digital transformation

Are Neo-Luddites Giving Digital Transformation a Pass?

A feature does battle with a smartphone

At the beginning of the 19th century, English textile workers called Luddites destroyed weaving machinery to protest “the fraudulent and deceitful manner” in which the “modern” machinery was bypassing standard labor practices.  Their fear that technology was threatening their jobs has made Luddites synonymous with an opposition to industrialization and technological progress. Today, some of these Luddite-inspired trends are alive and well in the “neo-Luddites” who resist the pull towards a world where digital is the norm, rather than the exception. While they are not destroying the modern equivalent of weaving machines, they still show a resistance to technology. New Luddites and their turn away from the latest tech When it comes to technology adoption, only 28% of Americans hold strong preferences for being early adopters of new technology products, with 26% placing themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum, indicating a stronger preference for familiar technology products. These statistics confirm that certain segments of the population will always hang on to older technology, requiring businesses to offer customers the experience they desire, regardless of how they choose to interact. The latest tablet with high-resolution display is simply not for everyone, and those less inclined to adopt new tech won’t change just to engage with your company. Across the marketplace, lower-tech trends are surfacing. Recently, Nokia rebooted its 3310 in Europe, 17 years after its first launch. At around $51, its battery lasts an amazing 31 days but its features are designed for the customer who basically just wants their phone to make calls and not much more. Even in the workplace, the trend of lower adoption of new technology is evident, with one study saying that “old-school” methods of emails, phone calls, and texts still make up 75% of all communications with co-workers. The voices of those craving a less digital path are definitely out there. An omni-channel customer experience that includes everyone For this reason, organizations are wise to implement the full breadth of omni-channel capabilities, to accommodate customers whether on the company website, via mobile devices, or through more direct, potentially less digitized, communications. Catering to customers who prefer a super-rich, perfectly orchestrated website experience, as well as those who prefer a lower tech interaction, requires organizations to take an omni-channel approach that is mindful of each group’s unique needs. A truly omni-channel solution will allow you to deliver personalized experiences that give each user what they’re looking for at every point of interaction—physical or digital, direct or on any device—across every phase of the customer lifecycle. This approach allows businesses to maintain the high-touch, customer-centric service that all your customer deserve, whether neo-Luddite or early adopter. Digital transformation is happening everywhere, and though it is an imperative to remaining competitive, it doesn’t always track exactly with the personal technology choices and preferences of customers. Every business needs to capture information across multiple channels, whether data comes in from a call center as a voice file, or in clickstreams from online orders. Businesses have to be able to understand it all; structured and unstructured. Customers are in control, so your business has to be ready to handle those preferences. So when you encounter a modern-day Luddite, be sure not to bury your head in the sand; remain agile as you cater to the younger generations, and don’t ignore the preferences of your existing base. Remember that information is everything, and providing a unified and consistent experience for all customers will determine your success. Find out how your organization can get more value across the customer lifecycle. Check out OpenText Experience Suite 16.

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Digital Transformation and Thoughts From Gartner Symposium

Digital Transformation

I recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the Gartner Symposium in Dubai on behalf of OpenText. This was a three day event held at the Madinat Jumeirah complex and the second of the Gartner Symposiums I have attended now, having been to the same event in Cape Town last September. It was a very good event, well organised by OpenText and Gartner, with a great attendee list. The key thing I found interesting from Gartner was their definition of an organisations Digital EcoSystem. This extends in all directions with Intelligence at the core, expanding out into Customers, Things, EcoSystems and IT Systems (which is not a million miles away from what I presented, happily!). Gartner’s top 10  top 10 Strategic Technology directions for 2017, which they broke out into three categories (Intelligent, Digital and Mesh), was also interesting and I went to many breakouts on this topic. My session was straight after the opening keynotes on the first day and it was the only speaking session at that time. The title of the session was “7 ways to drive Digital Transformation in your organisation”. The OpenText team had done a great job promoting the session with flyers all round the auditorium so over a third of all attendees were present, with standing room only. My 20 minute session was minutes straight before the private Gartner analyst sessions and breakouts started (and the first official break!). So what did I present to the assembled executives? As I went through drafting the deck and looked at other decks from similar events it occurred to me that one of the big challenges with Digital Transformation (and not Digitization – see this great post here on that topic) is that it could be hard to know where to start. Sure, everyone has Digital Transformation on their agenda and understands that they need to become more digital. They probably also know that they should have started this a couple of years ago and be further along their transformation journey. But it’s a very big topic to transform an organisation and so knowing where to start could be the part that is holding companies back. In OpenText we have 6 sets of solutions (pillars) that make up Enterprise Information Management (EIM). These are Content, Experience, Analytics, Discovery, Network and Process. Each of these can enable transformation across an Enterprise in different ways, be it providing a new content platform for an organisation to enable compliance, enabling different ways to market or streamlining enterprise processes. In my role in OpenText I look after our EcoSystem products (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and SalesForce). We focus our attention on 7 ‘enterprise systems’ (based partly on the SAP Digital Core) that are present in every organisation whether you are a small startup or a large construction company. The 7 systems are IT, Finance, Products, Assets and IoT, Suppliers, Workforce and Customers. One of our key strategies is to take content, and place the content in the context of the lead application, only by having Content and Process in Context can transformation be effective. Digital Transformation – where to start What I couldn’t find in any of my research was a presentation that mapped the 6 Pillars into an organization’s Enterprise Systems – to maybe give some ideas on where to start. Transformation doesn’t have to affect every single of an organisation at once, it can be in a single Enterprise system, for example transformation of HR, or Finance. There are some obvious synergies in our solutions – our Experience solutions linked to a transformed customer experience; our Content solutions linked to IT providing an enterprise wide solution for Content Management and Archiving; and of course our Analytics solutions linked to IoT and Big Data. Also, the combination of more than one pillar such as Content and Process to improve Finance processing. In fact even in obvious areas like Experience Suite and Customer Experience by applying more than one pillar can dramatically increase the effectiveness of transformation initiatives (for example, Customer Experience is pretty meaningless without robust Analytics to measure the effectiveness of new experience). The presentation is below and highlights synergies and customers who have started their transformation by combining the solutions and systems. Each reference covers one or more of the pillars (solutions) around a particular business transformation (and are all available to read in more detail on the OpenText website). In summary So the key message from my session was: Look at the specific areas of the organisation to transform first. Combine the different solution pillars from OpenText with the Enterprise Systems that we recognise in the EcoSystem and start your transformation from there. From the feedback I received at the event and in the private sessions between attendees and myself it seemed like the presentation served its purpose. As always, I appreciate any comments, feel free to connect with me, my details are in the presentation!

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Revolutions. Industrial or Otherwise

The Fourth Industrial Revolution changes everything. Although it has many names—Industry 4.0, Digitalization, the Singularity, the Internet of Things (IoT), Connected World, Smart Home, Cognitive, etc.—it will be known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR. It is being driven by vast technology advancements and will change the nature of wealth, health and happiness, how we live, work, relate to one another, as well as how governments engage, regulate, serve, and protect. By 2025, 50% of the world’s GDP will be derived from digital (a process that is completely automated by machines, which does not require human intervention). This will have profound implications. The First Industrial Revolution (1750 – 1840) was powered by water and steam to mechanize production. Inventions such as the steam engine, iron working, textiles, cement, and railroads terraformed our landscape as humans migrated from rural (agrarian) to urban (city) settings in massive population shifts. Language and reading skills increased with the printing press and so our civilization advanced. Great libraries of the world were built and opened to the public. Revolutions ensued and Napoleon conquered most of Europe. The very fabric of society changed and great thinkers like Voltaire, Paine, and Rousseau agreed that society should be organized according to rules based on rational thought rather than religious ideology. Indeed, most western advances are based on rational thought, behavior, and market dynamics. This is changing in our time. The Second Industrial Revolution (1840 – 1969) was driven by electronic power to create mass production and predicated inventions such as cars, airplanes, the television, the telephone, and even the hydrogen bomb. It was the great age of iron, steel, rail, electrification, petroleum, chemicals, engines, telecommunications, and modern business management. It demonstrated the greatest increase in economic growth in the shortest period ever, introduced by mass production and modern manufacturing. The foundations of globalization were laid and great western populations rose up out of poverty while many deadly commonplace diseases were eradicated. Civil war defined America, Germany rose to power, and two world wars were fought. The Third Industrial Revolution (1969 – 2000) was enabled by Information Technology to automate production. Inventions included the integrated circuit, the personal computer, smartphones, the Internet, space exploration technologies, and the laser. In 1988, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of the world’s paper. Within a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. Yes, digital technologies replaced film, but what Kodak failed to realize was the disruptive force around them, its opportunities, and the appropriate investment in them (thus, the defining “Kodak Moment”). The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2000 – present) not only digitizes production, but also “intelligence-based tasks,” which previously could only be handled by the human mind. This revolution is of a scope, scale, velocity, and complexity unlike anything else we have faced. Its effects will impact all of humankind, all industries, all countries, every facet of every glorious element of our society—revolutionizing business models, reshaping the world, and even redefining our very existence. The technological opportunities presented by this revolution will be unlimited and challenging, having the power to create and the power to destroy; and as we say in Vermont, any fool can burn down a barn. Extinction events happen. The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (i.e., the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs) decimated some 75% of the plant and animal species on Earth. Some add sentient machines and the Singularity—or the point at which a machine can think and act at or beyond human capability (thereby rendering us redundant)—to this list of possible present-day extinction events. This blog series highlights the power to create inherent in the 4IR as the Golden Age of Innovation, but it is important to note the perils that are equally present. In my next blog in this series, I’ll explore what makes the 4IR difference from the 3IR in more detail. To read more, download The Golden Age of Innovation. I’ll be taking this message on the road for the Innovation Tour and Enterprise World. Learn more. I’d love to hear your thoughts. To provide feedback, or if you would like to see additional topics covered in future publications, please add your comment below.  

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Is the Microphone Working?

Testing, one, two, three. Testing, one, two three. Can you hear me? Is the microphone working? Testing (tapping on the mic a few times). As I stated in the intro blog for this series, we are in the midst of the Golden Age of Innovation that many are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Over the last decade, the top 20 U.S. technology firms have created over $1 trillion USD in value. U.S. venture investment topped $60 billion USD in 2016. Software is now contributing over $1 trillion USD in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the global economy. And there are 4.5 million professional software developers in North America alone—more than ever before. Innovation drives progress. Software and hardware innovation accounts for nearly 15% of all R&D, pharmaceuticals for almost 10%. In 2015, U.S. patent applications hit a record high, topping over 600,000. Half of the world’s best-known brands are now platform companies. In this golden age of innovation, we all need to be software companies. The ability to innovate at scale needs to transcend nations, cultures, and people. Many cultures find it difficult to innovate. My experience suggests there are three key ingredients to innovation: access to talent, access to capital, and an entrepreneurial spirit. The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes an era marked by digital innovation, exponential thinking, and unlimited potential. This will be a revolution of scope, scale, velocity, and complexity unlike any other in human history. But what will be the ultimate measure of this transformation: is it profit, peace, quality of life, or a new form of conscious capitalism? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index ranks Norway, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, United States, and Iceland as the top 10 countries for wellbeing. The United States would rank in the top three if not for: community, civic engagement, and work-life balance. I am not one to lecture on work-life balance. But democracy is not easy, and the great American experiment has invested deeply in a government of, by, and for the people, yet only 50% of eligible American citizens vote or experience civic engagement. This is shameful. In regards to community, despite progress over the last 100 years, 15% of Americans still live in poverty, which is completely unacceptable. My grandfather was born before planes, cars, televisions, telephones, and electricity were commonplace. He lived for 98 years (smoked for 60 of those and ate bacon and eggs every morning). He also worked on his farm every day until he passed, and left America only once to sail across the Atlantic to France to join the Allied Liberation Forces in WWI. There were many phenomenal aspects to my grandfather, but let me highlight the incredible human spirit of adaptability that led him to transition from horses to planes, from whale oil to electricity, from dirt roads to a nationwide transportation network. He also lived to see the first personal computer, and his grandson earn a computer science degree. As a software engineer, I have never seen a more gilded time to positively impact society and humanity through technology. This is the Golden Age of Innovation: And so begins the Fourth Industrial Revolution and our individual responsibilities for creating a better future. …Testing, one, two, three. Is the microphone loud enough? In my next post in this series, I will discuss each of the four industrial revolutions, highlighting their innovations and impact on business, society, and culture. To read more, download The Golden Age of Innovation. I’ll be taking this message on the road for the Innovation Tour and Enterprise World. Learn more. I’d love to hear your thoughts. To provide feedback, or if you would like to see additional topics covered in future publications, please add your comment below.

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Introducing The Golden Age of Innovation

By all accounts, we are entering the Golden Age of Innovation, which many are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Some of the early innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are visible in consumer and personal use cases, such as gaming, shopping, and entertainment. But the vast majority of these innovations—like software, Artificial Intelligence (AI), medicine, robotics, and transportation—have yet to impact society or productivity. When they do, their effects will be exponential and staggering. All industries will be transformed over the next 10 to 20 years by technology. These transformations will affect us as individuals, as a society, as businesses and governments, and will change how we live, work, govern, keep the peace, and wage wars. My recent book, The Golden Age of Innovation, describes the impact of this technology-driven revolution, exploring the opportunities it presents and the risks we face as it unfolds. I’m pleased to kick off a new blog series based on this book. In this series, I will continue my exploration of digital transformation with a collection of topics addressing the radical impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—from disintermediation to the subscription economy, automation, and the “Digital Self.” I invite you to follow the series, and together, we’ll discuss these topics in more detail: Is the Microphone Working? Revolutions. Industrial or Otherwise The Fourth Industrial Revolution The Impact on Business New Business Models Emerge Industries are Transformed New Skills are Required The Rise of the Machine The Impact on the Person The Digital Self The Impact on Government How Will We Measure the Golden Age? To read more, download The Golden Age of Innovation. I’ll be taking this message on the road for the Innovation Tour and Enterprise World. Learn more. I’d love to hear your thoughts. To provide feedback, or if you would like to see additional topics covered in future publications, please add your comment below.

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Challenges & Opportunities In Energy’s Digital Transformation

Innovation Tour

In this post we introduce guest blogger Martin Veitch, Editorial Director at IDG Connect UK, who will present at the Innovation Tour in London on March 21, 2017. The energy sector’s focus has historically been on the oil price dynamics of supply and demand. The implications for capital efficiency, business intelligence, data management, and enterprise information management technologies are now changing the once physical nature of energy. Globally both companies and business leaders are now grappling with a world that is more volatile and more complex, yet demands greater agility, more speed, and more digital competence. It’s a topic we’ve studied in depth, surveying senior executives in energy companies across the UK, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. I’ll be presenting the research findings in greater depth and explaining why digital transformation is so crucial for the energy sector in my upcoming presentation at the OpenText Innovation Tour London on 21 March. Obviously I don’t have space to cover all of the main findings and implications from our research in this blog, so I’d like to touch on just some of the industry-wide challenges and degree of digitisation we are seeing. The biggest challenges the research discovered are around maintaining service levels, and avoiding down-time, which are both crucial for the energy industry as every down-time second impacts the bottom line. The second biggest challenge cited by our respondents involves customer retention and meeting industry regulations. New industry disruptors are more agile and able to adapt to new regulations faster, giving them a competitive edge in winning market share. And of course, just about every company is concerned about making enough money to maintain, repair and replace infrastructure and assets – especially the capital investments required in both digital technology as well as physical plants. Which leads to another issue – the current lack of digital skills and what to do about. (I’ll be touching on how some companies are addressing these challenges in my presentation). Respondents say the best opportunities for digitalisation lie in the ability to store and search media rich content effectively and gain insight to make better decisions. The three obvious areas of digitisation – keeping up with supply and demand and load balancing, administrative workflows, and customer contact – still have a long way to go in many energy companies. Most are focused on the front end looking at digital interaction with customers for workable and attractive solutions, but successful digital transformation requires a holistic, end-to-end view. But lack of budget, management buy-in, and being able to point to a hard ROI remain big barriers to digitalisation. There’s still time to get your house in order – most respondents in our research expect full digitisation to become a reality in the next 5-10 years. But the runway is getting shorter. As technology disrupts business models, adoption accelerates and competition increases, digital readiness will become one of the deciding key factors in long term success. If you look at every other industry that has gone through disruption, history shows that technology powers the winners – period. If you’d like to hear how the leading energy companies are getting their house in order, join me on the 21st March at the Innovation Tour.

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Analytics is Key to Digital Transformation in UK Manufacturing

digital transformation

When TS Elliot famously wrote ‘Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ he could easily have been speaking about the vast amounts of data produced by every manufacturing organization today. It’s the new lifeblood of business, but only if it can be properly harnessed. Recently research from OpenText and Sapio Research suggests that knowledge of data analytics is still in its infancy and is holding back Digital Transformation efforts within UK manufacturing companies. Manufacturing is one sector where Digital Transformation will have the biggest impact. It goes far beyond the process of digitization to improve productivity and efficiency. It provides the opportunity to embrace product and market innovation in a way that drives completely new revenue streams. Little surprise then that 80% of respondents to our ‘Digital Transformation in Manufacturing’ survey placed it as a key priority for their business. Change is accelerating While the transition to digital processes is disrupting the sector, it has taken companies some time to put in place the plans to respond. In fact, a full 90% of respondents who had plans admitted that they have begun implementing them within the last 24 months. Worryingly, almost one fifth of respondents didn’t have a plan. It’s very clear from our research that companies understand the value in the data created with any Digital Transformation program. When asked what they considered the key benefit of Digital Transformation, the ability to improve decision-making based on big data analytics came top of the list. Strategies are becoming actions Companies have started work on creating the environment where big data analytics can be fully exploited. Our survey showed that over 50% of respondents has already begun digitizing unstructured information into a contextual framework with a further 34% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In addition, almost half had introduced processes that filter and analyze internal data to help optimize business insight, with 47% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In terms of business operations, the ability to organize and analyze data is already producing benefits for manufacturing companies. When asked, almost two thirds of respondents said they were already using analytics to improve productivity. Over half the companies surveyed were using analytics to achieve supply chain efficiencies. Yet, more business oriented objectives are still lagging behind with only 40% of respondents said they were using analytics to enhance their levels of customer engagement. Analytics skills is still a barrier While our research report shows that real progress has been made in both Digital Transformation and the implementation of data analytics, it remains a barrier. In fact, handling and analyzing the vast volumes of data create ranks as the second and third most significant hurdle to the adoption of Digital Transformation. Manufacturing companies are struggling to gain visibility of all data held in various silos within the business. It is very interesting to note the affect that survey respondents see these legacy, non-integrated systems spread throughout the organization having on their business. Over 70% said that disparate and legacy systems had a negative impact on scalability, 60% said it impeded business agility and 70% felt it held back business innovation. There is an urgent need for organizations to consider implementing a robust infrastructure that supports data analytics as an enterprise-wide capability. With investment a major challenge for Digital Transformation programs, manufacturing companies need a centralized system that can provide complete control and visibility across all its information – both structured and unstructured – and allow advanced analytics to be applied for real-time business and operational decision-making. OpenText™ Content Suite is a Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system that provides the building blocks to underpin an organization’s Digital Transformation while connecting with legacy systems and information silos to maximise investment and speed the transformation and implementation processes. It includes the powerful OpenText™ Analytics Suite, including OpenText™ Big Data Analytics (BDA),  whose advanced approach to business intelligence lets it easily access, blend, explore, analyze and display data. Want to find out more about how Digital Transformation is affecting UK and Nordic manufacturers? We are presenting the results of our Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Survey at the OpenText Innovation Tour in London (March 21) and Stockholm (March 29).   Join us at either event and find out more.

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Digitalisation: Hits and Misses in the Energy Industry

energy

In this post we welcome guest blogger Dario Nazemson, Business Unit Manager, IDG Connect Nordics who will present at the Innovation Tour in Stockholm on 29 March. The speed and scale of the digital transformation is impacting multiple industries, including energy. Whilst much of the sector’s focus has historically been on the oil price dynamics of supply and demand and the implications for capital efficiency, the speed and scale of advancing digital technologies like business intelligence, and data and enterprise information management are now digitally transforming the once physical nature of the energy industry. Companies and business leaders are now grappling with a world that is more volatile and more complex, yet demands greater agility, more speed, and more digital competence. It’s a topic we’ve studied in-depth, surveying senior executives in energy companies across the UK, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. I’ll be presenting the research findings in greater depth and explaining why digital transformation is so crucial for the energy sector in my upcoming presentation at the OpenText™ Innovation Tour Stockholm on 29 March. As I don’t have space to cover all of the main findings and implications from our research in this blog, I’d like to touch on just some of the industry-wide challenges and degree of digitisation we are seeing. The biggest challenges the research discovered are around maintaining service levels, and avoiding down-time, which are both crucial for the energy industry as every down-time second impacts the bottom line. The second biggest challenge cited by our respondents involves customer retention and meeting industry regulations. New industry disruptors are more agile and able to adapt to new regulations faster, giving them a competitive edge in winning market share. And of course, just about every company is concerned about making enough money to maintain, repair and replace infrastructure and assets – especially the capital investments required in both digital technology as well as physical plants.  Which leads to another issue – the current lack of digital skills and what to do about. (I’ll be touching on how some companies are addressing these challenges in my presentation). Respondents say the best opportunities for digitalisation lie in the ability to store and search media rich content effectively and gain insight to make better decisions. The three obvious areas of digitisation – keeping up with supply and demand and load balancing, administrative workflows, and customer contact – still have a long way to go in many energy companies.  Most are focused on the front end looking at digital interaction with customers for workable and attractive solutions, but successful digital transformation requires a holistic, end-to-end view. But lack of budget, management buy-in, and being able to point to a hard ROI remain big barriers to digitalization. There’s still time to get your house in order – most respondents in our research expect full digitisation to become a reality in the next 5-10 years. But the runway is getting shorter. As technology disrupts business models, adoption accelerates and competition increases, digital readiness will become one of the deciding key factors in long term success. If you look at every other industry that has gone through disruption, history shows that technology powers the winners – period. If you’d like to hear how the leading energy companies are getting their house in order, join me on the 29th March at the Innovation Tour. You can register here.

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Bye-Bye Repetitive Marketing Tasks, Hello Compelling Customer Conversations

For nearly two decades, email has been the main message bearer in marketing. But with tightening regulations, it is becoming less and less viable to simply email your database—not to mention the ‘email fatigue’ we all feel; it’s simply becoming a less effective tactic. As marketers look to uncover alternative ways to get their message out, many organizations are opening deeper, more effective dialogues with customers through compelling content. Today’s customers desire interactive conversations with organizations, to get to know not just the product but the organization behind it. Email as a marketing tool will be dead in 5 years or less, and marketers need to think quickly about what will replace it in the age of the digital customer. Content and conversations, self-service and self-selection will form the epicenter of B2B and B2C marketing. Creating rich, engaging and, most importantly, timely customer interactions from initial contact through to buying takes time, data and a deep understanding of both current and future customer requirements. And while many of today’s marketing leaders recognize this, most would admit that they just don’t have the insight they need to really deliver on a customer-centric approach. But, today’s marketing automation tools can help create digital experiences. These tools nurture close relationships, and engage customers at every step of the decision journey to drive brand loyalty, revenue, and customer lifetime value, freeing up marketers to focus on creating compelling content. The Power of Content Content alone is not enough. It must be compelling. It must be engaging. And, it must be optimized to reach your customers at each touch point. Compelling content draws audiences in to your message. They begin a journey with the brand, from awareness to consideration to decision and advocacy. Unlike email, the ultimate interruption-driven marketing tool that pushes your message, content and experience marketing drives the journey through engagement with your customer, and is more efficient—costing over 60% less (62% less) than traditional campaigns. The Journey There is no single “channel” that today’s marketers can rely on to engage with customers. Customers today interact via multiple avenues, whether through social channels, a brand’s “owned” digital properties or more traditional routes like the media. In each case, the customer must experience a continuous, personalized and authentic digital journey that offers the best experience at every point of interaction and in every phase of the lifecycle. With a lineup of engaging content, customers can delve into the information they are looking for in their preferred medium. For instance, almost 50% of Internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store (Google, 2016). In a recent report on demand generation, 96% of B2B buyers said that they want content with more input from industry thought leaders, and over 50% said they relied on content as they researched buying decisions—from both the vendors and independent third parties. With all roads leading to the power of engaging and personalized content, it’s time to re-focus on the future of marketing. The Freedom to Create More Content Knowing how important content is, it’s time to balance your efforts. The bottom line is this: a big driver of today’s conversion rates is compelling content. The better the content, the better the conversion rate. But with all the technology and touch points and channels in play, there’s no question that marketers are making tough choices on where to spend their time. Automate your marketing processes and free your big thinkers to create the kind of content that speaks to your audiences in personal terms. For more information on how you can automate your marketing operation, check out the OpenText Experience Suite.

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What a Difference a Year Makes, Here and in IoT

Internet of Things (IoT)

This is my first anniversary at OpenText – and what a year it’s been. I’ve travelled the world and met some amazing people doing some amazing things. Special mention has to go to the 2016 Enterprise World, OpenText’s flagship event, and the IDC Manufacturing Summit  in Lisbon where we discussed the role of Digital Transformation in the sector. But, let’s talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). I wrote a blog in early 2016 predicting that it would be the year that IoT went mainstream in manufacturing and I thought it might be good – unlike so many other analyst predictions – to go back and take a look at just how right I was! A year back, my argument was that IoT was beginning the move from theory to practice. Organizations were building IoT ecosystems that would fundamentally change the way they operated. My particular interest is the Industrial Internet of Things – or Industry 4.0 – which is about enabling manufacturers to work smarter and attain business goals such as: Doing more with less by increasing the use of smart data to power business efficiencies Open up new market opportunities that were previously inaccessible before disruptive technology was available Grow their business by increasing to value of their product through full life support by enhancing products with added life long services Increasing quality of product through real time and virtual monitoring and predictive maintenance and thus retain customer loyalty for life. Glance at recent research and my predictions are looking pretty good. According to McKinsey, the economic impact of IoT applications could be as much as $11 trillion by 2025 – up to $3.7 trillion of which will happen within factory environments. By 2019, says IDC, 75% of manufacturing value chains will undergo an operating model transformation, with digitally connected processesthat improve responsiveness and productivity by 15%. More impressively, Tata Consulting has found that manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2014 saw an average 28.5% increase in revenues between 2013 and 2014. Indeed, OpenText’s own 2017 research has shown that 38% of European manufacturers surveyed have already implemented IoT solutions with another 48% planning to within the next twelve months. Look out for more on this in a future blog. One company I highlighted as a great example of how IoT is already beginning to change everything was Tesla. I had the luck to test drive the Tesla S on its introduction to the UK and the motoring and customer experience was like no other. It demonstrated functionality and capability that are real differentiators for the industry. Add to that a very unique go to market, service and ownership model this car is an automotive game changer in so many ways. Now, Tesla says it’s pretty close to having a driverless car that can travel from New York to Los Angeles without any human intervention. This is an incredible example of how quickly things have progressed in such a short period of time – and it’s only one of many. We are now at the stage where it is easy to point to factories that are already moving away from traditional centralized production process to an integrated, highly automated network of devices and machines. Companies are already beginning to create flexible production processes to move from mass production to individual runs that can be achieved cost-effectively and just in time to unique customer demands. So, we’ve made a great start but I’m not sure we can call IoT mainstream just yet. As the World Economic Forum points out, there are still some important challenges to be overcome: How to assure the interoperability of systems How to guarantee real-time control and predictability, when thousands of devices communicate at the same time How to prevent disruptors, or competitors, taking control of highly networked production systems How to determine the benefit or return on investment in IoT technologies This echoes exactly my thoughts. You can watch a webinar here that I held in partnership with The Manufacturer magazine in the UK. At the time, I made the point that organizations had to take much greater control of their data. By adding the technology that collects that data and channeling it through an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system like OpenText, they have been presented with suites of information on which to base much smarter and faster business decisions. To this I’d add the need to for a powerful and easy-to-use analytics engine  that can deliver both predictive and operational insight into the vast amounts of data created within any IoT ecosystem. Placing IoT at the heart of business strategy is also essential – and companies that have done this are starting to reap the rewards. One of my first engagements when I joined OpenText last year was to take in the inaugural IoTTechExpo Conference in London. Patrick Bass, CEO of ThyssenKrupp NA, gave an excellent presentation of how successful transformation projects need to be part of your business strategy. One year on,  Andreas Schirenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevators spoke about how IoT is now transforming their industry. I’ll come back to this in another blog soon. So, I’m going to take credit for being half right! The trend towards IoT implementation is coming on in leaps and bounds but, while organizations focus on building the interoperability of networks and devices, they must also make sure they have a platform to ensure they mazimise the value in their data and information. And, if you’d like to wish me a happy anniversary, you can send me a tweet!

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Excellence in Sales Order Entry – From Document to Digital

digital sales orders

Sales orders, the documents with the odor of company success attached to them! Physical (or electronic) proof that your company sells products that your customers like. Proof that you make money and create and retain jobs. So what could there be that is not to like about sales orders? Well, the question here is: Are your sales orders solely creating value and financial success for your company? Or are they also costing you money? Are they slowing down your business? Maybe even creating conflicts with your customers? Fully digital sales order process – why? In a digital world, you should consider automating your sales order entry process from beginning to end. The digital sales order process should start the minute a sales order enters your company, from document to digital. This should be independent from your input channel – whether your sales orders reach you via EDI, email, fax or paper document, make sure to digitize your sales orders when they first touch your company. Many of our customers have EDI in place for 60 – 80% of their sales orders. However, the remaining 20-40% slows down their business, preventing them from having full insight and transparency of the status of ALL sales orders. The impact When our customers started to capture the data also from PDFs, emails and paper documents, they realized how valuable a fully automated a digital process is. With their model from document to digital they turned the sales order process into a fast, customer-friendly and fully transparent process. They now have full insight into the status of any sales order. If a customer has a request referring to a sales order, they can answer it within seconds, independent from its input channel or process status. Reporting and transparency have exponentially improved. Management is now able to track the performance of the sales order process across countries, from month to month or year over year. Now, even the performance tracking task is a simple activity, too. It is fast and it is accurate. Not only for the electronic input channel, but for all sales orders. The information extracted is also proof that with the new integrated sales order automation, customers have been able to cut sales order cycle time in half by also automating the remaining 20-40% of sales orders. Customer relationships have also improved because disputes over orders and invoices or wrong deliveries have reached an all-time low. The analysis of sales orders allows making purchasing recommendations to customers from evaluating other customer orders – those who regularly order specific products in combination with other products. These cross-sell opportunities are well-received by customers as they create value and often help to meet their core business needs. Have you identified a need to further digitize your sales order entry process? Take a look at how OpenText™ Business Center for SAP Solutions helps to improve the sales order process and much more.

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How Digital Transformation is Giving Humans More Time to Really Think

The pace of technological change today is being called the “fourth industrial revolution.” New solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and machine learning are enabling machines to handle processes that once required human decision-making. Just as mechanical muscle lowered the demand for physical labor in the first industrial revolution, today cutting-edge technology is reducing the demand for human intervention. The “migration” of tasks from humans to software and machines has been evident for quite some time. From ATMs to automated check-in at airports, technology has been performing relatively simple and repetitive tasks. Today, this transformation allows much more complex and nuanced tasks to move from human speed to machine speed, across industries that have remained largely untouched by machine intervention. Most recently, AI and cognitive systems have found a place in legal discovery, insurance applications, underwriting and claims processing, and the delivery of financial investment advice. In healthcare, telemedicine allows diagnosis and monitoring without the need to physically see a clinician, and a surgeon can operate from another hospital or country—just more examples of where jobs long understood as “human” are being displaced by technology. The automation option New opportunities for automation will continue to appear, as mechanization, automation, AI, and robotics replace human workers. But it’s not all doom and gloom. As “traditional” roles are replaced, new jobs will be created in the transition—jobs that require creativity, innovation, and strategic thought. As we do away with mundane work, the time gained through automation can be used to innovate, germinate ideas, and conceive new processes fueled by the kind of thinking that only happens when our minds have time to wander. The beginning of a sweeping societal change? The World Economic Forum, economists, analysts, and labor organizations have predicted a wave of job losses due to the surge in AI, robotics, and other technologies. We could see a net loss of 7.1 million jobs over the next five years in the 15 leading countries that make up approximately 65 percent of the world’s total workforce. But two million of the jobs will be offset by the creation of new positions that will support and foster the new wave of innovation, beyond what we see as credible or possible today. But as some roles are automated, others will come online; for instance, individuals who can build, develop and make sense of these sweeping changes. Developers, programmers, scientists, and technologists will—more than ever—be required to drive forward the accelerating pace of change. There will also be a greater need for economists, lawyers, and policy makers who can interpret how governance, intellectual property, and society at large will have to adapt. While algorithms may automate decision-making, it won’t be easy to replace leaders who can navigate this new fast-paced, intense change. At the end of the day, you may wonder if a machine could do your job. And the answer is that it could probably do some of it. And that’s okay, because automation will free us up to do more of the thinking required to come up with what’s next, perhaps with the help of a new robot friend or two.

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6 Considerations for Charting Your Digital Course

Today’s digital disruptors make headlines across the sectors with sweeping changes in data management, analytics, and customer experience. A wave of change is rolling in as organizations automate the way customers buy, the way suppliers fulfill orders, the way manufacturing happens, and more. As customers and business professionals, we are witnessing how digital transformation is restructuring the face of business and, ultimately, our world. Jumping the information hurdle An initial challenge for large organizations moving towards a digital future is getting a handle on the terabytes of information and content generated by employees and systems each week, along with the information collected from websites and contact centers. These volumes add up to far more data than any human could read, process, and fully understand. And, on its own, this information is of no use; we have to be able to use it to generate value, improve service, and increase customer satisfaction. Without a doubt, information holds intelligence and your ability to get to that insight is what helps you to compete. To that end, here are six thoughts on charting a digital course for your business: Increase your competitive preparedness. Digital transformation can help your business quickly adapt to shifting customer demands, making it possible to compete with old and new rivals. Use a digital approach for a big win. The ability to go digital can level the playing field for some businesses, allowing them to have a huge impact on established markets, companies, and brands. What you may not have been able to do manually, or at scale, you can launch into with a digital approach. Gain an advantage with analytics. Sticking with out-dated methods of managing and analyzing data, keeping processes manual, and only operating at human speed puts your business at risk of being outperformed by competitors. You can regain your advantage by implementing intelligent systems to detect and analyze predictive trends. Unlock the value of information you already have. By using data and information analytics with content and process management technologies, you can uncover valuable ‘digital breadcrumbs.’ This insight can help your business to make intelligent changes to create products that better suit customer requirements, improve organizational efficiencies, and implement self-regulating business processes that save time and money. Use automation as a differentiator. Automating tasks that previously required human intelligence can now take place using digital processes. Consider the way Tesla Motors releases over-the-air updates to improve the functionality of their electric cars, just as if you were downloading mobile phone software. Not only are owners spared a trip to the garage, but Tesla cuts the expense of scheduling and managing customer visits. Create a digital culture in your organization. Don’t go digital for digital’s sake. Adopt a well-planned strategy to understand where digital can deliver the best benefits for your business, and start there. Let this go hand-in-hand with fostering a cultural change in your organization that acknowledges how employees may view the impact of a digital-first approach on their own roles. To explore how to move forward with your digital transformation, take a look at how OpenText Release 16 enables companies to manage the flow of information in the digital enterprise from engagement to insight.

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Unlock Unstructured Data and Maximize Success in Your Supply Chain

By any standard, a successful business is one that can find new customers, discover new markets, and pursue new revenue streams. But today, succeeding via digital channels, delivering an excellent customer experience, and embracing the digital transformation is the true benchmark. Going digital can increase your agility, and with analytics you can get the level of insight you need to make better decisions. Advances in analytics and content management software are giving companies more power to cross-examine unstructured content, rather than leaving them to rely on intuition and gut instinct. Now, you can quickly identify patterns and offer a new level of visibility into business operations. Look inside your organization to find the value locked within the information you have today. The unstructured data being generated every day inside and outside your business holds targeted, specific intelligence that is unique to your organization and can be used to find the keys to current and future business drivers. Unstructured data like emails, voicemails, written documents, presentations, social media feeds, surveys, legal depositions, web pages, videos, and more offer a rich mine of information that can inform how you do business. Unstructured content, on its own, or paired with structured data, can be put to work to refine your strategy. Predictive and prescriptive analytics offer unprecedented benefits in the digital world. Consider, for instance, the data collected from a bank’s web chat service. Customer service managers cannot read through millions of lines of free text, but ignoring this wealth of information is not an option either. Sophisticated data analytics allow banks to spot and understand trends, like common product complaints or frequently asked questions. They can see what customers are requesting to identify new product categories or business opportunities. Every exchange, every interaction, and all of your content holds opportunity that you can maximize. Making the most of relevant information is a core principle of modern enterprise information management. This includes analyzing unstructured information that is outside the organization, or passed between the company and trading partners across a supply chain or business network. As more companies use business networks, there is an increase in the types and amounts of information flowing across them; things like orders, invoices, delivery information, partner performance metrics, and more. Imagine the value of understanding the detail behind all that data? Imagine the insight it can provide to future planning? And even better: if you could analyze it fast enough to make a difference in what you do today. Here are two common, yet challenging, scenarios and their solutions. Solving challenges in your enterprise Challenges within the business network – A business network was falling behind in serving its customers. They needed to increase speed and efficiency within their supply chain to provide customers with deeper business process support and rich analytics across their entire trading partner ecosystem. With data analytics, the company learned more from their unstructured data—emails and documents—and was able to gain clearer insights into transactions flowing across the network. The new system allows them to identify issues and exceptions earlier, take corrective action, and avoid problems before they occur. Loss of enterprise visibility – A retail organization was having difficulty supporting automatic machine-to-machine data feeds coming from a large number of connected devices within their business network. With the addition of data analytics across unstructured data sources, they gained extensive visibility into the information flowing across their supply chain. Implementing advanced data analytics allowed them to analyze information coming from all connected devices, which afforded a much deeper view into data trends. This intelligence allowed the retailer to streamline their supply chain processes even further. Want to learn more? Explore how you can move forward with your digital transformation; take a look at how OpenText Release 16 enables companies to manage the flow of information in the digital enterprise, from engagement to insight.

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GenX or Millennials: Which Generation Truly Leads the Digital Transformation?

Even though we know millennials are connected non-stop to their smartphones, laptops, and social media accounts, it’s Generation X that makes up the main influencers, architects, and drivers of digital transformation in the enterprise. With all the focus on Millennials, it’s actually Generation X—those born between the ‘60s and early ‘80s—that paved the way for their younger colleagues to reap the longer-term rewards of digital business. Here’s how we know. OpenText recently commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting that reveals how businesses can make the most of their digital transformation efforts by tapping certain generational groups for leadership positions. Creating a one-size-fits-all management culture no longer suits today’s workforce, given its diversity. Gen-X Has Greater Clarity on What Drives Transformation To learn how different generations affect digital transformation, Forrester surveyed 240 Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials. Here are some of those findings: When asked about key drivers behind digital transformation, Baby Boomers were most likely to name growing revenue as a motivator, while Gen-Xers put greater emphasis on how digital change can improve the way business itself works. Regarding what drives change, 51% of Gen-Xers said improving time to market is a change driver, compared to 42% of Baby Boomers and just 30% of Millennials. Gen-Xers were also far more likely to believe transformation is driven by a desire to improve innovation and bring new offerings to market at 47%, compared to 32% for Baby Boomers and 37% for Millennials. Regarding the belief that transformation is driven by the need to create a seamless, harmonized customer experience across channels, 49% of Gen-Xers felt this is true, compared to 32% for Baby Boomers and 34% for Millennials. The Takeaway Understanding the workforce can help drive your company’s vision. By moving Gen-Xers with “digital savvy” into more senior leadership positions, while making sure Millennials are involved in decisions affecting the future, enterprises can foster transformational success. But, overall, having a better understanding of different groups’ unique strengths is the first step. It can help boost the chances of a smooth digital transformation to compete today and in the future. And while every part of an organization needs to take part for a digital transformation program to succeed, armed with this research, you can leverage your resources for the biggest impact and position your own business for success. To explore how to move forward with your digital transformation, take a look at how OpenText Release 16 enables companies to manage the flow of information in the digital enterprise, from engagement to insight.  

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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.

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Inspiration for Financial Services Transformation, from IOT to Amazon

Disruption by its very nature is an agitator, but there is no reason it can’t be turned into inspiration. Let’s look at developments from the Internet of Things (IOT) to convenience shopping on Amazon, all of which can help financial services companies amidst FinTech, but really, can help any enterprise. We can then outline how an enterprise content management (ECM) strategy can launch you safely into your own transformation. First, consider how sensors and contextual information can inform how you shape, price and deliver your market offerings. A great example? As the latest automobiles roll out with telematics that track mileage, speed and driving behavior, there is a chance to reinvent offerings like insurance plans. Rather than plans that apply a blanket risk to all drivers in an age range, insurance companies can individualize risk and price accordingly, thanks to IOT data. Now, take it a step further – if you’re a car company, why not partner with an insurance company to provide purpose-built cars for new drivers? Equip them with more sensors, in exchange for the better insurance package. Chances are, you will not only sell many such packages, but you might help reduce collision risk overall, as monitored teenagers slow down, knowing their car is sensored. For house insurance, the same idea is possible by sending drones to accident sites to objectively capture information. Fraud goes down, while claim processing speeds up. If the flooded washing machine calls in the drone automatically, even better. Similarly, home IOT devices are only getting more connected, with smoke alarms sending alerts to smart phones, and house shutters automatically closing when a tornado alert is issued. Do any of these new communication paths and data loops create good reasons for you to help your customers? Second, start to make connections between different IOT types and different industries. Many people today wear heart monitoring or fitness wrist bands. Could those be tied to auto-trigger financial decisions? As blood pressure boils, is that a good time to liquidize some assets for emergency use? It sounds far fetched, but the concept here is that learning more about what’s impacting your customers can make you more proactive to help in meaningful ways. This type of thinking may help you uncover new partnerships. I have seen a mobile phone company offer contracts that include free life insurance. Later, those policies are upsold for a new source of customer acquisition. Consider healthcare companies that share your customer base and how you could work together, or automotive companies or manufacturers. What could you do together to delight your joint customers? Finally, use the magic wands of convenience and retention and cast them across IOT.  You might say a spell: “bring me ample customers who are happy to pay me.” You might be surprised how many of your customers care for convenience far more than the actual value initially driving your product’s creation. For Amazon, the service began selling books, then added millions of items. Most recently, it rolled out Pantry for capturing day-to-day purchases. This is no longer just a play to cut out middlemen and cost. In fact, Pantry may cost more for a customer than visiting a store or using different shipping methods per store. It is convenience built into the Amazon experience that makes customers willing to buy practically anything through the service. Knowing Amazon is continually adding new ideas couples this convenience with a stronger motivation to stay loyal. At time of this blog writing, news broke they are looking at brick and mortar grocery stores. Amazon customers may have their license plates read as they pull in and pick up pre-ordered food! There are many more examples, from kids choosing their coffee shop based on free wifi availability, to busy urbanites choosing only restaurants that offer valet parking together with their secured reservation. Loyalty and retention goes to those providers who make life convenient and better, sometimes in seemingly small ways. All of these scenarios involve transforming how you look at and evolve your business. All of them have one thing in common – the never-ending need to manage content, house it, and use it. We have already covered in previous blogs the need to look at your value chain and how to harness innovations, but I encourage you to especially consider IOT and the need for convenience in your transformation and ECM planning. For a bank, this might mean ensuring data feeds from Google Alexa data, to identify which customers are always asking for an Uber or Lyft, then partnering with those companies to bulk-buy free rides for $100k+ deposit customers. For an insurance company, maybe it’s airplane tickets bought on a sister credit card that prompts travel insurance automatically texted to the customer, pre-flight. If you are a Mac user and have had to search hundreds of photos, you know how their search capabilities can save you hours to find “Mom” pictures, tagged through facial recognition. For a bank, it might be as simple as giving your checking customers better mobile device search terms – “Suzy meeting” or “new printer” — to help them speed tax document preparation. Instead of sifting through transactions by date or account type, their broadened ability to search POS device data or mobile app purchasing info removes hassles on their end, and shows you understand their bigger world. Before any creative use of technology, start by learning as much as you can about your customers. Draw inspiration from the 26 billion new IOT devices Gartner predicts by 2020 to help you do this, as well as the new content and data that IOT sensors enable.

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20 Years and 3 Minutes: The Most Thought-Provoking Comments from Energy Industry Leaders

energy

I admire leaders who make you think, long after their presentation or keynote is over. Here are three ideas I found “most thought-provoking,” after I reflected on all the industry events I attended this past quarter. I hope you will share your own reactions and comments about my selections, but also share any great points you have gleaned from your industry interactions. 1 – “We want to make decisions within three minutes” This is how a panelist from Chevron defined Engineering Information Management, a super-set of Enterprise Content Management, at AVEVA World this October. There was silence, and a long pause among the rapt audience as this comment sunk in. It was not about technology. It was not about process integration. It was about how the company could increase business agility in utilities or power plants, once all the technical innovation was in place. What I like about this comment is that it brings to life a best practice we strongly believe in at ECD – leading with your business objectives. It also expresses the business vision in a statement that is both simple and controversial. By starting with this well-articulated goal of three minutes, the right conversations will undoubtedly start happening: “Then we would need to access approvals from our smart phones.” “We would have to add automation to the offshore piece of the process.” You can imagine how much faster the brainstorming could occur and utilization of technology could begin, if you start with this kind of statement. 2 – “How do you shoot a cannon?” It turns out that firing a cannon includes a process step of pausing, as I learned from the “Transforming Engineering Project Delivery” panel at AVEVA World. When cannons were used during times of war, this step prevented accidents and human injury. Modern firing equipment, however, no longer requires such efforts – yet it still took twenty years to eliminate this step. To me, this is a relevant insight applicable to Enterprise Content Management in today’s multi-faceted enterprise. Perhaps it was multiple acquisitions, staff turnover, or fondness for tradition, but whatever the cause, many of today’s plant processes have never been revisited or improved. As digital transformation takes hold, companies are now starting to approach their workflows with an open mind. Do we really need legal review of a document before it has been through VP approval? Why are we still storing architectural drawings on paper? What good is a photo badge ID if 90% of our workers are remote? As this speaker emphasized, some processes are carried into modern times even though they are not needed anymore. There is no reason to let outdated issues wait years before phasing them out. By breaking habits and looking at our work anew, we may save time or better service customers. 3 – “Raise your hand if….” This panelist at our recent Digital Transformation in the Energy Industry breakfast asked the crowd for a show of hands if anyone is able to enter an asset tag number into a system and quickly locate all the documentation about that asset – enough to get your job done. Surprisingly, NO HANDS went up. This exemplifies how fundamental document management is so critical to basic operational efficiency. With all this talk of digital transformation, big data and predictive analytics, it seems that we have a long way to go with getting practical and down to earth with the simple stuff. This can be made easier these days, as ECM solutions are delivered in more modular ways, and the cloud allows greater elasticity. Bonus – We Still Need Humans I’d like to add one bonus round to this collection. It’s not exactly a number four, because it actually relates to all of the points above. What I heard at more than one of these events is that we cannot assume technology will take the place of human determination or human judgment and setting standards. In at least two cases, presenters shared how they used to have paper document controllers and central ownership over content. In both cases, once they digitized (without staff accountability or a structured system), the organization lost its standardized approach to retaining and sharing knowledge. Either each person individually updated a document in different ways, or each thought the other would update a document — until nobody updated documents consistently at all. No process steps, standardization rules or workflows were developed together with the technology. As the pace at which companies deliver services and interact with stakeholders only accelerates, I would argue there is an even stronger need to standardize. Using ECM together with your human experts brings efficiencies to new levels, tapping the strengths of both. This is one of many reasons why we design in features like vertical-specific standards, the ability to collaborate with multiple reviewers, and track changes to as-built documentations. So as we look ahead to more digital transformation and continuous improvement in our industry, let’s think about the points these smart leaders have shared. What can you add to this list? Have you heard great points from other industries that still apply to the energy sector?

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Opening the Doors to Data: Make Sure Yours Aren’t Locked When Your Customers Call

enterprise document capture

Customer data once came in exclusively through the mailroom door, and while much of it still does, today multiple channels carry data at light speed. Whether it is coming from a phone or mobile device, tablet, camera, VR headset or smart glasses, data increasingly arrives via digital channels in addition to the traditional ones. When data arrives, your business needs the right doors – all of them – to receive, process, and respond to it. Sure, you can still count on your mailroom for traditional capture, where practical efficiencies mean letter opening, routing, scanning, and data entry result in actionable information – although it may take a day or two. The explosion of digital formats, however, means you need new portals into your business workflow to make sure you don’t miss out – and drive your tech savvy customers elsewhere. Intelligent enterprise capture expands data acquisition beyond the mailroom, taking it to front line staff, field agents, and to your clients themselves. When your client can directly connect, by sharing files and information right to the service inbox, you remove obstacles and create new efficiency. More important, you create a more personal connection with your client. For your business to thrive in this dynamic digital landscape, you need the tools to capture data from every known channel, while you get ready for the ones we haven’t even seen yet. It’s not enough to have an email address for information, another for forms, and another for customer service. You need direct channels with your clients for their needs, in the ways they want and at all times. You require the picture your client took from a mobile phone, and you need it available for data access and analysis. You must connect that photo with a form, your client’s profile and contact information, and possibly also with an active claim or request. And, you need to do all of that in real-time-, all day, every day. Think of your traditional mailroom-centered processes. You’re equipped to sort, open, and route paper correspondence and fax. All these processes will continue, along with the rules you’ve developed to accommodate them.  Increase that effect exponentially, and every key front line employee will have email, device capacity, chat, video uploads and FTP. You still need to capture information from nondigital formats like phone calls and conversations, handwritten notes, and forms. But when information arrives as PDFs, photo files, scans, documents, and video, via dynamic online forms and apps, you need the ability to capture and process it. In the share-everything climate of social media, your client may post a relevant image and you need a clear path to receive that information, in a usable form that feeds into the metadata you rely on to make top-level decisions for your company. Having this capacity means data can arrive through any door, in any format. You can route it in real time, with the certainty that it will be available in a format producing the results your client expects. In the immediate environment of digital business, you need to do it faster and more accurately than ever. It’s vital not to overlook the value of improved customer experience as part of this capture transformation. It’s estimated that 89 percent of companies now consider customer experience the key to succeeding over their competitors. That number was only 36 percent in 2010. What’s more, only about 17 percent of respondents in a 2015 survey said their data was fully integrated through all aspects of their organization. Failing to integrate can be fatal, and time is of the essence. It’s predicted that in a few years, customer experience will become more important than product and even price as a key attribute of brand success. As you open more doors to data and customer interaction, expect bottom-line business benefits.  As mailroom batch volumes decline, you can reassign employees to value added positions within your business. Trim response times to minutes, rather than days. Streamline materials needs as you ramp up digital infrastructure. And once you have all the doors open for data, enjoy the results of a multidimensional digital organization. Your digital doors will fit your business, too, with dedicated, well integrated apps for your customers. Enabled with this direct connection, they benefit from expedient dialogue, and a closer relationship. That’s the heart of improving consumer experience. Intelligent enterprise capture, metadata, and the analytic capacity you need comprise the new business infrastructure. Just as essential as your mailroom process and staffing, think of it as a 360 mailroom, in every dimension. Your customers are using every available data channel and they expect you to, as well. If they find a closed door – data receiving capacity you lack, formats your system fails to recognize, or inaccessible processing – your customers can easily find an open door to your competitor’s multifunctional, virtual mailroom. Having multiple portals keeps you accessible, and your business thriving. What’s more, the doors to your mailroom are more than just a pathway to your business. They are your business.

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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!

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