Omni-Channel

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 exoskeleton’s kick, “meant to shock the world.” But even more shocking than the exoskeleton’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-eAnd, the abled 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. Yes, if would seem my impossible zero-length supply chain prediction is quite possible. Here’s to all the great possiblities in 2015! A version of this post first appeared in CMSWire. Image Source: Shutterstock_90665230

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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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Experience Matters in Omni-Channel Commerce

[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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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Imagine Facebook without selfies, Instagram without videos or Amazon without product images. You can’t, can you? In this digital-first world we live in, data overload is a menacing reality, and a picture is not just “worth a thousand words” … it is priceless. The right visual element can attract our attention, make complex concepts clearer and assist in our decision making process. Here are three important business tasks where I think the right visuals make all the difference. Bringing Big Data to Life As big data becomes increasingly important to how we do business and serve our customers, the science of visualizing information has also become elevated. This is not a new notion. Edward R. Tufte, a statistician and professor emeritus at Yale University is a pioneer in the discipline. His landmark 1983 book, “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information,” provides guidance on successful information design and visualization. Tufte gave us six fundamental principles of analytical design that are timeless and translate from paper to the digital world: Show comparisons, contrasts, differences. Show causality, mechanism, explanation, systematic structure. Show multivariate data; that is, show more than 1 or 2 variables. Completely integrate words, numbers, images, diagrams. Thoroughly describe the evidence. Provide a detailed title, indicate the authors and sponsors, document the data sources, show complete measurement scales, point out relevant issues. Analytical presentations ultimately stand or fall depending on the quality, relevance and integrity of their content. Tufte also gave us a cool vocabulary for recognizing and discussing bad design: terms like chartjunk (interior graphic decoration that generates a lot of ink but does not tell the viewer anything new) and lie factor (numbers physically appearing on the surface of the graphic that are not directly proportional to the quantities represented). Tufte’s innovative ideas like sparklines are used to this day as a condensed and elegant way to present trends and variation embedded directly in text. For example: The Dow Jones index for February 7, 2006 In addition, Tufte figures heavily in the history of today’s infographic. As a graphic visual representation of knowledge that presents complex data quickly and clearly, an infographic can enhance understanding by improving our ability to see information patterns and trends.While infographics are a current popular embodiment of Tufte’s principles of analytic design, they have an interesting history of their own that includes, but also predates his work. A famous infographic milestone occurred in 1857 when English nurse Florence Nightingale used information graphics to persuade Queen Victoria to improve conditions in military hospitals. She used a Coxcomb chart, a combination of stacked bar and pie charts, depicting the number and causes of deaths during each month of the Crimean War.Once you see the chart, the picture makes it clear that the Russians were a minor enemy: the real enemies were cholera, typhus and dysentery. Another big step in the story of infographics was taken in 1931, when Harry Beck created the first map of the London Tube showing only lines to depict public transit routes and stations. This was an important development, because it moved visual diagrams into everyday life. Over the past several years infographics have taken off and their use by marketers is closing in on a saturation point. However, when done well, they remain an extremely useful means of visualization. As the Best Infographics of 2014 (so far) points out, “Humans have short attention spans and, let’s face it, the internet is cluttered. To stand out, boost engagement, and increase shareability, many marketers have turned to visual content — especially infographics.” While my favorite infographics typically are the vertical industry ones like Governments are Going Digital, Life Sciences 2014 Outlook, Are You a Connected Bank and Energy Sector Challenges in Asset Information Management, the infographic I like the best from the Best of 2014 list is “Your Brain on Beer vs. Coffee” — just because I do. Solving Problems Tufte declared that “the purpose of an evidence presentation is to assist thinking.” In 2003 he shared his thoughts on the now omnipresent business presentation tool in his article, PowerPoint is Evil. His conclusion blames the person rather than the technology: PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience.” Swedish physician and statistician Hans Rosling offers a more positive view of presentation technology and presenter style. His 2006 TED talk, “The best stats you’ve ever seen,” debunked myths about the so-called “developing world” and has been viewed by millions. Rosling transformed dry statistics into an illuminating form of entertainment, earning him a spot on Time magazine’s 2012 100 most influential people list. The talk used animated graphics created with Gapminder Foundation’s Trendalyzer software. Animated scatterplots had been done before. But the way Hans Rosling used them to show data and make it interesting was an eye-opener for the visualization community. Who knew that you could use visualization not just to analyze data, but to present it and make it interesting? This wouldn’t have worked without Rosling’s performance, but that only worked because he had impressive charts to work with. CEO of Duarte Design, graphic designer and writer Nancy Duarte (@NancyDuarte) is well known for her best-selling books, including “slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.” (In the interests of full disclosure, Duarte is one of my idols, not just for what she does, but also because she shares my experience as an undergrad Mathematics major.) In her article Stop Underestimating Presentation Software, Duarte points out that presentation software — when used properly — can indeed be an effective tool: “Many of us know intuitively that visuals increase our understanding of concepts, but one study showed that people who follow directions that have both text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people following text-only directions. Much of that may have to do with the fact that we can understand an image in just 13 milliseconds. Regardless, it’s clear that including visuals with your text will help you get your message across. Presentation software is by far the easiest tool to use to do this.” Duarte and her team have extensively studied presentation structures to see what makes the best ones tick. Their VisualStory™ methodology is “designed to shape ideas into presentations that shift audience beliefs and behavior.” “If people can see what you’re saying, they’ll understand it. Use visual thinking and smart design to conceptualize your ideas and convey information clearly and powerfully.” Dan Roam (@dan_roam ) tells us that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can’t draw. In “The Back of the Napkin,” one of my favorite business books, he shares a practical framework and visualization techniques along with proof points that illustrate how any problem can be made clearer with a picture.Roam’s Look–See-Imagine-Show approach has been used by enterprises from diverse sectors to solve complex problems, including Walmart, Wells Fargo, the United States Navy and General Electric. I am a visual thinker and find myself turning to Roam’s method, especially the six ways of seeing and six ways of showing construct that is based in the science of visual thinking. And while I don’t necessarily recommend this particular approach, I have a great story about a bar in Amsterdam where we literally planned out a product launch on the back of a cocktail napkin. At the end of the day, drawing by hand — on a whiteboard, a tablet or yes, the back of a napkin — is not only a great way to encourage collaboration, it makes both the “presenter” and the “audience” actively engage in the discussion. Improving the Customer Experience When we think about using pictures to actively engage customers, the element of visualization in creating engaging omnichannel experiences probably comes top of mind.I’ve written before about customer experience management and the importance of getting omnichannel right. But visuals are also critical to what lies beneath the customer experience. Case in point, journey maps. The HBR blog post, Using Customer Journey Maps to Improve Customer Experience, provides an apt definition: A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination. The more touchpoints you have, the more complicated — but necessary — such a map becomes. Sometimes customer journey maps are ‘cradle to grave,’ looking at the entire arc of engagement.” As Bernhard Schindlholzer writes, “Customer journeys provide new insights into consumers by incorporating an emotional as well as time-based dimension of consumer behavior.” This emotional element may be why Forrester Research has identified journey mapping as key to customer centric digital transformation.In his report, “Journey Mapping Best Practices,” Forrester’s Tony Costa (@tonyjcosta) points out that “Journey maps function as a lens through which employees view their company from the perspective of the customer, cutting through organizational silos and structures.” Forrester’s Deanna Laufer (@deannalaufer) wrote about the power of journey maps in her blog saying “all of a sudden, you see the light bulb go on for the participants. It can be the realization that their customer has to jump through an inordinate number of hoops to submit a simple service request or have to wait five to 10 days for repair … or when the workshop participants realize they have no idea what their customers are doing or thinking, but maybe they should.” Journey maps force a change in thinking and even a remaking of organizations in terms of the customer experiences delivered. Because of this, journey maps can become the new executive dashboard. As Forrester shares, “the customer-first nature of journey maps make them a natural fit as dashboards for monitoring a company’s performance. Generic dashboards and scorecards will be replaced by instrumented journey maps that update in real time.” Thinking with Pictures I considered submitting a series of pictures for this article, without text.Then I realized that just as words and music must come together to create a great song, the artful (and scientific) combination of words and pictures is the way to create great concepts and energize people to take action. And, by the way, our product launch on a cocktail napkin went just fine, thank you. Title image is a self portrait by Deb Miller; Image courtesy of Robert Nunnally (Flickr) via a CC BY 2.0 license This post first appeared on CMSWire.

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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, “The Customer Communications Transformed: Who Benefits and How it Works,” 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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Archiving – Do You Need to Upgrade? [Part 3]

Part 3 – Popular Requirements At some point, an organization must determine whether it is more sensible to augment their existing archive system or rip out everything and replace it with a totally new solution. Admittedly, there is no set formula. Optimal solutions must be devised on a case-by-case basis. That said, many large organizations still share the same concerns and thus have similar requirements to an upgraded archive system. In a recent survey, we asked key business/strategy leaders at prominent financial institutions, insurance companies, government organizations, telecommunications companies, and other large organizations about their current (and foreseeable future) requirements for an archive system. The survey results revealed the top 10 must-haves in an archive system: Single View of the Customer – Combine data/content from disparate sources into a coherent, searchable, presentable view of the customer. System Consolidation – Reduce the number of individual repositories in an archive system (ideally to one), thus increasing speed, performance, robustness, and extensibility, and decreasing licensing and storage costs. Customer Experience – Make it easier and more enjoyable for customers to interact with the organization by providing all users with a faster, more accessible user interface. Advanced Search – Use metadata, prioritization, patterns, context, page-level searches, full-text searches, automatic completion, etc. to make all content easy to find. Analytics, Reporting, and Visualization – Integrate with analytics/business intelligence software so the business can predict individual customer behavior, identify trends, and produce other actionable insights. Multi-Channel Delivery – Support file formats and performance levels needed to serve modern communication channels such as social, mobile, and tablets. Flexible Data Access – Have the option to retrieve data in several different ways. For example, through a web interface or application programming interfaces (APIs). Case Management – Provide tools for storing, accessing, and managing all current and historical content related to a case. Control of All Content Assets – Establish proper auditing processes, define content retention/disposal rules, and schedule automated tasks to help maintain compliance with government regulations. The Social Aspect – Configure the archive system to serve social media channels and foster collaboration. While these findings are by no means definitive, they are consistent with our own observations and experience to date. In the next post, we will take a look at a few success stories of organizations using modern archiving technology. To learn more, download a free white paper, How to Recognize When Archiving Has Become a Problem.

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How Not to Build a Digital Business

How do you become a digital business? You may discover many different paths to success on your digital journey, and even more opportunities to take a wrong turn along the way. Here are three traps to avoid, inspired by some classic Beatles songs plus a turn of phrase from Taylor Swift. Be sure you never ever get caught in these mistakes as you build your digital business. What’s a Digital Business? In Gartner’s recent study, 22 percent of the respondents defined themselves as already being a digital business: one focused on a world where people, businesses and things communicate, interact and even negotiate with one another. What paths are being taken to build those digital businesses? A large segment of the Gartner study — 41 percent — defined themselves as a digital marketing business, a stage that leverages the Nexus of Forces (social, mobile, cloud and information) to build intimate relationships with their customers that advance their businesses. Cognizant views businesses being reshaped into digital businesses by how customers behave: “the way we shop, consume entertainment, socialize, learn and do just about everything, every day. It’s the digital lives of customers that are changing the rules of engagement and we’re seeing their loyalty grow stronger for the brands that keep pace.” Based on a survey conducted by Circle Research for Vodafone, machine “behavior” is driving digital business and more importantly digital business returns. The research found that digital Machine-to-Machine (M2M) adoption has increased by more than 80 percent globally in the last year and revealed that nearly all (96 percent) of the America organizations implementing M2M strategies have experienced a return on their investment (ROI) such as greater competitive advantage, customer service and productivity. For Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author of The Second Machine Age, it is all about artificial intelligence and the pace at which digital technologies are growing in power that will inform the path to digital business. An interesting article in Tech Republic gives some examples, from Brynjolfsson and others, of what our digital business future might look like. These range from call center operators gradually being replaced by question-answering, automated systems (Think “When Watson Met Siri”), to the declining cost of sensors “driving” automation of transportation and logistics occupations. A new research report from the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) assessed the readiness of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, designed to transmit safety information between autos and warn drivers of imminent crashes. NHTSA estimates that anywhere from 25,000 to 592,000 crashes could be prevented and save roughly 50 to 1,083 lives per year. In a recent meeting with ARC Advisory, the conversation turned to the industrial Internet of Things and then on to the subject of consumer impacts. In the digital business world of the future, refrigerators will alert what and when they need to replenish, and grocery shelves will leverage their connected digital supply chain to drive demand response back through to supplier distribution centers and logistics providers. Cars will drive themselves and notify insurance firms and garage services when they break down, negotiate claims and arrange payment and repair. While we consider just how distant or near a future all this might be, I wish to make it clear I would much prefer to have a chef and a chauffeur. Just old fashioned I guess, but one who does recognize that our collective progress towards digital business is at times exhilarating, at other times disappointing, and at all times inevitable. So with that as backdrop, here are three common mistakes to avoid as you build your digital business. Mistake #1: Digital business is just a new kind of psychedelic experience Gartner states, “Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.” It predicts that by 2020, 75 percent of businesses will be a digital business or will be preparing to become one. Some might say the best way to achieve this blurring is through psychedelic experience — just listen to the Beatles Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds to be transported to a world of “tangerine trees and marmalade skies.” As business people we need to be careful that the bright shiny object of “digital” does not blind us on our path forward. Digital innovation and creativity need to stay grounded in and aligned with the strategic direction of the business, with clear context to the parent industry. As McKinsey states in finding your Digital Sweet Spot, “To capture the value available, organizations will need to assess the value at stake, invest proportionally to that value, and align their business and operating models accordingly.” Not all industries face the same opportunities or the same threats. The McKinsey study found that industries in the “eye of the digital storm,” like retail banking, property and casualty insurance, and mobile telecommunications that offer virtual rather than physical products and focus on processing and servicing, need to have a strategy for digital that includes omnichannel distribution. McKinsey projects that digital-channel use in these sectors will average 35 percent bottom-line impact, while cost-base potential reductions could average 20 percent. On the other hand, industry sectors like grocery retail and apparel need a different strategy. For them, digital sales may realize only a 20 percent average bottom-line impact over the next five years. A significant opportunity, but much less than the potential bottom-line impact from digital driven cost reductions, which could average 36 percent. So as business moves on its digital path, those who forget the basics of good market analysis and business strategy do so at their own peril. Just look back to the dot.com days, when Webvan was founded as an online grocery store. According to C-Net, “Webvan went from being a $1.2 Billion company with 4,500 employees to being liquidated in under two years.” What looks to be a much smarter trend is the birth of gourmet marketplaces like Foodoro with food crafted by artisan producers. A startup with a targeted market aligned with their digital business strategy. Hmmm, I need to look to see if they are selling “tangerine trees and marmalade skies.” Mistake #2: To find the right path you must look within The great George Harrison wrote a song called The Inner Light based on a passage from Tao Te Ching “Without going out of my door I can know all things on earth.” He was heavily influenced by the Beatles time in India and his truly inspirational advice might work well for the path to enlightenment. For the path to digital business, I believe this approach could prove to be fatal. Getting outside yourself is critical, look outside your business, to your partners and your customers, and keeping your industry structure and dynamics in mind. McKinsey notes “The potential impact of digital technology varies widely by industry, but most enterprise leaders share an important challenge: how to get beyond the small share of the prize they are capturing today by looking for impact across the whole value chain.” The Boston Consulting Group perspective, Exploiting Digital Disruption, asserts that because digital technologies enable companies to work more easily across traditional boundaries, it can result in leapfrogging entire links in the value chain. “The most common example is manufacturers using e-commerce capabilities to bypass wholesalers and distributors by establishing or strengthening direct distribution channels with customers. The risk to traditional wholesalers and distributors is high.” McKinsey also makes the critical point that a too-narrow focus on distribution channels means organizations are getting only a small share of the full value that digital transformation can provide. That narrow focus may also be leaving organizations vulnerable to new entrants and agile incumbents that can translate operational improvements across the full value chain, combined with innovative operating models, into better, cheaper, more customized products, faster service, and an improved customer experience. For organizations that can step back and apply their digital investments in such a holistic way, the prize is significant.” This dynamic is showing itself in the Financial Services industry where new entrants are employing digital business models to disrupt traditional banks and insurance companies. Point approaches or applications fall short as a means to counter this insurgency. What is needed is a digital omnichannel approach integrated with digital marketing, client onboarding and servicing. As important as it is to take an external view on your digital transformation journey, it is also important to look within to ensure you have the competencies in place to execute on your holistic digital business vision. Perhaps George had it right all along. Mistake #3: Digital business is all about process. Digital business is all about content There is a constant and natural tension between those who favor process and those who favor content as THE best path for digitizing business in a meaningful way. Your personal perspective is shaped by professional history, your current role in the organization, and often by the nature of the particular challenge you presently face in building your digital business. Here again, we can learn much from the Beatles song book. Come Together is the lead song on their Abbey Road album that had some of the last Beatles recording sessions. Recorded in 1969 and originally politically inspired, this song wound up illustrating the clash between Lennon and McCartney that would ultimately lead to the end of the Beatles in 1970. If Team John vs. Team Paul gives us any lesson, then it is perhaps that it is time for Team Process and Team Content to come together to best move the digital business forward. I’ve written extensively about adaptive case management technology and disciplines that can bring together process and content for your business initiatives. Business processes are essential to digital business as the engines of work activity. They move you forward in your daily job, help propel strategic initiatives, and perhaps most importantly, give you the framework to make and implement good business decisions. Content is equally critical because it represents essential information needed to fuel your business decisions, and as such it is most valuable when properly served and effectively consumed by your business processes. My conclusion then is that process and content together are a powerful means to drive better business results. Digital business advances are increasingly being used by companies to differentiate and gain advantage over the competition. If you’re in the Insurance industry, that might mean a focus on better approaches to managing customers through multiple channels – brokers, agents, online and more. In Banking, efficient customer on-boarding, new account opening and servicing are considered critical to success. And, in the supply chain sector, meeting customer and supplier SLAs (service level agreements) can be the singular difference. All of these will require an integrated content and process strategy with technology that comes together to support that approach. The long and winding road As in so many disruptive situations, there is no single straight path to success. To build a digital roadmap for your business, you’ll need to ask where the value is to your enterprise in operating as a digital business. To identify and pursue the value you will need to align to your strategic business initiatives, look to the external forces impacting your vertical industry, and consider the full breadth of digital technologies and methodologies available to you. While you are doing all that it couldn’t hurt to listen to more Beatles for inspiration!  

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Customer Communications Transformed: Who Benefits and How it Works

That was then. This is now. In the past, bank statements and credit card bills – as well as other financial customer communications – would come through the mail. Customers would look through their paper copies once they arrived and file them away for future use. Now, though, more and more people are looking at their statements and bills another way: interacting with them online through secure web portals, mobile devices and email. Reaping the Benefits For customers, the shift to online communications means access anytime and anywhere. They can gain immediate access to their personal transactional data, and don’t have to sort through piles of papers to do so. What’s more, they can visualize and sort that data in a way that makes sense to them, and send it to third parties – during tax season, for example – more cheaply and easily. The result is a vastly improved experience that allows customers to handle their finances the way they deal with many other aspects of their life – online. But online customer communications not only benefit the customers who receive them. The companies that send out those statements and bills gain advantage from the shift online as well. In fact, they can achieve dramatic savings as they cut out costs associated with paper, ink, stamps, envelopes, postage, and printing equipment and supplies. But at the same time, by improving their customer experience, they’re also better able to remain competitive and attract and retain customers. With their customers logging onto their web portal or accessing their mobile app or email communications regularly, those companies also increase their upsell and cross-sell opportunities and can increase their brand exposure – gaining customer insight as well from the resulting data analytics, which help predict behavior, identify trends and so on. How it Works To convert high-volume print streams into information that is accessible online, incoming data must be parsed into an internal (intermediate) file format, where organizations can perform various operations on it – adding, replacing or extracting data; inserting targeted messages; and incorporating images. From there the documents –which include millions of customer communications sent out regularly by organizations such as banks or telecom companies – are transformed into various formats for presentation through desktop or mobile web pages, mobile apps, or into documents that are properly tagged for the use with assistive technologies such as screen readers. To do all of that, and to keep up with customer demands for online access, companies need a reliable, robust technology designed specifically for the task at hand. One that works with today’s customer and organizational needs. What are the must-have features your organization would consider when looking for the right print to web transformation solution? Read this 2-page Business Overview for information on Actuate’s print-to-web technology.

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Enterprise World 2014 Invites you to Experience Greatness!

Customer Experience , as defined in Wikipedia, is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. In today’s world, this experience can make or break a business. At OpenText we strive to provide our customers with a platform and applications that allow them to deliver great Customer Experiences to their audiences, buyers and stakeholders. Enterprise World provides the perfect venue to come together and share vibrant stories of greatness. In fact our theme for this year’s Customer Experience Management track is called: Experience Greatness! This post will help you navigate greatness in products , ROI, peer discussions and technical how-to’s. CEM Sessions on Wednesday & Thursday We have over 35 CEM session and activities to help you experience greatness. Keynotes : We begin the day with Main Stage Keynotes from guest speakers and OpenText Executive Leadership. Right after lunch, we will host a mini-keynote session centered on the Experience Suite, where we have organized a “View on CEM” for you. The mini-keynote will tease you with discussions that will continue into more in-depth breakout sessions. It’s Time for Action: Lessons in Delivering Great Digital Experiences from across the world. • How are digital channels changing expectations and how should organizations respond? • Are social media efforts like the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” creating emotional connections that others should follow? • Beyond satisfaction: what is it that makes customers loyal? • What can we learn from companies that consistently ‘wow’ their customers? • Next steps: how should you invest to meet Digital Transformation initiatives? Breakouts : After the mini-keynote, we will have 4 CEM tracks running simultaneously. The 4 track themes each cover important facets that are needed to help build a great experience: Track 1: Great Omni Channel Communications Great communication is an art form. Hear from other organizations how they were able to design, develop and deploy rich omni-channel Communications: personalize and target invoices, email, webpages, receipts, documents and more to improve interaction with you anytime, anywhere and across any device. Track 2: Great Adaptive Content Information is an instrument for communication in every organization; dynamically tuning it for each individual’s preference is the heart of Adaptive content. This track will highlight how organizations like yours are accessing information from multiple sources to share the most effective content based on user preference. Track 4: Great Experiences With the rise in Digital Transformation projects, many organizations are looking at how to create, curate and manage media, web, documents, social and any other digital assets to deliver the most compelling Digital Experience possible. Looking for ideas in digital marketing, customer self-service, supply chain distribution? Hear how other companies have deliver seamless, comprehensive information flows – creation, publication, distribution, analysis and archiving of content to formulate a great experience. Track 4: Great Responsiveness This track will highlight the importance of creating a responsive web and mobile experience that is consistent, compelling and engaging. Adaptive content delivers experiences that are device agnostic, but only a Responsive system can adjust as users switch between devices and channels. Each track is designed to stimulate conversation and interaction with the audience on a variety of topics. Whether you want to continue the technical discussion or look for business oriented sessions, we have something just for you. Each of the 4 themed tracks above are broken into the following focus areas to help you narrow down to your most relevant area of interest. CEM – Experience Strategy – Market leading companies will share their strategic views on topics such as; how best to find the balance between adopting new digital channels and consistency across existing channels. CEM –Experience Insight – It’s all about the metrics. These sessions will provide insights into measurable activities such as; how to best make your customer experience seamless and responsive across the multitude of devices that both businesses and consumers use; or how to improve on your customer engagement. CEM – Experience Best Practices – In these sessions, you will hear direct from the practitioners who will offer their tips and advice on things like; how best to use HTML5 to improve the user experience; or how to optimize social collaboration for positive business impact. CEM – Experience Case Studies – What better way to bring the strategy, metrics and implementation to life than through real-life scenarios? OpenText customers share their stories such as a government’s ability to cement the citizen experience with social media capabilities. CEM – Roadmap – Upgrade Path – Product Management will share their vision for the next releases of our Experience Suite family of products, including Tempo Social, Portal, WEM, CCM and Media Management sessions. Hear how you can upgrade to the full Experience Suite and take advantage of this new integrated platform. Innovation and CEM Labs and Meetings Back by popular demand… don’t forget to stop by the expo hall and check out the latest Customer Experience Management information workflow (we like to call the CEM LAB) . Here you will find the process of creating, managing, sharing and publishing content all visible in one location. Can’t make it through the whole story in one sitting, don’t worry, we’ll have a time table set that you can pop in and out as often as you can to see it all. Expo Hall: WEM, Tempo Social, Portal, Media Management, Customer Communication Management and WSM pods. CEM LAB: Get your hands on (and give feedback to) the new UX designs for CEM products . Meet the Experts: Just in case you want some 1-1 time with our engineers, product managers, support or services staff on site, you can request meeting times with your favorite experts. As you can see, in addition to the great entertainment we have in store for you (announcing soon) , there are many different activities to partake in over the course of the week. Make sure to keep an eye on this community as my next post will talk about the great customers that are coming to join us and share thier stories. Take a look back at last year’s event here. REGISTER NOW to ATTEND! WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!! http://www.opentext.com/campaigns/enterprise-world-2014

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