Enterprise Content Management

Empowering Government with a Digital Agenda

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

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Replacing Your Legacy Archiving System is a Pain. No More!

Large organizations rely heavily on rapidly evolving technology to thrive in today’s competitive business environment. And one of these vital solutions is the electronic archiving system, which is expected to maintain a comprehensive and accurate record of customer information such as statements, bills, invoices, insurance policies, scanned images and other organizational information that is essential to the survival and growth of the enterprise. It is critically important for modern organizations that these assets are retained in an efficient and intelligent manner so that they can be retrieved on-demand for customer presentation, compliance, auditing, reporting, etc. Like all information technology, archive systems too need to be upgraded from time to time. Depending on the requirements of a progressive organization, this could even mean replacing the existing systems with a brand new solution. The first step toward an effective solution, however, is identifying the shortcomings of the current system in the context of your evolving business needs. Here are a few tell-tale signs that your archiving system hasn’t been keeping up with your growth: Waning vendor support – It doesn’t receive enough attention from the vendor in terms of upgrades and support. Costly Upgrades – When it becomes prohibitively expensive to boost performance or add new capabilities/features. New Media Deficit – The system falls short on receiving and serving up content to the multitude of customer channels, including web, social, mobile, tablet, text, messages, email, and print. Social Disconnect – Perhaps the most easily recognizable symptom of an outdated archive system is the inability to connect with social media such as Facebook and Twitter accounts and capture and store customer information. Content Inaccessibility – Users complaining of an inability to extract data for targeted messaging, trans-promotional marketing, analytics, and other sales and marketing functions. Compliance Infractions – Inability to store or retrieve content that could lead to investigations, fines, license revocations, or lawsuits. If you can relate to one or more of these issues then upgrading to a more contemporary solution may be the best way forward. An example of archive migrations we have conducted for our customers and have extensive experience in is for the Mobius/ASG-ViewDirect® system. The challenges often highlighted for this system include some of those listed in the points above, as well as other issues typically seen in legacy archive systems, such as a lack of a coherent product roadmap, high costs, and an outdated user experience. Customers are often certain about the need for migration but are unsure about how to move to a new archive without disrupting critical business functions. The only real roadblock to improved performance then, is the migration itself. The process can be laborious and cumbersome, with key performance factors around the ability to perform complex document migrations on time and within budget, while maintaining access for existing applications, repurposing information locked in legacy document formats and meeting regulatory requirements. While enterprise IT departments have stringent migration requirements, modernizing your archiving system doesn’t necessarily have to be painful, and OpenText®’s ECM Migration service has a methodology in place to make sure it isn’t. The service provides a way to efficiently migrate content out of legacy archiving systems like Mobius/ASG-ViewDirect® and others to a more contemporary solution such as OpenText’s Output Archive (formerly known as BIRT Repository). Some of the unique benefits of using OpenText’s ECM Migration Service for Mobius migrations include the ability to migrate content out of Mobius without the need to purchase expensive Mobius APIs and the capability to read directly from the underlying file structure using the Mobius Resource Extractor, bypassing the need for Mobius to be running. Our ECM Migration methodology has been designed keeping best practices gleaned from many successful engagements and utilizes award-winning technologies to automate migration in a lights-out environment without disrupting day-to-day business activities. The ECM Migration team has worked with many ECM systems including IBM® Content Management OnDemand (CMOD), IBM® FileNet® Image Services, IBM®FileNet® P8, ASG-ViewDirect®, and others for decades, and the maturity of our solution proves it. Our technology and DETAIL™ Methodology enables us to: Manage all aspects of a migration Cut up to 6 weeks off of the initial planning Use standard logging on a single platform Provide multi-threaded support out-of-the-box Implement process flows, advanced logic and routers through drag-and-drop interfaces without the need for scripting Connect to and pool the connection with multiple databases and repositories Run processes concurrently, by thread or broken down by stage (i.e. Load, Extract, Convert) Handle massive volumes of data, documents, images and metadata So, if you think it’s time to say goodbye to your current archiving system, know that there are experts out there who can help you define your requirements and deploy an appropriate solution that will take you where you want to go. And remember – organizations that evolve, thrive. Others perish.

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Beware of the Trendy Archive Solution

Technology is moving so fast that even the staunchest CIO and IT professional can feel overwhelmed. Information governance has dramatically changed over the past few years and companies are now looking at it to manage their entire electronic footprint. Finding an archive solution that meets your business needs is difficult and the costs associated with picking the wrong partner are astronomical. Expensive setup fees and having your data already tied into a solution make changing again difficult. When trying to identify an archive solution—whether you’ve realized your needs now expand beyond email archiving or you need a solution that can quickly scale with your data requirements—there are a lot of companies making a lot of promises and they often fall short. When a provider would rather talk to you about their Quadrant winning solution and robust but overly complex search features instead of listening to your business problems and learning about your industry, run the other way. Features are important, but only after you’ve identified that they can help you solve your business problems. Strategy is key. You can have all the bells and whistles and still be spending all day trying to get that archive to meet your needs. Knowing your industry, stakeholders, goals, and organization should be vital to your provider, and they should also be committed to cutting-edge technology and building an amazing feature set. Everyone hears the horror stories of companies who went with one solution only to switch again 12 months later. We want to help you avoid this mistake by giving a few tips to help you select an information archive solution that can meet your needs. Review your goals Before you start sending out that RFP, it’s important to understand where you are currently at. Is your existing solution costly and time consuming? Perhaps your data is growing so quickly that you can’t keep up or do you need a solution to help with eDiscovery and compliance? Understanding what problems you’re facing will arm you with the information needed to go to the C-suite and get buy-in, and help ensure that the conversation stays focused on business goals and not bells and whistles. Be selective Don’t allow a company’s ability to rank well on a search results page be your selection method. Simply contacting the first 5 companies that appear on Google for “Information Archiving Software” is a surefire way to hire the wrong partner. Rather than invite every company under the sun to bid, look for a solution that you strongly suspect will be right for your organization. Doing proper research you should narrow it down to 1 – 3 solutions. If you don’t know where to start, ask the community. You would be surprised how helpful the LinkedIn community can be. Once you have a few recommendations, visit each of their websites and see if any of them inspire confidence to handle your organization’s most important business data. The more you know about the company you call will reflect well on your preparedness for picking the right software. Run tests Protecting and archiving your data is only part of the equation, you need to make sure it’s easy to access. Ask to see several demos and ask if they will let you test run the product yourself on a small test pilot. Now you can test the product yourself and do several different searches to ensure that it’s pulling up the most relevant information to your search. Support Anticipate hiccups especially when you have a large amount of data. Archiving launches rarely go 100% flawless, and you need to make sure that your provider will be there to support you every step of the way. Don’t let hidden support fees creep up on you—ask upfront what level of support they will provide. Will they be there whenever you run into problems? Do they have a dedicated support team? How quickly do they respond to emails, and how long until you get a call back? These questions will give you a great feel for how they support their clients. In conclusion Setting up an archive solution is one of the most important decisions an organization will make. You can get sucked into cool features that will only be replaced as technology changes, or you can work with a provider who understands your unique challenge

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OpenText and SAP Run Together for Exceptional Customer Impact

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

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ECM Migrations: Tools and Team are Important for Success

In our previous post on ECM Migrations, we discussed the key components of the process or methodology that will take the migration project from start to successful completion. In reality, successful migrations are facilitated by sophisticated tools and an expert team with many years of experience. Let’s look closer at them. The Tools Your ECM Migration Toolset needs to be able to do the following: Read from the existing ECM or Archiving system Extract data from the content (both embedded and attached) Develop new indexes from the extracted data Reformat your data Replace information as necessary – for example logos, advertising Insert new information – banner sheets, cover sheets Load data into the new system in an efficient manner Audit the process Provide status updates Create new retention and disposition rules. The Team While a large-scale ECM or document archive migration project may seem daunting at first, a good amount of planning guided by best practices methodology can ensure success. Choosing a vendor who meets the following criteria can significantly lower the risk (and pain) associated with any document migration project as well as reduce the time to return-on-investment. Ask questions of the vendors you are dealing with to ensure they have: Experienced migration consultants with deep technical knowledge regarding the extraction and loading of ECM, Archiving, IDARS and COLD systems. A proven detailed migration methodology. Configurable migration components designed to automate the migration process. Specialized applications designed to transform and extract information from a variety of print stream formats. A track record of success; speed, efficiency and reliability. Reference accounts you can speak with. For more information, download a brief white paper, Best Practice in ECM Document Migrations.

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To Keep or Not to Keep: A Records Management Question

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

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ECM Migrations: A Chance to Save Money and Improve User Experience

Let’s face it – Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Archiving Systems get old. The technology has been around for a long time, technology is changing and businesses are getting more and more sophisticated in how they view their content assets. Older technology has the following characteristics: The technology may be slow, causing a degradation in the user experience. The data associated with your ECM system or Archive may be simple, and may not have evolved as users have become more sophisticated in how they store, search and view content. Delivery methods have evolved and the technology may not have improved how the content is presented and the devices the content is presented on. Your system may not be on the current technology stack, due to previous mergers and acquisitions that have left your technology out dated. The vendor may not be staying current, which can lead to reduced support and risk. In short, your ECM or Archiving system may not be providing you the business value you envisioned when it was first implemented, many years ago. For more information on how to know when your ECM or Archiving system is out of date, click here for an informational white paper. Business pressures have also led to changes in the way you view your content. For example, you may want to: Consolidate your documents from many systems into a single view of your customer’s communications and assets. De-duplicate the metadata naming standards, and settle on a single identifier across multiple repositories. Add new index and metadata information to improve the search and retrieval capabilities of your content. Develop custom views of the content, based on specific workflow and business processes. All this may be encumbered by your old, out-of-date technologies. Although it is often thought of as a “nightmare project”, ECM Migration offers the perfect opportunity to address these shortcomings with your content system, and provide the modern technology needed to facilitate a truly global (360 degree) customer view. In the past, the document migration process was time-consuming, resource-intensive, and mired with challenges that often outweighed the benefits. Organizations can now migrate their documents quickly and efficiently, and during the process realize additional value from their document content. Benefits include providing additional channels of document access, extracting actionable information previously locked away in static document formats, and enriching the customer experience through personalized communication; providing the opportunity for competitive differentiation and increased customer retention. A successful migration demands comprehensive planning to be completed by experienced individuals in advance and involves a number of best practices that can, in general, be segmented into: A strong process Excellent support tools An experienced team The Process The Process needs to encompass the following activities: Discovery – Analysis and understanding of the current ECM or Archiving systems, the types of documents contained within them and the schema in which the metadata is stored. Extraction – Establish the available means to extract documents and metadata from the source system, select the best approach, and execute it at the appropriate time. Transformation – Re-purpose document content and manipulate its format to add additional value and meet business requirements. Auditing – Track all of the documents throughout the entire process to ensure that all information is accounted for and that reports are available for future audit purposes. Indexing – Indexes or metadata provide actionable information about your documents. The migration process provides an opportunity to not only move the existing metadata, but also to add to or enrich the indexes available. Loading – Insert or load documents, metadata and resources into the target ECM or Archiving system and ensure that fidelity and accessibility. We will discuss the importance of the right set of tools and an experienced team in our next post.

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Business Process: The Future of ECM

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

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Treat Contract Management as a Strategic Business Process

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

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Enterprise Document Archiving: 7 Must-Have Features for Superior Performance [Part 1]

Organizations that produce high-volume customer communications such as credit card bills, bank statements, insurance policies, and telephone bills, must employ electronic archives, also known as repositories, to securely store this content and, in many cases, satisfy regulatory requirements. If archiving and retrieving large quantities of electronic documents is an integral part of business operations, system performance can have a significant impact on: Customer Experience – system response time affects speed of service and, consequently, customer satisfaction. Service Level Agreements – loss of business and/or legal liability may be incurred if documents are not processed timely and as scheduled. Resource Usage – increased system efficiency can lead to reduced costs. Resilience During Peak Periods – systems are most severely strained during business spikes such as month-ends/year-ends. An Organization’s Ability to Adapt to Business Growth – a system that cannot satisfy demand for increased functionality or scale up to adequately handle larger document volumes will hamper other growth-driven change. Of course, not all repository solutions are created equal. Some consistently perform better than others, so it’s important to know what variables can affect performance and become acquainted with the performance-enhancing features found in state-of-the-art systems. Click to read a complete white paper on this subject. Performance Variables The performance of a repository solution depends on its ability to handle several key variables: Systems Architecture Number of servers Number of CPUs per server and their speed Number of cores per CPU Amount of memory available Speed of storage access and throughput times Network Bandwidth Complexity of Content – documents with fewer or smaller graphics are more compressible, and thus can be written to and retrieved from a repository more quickly. Document Storage Type of storage media and third-party systems Complexity of Indexing Requirements Essential Performance Features For a repository to perform at the true speed of enterprise, it must have these seven performance-enhancing features: Storage Management Document Lifecycle Management Load Balancing Optimized Database Usage Accelerated Pre and Post Retrieval Activities Detailed Monitoring and Reporting Tools Flexible Tuning Controls In this post, we will talk about the first three on this list.  In a future post, we will talk about the last four. Storage Management A repository can significantly elevate performance by simply managing storage systems more effectively. Management techniques often involve: Mass Ingestion (to increase loading and retrieval efficiency): The process of loading documents into the repository can be streamlined for greater efficiency by automatically grouping similar documents with similar indexing requirements together, and uploading them in a single file. The repository records the offset of each document from the first one in the stack and stores this information in the database. This technique also makes document retrieval more efficient because the system only has to seek through one file (containing multiple documents), minimizing input/output transactions. Resource Bundles (to save on storage) Repositories can reduce the storage footprint of some document types by up to 95% using compression and resource bundles. One particularly effective method for reducing the storage requirements of complex content is to remove large recurring objects (such as company logos), store them once (in a bundle with other shared resources), and then compress the rest of the document. Although compression can increase write and retrieval times, the large savings in storage space and transfer times more than make up for this disadvantage. Document Lifecycle Management A repository can achieve a high level of system performance by managing the retention and movement of documents according to a prescribed set of rules. A rules-based repository maintains the desired balance between document write/retrieval times and storage footprint by overseeing the entire document lifecycle. Whenever a document satisfies certain preset conditions, possibly related to its age or the number of times it has been accessed, the repository responds by performing whatever actions are specified in the rules. For example, a repository could be configured to store new, frequently accessed documents for a year without compression on premium, high-speed devices, enabling customers to quickly retrieve them. Then, after a year, the repository would compress the documents and move them to long-term, lower-speed storage media to save on storage costs. Alternately, the repository could be set up to automatically compress and archive any document that is not accessed for six consecutive months, regardless of its age. Load Balancing Tools Capable of Supporting Huge Scalability Top-performing repositories automatically scale up to handle larger loads, maximizing their efficiency by adding computing resources. When bottlenecks occur, the repositories bring more processing power online to increase throughput and maintain performance targets. A repository can balance the load across resources using a variety of hardware and software options. With software, repositories can use many different load balancing methods. For example, the Round Robin method will balance the load, giving work to each node in turn: Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, and so on. Another method would simply assign work to the node that seems least busy. Both of these methods allow the repository to scale in response to processing demands.

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Apple Watch Validates the Power of Analytics

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

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Achieving ROI from Enterprise Archiving: Part 3 – IntensifyingPressurefor Compliance

Meeting organizational, legal, and regulatory compliance obligations is a direct advantage of enterprise archiving. Your notion of compliance may differ based on your market, geographic regions where you do business, and—if you are considering adding cloud into your information management strategy—compliance even touches the physical location where you archive your corporate content. Organizational Compliance Even if your organization is not bound by the same regulations as industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, or the various levels of government, keeping too much content or over-retention is not a viable strategy. Business-relevant content needs to be managed and readily accessible to your users; content such as contracts, legal agreements, human resources documents, and more need to be classified as business records while content of a non-business nature, or “transient” content, should be managed and disposed of appropriately under policy as well. Compliance doesn’t need to be complex. Build straightforward policies for your business-relevant content and rules on how to handle both business records and non-business content, and stick to them. Adherence to policy is the best way to provide evidence that you’ve taken reasonable efforts to manage your enterprise content and met the duty to safeguard against sanctions or fines. Legal Compliance Historically speaking, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and U.S. regulators like FINRA have given rise to compliance-driven archiving. There are clear signs, however, that sanctions, fines, and growing legal threats are intensifying compliance concerns outside the U.S. as well. At the end of the day, regardless of your geographic region or market, it’s not a matter of if a legal event will occur, but when—and inadequate information management practices will cost you. Legal compliance issues can arise simply by not employing proper retention policies, which can be seen as negligent in the eyes of the court and result in spoliation sanctions. Some striking examples include: In 2009, MetLife was fined $1.2 million for improper monitoring of email archiving obligations under FINRA In 2010, Piper Jaffray was fined $700,000 for improper retention of email In 2010, LPL Financial was fined $9 million for email system failures and compliance with FINRA In 2013, ING was fined $1.2 million for improper email retention and failure to comply with FINRA In 2013, Barclays was fined $3.5 million for email retention failures. In 2013, Boehringer Ingelheim was fined $931k for losing files including text messages related to Pradaxa drug trials EU Data Protection Regulation: fines up to €100m proposed In 2013, a federal court sanctioned the government for failing to meet its duty to preserve website content advertising for a $32 million Department of Veterans Affairs procurement This list highlights the need for proper information governance across not just email but all enterprise sources. The savings in fines, along with the damage to your brand, shareholder value, and reputation make the deployment of enterprise archiving an imperative investment for any organization. Regulatory Compliance There’s a growing list of regulatory standards that are being enforced across markets and regions. Enterprise archiving and information governance practices help organizations comply and meet regulatory requirements as they continue to evolve and intensify. Ask These Questions When Determining the ROI Related to Compliance: 1. What obligations is your organization bound by in terms of compliance? 2. What sanctions for information management have you or your peers been hit with? 3. Can you easily preserve potentially relevant and responsive content? 4. Does your organization feel over-retention is a concern or is a necessary price to pay for compliance? 5. If you’re considering a move to the cloud, can you meet data sovereignty needs and compliance under one roof? 6. What other sources should be archived to ensure full compliance? Manage and Protect Your Information with Information Governance Establishing an information governance practice helps organizations meet compliance obligations, reduce storage and operational costs, and mitigate legal risks. Establishing a tangible return on investment, however, is not easily quantifiable and depends on many factors—some unique to your organization. Information governance is about managing and protecting your information to make sure it’s working for—not against—your organization. OpenText solutions enable Information Governance to make it easy for your organization to maximize the value and minimize the risks of your information, as well as develop a blueprint for achieving return on investment. For more information on deriving ROI blueprints from enterprise archiving and information governance visit www.opentext.com/archive. Thanks for reading! Don’t miss Part 1 and Part 2 in this series. 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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Contract Center: The Hat-Trick of Business Value

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

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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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