Omni-Channel

ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The New Barbarians

Digital is second nature to Millennials and plays a significant part in their lives. They believe new technology makes life easier and brings people closer together. Millennials are mobile. They are hyper-connected and always on. Based on their love of all things Digital, Millennials are introducing a whole new value system to the workplace. They eschew traditional hierarchical structures, prefer working in ways that are open, flexible and social, and are introducing new digital technologies into the enterprise (even if it means circumventing IT policy). They are multicultural, global, and believe in a work-life balance. This demographic will soon make up 50% of the global workforce. To accommodate their needs, corporate cultures will have to create an environment that caters to them (flex hours, remote access, BYOD). And if their demands are not met, this band of talented nomads will simply move on. Their influence extends beyond the enterprise. Millennials are making demands in the marketplace too. Being hyper-connected has created an “anytime, anywhere” expectation. As consumers, convenience and instant gratification are key—otherwise they’ll find another brand that can satisfy their expectations. Millennials are informed. They are communicators. And they value authenticity. All of these factors are driving brands to support digital, omni-channel shopping experiences, forums for open dialogue, and co-creation—where the consumer is empowered to interact with and influence a brand. Armed with new technology, influential opinions, and wallet power, Millennials have the means to supplant incumbents. If you fall short of meeting expectations—if you fail to deliver relevant and authentic digital experiences, provide flexible work environments, and adopt open communications—you will not survive the invasion. In my next post in this series, I’ll explore how engaging digital experiences are no longer optional, and what Digital Leaders are doing to fulfill this new business requirement. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Subscription Economy

cloud computing

Pre-digital, subscription was for periodicals, newspapers, cars, and book-of-the-month clubs. Today, it is a required part of businesses. If you do not have a subscription model in your business, you need to—and it is not easy to do. Every business must have a subscription model. Millennials expect it. Your investors expect it. There is a class of users that prefers to own an asset. Is it generational? In regulated industries? Is it for strategic or balance sheet reasons? Whatever it is, make sure your selection criteria are clear. All others prefer to have access to the asset. We have officially reached the tipping point. Access is the preferred method and thus we are in the “The Subscription Economy”. Subscription models challenge the incumbent or can create a competitive barrier. Netflix challenged Blockbuster and continues to challenge the entertainment industry in Hollywood. Salesforce challenges Oracle and SAP. Apple challenges music and the mobile/telco industries. You can now subscribe to an iPhone via a new Apple service. Heck, you can even subscribe to an IBM Mainframe today. One of the prizes of subscription is loyalty. But buyer beware. Subscription models are usually more expensive in the long term. Do your math. If you intend to subscribe for the long term, it can be two to three times more expensive than purchasing outright. There are also challenges in making your products or services available as a subscription. You have to move from one-time transactions to multiple transactions. You also move from receiving value up front to receiving a lifetime of value. And the greatest determinant to long-term value and loyalty is rapid and continuous usage of your service. Successful transitions to the Subscription Economy are well thought out, financially planned through, well communicated, and capture new spend. They identify new streams of revenue using new channels of engagement to appeal to the emerging powerhouse consumer—Millennials. In my next post in this series, I’ll discuss how this new generation is changing the face of business—as both consumer and employee. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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Both Sides, Now—Key Steps to Transforming Government

So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way Joni Mitchell, Both Sides, Now It’s almost 50 years since Joni Mitchell wrote those words, inspired by the sight of clouds from both above and below in an airplane. The song observes that every part of life can benefit from different perspectives. The same is true of government processes. While Mitchell recognized that technology revealed two sides of clouds, many governments are still focusing on only one side of Digital Government. The good news is that we are universally recognizing and moving toward a government experience similar to the way consumers interact with businesses. That is, businesses like Amazon and Uber, who capitalize on what technology can do to improve services, have set the standard requiring interactions that are: Digital Personalized Immediate Transparent Mobile—that is, available anywhere, anytime, on any device While government is generally not quite there yet, most agencies and departments are moving in that direction and local and state or provincial governments are moving especially fast to simplify two-way interactions with citizens. So that’s the bottom of the cloud—the side that we most frequently see when we glance up—but it’s the other side, the one visible from 30,000 feet, where government is languishing. In order to deliver on Digital Government, then, government has to be digital on the inside, too. For a business like Uber, for instance, technology inspired the execution from the beginning. There were no internal processes to disable, SOP’s to revise, legacy applications to transition or decommission and, most significant, no employees to retrain. These challenges have long impeded government’s ability to modernize. But to truly transform, to digitize, organizations have to take the critical steps to apply technology to internal mission-delivery processes—not to incrementally automate process steps as they are performed now in silos but to envision the way agencies could share information across the functional silos to take giant leaps to cut service delivery times, increase inspection or regulatory effectiveness, improve facility or asset maintenance, investigative efficiency and so on. So what’s the other side—the inside—of Digital, Personalized, Immediate, Transparent, and Mobile? Well, it looks something like this: Outside Inside Digital Informed and governed on-line e-forms that populate account folders, centralized auto-classified content governance/reconciliation tied to ERP and mission systems, interactive forums, online chats for questions Personalized Account/case-driven entity/ person-focused accounts that draw together information from all agency sources around that entity for a 360° view inside and outside. Every interaction ties to this file and new services, changes in services automatically notify entities of the change and they can see status of their requests or services in flight Immediate Workflow and AI / analytics-driven decisions where processes are predictable workflows speed delivery; where intelligent intervention is needed, decisions are guided by analytics, access to information is available in real-time and metrics help identify outcomes achieved and bottlenecks to refine Transparent Outcome-focused, metrics and measures service measures are defined, routinely tracked and publicly reported in real-time or near real-time, regulatory results published, non-sensitive information provided as Open Data Mobile Omni-channel (any device access), anywhere, any time for employees in the field and citizens These are, of course, non-trivial changes for most governments and, as technologies and technology accelerators evolve, modernizing processes to take advantage of them will require continuous transformation. Yet none of us want to echo Mitchell’s refrain ‘so many things I could have done…” So as we step into Digital Government, make sure to commit to both sides, now. Hear more about digital disruption in government at Enterprise World 2015‘s government customer panels and in our all-new Digital Disruption Zone.

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We live in exciting times. Digital Transformation is here, Now.

Life Sciences

I’m new to the what we internally call the EcoSystem team in OpenText, having moved into my new role in the last 6 months. Previously to that I spent 15 years in the ever changing world of Customer Experience Management. All that time the EcoSystem LOB was known to me as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft – or in my mind the great space on the mental map that is called the Back Office, where nothing much changed compared to CEM where you had to keep up-to-date on what was the hot new startup / social media network or buzzword that everyone was jumping on board this month (HTML 5, Responsive Design, OmniChannel, Phigital, ….. ). In my new Program Manager role, some of our partnerships have been in place for over 20 years, such as our relationship with SAP, are newer or emerging, and reflect the continuous growth of information in Enterprise platforms and more importantly the growing need to use this valuable information more effectively when approaching Digital Transformation. At Enterprise World 2015 You’ll hear a lot about Suite 16 and Cloud 16 and what that means for all of OpenText’s products including those that our group is responsible for. You will also hear from us about “Simplify: Run Digital”. It’s our key message to our customers and prospects that now is the time to simplify what you do to start transformation into a true Digital Enterprise. Simplify. Run Digital: covers all areas of an organization, from the necessary building blocks of the Platform, accelerating up through the Business and into the world of Transformation. Our sessions at Enterprise World cover all 3 areas, because tackling each one in isolation could lead to failure, really quickly and we believe that you have to consider all 3 (Platform, Business and Transformation) to be truly successful. At the Platform we will announce new products and enhancements as part of Blue Carbon supporting S4/HANA, Fiori and hybris; Microsoft Azure and Office 365; SFDC and of course OpenText Cloud. For the Business, at our Roundtable lunches speak to other customers like Southern California Edison, Man Diesel and Heineken about the success and benefits they have gained with our products. Experiencing Transformation, see live demo’s of the products and in the Disruption Zone experience how new tech like 3d Printing and our solutions are driving transformation. Digital Transformation is happening now, but getting started is not easy and that’s where we can help. We’ll share with you a tried and tested methodology to identify your digital maturity, prioritize the opportunities in your organization, your supply chain and products and finally your customer engagement models. Finally and against common wisdom – in this case, just because it happened in Vegas doesn’t mean it has to stay there. Enjoy Enterprise World 2015!!

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Data Driven Digest for September 18: Money and Finance

This week marks the 133 anniversary of the opening of the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco. The establishment was created to serve the interest of businesses that struck it rich mining for gold during the California Gold Rush. Nowadays, businesses mine for data hoping to strike it rich by analyzing that data for clues about how to best serve their customers, streamline their operations, or gain a competitive advantage. In honor of those financial pioneers, this week we offer three different visualizations of financial data. Eureka! U.S. Fiscal Responsibility   In 1789, the United States established its first loan to pay salaries of the existing and future presidents and the Congress. As our friend Katy French (@katyifrench) posted in Visual News this week, bean counters in Washington kept great records and even produced stunning visualizations to represent trends. The graphic above represents the Fiscal Chart of Debt and Expenditures by the U.S. Government between 1789 and 1870. Note the spikes in military spending during the War of 1812 and Civil War as well as the first major accumulation of debt in 1861.   Euro Spending How do Europeans spend their paychecks? That was the premise of a recent data plot developed by The Economist (@TheEconomist). Based on data sets from Eurostat entitled Final consumption expenditure of households by consumption purpose, The Economist found life in the Euro zone is quite diverse. Living in Lithuania? Your budget is dominated by food and clothes. Lithuanians also spend more per capita on alcohol and tobacco than the rest of Europe. Meeting in Malta? Forget about eating at home. Nearly 20 percent of Maltese spending goes toward restaurants and hotels. Spaniards spend the least on their transportation. Germans spend more on their furnishings than their E.U. neighbors   World Population Based on Income Our friends over at Pew Research Center (@PewResearch) have come up with an interactive visualization based around the paradigms of income and how it relates to world population. For example, the map above shows the density of people living under what they term as a middle income. By middle income, that means your daily wages are between $10.01 and $20. According to the map, 13 percent of the 7+ billion people in the world are middle income. The map has a second option that reveals the percentage point change in that population between 2000 and 2011. It’s a fascinating study on both financial statistics as well as data maps. The income groups are defined as follows: The poor live on $2 or less daily, low income on $2.01-10, middle-income on $10.01-20, upper-middle income on $20.01-50, and high income on more than $50; figures expressed in 2011 purchasing power parities in 2011 prices.

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Digital Engagement: A New Business Requirement

Digital engagement isn’t an option anymore, it’s a requirement. Today’s consumers are savvy and fickle, and companies must work to earn their loyalty. They’re demanding more from the brands they love, and their tolerance for anything but a seamless, engaging, and compelling experience is flagging. In a digital world, organizations must digitize their customer journeys, from initial interest through to purchase and follow-on service or support. The best way to do this is to shift to a digital marketing strategy. One that creates consistent and compelling customer experiences at every touchpoint through omni-channel delivery, responsive design, and targeted communications and information. Digital technologies have introduced new customer touchpoints and increased opportunities to engage. Since consumers often use more than one channel to interact with a brand (in some instances they use five or six), delivering uniform and relevant messages across all channels is crucial for return on marketing investments and customer satisfaction. Omni-channel focuses on meeting consumer needs by pulling together programs to provide a cohesive brand experience across channels, platforms, and devices. To borrow from Bruce Lee, digital design should “be like water”. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. The same holds true for digital experiences. The transition from desktop to device to point-of-sale should be fluid. This is achieved through responsive design. Customers don’t see individual devices or channels; they look for a consistent and familiar brand experience that delivers relevant content. Nirvana on the customer journey is realized when a company anticipates the needs and wants of a customer and serves up targeted and tailored content, products, or services, in the moment of need, wherever the customer is. Organizations that can predict customer behavior have a better chance at fulfilling consumer needs. Analytics—or analyzing data collected across various touch points of the customer journey (transactions, interactions, social media sites, and devices) helps organizations discover valuable customer insights so that they can offer more personalized and satisfying experiences. The most effective way to target different audiences is to use messages that focus on products and services with the greatest appeal for each segment. Using dynamically generated customer communications, organizations can create and automate their marketing campaigns. When correspondence is part of a digitized process, end results are gains in efficiency and the ability to create superior customer experiences. As one of the foundational suites for Enterprise Information Management (EIM), Customer Experience Management (CEM) aims to create a richer, more interactive online experience across multiple channels without sacrificing requirements for compliance and information governance. CEM brings together all of the technologies required to re-architect back-office systems, consolidate customer data, and create digitized front-end experiences. Digital engagement starts inside the firewall and extends outside the enterprise and all along the supply chain. In the next post in this series, I’ll explore how the supply chain is being disrupted and how enterprises can digitize key processes for greater collaboration, information exchange, and business agility. Find out how you can capitalize on digital disruption. To learn more, read my book, Digital: Disrupt or Die.

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Enterprise Mobility: Are you an Enabler?

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

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Digital Banking – What is happening in other industries? (part 1 of 3)

customer experience

The Financial Services industry as a whole – Payment and Cash Management especially – suffers from not learning and not re-using other industries’ ideas and best practices. As an anecdote, my current role focusses on one hand spending time with Banks and Financial institution, on the other hand with Corporate Treasurers. I still find myself explaining to Bankers on a regular basis procure-to-pay and order-to-cash cycles, getting surprised reactions when they realise they are just an “end” process to a supply chain process (I kid you not!). While generally speaking Banks understand their customers’ needs, individuals lack some basic working knowledge of their clients’ business or practical implications of a Banking relationship. The most regular occurrence of this “knowledge gap” I witness is around the Digital Transformation. Everybody talks about it, everyone has their own definition in Financial Services, however very few people really understand how non-Financial Institutions have already seized the opportunity. Yes, some Bankers are trying to re-invent the wheel as you read these lines. What is a Digital Business? A digital business is more than just a business with digital products that are distributed electronically: it’s a business in which digital technology is both pervasive and central to its overall success. A digital business is created using digital assets and/or capabilities, involving digital products, services and customer experiences, and is conducted through digital channels and communities. In a digital business, the majority of processes are digitized. This means that all along the value chain—from the creation of products and services to their consumption—employees, consumers, partners, and processes are reliant on digital technology for easy access to information, constant connectivity, and immediacy of insight. A digital business is characterized by an open, flexible value chain. In the transition to a digital business, organizations need to re-envision their business not as a standalone entity with a linear value chain, but as part of an extended enterprise ecosystem of suppliers from which customers assemble products and services according to their needs. Organizations need to participate in these ecosystems to deliver value to customers. By positioning products and services in the context of the customer’s value system, a digital business can grow its capabilities, leverage the capabilities of others, and open up new revenue streams. As part of a larger ecosystem, companies are more equipped to quickly pivot their operations to add customization or deliver new products to satisfy consumer need. They can scale their manufacturing capacity and shift geographies as needed to fill a specific order. In the future, these ecosystems will consist of low-cost suppliers and virtual manufacturers, be global in nature, and serve niche industries that span nations. Innovation will occur in hyper-drive, propelled forward by digital product development and marketing. Digital technologies enable new business models that are dynamic, flexible, and deliver value to both businesses and customers. Before we examine how the enterprise can reinvent itself, it would be helpful to examine the circumstances that are driving the enterprise toward digital transformation. The nature of digital technology Digital technologies enable new businesses models that are dynamic, flexible, and deliver value to both businesses and customers. Central to digital transformation is the ability to facilitate direct, peer-to-peer communication, collaboration, and sharing, without requiring an intermediary. This ability is already reshaping business as we know it. By providing direct, unrestricted access to information, knowledge, and resources, digital technologies empower individuals in ways not previously possible or even imaginable. Anyone with a web-enabled device can connect to a global network of expertise. They can discover individuals with common interests and goals. They can share ideas, collaborate, and innovate. They can band together and have their voice heard, counted, and taken seriously by those in positions of influence. And they can access new channels for manufacturing, marketing, and selling, and work with business partners located anywhere in the world. As individuals are empowered with new ways of working, traditional channels—and those who control them—will hold less importance. An inventor, for example, no longer needs to license their product idea for pennies on the dollar to a manufacturer. They can prototype the product with three-dimensional (3-D) printing. They can “crowdfund” capital costs using the Internet (collecting small amounts of capital from family, friends, or members in their online community). They can market globally through inexpensive and accessible online channels, sell through a digital storefront, manufacture small batches or distribute digitally. All this can be done in ways that are faster and cheaper and deliver new value to the customer. In shifting power and influence away from traditional sources, digital technologies are introducing opportunity to the masses. Businesses must acknowledge, respond to, and allow digital technologies to transform their operations from the inside out if they want to stay competitive and relevant in a digital-first world. Demands of the digital customer An increasingly connected consumer and the widespread adoption of digital technology has created the digital customer. Internet-based retail is growing globally at a rate of 19 percent year over year and, as more consumers move online, they are using the Internet to discover products, gather and evaluate information, and engage the buyer online for purchasing and shipping. An increasing number of channels are offering customers convenience, flexibility, and choice. They expect immediate gratification and engaging experiences that satisfy. The digital enterprise will support the omni-channel delivery of goods and services to compete and satisfy their customers. We have entered the “Age of the Customer”—an age in which digital technology has empowered the customer and shifted the balance of purchasing power from suppliers to customers. Consumers now have the ability to extract price, quality, and service concessions from the world’s most powerful brands. What used to differentiate the enterprise—economies of scale, distribution strength, and brand—have faded in importance. In their place, customer obsession is what gives firms dominance and drives their competitive advantage. For digital business, customer experience does not outweigh the need for operational excellence. In the second part of this blog, we’ll cover more drivers and practical examples of how other industries and non-Financial Services businesses approach the Digital world. We’ll cove the Generation Z, how non-FS businesses manage Operational Agility and deal with global competition and regulatory pressures.

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Sports on the Web: Newer, Better, Global

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

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NAB SHOWTIME

This year at NAB, OpenText is demonstrating an example of how integrated and interconnected technologies working together are able to support the Digital Media Supply Chain. OpenText Media Management is an enterprise Digital Asset Management, DAM, system that is an integral part of the core infrastructure for digital media in organizations whether video, publishing, branding, or global marketing campaigns. What is this “Digital Media Supply Chain”? For many of the largest companies it is a transformation from linear processes to a non-linear, dynamic, real-time delivery supply chain across multiple channels and outlets. Media companies have many projects across multiple production areas – video, graphics, photography – plus contributions from agencies, stock houses and contractors. Delivery is not just for a single channel, but an amalgamation of many delivery and consumption points, each with its own requirements. Media Management is interconnected with technologies from OpenText and others, managing digital media as it is created, stored and delivered. It supports the Digital Media Supply Chain from project initiation and production to delivery and analytics. Unlike traditional DAM systems, Media Management has engineered a platform allowing customers to connect people, processes, and content with a sophisticated yet simple HTML5 UI. Media Management supports enterprise-wide ecosystems and digital media supply chains for global delivery of rich media across multiple channels and platforms. What this means for our customers is a “media-enabled” infrastructure to streamline content and data flows throughout the organization. At NAB, our story demonstrates a complex ecosystem from media creation to consumption with Media Management providing a “single source of truth” and a consolidated asset repository for video, marketing, branding, commerce and global distribution. This sophisticated ecosystem has many interdependent and interrelated technologies. It is not just gluing the technologies together; it is orchestrating the flow of data, collaboration and synchronization, then automating the processes for streamlined input and output. Media Management has an open platform with REST APIs, and web services to integrate and even embed DAM functionality with the many different systems and technologies. This centralized repository for media content, with browser-based, user-friendly search and easy (yet secure) sharing helps eliminate all those multiple islands of unmanaged digital assets throughout an organization. Our story starts as an idea that gets a green light, initiating a new project. OpenText Process Suite orchestrates the people, resources, schedule and budget, triggering a flexible project structure in OTMM for all the content deliverables – such as video promos, DVD covers, one-sheets, web graphics, ecommerce, catalogs, artwork for merchandising, billboards, and cross-channel ad and social campaigns. These deliverables and their dependencies are produced in parallel using, reusing and repurposing content and designs for multiple channels and campaigns, allowing producers to select teams, assign and monitor tasks. It is connected to rights and talent contracts to provide detailed usage and contract information as the project progresses. Creative teams use their native tools integrated with Media Management for work-in-progress, versioning, metadata tagging and storage. Collaboration, annotation, reviews and approval for video and images are done in real-time for single assets or collections with a complete audit trail. Media Management has secure, encrypted file acceleration embedded in the platform guaranteeing fast delivery of large files. All of this supports multiple production centers with Media Management as the central repository to search, collect, manage and share digital content. OpenText Media Management bridges the creative production processes and Omni-channel delivery, enabling a faster and more dynamic media supply chain. It automates transformation of digital media to the proper format, aspect ratio and bit-rate based on the delivery channel allowing automated publishing to Web Content Management Systems, such as OpenText Web Experience Management System, CDN file delivery, integration with ecommerce platforms, CRM, and interactive communications. As marketing and commerce shift to high gear, it provides usage metrics as part of the larger analytics and data to allow better performance insight and the ability to make adjustments. Media Management is a core technology within the OpenText Customer Experience Management (CEM) Suite, which includes Web Experience Management, Interactive Customer Communication. OpenText delivers the integrated environments to support the many different teams involved in the creation, management and delivery of rich media. Digital Media Supply Chains enabled with OpenText technology provide a platform for today and a foundation for the future. Discover more about OpenText Media Management here.

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

AS2 FTP

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

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Managing your Digital Media Assets

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

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Wholesale Banking: The Drivers Behind Digital Channels

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

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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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Mobility is Critical for E-Government

Mobile devices are transforming the way citizens interact with their governments—from using digital IDs for access to program information to crowdsourcing apps to improve city services. As mobile usage rises, citizens are demanding more exclusively mobile experiences from their governments—ones that move beyond basic apps and optimizing web pages for devices. To better serve their mobile stakeholders, governments will be required to adopt a mobile-centric approach as part of an overall digital, e-government strategy. The case for a mobile approach is driven by consumer expectation, opportunities to improve service delivery, increased transparency through easy access to information, and new products and services that are co-created with citizens. Mobility makes government more accessible, affordable, collaborative, and convenient. As part of an e-government strategy, mobile programs give governments the opportunity to increase the efficiency of their services externally and to improve productivity internally. Rather than treating the mobile device as an additional channel or touchpoint, the focus should shift to a mobile-only approach that complements a streamlined, omni-channel experience for users. While forward-looking governments are making it possible for citizens to complete transactions using their mobile device, the public sector lags behind the private sector when it comes to embracing mobility to maximize user experience. According to research, the number of consumer mobile transactions is due to rise 65% between now and 2016. Mobile bank cards will replace physical bank cards. QR codes and Near Field Communications (a wireless communications technology that enables mobile devices to communicate based on proximity) allow for payments using a SIM card. These technologies are already expanding to support other uses with great potential for government applications for identification, transportation, and ticketing. Just as mobile devices empower citizens with flexible access to programs and services, they also enable civil servants to do their jobs more effectively. Mobility enhances productivity by providing secure, remote access to government systems on a self-service basis. Using mobile devices, employees can stay productive on the go, wherever they are. Mobile-centric programs help front line workers do more with less. Ideally suited for caseworkers, first responders, and law enforcement officers, mobility increases responsiveness by providing immediate access to accurate information and resources. Expedited decision making improves efficiency, decreases response times and, in some cases, saves lives. Manual labor around paperwork and data entry is minimized—saving time and money. In a recent report issued by ICF International, 93% of U.S. federal government employees identified digital technology as being a critical factor in improving their productivity, with three-quarters of them relying on a mobile device and half using their own personal devices for business purposes. The report finds that federal workers require new and available technologies to enhance engagement and satisfy the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce. Both internally and externally, users want an intuitive and consistent mobile experience that delivers value as part of the overall e-government experience. The public sector needs to adopt a mobile-centric mentality. One of our customers—and a true digital innovator—Sergi Jerez the Director of Mobile, eGovernment y Data, for the City of Barcelona, eloquently summarizes this approach: City of Barcelona e-government quote But where should agencies start when creating a mobile engagement strategy? Here are a few high-level recommendations: Dedicate resources from both the business and IT to developing a mobile strategy. Design your solution(s) to meet user or citizen needs. Address their key pain points. For example, focus on the need for more efficient updates from case workers in the field. Provide access to accurate information about end users and mobile consumers. Strive for alignment across departments and agencies and a holistic view of citizen data, for example. Enterprise Information Management (EIM) helps to consolidate structured and unstructured information for a single source of the truth. Map citizen or user journeys. Apply embedded analytics to cultivate insight into behavior and identify usage patterns and trends. What devices do users prefer? What channels do they use? Draw up detailed personas and scenarios for use. Establish your mobile-centric engagement strategy and identify key objectives. Make sure this strategy is integrated effectively with your overall e-government strategy to streamline experience and efficiency. Develop the mobile experience using technology as an enabler (focus on the experience, not the technology). Measure outcomes against desired results and identified objectives. Refine your delivery of the experience. Mobile technology promises more efficient access to information, resources, and services. The number of access points to information that mobile introduces, however, also serves to complicate programs and policymaking. Mobile information in all its formats needs to be securely managed. To find out more about mobile access to information systems, mobile security, and leaders in mobile innovation, read my book: e-Government or Out of Government. Contact us to discuss any of our targeted government solutions.  

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Predictions: At the Edge of Impossible

Consider Doctor Who’s Clara, the Man of La Mancha’s dream and Star Trek’s deflector shields. What do they have in common? All are impossible … or are they? At the beginning of last year,we launched our Industry Insights Blog with a look at technology trends and made some predictions. For one trend, I cited fictitious research from Spacely Sprockets: “By 2020, traditional supply chains will no longer exist. Instead all objects will be created at the point of use by 3-D replicators.” Then I predicted that this “dimensional disruption” would drive all supply chains to zero length. My prediction was intended to be interesting, yet quite impossible. But look at what is happening in our digital universe: fantasy and reality appear to be converging to achieve impossible things. The Art of the Impossible “The difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a bit longer.” — Author unknown There is much to learn from pursuing the impossible. The Man of La Mancha’s To Dream the Impossible Dream is a perfect anthem to help us appreciate courage and tenacity in this pursuit. In this story within a story, Don Quixote follows his quest (no matter how hopeless, no matter how far). The impossible girl, Clara Oswald, from Doctor Who is like a sci-fi Don Quixote. She embodies bravery and dedication. When an enemy jumps into Doctor Who’s timeline to attempt to destroy him by rewriting history, Clara follows suit, making the ultimate sacrifice and proving herself to be the penultimate companion. Clara travels with the Doctor in the TARDIS. And how can we overlook the impossibility that is TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a time-traveling police call box bioship that is “bigger on the inside”? We learn in The Impossible Planet episode that it can take years to grow a TARDIS that draws its/his/her power primarily from an exploding star in the process of becoming an (again) impossible black hole. In “The Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel,” author and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku injects in each discussion of science fiction technology an explanation of the hurdles to “realizing concepts as reality.” According to Kaku, technological advances that we take for granted today were declared impossible 150 years ago, like “heavier than air” flying machines, X-rays and the radio. Kaku considers time travel as one of the Class II Impossibilities that are “technologies that sit at the very edge of our understanding of the physical world,” possibly taking thousands or millions of years to become available. In fact, time travel in the TARDIS is the subject of a scientific paper written by physicists Dr. Ben Tippett and Dr. Dave Tsang. The paper studies black holes and Einstein’s theory of general relativity and proposes a real life TARDIS in a bubble of space-time capable of moving backward and forward along a loop of time. If several of these loops could be spliced together, it would allow the proposed TARDIS to travel between any point in space and time. And what about impossible Star Trek technology like deflector shields? In fantasy fiction, force fields (a.k.a. deflector shields) are barriers made of energy or particles that protect a person, area or object from attacks or intrusions. While they are a popular sci-fi concept, serious nonfiction books like The Physics of Star Trek consider their merits, and scientific research into force fields is real and ongoing. Whether possible or impossible, we can all appreciate the determination of Star Trek Enterprise chief engineer and “miracle worker” Scotty as he vows, “The haggis is in the fire, but I’ll not lower my shields.” With these examples in mind, my impossible zero-length supply chain prediction seems quite plausible. Yet when I wrote about 3-D printers that would shrink traditional supply chains, it was the prediction I thought least likely to come true. Though I considered the potential practical impact of 3-D printing, I joked about the Jetson’s food replicator and the machine that instantly “creates” consumables featured in the fictional Star Trek universe. But now NASA is studying whether a real replicator might be the answer to feeding astronauts on a long-duration flight to Mars. And last month, the dream of a “self-sufficient space-faring civilization moved a step closer to reality as a commercial 3-D printer was installed aboard the International Space Station for a tryout in orbit.” The printer has now successfully completed the first 3-D print in space! Turns out this might have been my best prediction. Predicting the Impossible There is a knack to technology predictions. Predictions need to be challenging but not obvious, right? Like Schrödinger’s cat as famously explained by Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory (my authority for all things science and technology), you want your predictions to be both possible and impossible at the same time. At times, technology predictions can be embarrassingly wrong. The Worst Tech Predictions of All Time includes an anecdote about how tech pundit Robert Metcalf, the founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet, confidently predicted in 1995 that the Internet would soon go spectacularly nova in a “catastrophic collapse” and promised to eat his words if it didn’t. It didn’t, and he did. Sometimes technology predictions are cautionary tales. Sci-fi author Isaac Asimov penned a New York Times essay in 1964 entitled Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014, a glimpse 50 years ahead into the future of human history. Asimov’s imaginative predictions included “the world will be seriously automated.” Asimov imagined that “the world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that could not be done better by some machine than by any human being. As a result, mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional, and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine.” I have written my version of Asimov’s cautionary tale. My article, about helping the Insurance industry to better serve their customers, makes it clear that automation can be used “To serve man.” Case management automation enriches and improves how knowledge workers and production workers do their jobs: When insurers invest in a case management approach they organize work around the customer with processes that can efficiently handle exceptions and operate in an omnichannel world. Case management establishes guardrails, not edicts for work, lending necessary flexibility when straight-through process automation is impractical.” At the end of the day, I think we are most drawn to aspirational technology predictions. In frog design’s Tech Trends 2014, Kenji Huang made his Mind Control predication, saying, “If someone from the 1500s came to us now and looked at what technology has enabled us to do, they’d think we were superhuman. In 2014, we’ll make even greater advancements. Our ability to control objects with our minds will be within reach as more companies look toward experiences that directly harness electrical signals from our brain.” Lo and behold, the news is filled lately with stories about the new exoskeleton created based on research from Dr. Miguel Nicolelis. This application is enabling paralyzed veterans like US Army Sgt. Dan Rose to walk again with exoskeleton technology that was also used during the World Cup’s “first kick.” Clad in a metal vest, sporting a blue cap dotted with electrodes, a young man kicked off this year’s biggest soccer championship in an exoskeleton. It was, according to the scientist behind the exo skeleton’s kick, “meant to shock the world.” But even more shocking than the exo skeleton’s first tentative steps is learning how it worked: controlled by the paralyzed patient’s mind. It’s All About the Magic Whether aspirational, cautionary, fantastic or just plain wrong, we continue to be entranced by predictions. The British writer Arthur C. Clarke went so far as to formulate the three laws of prediction: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Back in my original predictions article, I shared a quote from Deloitte’s Alison Kenney Paul who predicted that “[3-D] customized and on-demand products in-store will revolutionize the customer experience and help retailers improve their inventory and supply chain management.” Well, the 2014 holiday season brought us a very magical 3-D story to share. Microsoft and John Lewis have co-created “Monty’s Magical Toy Machine” — a tech-enabled in-store experience. The Kinect 2-enabled 3-D interactive experience, designed to let children bring their toys to life, will be available in the flagship John Lewis department store on Oxford Street in December. “Children can scan their favourite toy into the machine through photogrammetry technology, and it will then appear on screen as a moving, life-like 3-D image. This interactive digital replica then magically dances for the child.” The logical next step? Creating the toys themselves in-store of course.

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Experience Matters in Omni-Channel Commerce

smart process applications

[This article was also published in CMS Wire.] Experience matters in Omni-Channel Commerce, both the Customer Experience and the software ecosystem that supports a buyer’s journey from initial discovery to customer advocate. Just as shoppers see products on display in physical stores, digital experiences have to provide relevant content and compelling interactions to convert browsing to buying. Connected consumers expect convenience and flexibility across channels whether brick and mortar, catalog, print, in-store kiosks, web, mobile and social platforms. Nothing frustrates customers more than dead-end, can’t get there from here experiences. And second chances are rare. Omni-channel commerce is a complex ecosystem. It involves many interrelated platforms, components and capabilities such as Web Content Management, eCommerce, Digital Asset Management, product catalog, product information, merchandising, inventory, pricing, promotion, order, fulfillment, reporting, analytics and more. Unfortunately, many organizations have disconnected, legacy silos and struggle to bridge the customer engagement, customer experience side with back office and transaction management. Digital Asset Management is one of the key platforms in the ecosystem, along with eCommerce and WCM. In planning for a successful Omni-Channel Commerce initiative do not assume that DAM will be taken care of within these other platforms. DAM Infrastructure DAM serves as a core infrastructure underlying eCommerce, WCM, PIM and product catalogs. With an ever-growing pool of images, photos, audio and video to support commerce, digital assets should be synchronized with back office transaction management and the customer experience presentation. Mature and extensible DAM platforms provide integration with eCommerce and WCM to automate delivery of rich media in the proper format and size, across multiple channels driven by either the WCM or an eCommerce system. Whether serving up digital assets for the eCommerce site, public or partner catalogs, internal or external users, assets should all be sourced from a common repository – providing collaboration and brand consistency. Other important capabilities include automated synchronization and search capabilities within other platforms, localization and security. DAM capabilities increase productivity by reducing time spent searching for assets and automating repetitive tasks to “media-enable” eCommerce and the entire organization. Omni-Channel vs. Multi-Channel Rather than managing separate customer experiences through various channels as in a multi-channel strategy, Omni-channel strategy is customer-centric. It is an immersive, uninterrupted and device agnostic experience across channels that drives engagement, loyalty and transactions. The customer is at the center. It’s about the brand, product or service not the channel. DAM provides the core enterprise infrastructure, key platform components and capabilities supporting and enhancing the omni-channel ecosystem with the efficiencies of create once, publish everywhere, to repurpose, re-express, reuse, and re-create digital content for compelling customer experiences. Product owners and brand managers can collaborate, easily find and manage assets from a single library, synchronized and integrated with the other native platforms. You can find out more about DAM in this recent CMS Wire article. Go Omni-Channel Omni-channel Commerce meets customer expectations with consistent and connected experiences across all channels. This means consistency in experience as well as context and connected to information as well as continuity across channels and customer insight. Competition for customers is fierce and omni-channel commerce can be a major differentiator. As you plan your strategy, remember that experience matters.

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Forrester Names OpenText as Leader in DAM Wave Report

It’s been two years since Forrester last evaluated the Digital Asset Management marketplace OpenText Media Management is named as a leader in the most recent evaluation. We believe this validates all the hard work that has been done to build one of the world’s premiere DAM systems. According to the report, “The Forrester WaveTM: Digital Asset Management for Customer Experience, Q4 2014″, OpenText Media Management “offers a flexible platform with an impressive list of customer references. Accordingly, functionality is robust, with strengths in foundational capabilities: metadata, taxonomy, search, workflow and globalization.” Media Management builds on this foundation with our latest HTML5 User Interface to establish an elegant and intuitive way to interact and use your digital media assets. You can dowload the full report here. What you’ll discover in this comprehensive report is the key role DAM plays in the Age of the Customer and the two key areas of capabilities that today’s DAM solutions need to support. The Forrester WaveTM uses a transparent methodology to compare players in a software, hardware or services market so that the professionals the firm serves can make well-informed decisions without spending months conducting their own research. The Forrester WaveTM offers two big benefits to clients: a detailed analysis of vendors’ products and services based on transparent criteria and an Excel spreadsheet that allows clients to easily compare products and develop custom shortlists according to their own requirements. Demands for rich media in omni-channel commerce, enterprise video and marketing are evolving and growing exponentially. OpenText Media Management provides that core infrastructure to manage this ongoing digital transformation as well as the flexibility to customize to the way you work, making sure you get the right content and rich experiences to the users on the platforms and devices they choose. As a pioneer in the Digital Asset Management, OpenText helps you manage all your video, images and rich media in one place, from creation to consumption.

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Self-Service: Joining the Dots with Digital Wholesale Banking?

The retail banking space is currently dominating headlines when it comes to the topic of self-service. In their market segment, everything is about “omnichannel,” personal convenience. It is challenging to transpose what self-service could look like in the world of wholesale banking. This post is designed to join the dots and provoke initial thoughts for transaction banking. Corporate, institutional and investment clients are driven by a number of factors, creating a compelling case for self-service. These factors include: Digitization of the Financial Supply Chain: Corporates consume banking services as part of their integrated processes, instead of separate data integration silos. Standardization of Business Processes and Technology: Each bank tries to differentiate themselves from a product and services perspective, therefore creating standardization “loose ends” for the corporate to deal with. Self-service is perceived as an area of flexibility corporates can leverage to bridge that gap with their business processes. Increased “consumerization” Culture: While straight-through processing and host-to-host integration are cornerstones of a banking relationship, corporates still require key individuals in their organization to have liquidity and transactional visibility, together with approval controls. The world of mobile banking in retail is setting high expectations with these individuals. Downwards Segmentation of Corporate Banking: Upper mid-market companies are increasingly adopting host-to-host channels, as opposed to business online banking. Every wholesale bank I’ve spoken to in the last two years has a growth of mid-market companies adopting corporate channels, leaving behind the realm of online business banking. How could these compelling drivers manifest themselves, and what could “self-service” look like for each case? Digitization of Business On-Boarding : Collecting business information, structured and unstructured, is usually the first hurdle on both sides. “Know Your Customer” (KYC) data—such as signatories’ passport information, reference information, and contractual artifacts—are gathered and maintained over time through a manual process. A content management repository is only half of the solution; the biggest opportunity for client self-service is to enable customers to share business and personal information in a nimble, automated, scalable, and user-friendly manner. T echnical On-Boarding Automation : The collection of connectivity, API, digital certificates, and other IT reference data is something done manually nowadays, with a bank’s client implementations team having to both educate and collect information with spreadsheets and email. Self-service is about on-boarding workflow portals, which validate the structure and quality of the information share by the customer, automating a huge part of the mundane on-boarding tasks. If you add a provisioning facility that leverages that data to prepare the channel and front-office technology, self-service provides the banks with exponential scale, ensuring the on-boarding teams are able to focus on high-value activities. Readiness & Compliance Testing : Historically, banks maintain expensive and complex “staging environments” (also known as pre-production CAT, or Client Acceptance Testing, setups). This effectively duplicates their entire banking architecture and staffing to flush out any issues with the client’s data and processes during on-boarding. Replace all of this with a smart, partly unattended self-test tool, with channels and front office rules replicating the production environments, and you get a digital self-service experience that can achieve tremendous business outcomes for both clients and banks. Unattended Relationship Housekeeping : Over time, people, processes, and technologies change on both sides. Client information becomes outdated; people change roles and contact details; digital certificates may expire or become revoked; the client may lose track of the bank’s decommissioning notice for their FTP backup connection; and so forth: The list goes on forever. Self-service comes with a number of artifacts such as collaborative workspaces and community management tools. It may start with simple things such as regularly prompting clients to validate or repopulate their contact details, or to revisit their reference documents and important correspondence. Is everything and anything good for a “self-serve” model? Self-Provisioning: Enabling clients to manage and change their integration setup sounds great on paper, but it could cause a lot of disruptions if left unsupervised. To use an analogy: The Engine Order Telegraph (also known as “chadburn”) was a communications device used on ship s. The pilot or captain would move a lever from “stop” to “full ahead,” which would in turn move a needle on a dial in the engine room. This way, the captain never actuates the engine components (what we would call “provisioning” in terms of banking technology), but instead provides a prompt to the engine room’s crew to act upon. I believe the “self-serve” client tools should be largely based on a web or mobile version of this device, together with “engine room SLAs” at the bank. Exposed Data Normalization Tools: While readiness and compliance “self-tests” are great value-adds for both clients and banks, I have also heard terrible ideas that would enable clients to cause chaos during an on-boarding. Just to share a few: Clients should never be allowed to develop their mapping algorithms on their own on an application exposed by the bank. Equally bad, clients should not be granted visibility into middle-office systems (I was told once clients should see their full AML hits details). And last but not least, clients should not be given control over amending their submissions after the Bank has received it in the payment processing chain (fix/repair functionality in middle-office exposed to clients). So, what stands in the bank’s way to achieve self-service? Two words: Digital Transformation. Self-service has to be part of a consistent and coordinated strategy, executed in conjunction with other areas of transformation. For instance, it takes a consolidated and smart channel to build self-service for “any product over any channel,” a degree of customer centricity awareness, as well as further IT automation. My personal take on the whole topic is that not everything should be “self service”.

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Finding the Right Print-to-Web Solution: 8 Things to Look For

In a recent blog post we talked about the recent shift in customer needs, as more and more customers look online – rather than at the more traditional print versions – for their statements and billing information. The experience is not only beneficial for customers, who can have all of their information at their fingertips at any time, but to companies as well, which can save money and gain customer loyalty from the shift. But how do those companies ensure statement information is presented accurately, on-demand and in easily readable formats? To achieve all of that, they require the right technology solution to handle their print-to-web transformation needs. And for that, they need to know what to look for. These 8 solution attributes should be priorities on print-to-web shopping list: A Big Picture Understanding. The technology provider should have broad experience with all components of the customer communications management (CCM) and how content, transformation, visualization, reporting, analytics, etc., fit together in transforming print to web. Flexible High-Fidelity Transformation Tools. Companies don’t want a print-to-web solution that’s tied to a single input or output format. Look for something more flexible, that can work with multiple input formats (including AFP, Line Data, PCL, Metacode, PDF, TIFF, etc.) and output formats (such as PDF, accessible PDF, XML, HTML, etc.). Multichannel Capability. The right technology will allow customer communications to be delivered across all online channels – from web to mobile and email – and over all computing devices. Accessible Output for the Visually Impaired. In order to stay legally compliant and reach all of their customers, organizations need to consider accessibility, and look for a solution that automatically produces high-volume communications in a WCAG 2.0 compliant Accessible PDF format, usable through screen reader technology. Superior Performance. Look for robust, enterprise-grade performance. Excellent System Integration. Print-to-web technology should be able to interact with products not only within the same suite, but also with popular third-party business systems, for better integration into the company’s existing environment. Comprehensive Visualization and Reporting. The right print-to-web technology should accept data from multiple sources, produce multiple output formats, provide informative dashboards and give consumers the tools they need to aggregate, sort, chart, compare and rank data. Fast, User-Friendly Analytics. Analytics can help consumers and companies get more out of their data. Add these together and the result will be a robust, flexible and powerful print-to-web technology that’s also easy to use for everyone. A solution such as this will help create an online content environment that will allow both customers and companies to thrive.

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