cloud

2017. The Year Distributed Becomes Mainstream for Utilities?

Utilties

There’s been a great deal written about the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the new President but one thing is certain: the influence of renewables and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) will continue to grow. So, will 2017 be the year that Utility companies fully embrace DERs and what will this new business model look like? The growth of DERs The challenges of loss of revenue due to DERs and the justifiable concern of the utilities that the DER users are not paying their fair share of Grid maintenance costs will need to be taken into account by regulators when they are making the Rate Design policies. At the same time, the Utilities are also beginning to see the opportunities that DERs bring to an aging infrastructure, badly in need of modernization allied with increasingly stagnant demand. Regardless of the new administration’s attitude to the EPA, the Clean Air Act or the Clean Power Plan, it is clear that the US government is keen to legislate in a way that Utilities companies are rapidly adapting to DERs ties grid modernization to the integration of DERs. Indeed, we are beginning to see more and more evidence of Utility companies investing in DERs as a means to abandon or defer upgrades to existing bulk generation and transmission/distribution assets. There are at least two reasons for this: renewable energy – especially solar – is rapidly reaching price parity with traditional energy sources, even natural gas. In some cases, solar and wind are proving, on average, most cost-effective than natural gas. The second reason is that Utility companies understand they need to change from a ‘cost centric’ to a ‘customer centric’ model to survive. Utilities companies are rapidly adapting to DERs While Utility companies struggle with stagnant or declining demand which has meant them seeing any impingement from DERs as a serious competitive threat, customers have been faced with rising costs and declines in the quality of service including unexpected power outages and planned rolling black-outs. So, the growing customer demand for DERs is completely understandable. It is not seen by most as a money-making scheme but more as a way of improving energy provision services in a way that may lower the cost to them. It is that context that has seen Utility company executives quickly turn their attention to the opportunities – not the threats – of DERs. It is instructive that in the State of the Electric Utility Survey 2015, 56% of the utility sector respondents said they understood the opportunities of DERs but were unsure how to build a viable business model. A year later, they had begun work on those models – with the majority favoring partnership with third party providers as the best route. Seizing the DER opportunity Whether acting as an aggregator for DER providers and microgrids or developing completely new supply chains, the Utility companies can lower the cost of DER market entry while protecting existing revenue generation and beginning to explore entirely new service opportunities away from bulk generation into niche and targeted supply. For this to succeed, two things must happen. First, Utility companies that have traditionally provided an end-to-end service must learn how to work in what ABB has neatly termed the energy neighbourhood.  ABB states: “Adopting the energy neighborhood perspective can help bridge historic silos in the energy market, which have been hindering the evolution of more flexible, efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy systems. By working together more, or at least consulting each other more regularly and proactively, utilities, DER operators and customers can make mutually beneficial decisions about assets, business operations and resources.” Secondly, The ability to communicate and share data and information across this neighborhood becomes essential and proactively adopting digital is going to be a key requirement in Utilities. The DER market already requires sensors and meters to regulate quality and output, the type of ecosystems being built for Utilities to integrate DERs into the grid require complete transparency and visibility. The Utilities, DER companies and customers working together have to be able to make complete sense of the structured and unstructured data involved in service delivery. Coping with this level of digital disruption was recently covered in an interesting blog from OpenText CMO, Adam Howatson which you can read here. In practice, terms of service, SLAs and production and maintenance schedules will need to be combined with generation data and ratings engines to ensure that every party is sure that they and others are fully meeting their obligations. This is especially true with the trend towards Time of Use (ToU) and other demand-side rating design as a means to more effectively compensate DER providers. The challenge will be to implement new types of software – such as EIM – that can act as a central, integrated platform of communications, content sharing and data analytics both within the Utility company and beyond to connect and engage with customers, DER providers and, of course, the regulators. Successful integration of DERs with the existing grid is going to be critically important, as DERs are forecasted to have a big impact on the “Duck Curve” – Net Load forecast curve for the 24 hours of the day. California System operator, CAISO, has performed detailed analysis of net load forecasts till the year 2020 and has shown the need for steep ramping of resources and possibility of over-generation risks. CAISO is also working with the industry and policymakers on rules and new market mechanisms that support and encourage the development of flexible resources to ensure a reliable future grid. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has recently reported that Utilities can drive a 10% reduction in peak demand by using demand response capabilities and reduce the impact of the steepening Duck Curve.  New EIM software as an integrated platform for communications will be crucial for the Utilities. It is essential for the successful sharing of content and structured and unstructured data with all the stakeholders including DER providers, Customers and System Operators and for introducing new Demand Response technology initiatives. Read more on page 2 to find out about regulation, and regulators taking center stage.

Read More

Forget on-premises: InfoArchive, Docker and Amazon AWS

InfoArchive

There are two buzzwords that we have heard in the IT world for some time now: Cloud and Containerization. For me, 2016 proved that these two topics have changed from hype to reality, even in the biggest enterprises, and a lot of customers were asking for our solutions, like OpenText™ InfoArchive,  in public clouds and/or running as Docker containers. While our engineering and PS teams are doing a great job in providing these solutions, I decided to walk this route myself. Follow me  on the journey if you’re interested. I started my tests by creating a Docker hub account. The account private repository will be used to store the InfoArchive Docker images and automatically deploy from there. It is very easy to create a Docker container from InfoArchive – talk to me if you want to know more. It takes just a couple of steps and you’ll have your InfoArchive Docker container image ready. What’s next? Now let’s run this image in Amazon EC2 Container Services (ECS). Welcome to the “cloud world” If you’re new to the Amazon world you might have difficulty understanding some of the terminology around Amazon ECS. I hope this post will help you with this. ECS cluster In the first step we need an ECS Cluster. ECS Cluster of EC2 instances and services. EC2 instances are our “good old” virtual machines and represent our available compute resources. The work that you assign to the cluster is described as “services”. The picture below shows that our InfoArchive cluster started with 3 micro servers (each of them automatically initiated by ECS from the below amzn-ami… VM image): Within a minute your cluster compute resources are running and waiting for you to assign them some work. Ignore the memory values in the below screenshot – I took the screenshot with 3 running tasks occupying the memory already. InfoArchive is a “classic” three-tiered architecture product: Native XML database xDB at the backend, InfoArchive server as middleware and InfoArchive web UI. To prepare for scalability requirements of our deployment we’ll run each of the tiers as dedicated containers. We’ll “front-end” each of the tiers with an EC2 load balancer. This approach will also simplify the configuration of the container instances, since each container instance will have to connect to the underlying load balancer only (with known static hostname/IP) instead of trying to connect with the constantly changing IP addresses of the container instances. On a very high level the architecture can be depicted as shown below: EC2 load balancers are set up quickly  – my list (shown below) contains 4 instances since I’ve also configured a dedicated public load balancer for xDB connectivity. With this step completed the ECS cluster, its compute resources and the cluster load balancers are prepared. Let’s put InfoArchive on the cluster now.

Read More

What are the key Strategic Initiatives for 2017 for OpenText and SAP?

S4/HANA

As always in early January a few of us attend the SAP FKOM (sales kick off) event in either Barcelona, Singapore or Orlando. This is a great opportunity to meet with SAP Sales teams and introduce people to our joint solutions. As we prepared and attended this year, we defined a number of key strategies for 2017 and beyond – Journey to S/4HANA, Cloud and IoT. Journey to S/4HANA At a recent UK conference, the number of customers who had migrated to SAP was only 5% meaning that there are a lot of customers who are planning, or yet to start their migration to S/4HANA. The solutions we offer can both speed up the migration and reduce the costs of the migration. When migrating to S/4HANA organisations should ask themselves “Do I need to move all my content from all these systems?” and “As part of my migration, can I decommission some of these applications” and to save time, the answers are No and Yes respectively. With our solutions a customer can store all non-live data in a fully compliant archive, before migrating only the live enterprise data into the S/4HANA Platform. This will save money when purchasing S/4HANA Appliances up front. And, of course, since all the content that is archived can be accessed from the S/4HANA applications, customers can safely decommission their legacy applications, saving money on hardware, software and support costs as well as reducing their carbon footprint and helping the environment. Finally, by maintaining an effective archive strategy, customers can also keep the growth of the S/4HANA platform controlled and predictable. The graphic above is an indication of the savings over 3 years that can be achieved for an average-sized SAP implementation. Cloud We are committed to offering our solutions in both the OpenText and SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud (HEC)  as well as certification for other clouds such as Azure; and offering the correct cloud pricing structures, and quick start solutions. Our latest cloud release is Extended ECM for SuccessFactors. This solution allows SuccessFactors users to view the employee file within the SuccessFactors UI, rather than having it in two separate applications or in extreme cases, archived in a paper file somewhere. As with the example provided above, time and cost savings can be impressive. In addition, not only does xECM For SuccessFactors allow for viewing the employee file, it also supports the automatic generation of employee letters (for example, in response to employee queries, performance reviews, etc.) thus automating the process whilst delivering personalised letters in paper and electronic format. Other OpenText for SAP solutions will be certified and released for the cloud over the coming months, so keep watching for more announcements. IoT In the EcoSystem world of OpenText and SAP the IoT is one of the most discussed topics. It is probably the largest industry buzz-word over the last 12 / 18 months and could enable new business models for almost every organisation. With over 5 million devices being registered each day the relevance of ‘Things’ is increasing. A lot of ‘Things’ are generating structured data, which means a massive increase in structured data storage is coming for SAP customers. Machine learning and AI are key topics when dealing with unstructured data – how to interpret, decide and respond to the new data correctly. But what about the content? I recently watched a great whiteboard session detailing an entire data-driven scenario around the IoT Fridge, reporting faults, that lead to repair cycles, supplier interaction, billing, shipping of parts and a lot more scenarios. This was a great example of the SAP Digital Core but at no point was content mentioned, even though a large amount of the process above was automated, content is still being generated – in the form of employee work orders, billing, invoicing, customer warranty information, guarantees, receipts and supplier invoices for example. So, as the IoT and associated topics continue to be delivered and new use cases are invented, there is also going to be more and more content generated, and that needs to be managed effectively by OpenText. We will be attending the SAP Innovation Forums all across EMEA in the coming months and I will be in Dubai in 2 weeks at the Gartner Symposium. If you are also attending feel free to reach out to me for a chat about the above, or anything related to OpenText and SAP.

Read More

Information-Centric Design Broadens Variety of Use Cases for Low Code Application Platforms

low code

In this post we welcome guest blogger Maureen Fleming, Vice President at IDC and lead analyst of IDC’s IoT analytics and information management practice, and IDC’s research covering process automation, API management and continuous analytics. The use of low code application platforms to build and deploy custom applications is one of the fastest-growing large technology markets. In fact, spending on low code is so fast that, by 2018, we expect enterprises to spend more on low code platforms than they spend for traditional application platforms running developer-written custom code. This is true whether enterprises are running custom applications in their datacenters or on a public cloud. The goal of low code platforms is to speed up development and minimize re-work by making it easy for business teams to work with developers to design and build applications. For smaller, tactical applications, developers may not be involved at all. Low code development evolved from either workflow-oriented tools or from data-centric offerings. Teams had to choose which approach made the most sense for their application. As customers began demanding more capabilities to support a broader and more flexible spectrum of applications, some vendors began to offer both workflow and information-centric capabilities within the same platform. They saw value in not forcing the customer to choose, and also saw value in greater flexibility by separating information-based functionality from workflow. Low Code’s Shift to Information-Centric Design Products embracing information-centric design shift teams from building automation by linking functionality to specific nodes of a workflow to using the information structure as the driver of automation and the basis for functionality development. The foundation of this structure are data entities, which abstract data into subjects and their properties. These properties are then used in the development of rules, in interaction and UI design, forms, in navigation or as parameters that can determine which workflow is called or the flow of a process or the page flow of an application. By contrast, classic workflow automation uses business objects as a building block. Similar to data entities, forms are created from the business object properties and rules can use the same properties. Unlike data entities, the properties of business objects are always associated with the workflow. Information-centric design does not require associated workflow, and in fact, workflow becomes a subordinate function to the information structure. As a result of the shift to information-centric design, there has been a significant expansion in the capabilities and use of low code development with corresponding improvements in ease of use for non-developers. Today, the same platform can automate a process and provide case management as well as deploy browser and mobile apps disassociated from any type of automated workflow. The use of workflow automation tools continues to be important, and with the shift to cloud architecture and the use of APIs, there are ways to access workflow as needed either broadly or discretely in support of a specific purpose. In fact, workflow has become more important in our increasingly distributed way of doing business. But for organizations investing in low code to help forge autonomy for business teams requiring automation or to use a platform to build strategic applications, identifying software that is centered around information design while also supporting workflow provides an optimal choice for use across a broad spectrum of automation use cases. More About Maureen Fleming  With more than 20 years of industry and analyst experience Maureen Fleming is Program Vice President for IDC’s Business Process Management and Middleware research area. In this role, Ms. Fleming examines the products and processes used for building, integrating, and deploying applications within an extended enterprise system.

Read More

OpenText ApplicationXtender 8.1 SP1 is Here!

ApplicationXtender

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

Read More

OpenText Strengthens EIM Portfolio with Completion of ECD Acquisition

In September, OpenText entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Dell EMC’s Enterprise Content Division (ECD), including Documentum. I am delighted to announce that as of today this acquisition is complete. The addition of ECD’s 25+ years of leadership in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) further strengthens the OpenText product portfolio and our commitment to delivering the most functionally complete Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform in the market. This acquisition provides exciting opportunities for current and future OpenText customers. Existing customers will benefit from a more functionally complete EIM platform while the ECD customer base will benefit from integration into OpenText technology, as well as gaining access to the number-one EIM Cloud and OpenText SaaS applications via flexible, on-premises, cloud, or hybrid deployment options. Specifically, the addition of Dell EMC’s offerings from the Documentum, InfoArchive, and LEAP product families will help to fulfill our strategic vision of growth and leadership in all sub-segments of the EIM market. Our EIM offerings will be enriched by industry-packaged solutions and deep customer relationships across the globe. Along with product enhancements and a worldwide customer base of more than 5,600, the acquisition brings 2,000 talented ECD employees to the OpenText family. Together, we will be over 10,000 professionals strong, focused on customer success in EIM and enabling the digital world. Investing in innovation and development is a key objective at OpenText. As we continue to grow and expand into new markets in meaningful ways, I’d like to welcome ECD customers and employees to OpenText, a focused and dedicated software company that lives, breathes, and sleeps EIM software. Given the importance of the announcement, the ECM Community will be gathering together for a candid discussion of the marketplace and how the acquisition fits into the future of content management. Attend the roundtable session. For more information about this acquisition, read the press release.

Read More

Top Tech Trends for 2017

Information technologies are accelerating at an exponential rate, ushering in the fourth industrial revolution. This is a digital revolution and the pace of change is unprecedented. This revolution incorporates machine learning (think parallel processing and neural networks) and the concept of self-assembly or self-programmability. As technologies continue to advance, they accelerate the progress of other technologies, and so on and so on. To illustrate this, we can look at the evolution of disruptive technologies. In 2016, everyone was excited about the promise of 3-D printing. Now, we’re gearing up for 4-D printing, an emerging technology that will enable us to print objects that reshape or assemble themselves on-the-fly, based on intelligent data. To make this level of self-assembly a reality, we will need dynamic and agile systems. Enter the Internet of Things (IoT) as the digital platform of the future. But the potential of the IoT has evolved into the “Intelligence of Things”. Even Uber, the popular ride sharing app, has advanced its concept of on-demand travel to incorporate a fleet of electric aircrafts (called “Elevate”) to lift us up and out of the chaos of gridlocked ground traffic (yes, just like in “The Jetsons”). The old approach to technology development moved linearly at the speed of human coders. The new model progresses exponentially at the speed of data, intelligence, and self-assembly. Based on this new model, here are my top picks for technology trends that will dominate in 2017: 1. AI and Advanced Machine Learning: The Automatic Enterprise Thanks to parallel processing, big data, cloud technology, and advanced algorithms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming more powerful. As tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple invest in AI, it is becoming more mainstream. People already interact with virtual personal assistants (PAs) like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. Facebook successfully created technology to identify people’s faces with its facial recognition app. Recommendation engines and robo-advisors are becoming a reality in financial services. And robotic butlers are delivering room service in hotels around the world. The analysts are jumping on board, with Forrester predicting that investments in AI will grow 300% in 2017 and Gartner forecasting that 50% of all analytical interactions will be delivered via AI in the next three to five years. These are impressive numbers. But how will these investments pay off for the enterprise? Are computers really more intelligent than people? Many jobs will disappear through automation and others will change significantly as the enterprise becomes more automated and intelligent. Over the next few years, some of us could be answering to robo-bosses. From a productivity perspective, we spend a third of our time in the workplace collecting and processing data—AI could all but eliminate this work. Every job in every industry will be impacted by machine learning. The upside? The opportunity to think exponentially means that the potential applications for these technologies are limitless. For businesses, understanding cognitive systems, big data analytics, machine learning technology, and AI—and how to leverage them—will be critical for survival. In the short term, these technologies will give organizations faster access to sophisticated insights, empowering them to make better decisions and act with agility to outpace their competitors. 2. The Year of Intelligent Things: A Smarter You in 2017 The capability of smart machines increases substantially as they are infused with standalone intelligence. AI and machine learning will be embedded into everyday things like appliances, cars, sensors and drones. Even our thermostats will continue to become more intelligent; they will not only learn our heating and cooling preferences, but also analyze factors like on- or off-peak use, weather forecasts, and previous consumption patterns to give us recommendations to reduce utility bills. This intelligence will be coded into apps. These apps will be driven by data and context, they will synthesize vast amounts of information, learn our behaviors, and react and adapt in real time to deliver relevant and personalized outcomes. Whether they make us more productive at work, optimize our health, or manage energy and utilities consumption in our homes, intelligent things and apps have the power to direct our actions and influence our interactions to help us make better decisions and, ultimately, improve our quality of life. 3. Get Ready for Your Digital Twin In 2017, advances in connectivity and machine intelligence will enable us to demonstrate the large-scale advantages of digital twins. A digital twin is a dynamic software representation of a piece of equipment or system that emulates the original’s materials, measurements, component parts, and behavior. More importantly, a digital twin also includes data that is unique to the asset it represents. Digital twins are created and maintained to allow simulation, analysis, and control. Initially developed by the military for aircraft, digital twins are gaining traction in other industries, such as renewable energy and manufacturing. The GE Digital Twin has created cloud-based computer models of wind farms which connect turbines while collecting and analyzing data to make them 20% more efficient. Black & Decker has digital twins of assembly lines and materials in one of their factories and has reported improvements of 12% and a 10% increase in throughput. Over the next year, organizations will use digital twins to boost efficiency, optimize design and performance, and improve quality. Over the next five years, billions of objects will be represented by digital twins, including equipment, facilities, environments, processes, and even people. For every physical asset there will be a virtual copy running in the Cloud. Their potential lies beyond demonstrating proof-of-concept to mirroring an entire supply chain to support globalization and promote economic gain. In the not too-distant future, our own digital twins will help us make better decisions. As the next version of the virtual PA, an algorithm-based identity will maintain all of our preferences and relevant data, prompting us to act based on this information through notifications, reminders, recommendations, and more. 4. The Evolving Mesh App and Service Architecture With all the apps, networks, devices, and channels, how do you make the experience seamless for the user? This is a question that will influence tech R&D in 2017. The “digital mesh” refers to everything that is connected across digital ecosystems—from people to processes to things. As more services and apps connect across more channels and networks, the digital mesh is growing and as it does, it is fundamentally altering the user experience. Consumers expect a seamless experience that flows across a shifting set of devices and channels, combining the physical and virtual. This kind of ambient user experience requires that the supporting platforms, technologies, and architectures must also change. Enter Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA), a modern architecture that allows for modular, flexible, and dynamic solutions. MASA connects devices, apps, services, and other information sources in a consistent user experience across the digital mesh. It leverages cloud and server-less computing, containers and micro-services, and dynamically supports user needs as they interact with their technology and devices. MASA is an architectural shift that will require significant changes to enterprise infrastructure and R&D. 5. The Best Defense is a Good Offense with Adaptive Security Adaptive security tops the CIO agenda. While moving to digital presents enormous opportunity for business growth, it also presents great risk for cybercrime. In 2016 alone, cybercrime was the second-most reported economic crime. As the number and sophistication of cyberattacks increases, an effective enterprise security becomes more critical than ever. The traditional (reactive) approach that relies on antivirus software and firewalls to protect the perimeter and responds to incidents as they occur is just not good enough. In 2017, the enterprise will go on the offensive, assuming that its network is constantly under attack. To pre-empt cyberattacks and information leaks, organizations will implement an adaptive security architecture with continuous, real-time monitoring, big data, and analytics. As the next generation of security, an adaptive architecture delivers the preventative intelligence needed to uncover anomalies and potential threats and prioritize risks. 6. Digital Platforms Lay the Foundation for the Future Digital platforms will continue to play a prominent role into 2017 as foundational platforms for transformation. For enterprises that have already transformed, they will be key to supporting future growth. In particular, Digital Experience (DX) platforms and the IoT will be essential. The year 2016 bore witness to a pivotal tipping point with shoppers making more than half of their purchases online. As this number continues to rise, DX will become an integral digital platform for the enterprise. In 2017, the digital customer experience may be the only interaction consumers have with a brand. It will be important for organizations to get this experience right the first time. We also saw an estimated 5.5 million new devices connect to the IoT each day in 2016. This exploding ecosystem of tightly interconnected devices and people will only get smarter. The result will be digital environments that respond to each individual in highly personalized ways. In 2017, we will build a new world. Using digital platforms and leveraging the existing IoT infrastructure, interconnected intelligent devices will transform the way we interact with each other and our environments. 7. A Hyper-connected Global Ecosystem Creates New Opportunities Over the past few years, business networks have been driving opportunity for business. In 2017, as business networks expand into new ecosystems, they will transcend geography, industry, and language to create exponentially more opportunities for digital enterprises. Much of the technology required for this ecosystem (like AI, robotics, sensors, and the IoT) already exists. A culture of information sharing and collaboration is required to connect the dots. Data and standardization are also fundamental for the development and sustenance of digital ecosystems. When business networks are reliably and securely connected, they can be layered with intelligence. As information is added, the ecosystem and opportunities for growth will only increase. Organizations are connecting across industries to form digital ecosystems with the customers at the hub. Auto manufacturers like Tesla and Fiat are partnering with technology companies to integrate GPS, navigation, social media, and entertainment services in ways that are transforming the driving experience. Adding intelligence for predictive maintenance and servicing integrates suppliers into the network to deliver efficiency and convenience. Taking advantage of the emerging concept of the connected car, it’s only a matter of time before standardization enables cars to tap into a broader range of networks, like smart transportation systems that automatically locate vacant parking spots, for example. When all of these services are connected in the self-driving car (or aircraft), we will truly be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. 8. Customer-Centricity Drives Transformation In 2017, customer-centricity will drive transformation across all industries. In 2009, Uber created history by disrupting an entire market. Today, the company supports global operations and is valued at over $60 billion USD. What is the secret of its success? Many would say disruptive technologies or even intelligent data but, in fact, Uber’s customer-centric approach played an even greater role in the company’s success. Uber stepped into a market that needed an overhaul to offer more responsive and convenient travel for consumers. By focusing on the customer, Uber was able to quickly build trust. And while it is true that technology has given consumers more choice than ever before, technology is only an enabler. The key to success lies in customer-centric approaches, technologies, and business models. Over the coming year, digital leaders will shift from marketing digital products and services to embracing customer-centric operations. They will invest in IT to become more responsive. Customer-led self-service will be a requirement, along with AI and predictive analytics, innovation, and the agility needed to adapt to changing customer needs. In the digital world, consumers have come to expect higher levels of service. The fight for differentiation will be won by excelling at customer experience and this can only be achieved through customer-centricity. Whether you’re ready or not, the fourth industrial revolution is here. We are witnessing incredible breakthroughs in every industry, driven by disruptive innovation. And the possibilities for application are unlimited. To quote Sun Tzu: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” I wish you all a Happy New Year and great success in 2017.

Read More

Personalizing the Customer Experience is the Key to Success in 2017

personalized customer engagement

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

Read More

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

ECD partners

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

Read More

Momentum Barcelona: Where a Spark Becomes a Fire

Momentum Barcelona

Momentum Barcelona 2016 – after every Momentum, I am given the unenviable task of trying to recapture each amazing iteration of this event in vivid detail, to effectively recount the keynotes, the various breakout sessions, and all of the fun and community that make Momentum such an amazing event for our customers, our partners and, yes, our employees. So, while it may be nearly impossible, let me take a moment to relive Momentum Barcelona and to celebrate the return of this great event to Europe. For those of you that were unable to join us for Momentum Europe, I’m truly sorry you weren’t able to experience the incredible atmosphere and beautiful location that is Barcelona. What an incredible city in which to host our Momentum Conference, full of history, life, vitality and, of course, never-ending fun. I can’t think of a better backdrop for an event that celebrates our customers and their successes with our technology. And, to the more than 800 registered attendees and, in particular, our customer and partners, I want to simply say thank you for sharing the experience with us and helping to make it an event that practically defies description. Before I get into the highlights of the conference, I also wanted to share with you an observation from one of the sessions this past week, a view that the team from the Enterprise Content Division has long had an undeniable spark, a spark that seems to burn even brighter during important times like Momentum, and in particular, Momentum Europe. You see, at events like Momentum or our Customer.NEXT roadshows, we are at our best, surrounded by the customers and partners that have made ECD great. We are with our “community.” Better yet, we are amongst friends. During these moments, this ECD community has achieved incredible success, building upon the present and always looking forward to the future. The reason is clear: it’s because each of us – customer, partner and employee – shares a common goal, as well as the commitment to see one another succeed, to realize the incredible value that organizations can achieve working with our technology. This is the spark we experienced this week, one that has continued to burn brightly through all of the years and across every Momentum. And, as we look toward the end of a very eventful year, we’re also looking toward the amazing opportunities that lie before us to fan this flame into an even bigger blaze in the years to come. Perhaps never before has the name Momentum been more appropriate for our conference, or for our organization. This is evidenced by all of the activities and announcements that accompanied this year’s Momentum Europe. As you likely know, at ECD, we are focused on digital transformation and enabling our customers to achieve true competitive advantage in this digital age. You probably also know that much of the rest of the industry has recognized our vision and is now beginning to share our understanding of the importance of enabling transformation. ECD has continually delivered on its promise of providing a complete content strategy and set of solutions that will enable our customers to achieve their transformational goals. At Momentum Barcelona, we launched groundbreaking new solutions, including new LEAP apps and the  new LEAP Platform, as well as the next release of InfoArchive, InfoArchive 4.2, which brings exciting new capabilities for our Financial Services customers (on the heels of the recently announced InfoArchive 4.1/Clinical Archiving 2.0). We also provided a number of exciting updates to our Documentum products that make them easier than ever before to deploy, upgrade and manage in hybrid environments. Finally, we shared updates on a few of our industry solutions, designed to meet specific vertical needs, including new features in the Documentum Asset Operations 2.1 that offer compelling opportunities for the Energy and Engineering industries and Documentum Life Sciences Suite 4.2 , which now provides support for medical device documentation, as well as enhanced features for pharmaceutical organizations. And this is really just the beginning. Momentum Barcelona 2016 also featured three entertaining keynotes, starting with the opening keynote with Rohit, Muhi Mazjoub from OpenText, and three customers who shared how our products are enabling their digital transformation. Our second keynote included two analysts from IDC, Roberta Bigliani and Max Claps, and focused on key trends in Digital Transformation. And the climactic, closing keynote featured noted futurist, Beau Lotto, who offered an exciting vision of things to come. Other highlights of Momentum Barcelona included: 750+ Labs completed, with customers working directly with our technology 748 #MMTM16 mentions 439 Momentum app downloads 300 attendees at our Momentum Partner Summit 200 Hack-a-thon participants 200 Partner Summit attendees 146 trees planted 87 LEAP personality quizzes completed 65 hours of Product & Industry sessions 54 1:1 meetings with media and analysts 33 Life Sciences user group attendees 30 Genius Lab sessions with our Professional Services team 26 customers speaking in sessions 25 partner sponsors 9 Mo & Tim videos recorded 8 sessions dedicated to LEAP 6 partner innovation award winners 1 President’s Award winner for Customer Satisfaction And, just so you don’t get the impression that we were all business, one surreal party But, for those of you who may already know those details, our valued customers and partners, thank you again for being with us at Momentum Barcelona. If we missed you this time, we sincerely hope to see you at one of our future events. It’s a very exciting time for ECD and we can’t wait to share it with you. The spark has ignited, the flame is growing higher, and there is room around the fire for everyone. Congratulations and thank you, everyone, for a fantastic Momentum 2016 in Barcelona!

Read More

Saving Trees Could be Saving Your Business

Saving Trees

For the last quarter century, the use of paper has given way to digital images. But the switch goes far beyond awareness or an effort to save trees. The move toward digital in the enterprise started with an eye toward the bottom line; reducing physical space needs, automating manual processes and improving records retrieval. The notion that going green saves some green has taken on a broader impact for business more recently. Cutting paper use improves key drivers like productivity, accessibility and compliance. In fact, according to AIIM, the biggest driver for organizations’ adopting scanning and data capture is improved search and share (53%). Only 27% of organizations point to an environmental policy for ditching paper. For the last two decades, capture technology has been used as a best practice to eliminate paper. But many companies have yet to implement capture in their processes. It’s hard to understand why because digital assets benefit both organizations and their customers. Digital capture frees data from file cabinets, making it accessible by all employees and, ultimately, their clients as well. Email import is a great example. Companies receive an email with an invoice, doc, or other attachment. The recipient prints it, processes it, and then maybe scans it again to send it back. But why? Technology is available now to eliminate the urge to create more paper. Innovative companies leverage capture technologies to automatically open and process emails and attachments. Not only is the email auto-classified for content, but also the attachment can be opened and transaction processed with no manual interaction. Here’s a great use case. A top insurance company and current customer in the Netherlands has fully automated their email processes, and cut that staff from 34 to 5. In the old paper-based, manual processing world, the staff had to: Open and read each incoming email Open and print the attachments Push the attachments through a manual mailroom process to route and classify the content By automating email with capture, the company not only eliminated paper, but also drastically reduced the element of human error inherent in manual processes. Automated email processing also improves customer satisfaction, allowing companies to interact with customers quickly and accurately. In fact, according to AIIM, the biggest benefit of paper-free processes is faster customer response (43%). The insurance company now sends customers an immediate response and auto launches claims management processes. As a result, they arrive at settlements much faster and drive higher customer satisfaction. But simply streamlining is not enough. It’s crucial to examine fundamental business practices and blow up the internal status quo before being left behind by an outside “disruption.” Take a look at taxi companies, who did not develop apps to allow payment, tracking, and driver ID before Uber came along and forced their hand. Mobile capture is helping organizations make these leaps forward. Many banks now offer mobile check deposit to their customers, eliminating age-old, tedious and inconvenient in-person interactions with tellers. Other advances include using mobile devices to snap and send pictures of a W2 or other document for a loan application. This is a real-life example from a leading financial services organization that embedded Captiva’s mobile capture capabilities into their mobile app. Customers get fast service and real-time interactions anywhere, anytime. The lender, using great image quality and OCR, immediately ingests data and processes transactions much faster. No paper needed! Mobile capture solutions create a direct interface to customers, helping organizations understand consumer behavior patterns. What do customers want? When is an interaction successful? Such insight is invaluable, and drives innovation. Few advancements in technology have led to more “disruption” than the introduction of the cloud. We hear many B2B customers are planning a SaaS buy with capture services in the next two years. Capture as a Service (CaaS) allows organizations to hone in on eliminating paper at the edges of their organizations, like at branch offices. The CaaS provides an alternative to paper processing at remote locations by using intuitive capture apps that process without the heavy footprint of a dedicated scan client. Our LEAP app, Snap, opens the door to these capabilities by providing them in an ergonomic capture interface. Because it’s cloud-based, a Snap environment and Snap users can be provisioned in minutes enabling remote users access to the same rich set of functionality such as real-time auto-classification and field validation that users expect faster than ever. As an example, LEAP Snap drives innovation by providing these capabilities proven capture services in a CaaS environment. Paper may never go away fully, at least not in the near future. But companies can create clear, measurable business benefits by reducing or eliminating paper and paper based manual processes. AIIM reports that 59% of organizations achieved a payback in less than 12 months from their paper-free projects, including 26% in 6 months or less. 84% achieved payback in less than 18 months – the highest AIIM has ever recorded. But eliminating paper is not a destination, it’s a journey. Truly innovative companies find ways to fundamentally change the way they do business by interfacing with customers at their first point of contact, and eliminating paper in the process. In honor of AIIM’s World Paper Free Day #WPFD, today we celebrate the digital business.

Read More

EP1: Enhancing OpenText Release 16—from Engagement to Insight

Today, we announced the availability of Release 16 Enhancement Pack 1 (EP1)—the first in a series of enhancements to the most comprehensive digital Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform on the market today, OpenText Release 16. As the enterprise shifts from investments in systems of record and engagement systems of insight, OpenText will continue to develop solutions that fully automate the complete EIM flow from customer engagement to business insight. This latest enhancement package does just that, with additional capabilities in our Experience, Content, and Discovery suites to complete the flow of information across the enterprise. The Complete EIM Flow – From Engagement to Insight Engagement: Digital is introducing new formats and channels of communication with customers. Organizations must be able to meet customer expectations, creating communications that are personalized, timely, and accessible using preferred channels. EP1 delivers highly personalized content orchestration across different processes for a connected customer experience. The enhancements we’ve made to our Experience Suite offer a breadth and depth of capabilities never before available from a single Customer Experience Management (CEM) platform. Offered via flexible on-premises, cloud, or hybrid deployments, Experience Suite addresses key capabilities required for true digital transformation. From marketing optimization to customer contact programs, OpenText is connecting the customer journey for better customer engagement and insight. Existing OpenText CEM solutions have raised the bar for dynamic and personal customer engagement with industry-led Customer Communications Management (CCM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), Web Content Management (WCM), and Customer Care and Support solutions designed to make it easier to engage with customers using multiple channels and devices. This next generation of CEM will present new opportunities in content targeting and conversion rate optimization for our customers. With EP1 we are executing on our vision of interdependent applications working together in the OpenText Experience Suite to create the best possible user experiences. “The investment and focus OpenText is putting on its Customer Experience Management solutions is very exciting,” said Mark Fassbender, global head of Web Optimization at Lexis Nexis. “Marketers today invest a lot of time and effort in trying to understand the customer journey from first contact through to renewal and retention. By connecting reporting and insights from each key stage of the customer journey together in an integrated solution, OpenText allows for a better understanding of what content works best for each channel and customer group across the whole customer lifecycle, which is pretty awesome.” Content: To help organizations manage the flow of information across the enterprise, OpenText Extended ECM (xECM) Platform improves process productivity, integrating Enterprise Content Management (ECM) functionality with lead applications to bridge silos and enhance information flows. EP1 strengthens these capabilities with targeted solutions, such as xECM for Salesforce® and xECM for SuccessFactors®, as well as xECM integration for Process Suite to further connect the processes that generate enterprise information and ensure compliance and control across all systems. Extended ECM for Salesforce improves customer insight and streamlines sales by connecting Salesforce cloud services to the OpenText xECM Platform for easy access to ECM capabilities and content inside the Salesforce user interface. Extended ECM for SuccessFactors manages all aspects of the digital employee file within SAP SuccessFactors. With centralized digitized document storage and collaboration, this solution accelerates the efficiencies of operations and minimizes compliance risk for the hire-to-retire HR process. Process Suite for xECM extends the reach of ECM to all parts of the enterprise, providing processes with the context that improves insight, efficiency, and throughput. Discover: As digital consumers drive—or overhaul—supply chains across borders, the enterprise will be increasingly required to comply with external regulations and internal governance policies. In order to make enterprise information ‘discoverable’ and ‘actionable,’ EP1 introduces Discovery Suite to complement Content Suite. Discovery Suite brings analytics to enterprise content, providing a single, integrated platform for self-service business intelligence, data preparation, and advanced analytics on both structured and unstructured information. Customers can now leverage data analytics, machine learning, and interactive visualizations for litigation, investigations, due diligence, compliance, and better decision making.   Functional Enhancements and Integration across the Suites Across all of our suites, we remain committed to giving our customers the most scalable, secure, flexible, and well-architected products. We will consistently leverage the Cloud for our suites to make OpenText the number one EIM cloud. With increased availability in the Cloud, EP1 helps to automate the complete the EIM flow, from Engagement to Insight, with deep functional enhancements and a focus on integration. OpenText Release 16 is the EIM platform of the future and key to our customers’ success, which is why we will continue to release enhancements as part of the EP series. EP1 is the first of many exciting innovations in a series planned for Release 16 over the coming months. Stay tuned for more information. Read the press release.

Read More

User Experience is About the Swipe of a Finger

User Experience

If there’s a word I use frequently on top of “commitment” that is “expectations.” What a nice word, isn’t it? From all the different definitions I could find for expectations, the one I like the most is this: “a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen.” All of us who have small kids know what children do every time they see a device screen, no matter where; they swipe their fingers across it and believe something special is going to happen. If nothing happens, we hear the already popular “Oh, Daddy, it’s broken!.” This is the first time they face the reality of what user experience is about. In the enterprise world something similar is already happening. We are all used to accessing technology in our spare time, to make our life easier and better. But at the office we often swipe our fingers, nothing happens and it seems that something is broken. During the last two decades we have been using Information Systems designed by engineers and limited to well-trained employees. This approach has a clear impact on how the information flows through the organization and also across organizations. It prevents business from taking full advantage of every piece of data to become more efficient, a critical limitation in this transformation period where the strategy is key. When we take a deeper look into many business processes today, we discover that different participants suffer to get things done due to the isolation of each of the participants in different buckets: employees, customers, suppliers and more. Email becomes the only tool by which to collaborate in a disconnected work environment, full of firewalls, identity management systems and other security devices that prevent people from connecting and getting a business process executed. This has not gone unnoticed by most companies that are looking to grant the right people access to the right information at the right time. I would even add two other dimensions, through the right channel and with the right tools. Here is where the consumer-grade new apps come into the game, as well as the cloud, though the cloud is a starting point but not the solution itself. The more we look at the concept of user, the blurrier the line between internal and external users becomes. Companies don’t consider just the employees anymore but everyone who is part of their business processes. Once we have properly identified these users we can focus on their expectations. Then they can swipe their fingers to do what they need to do faster, easier and much more efficiently. Focus on the User Experience There are different characteristics on which we need to focus to delight our users with a great user experience, no matter who is paying their salaries. We are looking for simple and intuitive apps. Apps not requiring any training. Bringing to the enterprise a consumer-grade experience is still a challenge for many companies. It’s not easy to accept that a nice and usable app can do the same work and provide the same level of security and compliance as those complex tools used in the past. When we start meeting our users’ expectations we can trigger the second phase of “intelligent listening.” This term is very well described by the authors of “Consumption Economics.” Intelligent listening helps us understanding what these users need by using analytics. Maybe, in today’s environment, the period for discussion is running out and it’s time to make decisions. The cloud is a no brainer and if we embrace new ways of working with information to satisfy our users and increase their productivity we will leap beyond the barriers of the past. This is exactly what we are doing with Leap apps: Courier to allow different organizations exchange documentation in a secure and traceable way Snap to bring digital capture to anyone allowing to convert any document to business data Concert to provide the authoring environment to create complex documents without the limitations of the company’s four walls Express and Focus to delight the user with an unprecedented UX when working with processes, tasks and documents Our users want to swipe their finger and have their expectations met. This is possible today. If you have a good example to share about switching to new tools to delight your users, I ‘d love to hear about it. In the meantime, I encourage you to come to Momentum in Barcelona. You will see how Leap apps are changing how users work with information. See you there!

Read More

Follow That Car!

digital disruption

Has anyone noticed that things are speeding up? A week or so back, I visited London for a conference. I’d not been there for a few years, and noticed a new system of bicycle lanes throughout the city. Great for the cyclists, but a real congestion headache for car traffic and cab drivers. Norman, my driver from the airport, knew the streets like the back of his hand. He’d been driving cabs for the last 3 decades and bicycles were featured prominently in his list of complaints. I was amazed at his knowledge of the London labyrinth and the way he was able to intuitively duck and weave in all directions as soon he spotted traffic or other obstructions while keeping the conversation going the whole time. Back in 1979, a year many of my colleagues now refer to as “the olden days”, I remember watching a TV movie called “The Knowledge” with Nigel Hawthorne, a personal favorite. “The Knowledge” told the story of a fledgling cab driver who had to prepare for the notoriously difficult exam to get his cab license. This test required instant recall on addresses, streets, points of interest and directions between all. Every cab driver had to meet that standard and invest as much as two years of study to qualify, with the aid of several volumes of (paper) reading materials.  “If you’re a genius it might take you a year. On the other hand it might take you two, or even or ten. And if it looks like it’s going to take you longer than that I should chuck it in and take up ballet dancing instead.”                                                                                                                               -Mr. Burgess, The Knowledge In the mid ‘80’s I worked in Australia for a large public utility.  One of the teams I collaborated closely with was the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) group. Over several years they developed a platform and digital map of Sydney. This was used to plot the addresses for the 1.3 million customers they had at the time, as well as define the location of the city water supply system and waste-water systems. The GIS data was populated through a number of proprietary sources and their engineers and was used by us to calculate the shortest possible distances one would have to walk to read all the meters in a neighborhood. Many other uses of this system were possible, including impact analysis for construction of new water mains, maintenance, emergency services and more. It was a great example of digital transformation in the ‘80s.  However, this was a significant investment, one that few organizations could afford at the time. Looking Forward My long trip back from the UK to the US (picture a T-Rex typing on an iPad) gave me a chance to reflect on where we’ve been, and maybe what’s coming just around the corner. Norman, with his “Knowledge”, is something of an oddity these days.  Most cab drivers (apart from London black cab drivers) seem able to navigate only with the aid of Apple or Google Maps, which, incidentally, also powers Uber. “The Knowledge” seems inconceivable to most of us now, as much as floppy disks or stage coaches seem to my kids. We have democratized maps to a large degree (digital divide notwithstanding), and made location services free, though with catches. We’ve taken “The Knowledge” from our own data centers (heads) and moved it to a cloud provider. New developments across all sectors of technology can now be woven together in a fabric of services that can then be combined to enable new business models and new consumer experiences.  These advances provide us with a radical set of possibilities that Norman (or we ourselves)  could never have imagined back in the “olden” days. What if : I had a self-driving car, that dropped us off to dinner I didn’t have to worry about parking. The car could drive itself to the nearest charging station and come back to collect us when we’re ready I could order that extra bottle of wine, and the ride would be safer than if I’d not had any in the first place! While I was involved with something completely engrossing, I could send the car to pick up crackers and cheese from the store, another lightning headphone adapter for my iPhone 7, and then pick up my son from his swim practice without leaving the comfort of my La-Z-Boy recliner. Who needs errands? I didn’t have to buy a whole car. Perhaps I could share ownership with a group of friends or even a pool of strangers for under $40 a week When we weren’t using the car, it could generate revenue by being deployed as part of a fleet of self-driving cars, delivering other people, packages or fast food to different locations. I could even sell the data generated by my vehicle Or, instead of buying the car at all, I could just be a customer of a roving fleet of vehicles. My son loves this idea! These are no longer far-fetched ideas and they all seem possible, if not today, then just around the corner. It’s great news for us as consumers, but maybe problematic at a societal level. But what about businesses that have not considered potential downstream implications these trends have among industries? For example: Current competition threatened across travel and logistics/delivery services, including Norman and his colleagues As driving becomes safer, auto insurance (a $200B industry) and auto-repair providers Assuming the number of purchased vehicles decline, auto manufacturers and auto financing services That’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Digital disruption is real, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s accelerating and getting cheaper to accomplish. Whether change is prompted by your customers, competitors, employees, or by regulations – innovation doesn’t just happen by accident. Survival and sustained market dominance will depend on deliberate actions – your organization’s ability to recognize and react to potential disruptions and how you seize on the opportunities to create them! Have you assessed your company’s digital maturity recently? Come to Momentum Barcelona 2016 and find out more.

Read More

Business Network: Extreme Connectivity

Organizations that incorporate extreme connectivity into their business strategy are able to support accelerated business processes with anyone, anywhere, in any format, securely. Information exchange helps control how information is delivered across a business network. With data integrity and built-in security, organizations can execute transactions and share information to drive value and competitive advantage. As the volume of business transactions grow, organizations are relying on cloud-based data exchanged solutions like electronic fax and Managed File Transfer (MFT) to effectively manage their information exchange while reducing costs. The Business Network The OpenText Business Network is a set of cloud-based solutions within EIM that facilitates the efficient, secure, and compliant exchange of information between organizations. It is a combination of Business-to-Business (B2B) integration software, the OpenText Trading Grid, and Managed Services. The latest release of the OpenText Business Network represents the next step in the evolution of information exchange. We have made a number of improvements and additions to the OpenText Business Network, including: B2B Integration with Active Applications for Procure-to-Pay: This release features Logistics Track & Trace to follow the physical movement of goods for improved end-to-end supply chain visibility. Organizations can calculate new arrival times for in-transit products with Dynamic Pipeline Calculation. In addition, Deductions Management helps U.S. retailers identify and remove duplicate deductions, resulting in fewer disputes. Trading Grid Analytics: The integration of Trading Grid analytics for Managed Services and Active Applications provides added insight into operational and supply chain performance. Fax2EDI & Email2EDI: Customers are able to capture standard trading partner information, including paper and transport, to streamline the flow of goods, communication, and commerce across the Trading Grid. OpenText Release 16 brings together the right combination of services and technologies, helping connect and exchange critical business data in a secure, reliable, and scalable environment. This is extreme connectivity in action, powering information companies with deeper business process support and rich analytics across the extended trading ecosystem. As trading ecosystem grows, the Cloud plays an increasingly important and strategic role. I’ll discuss this in my next post in this series. Find out more: www.opentext.com/16.  

Read More

The Future of Information: Analytics Everywhere

In addition to being available as a discrete offering, we’ve infused analytics throughout all of our OpenText suites, including the Business Network, to deliver leading edge capabilities for information companies to mine, extract, and present the true value of their business data. OpenText Analytics Suite gives your organization an easier way to access, blend, explore, and analyze big data to better understand customers, markets, and business operations. We recognize that not every organization has the in-house data scientists, IT resources, or technology infrastructure to support big data analytics solutions, so in addition to being available as an on-premises solution, OpenText Analytics Suite is also available in the OpenText Cloud. Analytics Everywhere Most organizations currently employ some form of basic analytics (illustrated in orange and purple in the above figure). While these insights can be helpful in discovering what has happened and why, they often lack the sophistication that allows companies to reveal what will happen and what should be done. These insights come from the deployment of more powerful, predictive and prescriptive analytics. And that’s where the real value lies in OpenText Analytics Suite. Using predictive analytics, OpenText Analytics Suite provides insight into what is likely to happen based on business data and determines which actions an organization should take. The possible implications of each action are based on business data and rules, optimization, and simulation. Connected technologies like machine-to-machine communications will help information companies to progress along the technology curve toward cognitive systems by automating not only data processing, but also the execution of business actions. With OpenText Release 16 we’ve removed the complexity of integrating analytics within the enterprise. We’ve built a lightweight development tool that easily embeds analytics capabilities in both internal- and external-facing applications. We’ve also expanded our out-of-the-box connectivity to work with over a dozen sources—from Apache to XML to Salesforce—providing more ways to integrate analytics into the enterprise systems. While the volume and variety of information may vary from industry to industry and organization to organization, one thing holds true: we are all information companies. The availability of big data has unleashed huge potential in terms of gaining customer insight to inform marketing, product development, and service delivery. Whether deployed on-premises or in the Cloud, OpenText Analytics Suite allows organizations to uncover information that helps to differentiate products and services for increased satisfaction and market share. With analytics infused across all of the OpenText Release 16 suites and the Business Network, we’ve applied cognitive capabilities to OpenText Suite 16. I’ll explore the enhanced role that cognitive systems play in OpenText Release 16 in the next blog in this series. Find out more: www.opentext.com/16.

Read More

Cloud Flexibility Gives Customers the Experience They Want

Cloud flexibility

In today’s consumer market, great companies with high brand equity have one thing in common: they’re using digital innovation to continuously improve upon their already tremendous customer experience. For example, Costco is known for its generous return policy – now it’s been digitalized so that you can still get a refund if you don’t have a receipt. Starbucks lets you order and pay for your beverage with an app so you don’t have to wait in a long line. And Disneyland has an app so that you can see wait times in real time and better plan your day at the park. Enterprise Content Management software is a means to an end. Customers are trying to accomplish something and they’re looking for ways to do it cheaper and easier. Cloud-based solutions enable customers to do both. And they’re ideal for customers with growing or fluctuating bandwidth needs because they’re easy to scale up or scale down when needed. But a public cloud for everything approach doesn’t always provide a great customer experience. Changing enterprise business processes to align with SaaS solutions can be time consuming, expensive and frustrating. Having a flexible solution that can be configured to align with existing business processes reduces total cost of ownership and makes for a better user experience. In fact, according to Gartner¹, “The increased use of multiple public cloud providers, plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multicloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios. he increased use of multiple public cloud providers, plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multicloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios”. Public, private and hybrid cloud models of our Documentum as a Service or DaaS software are available – and you can mix, match and integrate them. Our Life Sciences customers are working on life-changing innovations to cure disease and help people live longer, better lives. Most prefer to protect their Research & Development content in a private cloud, while creating a public cloud clinical trial data repository that enables easier collaboration. And they don’t want unnecessary patches or upgrades forced upon them smack in the middle of a big clinical trial or new drug launch. Our Energy and Engineering customers are using digital innovations to improve recovery rates and reduce risk. Likewise, they want their Standard Operating Procedures and other propriety information stored in a private cloud, while having their project-specific content such as drawings and memos that need to be viewed by partners and subcontractors in a public cloud. Public cloud is useful when collaborators do their work on smartphones and tablets because they don’t have to get on a corporate VPN to access content. In fact, our mobile solutions integrate with Documentum to give customers the experience of offline access to documents and bi-directional sync. No matter the type of cloud you choose, DaaS gives you all the benefits and flexibility of the cloud, but lets you keep the customizations and integrations you rely on to keep your business running: Economies of scale – 20% – 45% reduction in operational expenses Patches and upgrades included and managed by us SSAE 16 compliance and physical security in our data centers including 24-hour manned security But perhaps the best part about the DaaS is that there are no longer service incidents related to how the software is installed in the customer’s environment – which on average accounts for 81% of the Severity 1 and Severity 2 incidents. Additionally, customers experience an average 16% improvement in application performance, and improved performance and availability over existing self-managed Documentum installations. Is your business leveraging digital innovation to improve customer experience? ¹ Gartner, “Market Trends: Cloud Adoption Trends Favor Public Cloud With a Hybrid Twist,” August 4, 2016.

Read More

The Electric Impact of the Cloud, Have you Plugged in?

Cloud

Have you ever considered, when switching on your coffee machine in the morning, where the electricity comes from? I’m guessing not. You probably only expect it to work so that you can have your tasty Colombian coffee. I don’t know where the electricity I use at home is coming from. Last year Spain imported electricity from France. At the same time Spain also exported electricity to Portugal, Andorra, Morocco and…surprise, also back to France. I can’t imagine anyone in Portugal wondering whether the electricity to charge a smartphone comes from Spain, is produced in France and sent to Spain, or is sent from Spain to France and bought back again. Electricity has no accent. It doesn’t matter from where it comes; only that it is always there when you need it! A few years ago, I started to work with customers planning their journey to the cloud. I’m talking about private cloud. There were many questions about the where, the who and the how of the process. It was an incredible cultural change and many people were against it, especially the security guys. It reminded me of 15 years earlier when I was working for an engineering company. We deployed a Document Management System, Documentum, to improve visibility, collaboration and productivity while reducing costs moving to the digital world. But even after a several years, many of the engineers were still locking their drawings in their own personal “map cabinet”. While customer goals were to reduce costs, improve performance and reduce the IT complexity, it was security and compliance that were the main concerns for most. They were changing their IT strategy and facing a cultural barrier. At that same time I was fortunate to meet with another company, one part of a large group, that was very focused on their business and margins. This business had a completely different strategy than its mother company and were eager to consume services rather than build and maintain them. By transitioning to the private cloud using our PaaS offering, the company achieved some things the mother company didn’t attain after 10 years using the same technology: Time to value. The company went on production in less than 1 month, far more quickly than the group average of one year. They were able to enjoy the benefits of the technology almost immediately after they made the decision and not a year later. Elasticity to manage the unpredictable. The business was able to increase resources, as well as add new products and services to support their needs when they needed them, instead of weeks after. High performance without complexity. From the first day and through several years of using the service, I’ve never heard a single complaint. In addition to all of these benefits, the organization dramatically reduced operational costs and achieved unprecedented cost predictability compared to their mother company. Using the same technology but a different strategy, they secured superior results. This proved, once again, that it’s not about the technology, it’s about the strategy. The private cloud is primarily about moving second-generation platforms to the cloud. It is about shifting the workload and the complexity to the vendor. It’s about reducing the cost of operations, enabling customers to free up IT resources to focus on activities with higher impact on their core business. When I talk to these customers now, they recognize they had worry about where data centers were and whether security measures were in compliance with the EU data privacy laws and their internal policies. However, once these issues were settled, they didn’t care if the service was provided from Spain, Germany or Netherlands. Only that it’s always up and running. Just like we all are with electricity. Today I’m more focused on public cloud offerings like LEAP, content apps for the digital era provided under a SaaS model. The more companies I speak with, the more I see not only these same obvious expectations regarding the private cloud, but also many additional that focus on end user productivity and expectations, and their impact on the new business models being rapidly developed in every industry. The cultural change in the last three years has been great. There are many companies already consuming important services like email, ERP, CRM in the cloud. Now they are ready to consume any other always that can justify their business case. Today’s information requires flowing as freely as electricity, and being accessible when it is needed. It is the dynamic digital enterprises that have realized that plugging into the cloud is virtually as easy and secure as plugging into an outlet. Are you using any private or public cloud service? If so what are your key motivations and concerns?

Read More

Winning Without Migration in a Digitized World

Content migration

An executive is scheduled to travel to a customer meeting at the last minute. He quickly makes flight arrangements, books a place to stay with Airbnb and makes sure the Uber app is on his mobile phone. Then he does one last thing. He finds a big box and stuffs it full with his all the information he’ll need for his meeting. He tapes it closed and lugs it to UPS shipment across country. The story is a little preposterous, isn’t it? With all the technology available, the idea of users hauling physical data around is from a previous age. We leverage all the advances that digital-focused companies offer, yet, while various access tools are available in this new era, many organizations still accept limitations in managing their own content. Uber doesn’t require you to bring your car with you to use its service. Airbnb doesn’t need your furniture. Why should a business need to shuttle around its content in order to use it? Despite the claims of some industry vendors, the hybrid world of content will thrive for many years. Organizations continue to store and access content of all types, including files, media and more, using both on-premises and cloud repositories. However, to create real business value, this content has to be brought to life and used in a way that solves key business challenges like invoice processing, loan processing, claims processing, employee onboarding etc. Two fundamentally different approaches can address this goal: The first option is to shuttle all content into a single repository, hand over the keys to the content kingdom and then pray that it’s secure and meets all compliance and regulatory requirements. There can be advantages to migration, including in the ease of managing, indexing and sorting content. However, in order to achieve this result, an often time-consuming and costly migration process is required (migrating meta data, roles, schemas for billions of objects is not an automated task – it does require PS and a few aspirins on hand). In addition, a single repository solution can both create a choke point that may lead to security and compliance issues and effectively render data that has not been stored or updated into that sole location as virtually useless to a business. Companies who offer this sort of solution have, to their credit, realized these limitations and attempted to develop supporting products to ease the forklifting of data to their specific repository. But this really serves as not much more than a Band-Aid option, eventually requiring the additional steps of classifying incoming documents, indexing them, maintaining the meta data models and relationships and toiling through the arduous job of getting security and compliance certifications on an ever changing content set – not just at the infrastructure, but also at an application level. The second option is to manage the content in place without migration and develop context of the content via a smart access service built on top of all repositories.  Today’s users don’t care so much about where the content they need comes from. A field worker in an energy company doesn’t care as much as where the SOP (standard operating procedures doc) comes from – but rather that he can access it on his mobile device, review and approve it and let his manager know that he has done the job. Content for this simple, but very frequent use case can reside in many different repositories. Why move the content from all those repositories when you can manage it in place?  With our open approach of repository flexibility, whether using Documentum, SharePoint, SAP, Google or even call center operations or email marketing software content can remain in place and be located and leveraged without the complex, time consuming step of migration. We understand that as the world changes around us, repositories will become table-stakes. They can be anywhere. They are simply a means to an end. The key for success will be rather to provide value on top, with solutions such as collaboration across content, easy review and approval of tasks requiring documents from across locations. The heavy lifting of connecting with these repositories is done behind the scenes, enabling customers get an out of the box way to connect all repositories to purpose-driven apps that solve specific business problems. This is what we have accomplished with LEAP.

Read More

Glimpse #1: A Sneak Peek at the New ECD Education Services

Education Services

In a relatively short period, based on human standards of time, we have dramatically changed the way we acquire information and the methods by which we learn. There are resources like Wikipedia and the Khan Academy that have fundamentally changed the way that learners, of all ages, can find, acquire, and interact along their path to learning. So, it should come as no surprise that ECD Education Services is not insulated from the need to adapt to these changing requirements. You are already familiar with the changes in the delivery availability of courses from classroom-based instructor-led courses to now include live on-line courses and pre-recorded virtual instructor-led courses. But, these are just the tip of the iceberg. We are beginning the changes to more fully adapt and respond to the needs of our customers, partners, and internal team members. The team is actively working to redefine itself in the face of these new needs. Our solution is to give you more. You will continue to be able to get all the training content, in the training formats, that you have always received PLUS we will be announcing new offerings, new bundles, and new services that will add to what we already provide. To start your sneak peek, take a look at the Training Insights playlist. There will be more announcements coming over the next several months. Be sure to follow us to stay up-to-date on all the changes. You can also leave a comment on this post.

Read More