is?)

You’re in IT management. What keeps you up at night? Standard stuff like health and retirement savings? Or is it that new hire in marketing—the one leaving the office every night with confidential campaign plans copied to a flash drive? Or maybe it’s the R&D manager who’s using public file sync and sharing services to transfer sensitive product development specs between their work and home computers. If either of those scenarios is familiar, that’s what you should be stressing over. And for a couple of reasons: At the most basic level, that’s your organization’s critical information—its lifeblood—out there roaming beyond the firewall. At a higher level, it also means your enterprise probably doesn’t have a secure, compliant, user-friendly file sync and share solution integrated into its ECM platform. You’re not alone. If it makes you feel any better, many organizations are struggling to adapt to a rapidly evolving work environment that now encompasses anywhere, anytime, and on any device. To help put the changing landscape in perspective, here are some results I’ve pulled together from a few surveys: 65% of respondents have accessed work-related data on their mobile device, though only 10% have corporate-issued devices. Shockingly, over 50% said access to their devices wasn’t password protected. 78% of companies say the number of personal devices connecting to their networks has doubled over the past two years. However, less than 10% are fully aware of which devices are logging in. 93% of companies without an enterprise file sync and share platform say their employees are specifically using Dropbox, despite (or, more likely, due to an unawarenss of) several recently documented security issues . BYOx Has Arrived. What’s Your Response? Fact is, companies are expecting more out of their employees, and resourceful staff members are doing their best to deliver. So much so that the concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is quickly morphing into BYOx, where “x” is defined as whatever’s necessary to get the job done—devices, applications, web services, cloud storage, and more. Good on the staff for showing initiative, but it’s now all on the infrastructure architects to provide them with a secure, productive sandbox to play in. I’m not alone in saying that adopting an “anything goes” policy for external information sharing and storage is a no-win proposition. It results in an inefficient, tangled mess for users and gruesome security and governance risks for information guardians. There really is only one, true win-win in this new world, and it’s in the form of a cohesive, dedicated file sync and sharing application that’s built from the ground up with inherent security and compliance to excel at all three aspects of the corporate sync-and-share paradigm: Usability, Governance and Security. The Best of All File Sharing Worlds Is in One Simple Solution So, at the most basic level, it seems there are two paths to meeting the demands of the next-gen workforce and workplace. Sadly, one involves trying to grow a business through public file sync and sharing tools created for non-business use. Tools that are incompatible with your tech environment ask you to rely on someone else’s definition of security and can’t tell you where your data’s been hanging out. Truth is, solutions like OpenText Tempo Box are the foundation for the future. Tempo Box is built on an ECM infrastructure and operates in the cloud, on-premise, or as a hybrid model that incorporates both. It’s time to take the leap and implement a true enterprise-grade sync and share solution that effortlessly brings the best advantages of external file sync and sharing—content creation, collaboration, and storage—back behind the firewall and into a secure, governable structure where it belongs. I guarantee you’ll sleep better. Try Tempo Box today!

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Outbound Customer Communications: Author Once, Publish Many?

Originally published on Doculabs.com For many of our clients today, there are three primary outbound communication channels: Paper via USPS Mail, email via Exact Target (or similar), and web pages via the web site. Unfortunately, for most organizations, each of these channels tends to have a different content authoring team, different publishing processes, and different underlying technologies. In addition, the manner in which the content is structured, in terms of naming conventions, meta-data and hierarchy, is different. As a result, while the world has adopted multiple channels of communications, costs have increased for these organizations, when you would actually expect to achieve some synergies. Consider some stats. On an annual basis, a financial services or insurance client with 10 million customers will likely generate 100 million pieces of physical mail, send 50 million emails (assuming a 25% “e-doption”), and roughly 25 million site visit and more than 75 million page views. In support of these activities, across these three channels, there are typically in excess of 50,000 discrete “templates”, and likely a quarter- to a half-million content components used in the various templates. And considering both business and IT resources, it takes more than 100 FTEs to support the authoring, publishing, and delivery processes. Not cheap! Given the magnitude, how do we streamline these processes and gain some efficiency? What about the promise of “author once, publish many” that the industry has been advocating for well over 10 years? Well, in my opinion, the operational constraints of the different target mediums and supporting technologies result in some redundancy. Regardless, though, some efficiencies can be gained. So the key questions our customers ask is: What is the right balance? Can we encourage content re-use within and across channels, without compromising the optimization needed for a particular channel? Here, some suggestions for organizations looking for additional leverage, from the standpoints of people, process, information architecture, and technology: People Cross-pollinate team members. Granted, the skills needed to work in Adobe for web content or Documaker for templates destined for paper, or in Aprimo for email campaigns, etc., involve some specialization. But the fundamental skills needed to understand tone, conform to a style guide, and use brevity apply across all channels. So the more you can cross-train individuals in these three teams, and use common practices for authoring and assigning meta-date, etc., the more you will be encouraging common processes. Organizational alignment. If possible, have the different content authoring teams report directly or matrix to a common set of manager(s); again, consistency is increased. In particular, the different teams will begin to understand and appreciate some of the unique complexities within each channel, but also many of the similarities. And it affords the organization an opportunity to define common operating metrics – the number of change requests, length of time and number of hours to modify content, etc. Process Standardized workflows. While the platforms used to author and publish content may be different in each delivery channel, some degree of process standardization is achievable. Consider, for instance, how change requests are submitted, how requirements are articulated, what additional artifacts are needed, how approvals are collected, etc. In many cases, standardizing these steps simplifies the process, both for the individuals within the publishing teams and also for business users interacting with the various teams. Roles and responsibilities and metrics. The participants in the workflow, regardless of channel, can also be standardized so that everyone knows their role. Most critical is the definition of what tasks business or IT staff are responsible for. In addition, define the key metrics, including the number of units of work needing to be completed and the desired SLAs. Information Architecture Naming conventions and hierarchy. Just about every client I work with complains that they have content “all over the place”. Of course, content is everywhere, because no one ever proactively defined these retention protocols. Even if you are using simple file shares, taking the time to define basic meta-data and where content should be stored and how to do version control (even as simple as Filename_v1,… v2) goes a long way toward consistency. Meta-data. When the basics above have been addressed, go a step further to define the essential set of indices that can be used to describe a template or content component. Graphics and design elements are particularly problematic, so get a cross-channel team in the room and come up with the three to five descriptive elements needed from the original creator of the content. Technology Today, the supplier community might claim they do multi-channel support – and if you were starting “greenfield,” that may well be the case. But for most of our clients, given the divergence of platforms already in use, they need to create channel-specific renditions. “Rendition” is probably too favorable a term, as it implies simply pushing a button, and magically an email or web page is created. Regardless, if the upstream processes leverage common standards (as outlined above), the particularities of technology platforms can be minimized (but not eliminated). Overall, while the perfect world of authoring once and dynamically publishing across paper, email, and web channels is still a challenge, there are many steps organizations can take to streamline their operations. Developing common skills, processes, and content naming conventions optimizes use of resources to the extent possible.

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