EIM – Roadmap For Manufacturing Transformation


I joined OpenText in February this year and the timing could not have been better. The company was only a few months away from launching the biggest release of our EIM (Enterprise Information Management) solution. And does time fly! OpenText Release 16 for Suite 16 and Cloud 16 is now available. But what is EIM? In my own words EIM provides data and process management that improves customers’ experience and performance through centralizing information, “one single version of the truth”. EIM possesses powerful transmittal and transactional mechanisms that allow data exchange in efficient, secure and compliant ways. EIM allows a company to harness data to provide valued information for consumers of the data, who by using embedded Analytics can gather insight and support better decision making resulting in better business outcomes. You can find a more formal description here. Research by the likes of Capgemini shows us that every industry is experiencing massive disruption through digitization and the research shows us that organisations that have a plan for information management, and who then execute against that strategy can out-perform their contemporaries and competitors by up to 26%. With my background in Engineering and Manufacturing I am particularly interested in the benefits EIM provides to help manufacturing companies digitally transform, and you can browse examples including Michelin, KUKA and more who have started that journey here. Manufacturing is living in exciting times, in an age that is being described as the 4th Industrial Revolution; the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Data is everywhere; being generated across the internet and by technologies which themselves have been described as transformational or disruptive. Examples such as 3D printing, cloud, drones and wearables collected data is transforming manufacturing. Many of these technologies are not new, however, when used in conjunction with each other and connected to the internet (IoT) new possibilities are being realized. Digital transformation of Manufacturing will be an ongoing discussion in my blog posts and will be a topic of my presentation at our customer conference Enterprise World in July, in the dedicated manufacturing track. See here  for further information on Enterprise World. For more discussion on the future of information check out CEO Mark Barrenechea’s blog.  

Read More

Twenty Good Reasons Why Manufacturers Should Attend Enterprise World This Year

OT Blog Title Image - 071115

In my last Enterprise World 2015 related blog I highlighted a number of manufacturing related activities during our conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. You can view the blog here. There are many breakout sessions running during the main part of the conference and below I have listed the top twenty sessions that I thought may be of interest to manufacturing companies. There will be many other sessions during the course of the week, but I thought these may be of interest as they provide a good overview of the product offerings that make up our Enterprise Information Management portfolio. CLD-402 – Building Your Cloud Strategy Featuring Forrester Research ECM-401 – Product Update: OpenText Core – Business-Ready File Sharing & Collaboration in the Cloud INX-401 – Gain Total Supply Chain Visibility With OpenText Active Orders ECM-406 – Product Update: Transform your Organization by Putting the X in ECM INX-404 – Bring B2B to the C-suite: How B2B Integration Accelerates Your Corporate Strategies ALX-100 – Making Sense of Big and Small Data INX-410 – How OpenText and SAP are Joining Forces to Optimize Spend Management EIM-402 – A Day in the Life – Big Data Analytics in the Cloud Implementation INX-411 – Intelligent Capture: Simplify, Transform & Accelerate Your Data Capture Process INX-420 – On Premise B2B & MFT: Consolidate your Integration Strategy to Reap New Benefits SAP-410 – Simplify Asset Management in a Digital World with Customer Case Study ECO-410 – Extended ECM for Oracle E-Business Update – Featuring Customer Dover Corporation INX-412 – Beyond Managed Services: Driving Even Greater Value from B2B Outsourcing ECM-413 – Product Update: OpenText Engineering Document Management-Next Generation Preview ALX-110 – The Future of Embedded Analytics – Wearable Data and Beyond INX-416 – e-Invoicing: the Low-Hanging Fruit of Improving Operating Cost, and Much More ECM-414 – Product Update: What’s New with Brava! for Content Suite INX-418 – Best Practices in Deploying Fax and Secure Messaging Across the Enterprise SAP-416 – MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Enterprise Content & Records Management Solution – A Customer Story INX-400 – Mine your Data for Improved Decision Making: How Analytics Can Transform your Business I also just wanted to take the opportunity to confirm details of a couple of ‘Ted Talk’ style presentations that I will be delivering in the Digital Disruption Zone of the Expo Hall, both of the following sessions will be repeated on Wednesday and Thursday. 14:30 – 14:45 – How the Internet of Things Will Disrupt Tomorrow’s Manufacturing Industry 16:00 – 16:15 – How EIM Helps Manufacturers Transition to a Digital Business In addition to announcing some exciting news around the future direction of our EIM product offerings, numerous customer and keynote presentations we will also have a special guest speaker. None other than Mike Myers – he will certainly be interjecting some humour into the proceedings!

Read More

All Digital All the Time—Why No Enterprise is Safe from Disruption and Some will Not Survive


We hear a lot about Digital Disruption, the new mantra of the coming apocalypse. Yet disruption doesn’t have to be cataclysmic. In fact, many organizations are embracing it as a new way of working and the increasing number of Chief Digital Officers are making it their business to lead their enterprises safely along uncharted paths. Almost 200 sessions at Enterprise World 2015 will help attendees to navigate digital disruption in their sectors. We specialize in enabling the digital world. Here’s a preview from our team of Industry Strategists. Manufacturing Today’s manufacturing industry continues to globalise operations, reduce costs and embrace complex regional compliance regulations. Combined with embracing disruptive digital technologies such as 3D printing, wearable devices and the Internet of Things, today’s manufacturing CIOs have to overcome an immense digital challenge. CIOs may feel as though they are gambling away their IT budgets on digital projects that provide minimal returns. At Enterprise World 2015, we will be showcasing new cloud, analytics and information management related solutions. The ability for a manufacturer to choose how they manage an enterprise information management environment, for example, in either a cloud or hybrid approach, provides the opportunity for them to scale their IT infrastructure according to the requirements of their business. Increased use of Big Data analytics can provide a deeper understanding or what is going on across a manufacturing operation or supply chain and we will be show casing our latest cloud based analytics solution at EW15. Our Digital Disruption Zone will also showcase how new technologies such as 3D printers and wearable devices can work with OpenText EIM solutions. Financial Services Financial Services is still an industry in flux, routinely testing new business models. A recent Industry Insight blog wrote about a newly licensed bank in the UK, called Atom Bank. They have some capital, and their other asset is an application. That is all. This is amazing when you think about it. It could have happened without smartphones, but they really changed this game. The smartphones of today outperform the fastest and biggest computer of 1985. Essentially they are a small and handy way to deliver chips to you, and you can make a phone call too! And they are easy to carry and fit in your pocket. Of course, it is all in the chips which provide the digital technology. Now Volvo has stated that in the near future if you buy one of their cars, they will provide the insurance. Commercial Banking North American Corporate Banking and Corporate Treasury organizations are facing digital disruption in many flavors, from different directions and in different timeframes. In the short term, a myriad of disruptive regulations, technologies and new players are bombarding banks and their corporate treasury clients, requiring massive, parallel changes to their payment systems. Figuring out a strategy for future proofing a payments environment is critical and partnerships with a provider that’s “been there, done that” in Europe and elsewhere is an important step. Longer term, digital disruption represents both an opportunity and a threat to the corporate banking business. Will the combination of open APIs for financial transactions, distributed ledgers (a la blockchain) and the Internet of Things make banks irrelevant to their corporate clients’ day to day business? Or will the traditional role as a trusted intermediary allow banks to take an even more prominent role in B2B digital commerce as the provider of the equivalent of safe deposit boxes for high assurance digital identity management? Or both? If you have thoughts on these topics, please join us at our Enterprise World Industry User Forums, Friday, November 13, where you will have an opportunity to share with your peers how you are tackling digital disruption in your organization. Public Sector When we talk about digital disruption, our examples typically come from business—Uber, for instance, where technology inspired the execution from the beginning. There were no internal processes to disable, SOP’s to revise, legacy applications to transition or decommission and, most significant, no employees to retrain. These challenges have long impeded government’s ability to modernize. To digitize, public organizations have to apply technology to internal mission-delivery processes—not incrementally automate process steps as they are performed now, in silos, but envision the way they can share information across their functional silos to take giant leaps to cut service delivery times, increase inspection or regulatory effectiveness, improve facility or asset maintenance, investigative efficiency and so on. To read more about how to move to Digital Government, take a look here. Life Sciences The Life Science industries are not immune to digital transformation. In fact, we’re focusing on the emergence of the Information Enterprise: what it is, how to manage it, and why it offers unprecedented opportunities for everyone involved, especially in a world of increasing regulatory scrutiny. As in previous years, there will be content useful for the traditional Life Sciences and Healthcare industries, with added focus for other FDA-regulated enterprises in Food Safety, Cosmetics, and Tobacco. Learn specific information management solutions and strategies for our industry by participating in Breakout Sessions; Customer Roundtables; Industry specific short talks in the Disruption Zone theater; and, Meet Your Industry Peers breakfasts. New this year, we are introducing a Life Sciences user group program for Friday morning, entitled “EIM Best Practices for FDA-Regulated Industries” to discuss best practices and allow for us to learn from each other’s perspectives. So most organizations, regardless of industry are facing the same challenges and are looking for ways to optimize their work and their outcomes. That’s just why we host our annual Enterprise World, to help you create a better way to work. See you there!

Read More

Enterprise World to Showcase Disruptive Technologies Impacting the Digital World


It’s that time of year again, lots of preparation for our main customer conference of the year, Enterprise World 2015. This year our event is being hosted at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where normally the phrase ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ applies!, however we would like our customers to learn and take away as much information as possible on how OpenText can help create winning strategies for their digital business. I have been to Las Vegas before, in fact in 2008 as part of a US West Coast honeymoon trip and we ended up taking a helicopter flight over the MGM Grand enroute to the Grand Canyon. Las Vegas is not just a great entertainment destination, many technology focused conferences are held in the city every year. Many companies today feel as though they are gambling away their IT budgets on digital projects that give minimal returns. This is compounded by all the digital disruption that is taking place from new technologies such as the Internet of Things, wearable devices, 3D printers and drones etc. Many years ago, CIOs were struggling to deploy complex ERP environments to support their business operations, today disruptive technologies combined with cloud, mobile and big data solutions make their job even tougher. Enterprise World provides companies with an opportunity to learn and understand more about how our Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions can help define and support a world leading digital transformation strategy to support a business. Last year was my first opportunity to attend Enterprise World and the customers that I was hosting during the event said it was one of the most worthwhile conferences they had attended in years. Enterprise World provides the ideal environment to learn how our solutions help companies to manage unstructured information, define and manage business processes, improve the customer experience and help companies to connect with each other and securely exchange digital information. One of the key focus areas at Enterprise World is the Expo Hall where all of OpenText’s solutions can be seen in action so to speak. One key addition this year will be the Digital Disruption Zone, a small part of the expo hall where our customers will be able to see how disruptive technologies can be embraced across their digital environments. So for example we will have live demonstrations exploring how big data analytics can be accessed and represented on a wearable device, how the Internet of Things provides real time tracking of people moving around the Enterprise World conference and how an enterprise content management solution provides a central hub for accessing digital files that can be sent to a 3D printer. I have spent some considerable time discussing disruptive technologies over the past 18 months or so and it will be great to show our customers how OpenText can work with these technologies. In addition we will have a Ted Talk style presentation theatre within the Digital Disruption Zone. Now this should be interesting as I will be presenting in the Ted Talk theatre, one presentation on disruptive technologies and another on how EIM supports today’s manufacturing industry. There will be many other presentations from OpenText’s industry team but as with any Ted Talk presentation, they will be kept short, no more than 15 minutes, and will be informative. I will record my Ted Talk sessions and post online after the conference for those that are not able to make it in person. In addition to the Ted Talk sessions there are a number of other ways that you can interact with the industry team here at OpenText during the event. We will have a dedicated area set aside in the breakfast room every morning of the conference, so if you would like to meet with your industry peers then this is a great way to start your day. We will also be hosting a number of industry workshops on the Friday morning. This will provide a chance to further network with industry peers, learn about key trends in the industry and how OpenText are embracing these trends and hear from companies on how they have deployed OpenText solutions. I, and my fellow industry colleagues, will be at the conference all week so please try and connect with us if you can. Needless to say I will be tweeting extensively during the week and feel free to follow me @markmorley. As well as the Expo Hall there will be some exciting presentations in the main conference room and if the room is anything like last year’s venue, it will be standing room only! If you haven’t registered for the event yet, there is still time, please click here and the link will take you to our dedicated conference landing page. Look forward to seeing you in Vegas.  

Read More

October OpenText Live Webinars


Introducing OpenText™ Extended ECM for Oracle® EBS (xECM for EBS) 10.5 SP2. With new features like E-Business Suite 12.2 support, Records Management (RM) enhancements, advanced archiving and our new Manufacturing Management solution accelerator, xECM for EBS is better than ever at synchronizing content, metadata and permissions across both systems. It also provides a deep integration between OpenText and Oracle systems that ensures transactional and business content is consolidated and managed for integrity, cost reduction and regulatory compliance. Join us to not only learn about what we’re doing, but how our customers are using xECM for EBS to accomplish their business goals. We’ll also preview how xECM for EBS fits into the OpenText Blue Carbon project, set for launch at Enterprise World 2015 this November. Register » Project & Program Management for OpenText™ Content Server Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC -4) Project data is growing exponentially, but is often stored out of context or disconnected to project Gantts. Project managers require project management tools integrated with enterprise content, helping the enterprise to optimize Information Governance. Enterprises need a central database for all their project data. Join us to learn more about how Project & Program Management (PPM) for Content Server provides this on your existing ECM system, presented by OpenText partner KineMatik. This webinar will also discuss the latest features available for PPM 10.5.3. Register » Records Disposition Simplified Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC -4) Driven by actual customer need, the Cassia Records Disposition Approval module (RDA) was built to make it easy for users to sign-off on records as well as to reduce the time it takes for records managers to process the records once they receive the approvals. RDA simplifies the sign-off process for approvers, simplifies records disposition support, simplifies the review process and includes a reporting framework. Join us to learn how RDA can simplify your records management. Register » The Next Wave of Advanced Analytics Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC -4) Are you ready for the next wave of Analytics? Join us for a fast paced Webinar showcasing OpenText™ Actuate Big Data Analytics, Cloud Edition, an advanced Analytics-as-a-Service solution that brings the power of Big Data to everyday business analysts. Learn about the advantages of “Big Data Analytics” in the cloud, including our convenient capacity-based pricing and easy-to-use predictive algorithms. Plus we’ll provide a quick-hit demo of the coolest features and share how easy it is to blend, explore and visualize your data. Gain a top-level understanding of the analytics lifecycle Learn about the emerging requirements for Analytics-as-a-Service See Big Data Analytics, Cloud Edition in action Register » What’s New in OpenText™ RightFax 10.6 Feature Pack 2 Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC -4) The latest release of OpenText™ RightFax is packed with exciting new features for the user and administrator. Join Mike Stover, Product Manager, as he unveils the new functionality for RightFax that focuses on: User Experience: Designed with the user in mind, the latest release of RightFax includes several enhancements to the end user experience, including newly redesigned tools and additional features. Compatibility: The latest releases of RightFax provide updated and new interoperability between RightFax and other industry software. Enterprise-Grade: OpenText has developed several new improvements that will increase the performance and scalability of the RightFax fax server. These enhancements help increase the productivity, throughput, and workload efficiency in the toughest enterprise environments. Compliance and Security: New features and functionality enhance the security and compliance-grade capabilities of a RightFax server environment. Administration and Use: New functionality makes it easier to manage and use RightFax. New tools allow for managing the environment more efficiently, resulting in demonstrable time-savings for administrators. Register » Increase Your OpenText™ eDOCS DM User Adoption Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC -4) OpenText™ eDOCS DM is a feature rich product with different types of functionality for creating, saving, searching, and interacting with day-to-day content. This OpenText Live webinar session will focus on how you can help your end users get the most out of existing functionality and increase adoption. How often have we heard “it’s the little things that count”? Well, this session will cover some of the basic features that are often overlooked, provide tips and tricks for working with Dynamic Views, more efficient email management using Email Filing, and more. All this will be presented with simplified DM profile forms—making it easier for users to save or search for their documents. Register »  

Read More

ARC Advisory Group Discusses How Enterprise Information ManagementSupports the Digital Manufacturing Business

Over the past 12 months I have posted a few articles discussing how Enterprise Information Management (EIM) supports today’s manufacturing business. During this same period, manufacturers have had to embrace various forms of digital disruption, from technologies such as wearable devices, 3D printers and the Internet of Things. In addition to these new technologies, today’s CIOs need to embrace new types of network infrastructure, new devices connected to these networks and new forms of digital information coming off of these devices. These technologies are not only transforming the manufacturing industry but more importantly they are transforming how we manage, share and utilize digital information across the manufacturing enterprise. Deploying an effective EIM strategy should be at the heart of any manufacturing operation, especially as digital information is required to support a product from ‘cradle to grave’. This end-to-end approach to managing enterprise information can provide a strong competitive advantage in the market as well as significantly improve customer satisfaction levels. In order to see exactly how digital information supports today’s manufacturing process, OpenText commissioned the ARC Advisory Group to write a white paper looking at how manufacturers should be leveraging an EIM strategy to manage digital information flowing across a manufacturing enterprise. Manufacturing a product, whether a car, television or aircraft, consists of many sequential processes and rather than trying to boil the ocean in terms of how information is managed at every step of a manufacturing process, I asked ARC to focus on five of the more important steps. These steps are highlighted in orange on the diagram below and are found in nearly every manufacturing sub-sector. ARC provides a strong argument as to why EIM is important for supporting today’s connected manufacturing business and it also provides a firm foundation for embracing new disruptive technologies in the future. The white paper is available to download from the resources area of our manufacturing page on our website, or you can download directly by clicking here. Over the next few weeks I will be finalizing a solution brochure to expand on each of the five areas highlighted in the ARC paper, but until then please feel free to download this new white paper from the link shown above.

Read More

Digital-First Fridays: What is a Digital Enterprise?

In my first post in this blog series, I examined how the speed of digital is disrupting market leaders, and determined that the only way for them to keep pace and stay competitive is to transform into a digital business. But what exactly is a digital business and how does an organization transform itself? In a digital business, all major operating functions are empowered by digital technology. This means that the business engages customers and conducts business through digital channels, uses digital assets and/or capabilities, and sells digital products or services. As in the case of startups, the value proposition is keenly focusing on serving digital consumers and is enabled by digital technology. This fundamentally impacts an organization’s “value chain.” The value chain of a digital business is more cyclical than it is linear. The value chain is based on a series of interactions and transactions. From the creation of products and services to their consumption, employees, consumers, partners, and processes rely on digital technology for easy access to goods (whether it be products, services, or information), constant connectivity, and immediacy of insight. The entire customer journey is digitized. As a result, the business works in ways that are open, flexible, and support ongoing collaboration and innovation. The Linear Value Chain is Replaced by an Ecosystem In their transformation to a digital business, organizations should reconceptualise themselves as part of an extended enterprise ecosystem, from which they (or their customers or partners) can assemble products and services according to their needs. A digital business digitizes all of its information and processes for efficiency in the back office and deeper levels of engagement in the front (customer-facing) office. As part of a larger ecosystem, a digital business is better equipped to innovate, pivot their operations, customize their products and services, and deliver new products that satisfy consumer need. They can scale their manufacturing capacity and shift geographies as needed. Ultimately, a digital business gains new ways of working to improve productivity, reduce costs, and accelerate business growth. The benefits of transformation into a digital business move beyond those belonging to digital marketing, or creating consistent consumer experiences across digital channels. Digitizing information and processes results in improved efficiencies, higher productivity levels, and lower operational costs. According to McKinsey, companies that digitize their operations can reduce their costs by 9 percent.[1] As digital technologies transform business operations, all major components of the business will be impacted. The components of the 2020 digital business are already emerging and include the Digital Workplace, Digital Engagement, the Digital Supply Chain, and Digital Governance and Security. This blog series will examine each of these facets in detail. Organizations that want to digitize their operations need to focus on the value that digital brings, develop a strategy, and prioritize projects for transformation. They will need to iterate and realize that iteration is part of the process—a more important aspect than perfection. Their entire ecosystem must be digital, so the business must reconfigure its organizational structure, its technology infrastructure, hire the right resources, and focus on the information systems and standards that enable true transformation. As we move rapidly toward a Digital World, one thing is clear: information lies at the heart of innovation and disruption. No longer considered just the cost of doing business, information is instrumental in driving innovation and growth. When used the right way, information leads to greater customer satisfaction, accelerates time-to-market, helps to create new opportunities, and enables businesses to remain relevant and competitive. Information is a key strategic component for every organization today and critical to enabling transformation. In my next blog, I’ll examine how “Information is the New Currency” in a Digital World. Find out how you can capitalize on digital disruption. Read my book, Digital: Disrupt or Die. [1] “The Digital Enterprise,” McKinsey & Company, November 2013.

Read More

How B2B Automation Helps to Develop Greener Supply Chains


Developing a greener and more sustainable supply chain has been on the agenda of CEOs for many years and in fact just looking back through my archive of blogs that I have written over the years, the first green related blog that I wrote was in 2007. This was at a time when companies were being made to think more carefully about how they design their supply chains to help reduce carbon emissions. Back then, our company issued supply chain sustainability assessments to demonstrate how much greener a business would become by automating their manual B2B transactions by sending them electronically across our global B2B network, Trading Grid. Even though sustainability has pretty much become engrained within every CEO’s corporate agenda now, I just thought it would be useful to remind you of the benefits of B2B automation. Using a very smart website developed by the Environmental Paper Network, a coalition of over 100 non-profit organizations working towards the sustainable production and consumption of pulp and paper, it is possible to calculate the environmental savings that can be made by removing paper based transactions from a business. Each transaction would use the same size piece of paper, ie an invoice, purchase order etc and each electronic transaction equates to 2 pieces of paper. Rather than having an exhaustive maths lesson on how I derived the figures below, I have merely highlighted the key figures for each of the two scenarios, but I can provide evidence of my calculations if you need it Scenario 1 – a manufacturing company currently processes 1 million invoices per year across their European based supply chain. Using the criteria above, this then equates to a total paper weight of 9 metric tons or the equivalent of 228 trees. Now by automating these 1 million paper based transactions via a B2B network such as Trading Grid, it will provide the following reduction in the company’s impact on the environment. Reduction in Net Energy Used The Paper Calculator includes an energy credit for energy that is created by burning paper – or the methane that decomposing paper creates – at the end of its life. The Net Energy takes the total amount of energy required to make the paper over its life cycle, and subtracts this energy credit. If most of the energy used to make the paper is purchased, then the energy credit might make the Net Energy lower than the Purchased Energy. The average U.S. household uses 91 million BTUs of energy in a year. – Scenario 1 saves 375 million BTU’s, the equivalent of about 4 homes/year Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels and methane from paper decomposing in landfills, contribute to climate change by trapping energy from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere. The unit of measure is CO2 equivalents. The average car emits 11,013 pounds of CO2 in a year. – Scenario 1 saves 55,877 pounds CO2 equiv., the equivalent of about 5 cars/year Reduction in Water Consumption Water Consumption measures the amount of process and cooling water that is consumed or degraded throughout the life cycle of the paper product. The largest components of water consumption come from the production of purchased electricity, and the use of process and cooling water at pulp and paper mills. Water volume indicates both the amount of fresh water needed and the potential impact of discharges on the receiving waters. 1 Olympic-sized swimming pool holds 660,430 gallons. – Scenario 1 saves 186,117 gallons, the equivalent of < 1 swimming pool Reduction in Solid Waste Includes sludge and other wastes generated during pulp and paper manufacturing and used paper disposed of in landfills and incinerators. 1 fully loaded garbage truck weighs an average 28,000 pounds (based on a rear-loader residential garbage truck) – Scenario 1 saves 22,215 pounds, the equivalent of < 1 garbage truck/year Scenario 2 – OpenText Trading Grid, the world’s largest cloud based B2B network, connects over 600,000 businesses and processes over 16 billion transactions per year. So assuming we are removing the equivalent number of pieces of paper from a supply chain this would equate to a total paper weight saving of 145,151 metric tons or the equivalent of 3,647,010 trees per year. I think you will agree these numbers are quite astounding, but let’s look at the environmental impact for the equivalent paper based transactions: Reduction in Net Energy Used – Scenario 2 saves 6,008,526 million BTU’s, the equivalent of about 66,022 homes/year Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Scenario 2 saves 894,034,654 pounds CO2 equiv., the equivalent of about 81,175 cars/year Reduction in Water Consumption – Scenario 2 saves 2,997,875,351 gallons, the equivalent of about 4,511 swimming pools Reduction in Solid Waste – Scenario 2 saves 355,449,950 pounds, the equivalent of about 12,701 >garbage trucks/year So as you can see, the numbers speak for themselves, automating supply chain based transactions can help your business to develop a greener and more sustainable supply chain. In my next blog I will discuss how moving from software to a cloud based B2B environment can help to develop greener supply chains.

Read More

Expanding the Banking Universe with a Mobile-Only Play

Millennial Disruption

Mobile phones continue to help break new ground in the world of Banking. A very interesting example is called Atom Bank, which is in the United Kingdom today, or is it everywhere? Atom Bank was recently awarded a banking license and plans to commence their operations later this year. They have already raised around 25 million pounds (about $39 million). So why is this so interesting and different? Atom Bank will operate only through a mobile app. That is right, they just have an app. Of course there will be no branches, and they will not have a website initially. This is a strange strategy as how will customers be able to find them unless they read my blogs? They claim that customers will be able to open accounts and carry out all their banking activity using only a smartphone. The also said they want to “set new standards for the banking sector” when it comes to technology. Well this matches quite well to what Millennials are thinking about innovation in banking coming from technology companies, not from banks. Viacom Media Networks did research and came up with the Millennial Disruption Index, which is copied below. Notice that 33 percent of Millennials do not think they will ever need a bank, and nearly half are counting on technology start-ups to overhaul the way banks work. Talk about supply meeting demand, and here comes Atom Bank. Or maybe they should be called Atom Software, the smartphone technology company with an app. Banking on Mobile Source: Viacom Media Research Atom is the latest in a string of technology companies shaking up the banking industry. Who would have thought that Apple would create a payment service a la PayPal? It has certainly done well so far. Anybody know a user or two of Venmo, the under 30 set’s current favorite to make small payments to each other? This is not futuristic; they already exist and work well today. So, will Atom Bank be what Millennials are longing for? Well there are a few challenges, or what we might call complexities. They will need to work with a regular retail bank for mundane things like checking and cash deposits. I don’t know if they will be responsible for Know your Customer (KYC) or will have deposit limits or concern themselves about anti-money laundering and SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports). Perhaps the brick-and-mortar bank they plan to partner with will do the heavy compliance lifting for them. Since Atom Bank is all about a high quality customer experience with a smartphone, they are certainly addressing what Millennials are looking for. They are not yet sharing all aspects of what they plan to do, as they said they do not want to assist potential competitors. They did announce that they will have biometric security, 3D visualizations and gaming technology. Sounds like fun! An app on your smart phone will do all of that? Mobile phones, now smartphones, have come a long way. Even if all of this works as planned and Atom Bank is very successful, they will have fierce competitors from startups as well as established organizations. But if they capture the hearts, minds and bank accounts of the Millennials before others do, they will be very successful and the reality of the Millennial Disruption Index will become even more obvious.

Read More

Enterprise Mobility: Are you an Enabler?


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

Read More

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

customer experience

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

Read More

How the Internet of Things will Enable the Digital-First World


Unless you have been living in a remote cave for the past two years, you will have noticed that the Internet of Things is now on the top of every CIO’s agenda. When I posted my first blog on the IoT in 2013, IoT had relatively low media coverage and then boom, it has become the must have IT strategy of the decade. Today, it is very easy to get lost in the digital disruption being caused by the IoT, so I thought it would be useful to just go back to basics for a few minutes and highlight some of the features and supply chain related applications for the IoT. Last December I visited our TV studio at OpenText’s HQ in Waterloo Canada and recorded two videos for our OTTV Digital-First World video series. The first video in my Digital-First World series for manufacturingdiscussed how the manufacturing industry has been moving towards the Digital-First World and I thought it would be very relevant to follow this video with my second one which focusses on IoT. Click Here to watch my latest video. A day doesn’t go by when a press release goes out promoting another IoT related project somewhere around the world and it can be quite easy to misunderstand what the IoT is all about. Hence the reason for producing this relatively short video. I have to say that I do find it amazing how IoT has managed to capture the imagination of businesses around the world, more so than some of the other technology trends in recent years. One thing is for sure, the IoT is here to stay! Key to the success of the IoT is finding applications for how it can be embraced by businesses across different industry sectors. Recent reports highlight two industries where IoT has gained most traction, Manufacturing and Utilities. From a supply chain point of view, I certainly believe that the IoT will fundamentally change how supply chains operate. I have written a few blogs now on the subject of the IoT and I will be posting more IoT related materials during the course of this year. Please feel free to click on any of the above images to launch the video. I recently made another trip to our TV studio and I recorded two further videos. I will be sure to let you know when these get published to our website! In the meantime if you would like to view any of our other videos then please take a look at the dedicated area of our website,

Read More

How Today’s Engineers are Embracing a Virtualized Digital First World

In today’s digital first world, companies face a continuous challenge to ensure that mission critical business information can be accessed anytime, anyplace or anywhere. In order to access digital information, IT infrastructures must cater for a variety of computing platforms with varying levels of performance, mobility and graphics capabilities. In an earlier blog article I discussed how the distribution of digital information has slowly become more pervasive across the manufacturing business. I highlighted how traditionally the design department of a manufacturing company was seen as the early adopter of new technologies. Design based information is typically large in file size and is graphically intensive with real-time rendering being required to visualize 3D product related designs. This presents a challenge when trying to view large 3D CAD models across different hardware platforms. Over the years, as technology has advanced, more and more departments have been able to access digital information in different ways and this has introduced a number of challenges: Ensuring the security of information so as to avoid unexpected security leaks Providing a way to adhere to regional data sovereignty laws so that information can be retained in-country or in-region Deciding whether digital information should reside on a behind-the-firewall server infrastructure which is only accessible via a VPN connection or hosted in a cloud-based infrastructure for greater accessibility Driving a balance between application performance and IT infrastructure costs to ensure that applications are available 24/7 and the business is not impacted due to a network outage or slow connectivity to remote users of network resources Making certain that engineering-based users, irrespective of location, have access to design-based applications and there is no lag in performance of the applications used, especially when manipulating complex 3D graphics When I started working for one of the leading CAD/CAM software vendors in the early 1990s, all design-based applications were hosted on UNIX workstations, at that time a mix of Silicon Graphics, DEC Digital, HP, Sun Microsystems and IBM machines. Fortunately my company had very good relationships with the hardware vendors and we were able to get the latest workstations for demonstration purposes. Our 3D graphics based applications at that time were ideal for showing off the performance of the UNIX workstations. However from a customer point of view, these workstations were very expensive and unless you were the size of company such as Ford, Boeing or Caterpillar, then it was difficult to get access to sensibly specified UNIX workstations for running CAD/CAM applications. Over the last twenty years, PC-based workstation technology began to improve exponentially and some of the larger discrete manufacturers started to make the shift towards PC-based hardware solutions; and this had a knock on effect with the UNIX market. Coming from the EDI side of OpenText’s business, I know the importance of some of the more ‘mature’ technologies. Companies will not stop using EDI and other mature technologies because they offer benefits that no other technology can offer in the market and the same can be said of UNIX workstations. Over the years I have seen a split in the market. Automotive, aerospace and heavy industrial companies have been using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions from PTC, Dassault and Siemens and are today running these applications on highly specified PC-based platforms. However in the high tech and energy sectors, particularly oil and gas, there is still a very heavy dependence on using UNIX-based workstations, especially in a virtualized environment. But why is there a difference in UNIX versus PC usage between these different industries? Typically in the automotive, aerospace and industrial sectors, manufacturers will produce complex 3D models of their final products. These 3D models are being used for downstream manufacturing processes such as CNC machining or 3D printing and other business processes such as marketing. The products manufactured in these industries lend well to being viewed in multi-platform viewing tools, for example taking a customer on a virtual tour of their new car, simply by using fly through viewing technology on an Apple iPad. Manufacturers can use PLM technology to build complete virtual models of their products and in addition to manufacturing and marketing, this digital information can be used for real-time simulations and even for through-life service and support applications. A whole eco-system has evolved to support these particular PLM solutions in PC-based environments. One of the reasons for this is due to the customer need to access digital information about a product through any type of platform, from PCs, tablets and all the way through to smartphone devices. By comparison, the high tech industry uses Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools to design the circuity on their silicon chips. Running simulations is another common requirement across semi-conductor manufacturers, being able to test circuit designs and ensure that chips are operating per their intended design parameters. Both of these design related processes require high powered workstations to complete the work in a timely manner. The oil and gas industry also performs numerous different types of simulations with analysis of ‘seismic surveys’ being one of the most common. Being able to analyse seismic surveys to construct 3D models of rock formations in near real time to help identify potential pockets of oil and gas can significantly speed up the overall exploration process. But how can remote UNIX users ensure that they can get un-interrupted access to networked UNIX resources in order to run such simulation processes? In another scenario, what if Shell for example was working with external design partners such as Halliburton on a new oil processing plant and these partners needed joint access to 3D design information? What if the design partner did not have access to UNIX workstations, let alone the design applications to open up the 3D CAD models? Today’s design environments are truly collaborative in nature and this is why a virtualized UNIX environment offers many benefits for companies operating in the high tech and oil and gas sectors. UNIX workstations have long been regarded as the design automation workhorse of these industries which is why today; UNIX workstations are still being used extensively in these particular industry sectors. There is another reason why UNIX workstations are so popular in the oil and gas sector. This sector has traditionally retained staff for a long period of time and many design staff will have been in the industry when UNIX workstations started to take over from mainframe-based environments in the late 1980s. However energy and high tech companies face another challenge when compared with their peer companies in the discrete manufacturing sectors mentioned above, the flexibility that PC-based platforms have over UNIX. But there is a solution which I will discuss in a moment. Over the last twenty years manufacturers have globalized their operations to support their customers, entering new markets such as China or India. They would typically establish new manufacturing plants and in some cases establish regional design offices to support local customer needs. For example in China the consumer typically prefers to be driven rather than drive the cars themselves. Many car manufacturers have setup remote design offices in China, requiring them to buy high-end, PC-based workstations and PLM design software licenses to run on those PC workstations. So this is great news for the discrete manufacturer who can scale up their design function quite easily by adding more PCs to their network infrastructure, but what about the semi-conductor manufacturers and oil and gas companies that also need to diversify into new markets and globalise their operations? How can they scale up their UNIX infrastructure to support the needs of their global business? As companies globalize their operations, they need to provide remote access to network resources such as the design applications used across the high tech and oil and gas sectors. For example Cadence and Intergraph respectively provide design applications for these particular industries, but how do you scale your UNIX-based design infrastructure without adding significant costs to your business, i.e., purchasing more UNIX workstations and at the same time not compromising on network security? The high tech industry has been plagued with network hacking issues over recent years. Designs for the latest semi-conductor chips are stolen from corporate networks and before you know it a cloned semi-conductor chip has been manufactured in the Far East. But if you need remote access to a UNIX based infrastructure how can you ensure that the connectivity between the remote user and the location hosting the UNIX application is secure? My first experience of using a virtualized computing infrastructure was back in the late 1990s when Sun Microsystems introduced their Java based Ray workstations. You popped your smart card into the Ray workstation, this provided a form of identification to the workstation, and you were then presented with a thin client that was able to access UNIX applications hosted in a remote data centre location. At the time I was building complex demonstration environments and the Sun Ray offered a unique way to access information that would traditionally have required a full blown UNIX workstation. Now admittedly the processing power on the early Ray workstation was not great for manipulating graphics and in fact later in its life the Sun Rays were used for running more general business applications rather than high end PLM solutions. But the concept of running applications remotely on thin clients was certainly a great idea and one which is still in wide use to this very day, especially in the high tech and energy sectors. However the technology used to run remote UNIX applications has moved on considerably. Here at OpenText, we offer a number of solutions to help companies manage, archive and access their digital information, irrespective of the type of platform you might be running on. OpenText Exceed VA TurboX, ETX, is a remote access connectivity solution, which allows organizations to deploy UNIX applications virtually to their users by keeping them running on UNIX servers, while allowing users to remotely access them through a web browser and achieve the same user experience than if they had the application installed on their desktop, no matter the distance between them and the data centre, both securely and centrally managed. ETX is ideal where the user needs to run high performance applications:- UNIX applications are accessible from anywhere in the world with no decline in performance, always secure and centrally managed ETX lets people work and collaborate virtually on UNIX applications from Windows, Linux and UNIX desktops anywhere in the world It removes the limitations and the complexity of traditional remote access solutions by offering the fastest connection to your business wrapped in a uniquely intuitive user experience Designed for the enterprise data center, it improves the security, manageability and availability of your UNIX applications So whether your business is in high tech, oil and gas or other industry sectors such as financial services where virtualised platforms can help reduce operational costs across your IT infrastructure, ETX can help companies take a big step into the digital first world. ETX allows companies to get products to market or deliver capital projects to their customers in a much shorter timeframe. Companies are able to improve how computing resources are deployed and it allows a centralized, private cloud to be established. ETX allows employees to be more productive through 24/7, global access to corporate business information and finally this is all achieved through a highly secure and regionally compliant solution. If you would like a free trial and further information on our ETX solution then please visit our dedicated web page by clicking here.

Read More

OpenText Featured on Bloomberg Business


For this year’s global Innovation Tour, we’ve taken our Digital-First World message on the road. Already underway, members of our executive leadership team have presented in major cities in Asia Pacific, including Mumbai, Tokyo, Sydney, and Singapore. As one of many highlights of the tour, OpenText CMO Adam Howatson was featured on Bloomberg Asia’s Brandstanding in Singapore. The interview covers a number of topics, ranging from the value of information in creating new services and opening up new revenue opportunities to why the cloud is it important for brands and businesses, and how OpenText is successfully rewriting the rules of business for successful digital transformation. According to Howatson, “Being able to connect the way [the business is] represented on social platforms and the way that brands are represented and shared on the Internet and through our connected society, through to back office operations, to manufacturing and internal business processes… It truly is the organizations who are able to integrate that experience and that flow of information who will outperform their competitors in every industry.” Bloomberg Business delivers business and markets news, data, analysis, and video nationwide featuring stories from Businessweek and Bloomberg News. As a global business network, Bloomberg has over 22 million visitors to its web video assets. Watch the video. Learn more about the Digital-First World by downloading the book: Digital: Disrupt or Die.

Read More

OpenText Study Proves that B2B Integration Significantly Improves Supply Chain Performance


Over the past few months I have posted a few blogs highlighting the results from a new OpenText sponsored study by IDC Manufacturing Insights. The study demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between how increased adoption of B2B Integration technologies directly improves supply chain performance. In fact take a look at how key supply chain metrics are improved through the adoption of B2B integration technologies. To wrap up this project I just wanted to highlight how you can download further information about this study. The following link will allow you to access a recorded version of the webinar that we hosted with IDC in early March, a copy of the webinar slides, the executive white paper and finally the infographic shown below. IDC created the infographic to help illustrate some of the key findings from the study. Click here to access this content. Finally, if you would like to access the various blogs that I have written in support of this new study then please click on the following links :- General Introduction to the Study Automotive Industry Findings High Tech Industry Findings CPG Industry Findings  

Read More

Information Security in the Digital Age [Podcast]


This is the first of what we hope to be many podcasts in which we explore the technology and culture of Enterprise Information Management (EIM). We’re going to share stories about how OpenText is delivering world class technology and improving our Customer Experience on a daily basis. In this installment, we hope to give you a better understanding of the current cyber security climate, show you what we’re doing to keep your data secure and protect your privacy, and tell you how you can protect yourself online. Our discussion on information security has been recorded as a podcast! If you’d like to listen but don’t see the player above click here. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast, we’ve transcribed it for you below: … The unknown unknown… … If it was three in the morning and there was a bunch of guys standing down a poorly lit alley, would you walk down there by yourself? Probably not. Yet on the Internet, we do that continuously—we walk down that street—and then we’re shocked when negative things happen… … People have an expectation that once they put a lock on their door they’re secure. And that might be the case in their home. But electronically it’s not quite so simple… Are we safe online? Perhaps a better question is whether our information is safe online. 2014 was a banner year for information, data—what we now call cyber—security, and if analyst reports can be any indication, security professionals are on high alert in 2015. International governing bodies have also placed an urgency on better understanding cyber security risks and putting in place strategies to ensure stable telecommunications and safeguard information. There has also been growing concern around data privacy. Though security and privacy work hand-in- hand and it’s difficult to have data privacy without security, there is a difference between the two terms. Security involves the confidentiality, availability and integrity of data. It’s about only collecting information that’s required, then keeping that information safe and destroying it when it’s no longer needed. On the other hand, privacy is about the appropriate use of data. To help us through the topic of cyber security, we talked to Greg Murray, VP of Information Security and Chief Information Security Officer at OpenText. The OpenText security team is made up of specialists around the world who provide operational response, risk assessments and compliance. They also brief executive leadership regularly, and keep development teams abreast of pertinent security information. More importantly, Greg and his team work with our customers to ensure their unique security needs are covered end-to-end. “It starts early in the process,” says Greg. “It starts in the presales cycle where we try to understand the risks that [our customers] are trying to manage in their organization. We find out how they are applying security against that, and then that becomes contractual obligation that we make sure is clearly stated in our agreement with the customer. From there, it goes into our operations center—or risk center, depending on what we’re looking at—and we ensure that whatever our obligations, we’re on top of them and following the different verticals and industries.” Again, 2014 was a big year for cyber security in the news (I think we all remember the stories of not too long ago). But while news agencies focused on the scope and possible future threats, Greg learned something else: “I think if we look at media, one probably would not have argued until last year that media was a high threat area compared to something like aerospace defense. That has changed. Clearly that has changed. As a result, customers come back and say, ‘Hey, our environment has changed. What can you do to help us with that?’” “What a financial institution requires is very different than what a manufacturing provider requires or a pharmaceutical organization. Some of that, as a provider to these organizations and customers, we can carry for them on their behalf. In other cases they must carry it themselves. A lot of the discussions that we have with customers are in regards to ‘Where’s that line?’” “At the end of the day, there’s a collaboration. It’s not all on the customer, it’s not all on OpenText. We have to work together to be able to prove compliance and prove security across the environment.” Regardless of the size, industry or location of an organization, security needs to be a top priority. This concept isn’t a new one. As Greg told Adam Howatson, OpenText CMO in a recent Tech Talk interview, information security hasn’t evolved that much over the last 50 years (view the discussion on YouTube). Greg’s answer may surprise, but after some digging I learned that back in 1998, the Russian Federation brought the issue of information security to the UN’s attention by suggesting that telecommunications were beginning to be used for purposes “inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security.” Since then, the UN has been trying to increase transparency, predictability and cooperation among the nations of the world in an effort to police the Internet and private networks. Additionally, if you have seen the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, you know that people have been trying to encrypt and decipher messages since the 1940s and probably even earlier. Today, the lack of physical borders online has certainly complicated things, but the information security game remains the same, and cooperation among allies remains the key. “Are we all contributing together?” Greg asks. “If we’re all working together—just like Neighborhood Watch—we need that same neighborhood community watch on the internet. If you see stuff that doesn’t look right, you should probably report it.” The bad guys are organized and we need to be organized as well. The more we share information and the more we work together… Particularly at OpenText, we have a lot of customer outreach programs and security work where we work hand-in-hand with customer security teams. By doing that, we improve not only our security, but we improve security across the industry.” Recently I attended a talk given by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, former Ontario Privacy Commissioner and Executive Director at the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto. In it, she said that “privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance must ideally become an organization’s default mode of operation.” She said that privacy—which again, involves the appropriate use of information—must be at the core of IT systems, accountable business practices and in the physical design and networked infrastructure. Privacy needs to be built into the very design of a business. And I think it’s evident from what Greg says about security, and the way OpenText designs its software with the users’ needs in mind, that our customers’ privacy and security is an essential part of what we offer. “We have a tremendous number of technical controls that are in place throughout all of our systems. For us, though, it starts on the drawing board. That’s when we start thinking about security.” “As soon as Product Management comes up with a new idea, we sit down with them to understand what they’re trying to achieve for the customer and how we’re going to secure it. So that by the time somebody’s uploading that document, it’s already gone through design, engineering, regression testing analysis, security penetration testing.” “One of the other things we do is called threat modelling. Typically we look at the different types of solutions—whether they’re file transfer or transactional, for example—and we look across the industry to see who has been breached and how. We then specifically include that in all of our security and regression testing.” You don’t need to look further than the OpenText Cloud Bill of Rights for proof in our dedication to information security and privacy. In it, we guarantee for our cloud customers the following: You own your content We will not lose your data We will not spy on your data We will not sell your data We will not withhold your data You locate your data where you want it Not everyone is up front with their data privacy policy, but with people becoming more aware of information security and privacy concerns, organizations are going to find themselves facing serious consequences if they do not make the appropriate changes to internal processes and policy. Data security doesn’t lie solely in the hands of cloud vendors or software developers, however. We asked Greg what users and IT administrators can do to protect themselves, and he said it comes down to three things: “One is change your passwords regularly. I know it sounds kind of foolish, but in this day and age if you can use two-factor or multi-factor authentication that does make a big difference.” “The second thing you can do is make sure your systems are patched. 95% of breaches happen because systems aren’t patched. When people ask ‘What’s the sexy side of security?’, it’s not patching. But it works. And it’s not that expensive—it’s typically included free from most vendors.” “The third thing is ‘think before you click.’ If you don’t know who it is or you don’t know what it is… Curiosity kills the cat and curiosity infects computers.” We hope you enjoyed our discussion on information privacy and cyber security. If you’d like to know more about the topics discussed today, visit, and of course We also encourage you to learn more about security regulations and compliance by visiting the CCIRC and FS-ISAC websites.  

Read More

Industry Innovation on Tour

Our industry strategist team is on the move. Today we are in London for featured sessions and customer meetings at our OpenText Innovation Tour. Gerry Gibney, Patricia Burke, Mark Morley, and Rob Gasho (not pictured) are sharing best practices for current projects in Financial Services, the Public Sector, Manufacturing and Energy, plus actionable strategies for digital transformation. Next stop for the Tour is Munich and then on to the North Amercian leg for our industry folk. You can follow the tour on Twitter #OTinnovate and we hope we get to see you when we get to your city!

Read More

OpenText Connectivity Suite Links Legacy Infrastructure With Modern Interfaces

Large enterprises face an interesting challenge. Their mission-critical applications run on high-performing IBM mainframes, Linux and UNIX servers, and even AS/400s ─ housed safely and securely in the data center. But these applications are accessed by users on Windows-based PCs, or in some cases expensive UNIX terminals. (The original terminals designed for some mainframe applications were long ago replaced by desktop computers.) Of course, Microsoft Windows was not designed for a mainframe environment or for UNIX/Linux applications. This is the conundrum. Running Windows-based terminal emulation software is the obvious solution for connecting desktop computers to applications and data located in the data center, on mainframe and UNIX servers. Unfortunately, not all terminal emulators are created equal. And in many cases, vendors in the space are no longer updating or supporting their software. So where do these organizations turn when they want a high quality, customizable emulation environment that is continually being supported and updated with new functionality, features, and with support for the latest security protocols and operating systems? And what about businesses ─ in engineering, retail, financial services or manufacturing, for example – that need to connect their Windows desktops to remote X Window applications? Many enterprise software applications are written for UNIX and Linux, and organizations need to provide a Windows-based remote connection for their users. Security, reliability and performance are absolutely vital for these businesses, so the software that manages the Windows to X Window interface must be fast, secure and reliable. Which software vendor meets these standards? Easy: OpenText. There’s a reason organizations choose our latest OpenText Connectivity suite. It is the most robust remote access solution for both modern and legacy environments. Better yet, we’re committed to continuing our decades-long investment in product development and R&D for this suite. With enhanced security and performance for easier, faster connections with greater protection of sensitive data on open networks, we are incredibly pleased to provide you the remote access solution your organization needs. Here are just some of the great new features we’re excited to introduce: Certified for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Citrix Ready for XenApp The latest security with SSH, SSL, Kerberos, and X.509 authentication to secure your information across open-networks Support for FIPS 201 Smart Card authentication Updated look and feel for Windows 7 and 8 environments including touch screen and gesture support Faster than ever performance for both 2D and 3D X Window (OpenGL) applications The most accurate and reliable Windows X Server on the market Find out about all these new features in Connectivity version 15 by visiting our website!

Read More

How B2B Integration Drives Superior Supply Chain Performance


Today’s manufacturers face a constant challenge of balancing supply chain efficiency with the investment placed in their B2B integration platform. To try and get a better understanding of whether increased use of B2B solutions and services impacts the performance of a supply chain, OpenText sponsored a new B2B integration related study with IDC Manufacturing Insights. This blog will briefly summarise some of the key findings from the study. IDC conducted a one hour qualitative survey with 270 global manufacturers across the automotive, high tech and consumer product goods sub-sectors. We had representation from eight countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK and North America. In order to try and develop the hypothesis, IDC asked a number of questions about current B2B implementation initiatives across the 270 companies and they also asked questions relating to key supply chain metrics across each company. I spent a few months working with IDC on this study, so let me just highlight some of the B2B responses first. The first question looked at the key business initiatives that companies were embarking on over the next three years and international expansion into new markets was the key project as shown by the chart below. It is interesting to note that while many companies are trying to improve supply chain visibility and improve supply chain responsiveness they were not as high up in the chart as international expansion, develop more services and reduce operational costs. Indeed diversification into new sub-sectors is a key activity for many manufacturers today, for example high-tech companies exploring new opportunities in the growing electric vehicle market. In order to try and understand how pervasive B2B technologies were across the companies surveyed, the next question asked about the volume of electronic transactions that were being conducted today. Given the consumer driven, fast moving nature of the automotive and high tech sectors, I guess it is no surprise that it is these two industries that are exchanging transactions electronically with more than 75% of their trading partners. CPG on the other hand has a relatively low level, probably due to the fact that many CPG goods are manufactured in countries such as India and China where the use of B2B tools is relatively low when compared to other manufacturing hubs around the world. The study found there were a number of business drivers for companies needing to improve their B2B environment over the next three years. According to leading analysts, the manufacturing sector is going to be the fastest growing adopter of new Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) regulations. This was confirmed by the responses to our study which said that increased regulatory compliance was the number one reason why companies were increasing investment in their B2B infrastructure. This was closely followed by an increasing pressure from customers to adopt B2B integration processes. The survey showed that there was a marked shift in terms of the key barriers to adopting new B2B services. One of the main barriers in the past was getting top level management buy in that B2B integration could bring significant benefits to the business. Our study showed that this barrier was the least likely to prevent a new B2B project from starting. In fact the number one barrier to increased B2B adoption was competing IT projects such as ERP. ERP is typically the number one focus area for CIOs and as such tend to get the most budget and resources to deploy. ERP systems typically have to be live by a specific date and if the date slips then IT resources from other projects are pulled in as required. This could leave other IT projects such as a B2B on-boarding project severely exposed. Even when companies have deployed an ERP and B2B environment, our study showed that nearly 40% of companies had still not integrated their ERP and B2B platforms together. Here at OpenText we find ERP B2B integration projects as a key driver for companies adopting our B2B Managed Services environment. In terms of the benefits gained from B2B integration, companies cited lower inventories as the main benefit. This was most apparent from nearly 60% of automotive respondents who have invested heavily in recent years following the last economic downturn and to help support their global expansion initiatives. As I highlighted at the beginning of this blog post, the study was truly global in nature, covering all the major manufacturing hubs around the world and I just wanted to briefly highlight some of the key findings by region: 71% of German companies trade electronically with less than 50% of their trading partners 80% of Japanese companies said that inventory reduction was a key benefit of B2B integration 62% of US companies trading electronically with more than 50% of their trading partners 27% of Chinese companies trading electronically with more than 50% of their trading partners 57% of South Korean companies said that supply chain complexity was a key barrier to B2B adoption One of the major goals of the study was to find out how companies were progressing in their understanding of how modern B2B technologies can help drive superior business results. To achieve this, it was important to get an understanding of the perceived performance of specific supply chain activities. Once these supply chain metrics were analysed it would then be possible to see if there was any correlation between supply chain performance and the impact of B2B technologies. Here are some examples of the metrics that were measured as part of the analysis: 50% of US companies can process an invoice in under one hour 73% of Chinese companies have an average time to market of less than 120 days 90% of Brazilian companies perform up to two inventory turns per month 87% of Chinese companies deliver greater than 95% perfect orders 60% of Japanese companies have an average customer order delivery time of less than 7 days Overall, there were some interesting findings from a supply chain metrics point of view and I will write a separate blog that examines some of these results. But in the meantime I just wanted to include one chart relating to a specific business process that is seeing increasing levels of digitisation, namely invoicing. The chart below highlights the time it takes for the surveyed companies to process an invoice. The real-time numbers shown below would indicate companies that have adopted electronic invoicing solutions. Acknowledging that the supply chain metrics would be different for each industry, average metrics were created for each industry and IDC then identified ‘top performer’ companies for each metric, ie companies with a performance that significantly exceeds industry average. Building upon this analysis, four ‘performance groups’ were defined according to the amount of times each company was over performing their industry average. Leaders – Companies that are “top performers” in 4 or more metrics Experts – Companies that are “top performers” in 2 or 3 metrics Beginners – Companies that are “top performers” in just one metric Laggards – Companies that are never “top performers” Now I could just provide the final chart that shows the correlation between B2B integration and these four performance groups, however to get a better understanding of this study and the responses we got from these 270 global manufacturers, I would actively encourage you to download a copy of the study, which is available to download FROM HERE. IDC drew a number of conclusions from the results of the study and the complete list of recommendations are available by downloading the study, however some key points include: Start from Business Integration to Achieve Collaboration – To obtain a comprehensive view of the extended supply chain and collaborate with business partners you should first be able to integrate with them Redesign Supply Chains – Having a collaborative information exchange process is core to being able to support global trading partners and ensure that supply chains are resilient in the face of volatile demand or unexpected supply chain disruptions Acknowledge the Opportunity of Elevating the Role of Your B2B Infrastructure – B2B infrastructures are in many cases still considered a commodity tool, but moving forward manufacturers will need to make it: ‘The central information exchange layer of the organization’ In summary, the study demonstrated that manufacturers can achieve hard benefits by improving their B2B related processes. In fact the study demonstrated that there was a strict correlation between having a pervasive, more modern and collaborative B2B platform in place and being a leader in supply chain performance. To get a better understanding of the analysis and to get IDC’s direct response to the findings from the study I would encourage you to DOWNLOAD the study and if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact OpenText. Over the next few weeks I will take a deeper look at some of the industry specific results from the study

Read More

Introducing the Latest Version of the OpenText Connectivity Suite

Large enterprises face an interesting challenge. Their mission-critical applications run on high-performing IBM mainframes, Linux and UNIX servers, and even AS/400s ─ housed safely and securely in the data center. But these applications are accessed by users on Windows-based PCs, or in some cases expensive UNIX terminals. (The original terminals designed for some mainframe applications were long ago replaced by desktop computers.) Of course, Microsoft Windows was not designed for a mainframe environment or for UNIX/Linux applications. This is the conundrum. Running Windows-based terminal emulation software is the obvious solution for connecting desktop computers to applications and data located in the data center, on mainframe and UNIX servers. Unfortunately, not all terminal emulators are created equal. And in many cases, vendors in the space are no longer updating or supporting their software. So where do these organizations turn when they want a high quality, customizable emulation environment that is continually being supported and updated with new functionality, features, and with support for the latest security protocols and operating systems? And what about businesses─ in engineering, retail, financial services or manufacturing, for example – that need to connect their Windows desktops to remote X Window applications? Many enterprise software applications are written for UNIX and Linux, and organizations need to provide a Windows-based remote connection for their users. Security, reliability and performance are absolutely vital for these businesses, so the software that manages the Windows to X Window interface must be fast, secure and reliable. Which software vendor meets these standards? Easy: OpenText. There’s a reason organizations choose our latest OpenText™ Connectivity suite. It is the most robust remote access solution for both modern and legacy environments. Better yet, we’re committed to continuing our decades-long investment in product development and R&D for this suite. With enhanced security and performance for easier, faster connections with greater protection of sensitive data on open networks, we are incredibly pleased to provide you the remote access solution your organization needs. Here are just some of the great new features we’re excited to introduce: Certified for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Citrix Ready™ for XenApp The latest security with SSH, SSL, Kerberos, and X.509 authentication to secure your information across open-networks Support for FIPS 201 Smart Card authentication Updated look and feel for Windows 7 and 8 environments Faster than ever performance for both 2D and 3D X Window (OpenGL) applications The most accurate and reliable Windows X Server on the market Find out about all these new features in Connectivity version 15 by visiting our website.

Read More

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


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

Read More

Step Aside Cloud, Mobile and Big Data, IoT has just Entered the Room


This article provides a review of the ARC Advisory Group Forum in Orlando and expands on the ever increasing importance of analytics in relation to the Internet of Things The room I am referring to here is the office of the CIO, or should that be CTO or CDO (Chief Digital Officer), you see even as technology is evolving, the corporate role to manage digital transformation is evolving too. Since 2011, when Cloud, Mobile and Big Data technologies started to go mainstream, individual strategies to support each of these technologies have been evolving and some would argue that in some cases they remain separate strategies today. However the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the strategic agenda very quickly. For some reason IoT as a ‘collective & strategic’ term, has caught the interest of the enterprise and the consumer alike. IoT allows companies to effectively define one strategy that potentially embraces elements of cloud, mobile and Big Data. I would argue that in terms of IoT, cloud is nearly a commodity term that has evolved into offering connectivity any time, any place or anywhere. Mobile has evolved from simply porting enterprise applications to HTML5 to wearable technology such as Microsoft HoloLens, shown below. Finally Big Data which is broadening its appeal by focussing more on the analytics of information rather than just archiving huge volumes of data. In short, IoT has brought a stronger sense of purpose to cloud, mobile and Big Data. Two weeks ago I was fortunate to attend the ARC Advisory Group Forum in Orlando, a great conference if you have an interest in the Industrial Internet of Things and the direction this is taking. The terminology being used here is interesting as it is just another strand of the IoT, I will expand more on this naming convention a bit later in this post. There were over 700 attendees to the conference, and a lot of interest, as you would expect from industrial manufacturers such as GE, ABB, ThyssenKrupp & Schneider Electric. These companies weren’t just attending as delegates, they were actually showcasing their own IoT related technologies in the expo hall. In fact it was quite interesting to hear how many industrial companies were establishing state of the art software divisions for developing their own IoT applications. For me, the company that made the biggest impact at the conference was GE and their Intelligent Platforms division. GEIP focused heavily on industrial analytics and in particular how it could help companies improve the maintenance of equipment, either in the field or in a factory by using advanced analytics techniques to support predictive maintenance routines. So how does IoT support predictive maintenance scenarios then? It is really about applying IoT technologies such as sensors and analytics to industrial equipment and then being able to process the information coming from the sensors in real time to help identify trends in data and how it is then possible to predict when a component such as a water pump is likely to fail.  If you can predict when a component is likely to fail, you can replace a faulty component as part of a predictive maintenance routine and the piece of equipment is less likely to experience any unexpected downtime. In GE’s case they have many years of experience and knowledge of how their equipment performs in the field and so they can utilise this historical data as well to determine the potential timeline of component failure.  In fact GE went to great lengths to discuss the future of the ‘Brilliant Factory’. The IoT has brought a sense of intelligence or awareness to many pieces of industrial equipment and it was interesting learning from these companies about how they would leverage the IoT moving forwards. There were two common themes to the presentations and what the exhibitors were showcasing in the expo hall. Firstly cyber-security, over the past few months there has been no end of hacking related stories in the press and industrial companies are working very hard to ensure that connected equipment is not ‘hackable’.  The last thing you want is a rogue country hacking into your network, logging into a machine on the shopfloor and stealing tool path cutting information for your next great product that is likely to take the world by storm.  So device or equipment security is really a key focus area for industrial companies in 2015.  Interestingly it wasn’t just cyber-security of connected devices that was keeping CIOs awake at night, a new threat is emerging on the horizon.  What if a complete plant full of connected devices could be brought down by a simple Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat, this was another scenario discussed in one of the sessions at the conference. So encryption and shielding of data is a key focus area for many research establishments at the moment. The second key theme at the conference was analytics. As we know, Big Data has been around for a few years now but even though companies were good at storing TBs of data on mass storage devices they never really got the true value from the data by mining through it and looking for trends or pieces of information that could either transform the performance of a piece of equipment or improve the efficiency of a production process.  By itself, Big Data is virtually useless unless something is done which results in actionable intelligence and insight that delivers value to the organisation. Interesting quote from Oracle,93% of executives believe that organisations are losing revenue as a result of not being able to fully leverage the information they have. So deriving value from information coming from sensors attached to connected devices is going to become a key growth sector moving forwards. It is certainly an area that the CIO/CTO/CDO is extremely interested in as it can directly impact the bottom line and ultimately bring increased value to shareholders. I guess it is no surprise then that the world’s largest provider of Enterprise Information Management solutions, OpenText, should acquire Actuate, a leading provider of analytics based solutions. Last week the Information Exchange business unit of OpenText, which has a strong focus on B2B integration and supply chain, launched Trading Grid Analytics, a value add service to provide improved insights into transaction based information flowing across our cloud based Trading Grid infrastructure. With 16 billion transactions flowing across our business network each year there is a huge opportunity to mine this information and derive new value from these transactions, not just in the EDI related information that is being transmitted between companies on our network. Can you imagine the benefits that global governments could realise if they could predict a country’s GDP based on the volume of order and production related B2B transactions flowing across our network? Actuate is not integrated to Trading Grid just yet but it will eventually become a core piece of technology to analyse information flowing across not just Trading Grid but our other EIM solutions.  It is certainly an exciting time if you are a customer using our EIM solutions! Actuate has some great embedded analytics capabilities that will potentially help improve the overall operational efficiency of connected industrial equipment. In a previous blog I mentioned about B2B transactions being raised ‘on device’ , well with semi-conductor manufacturers such as Intel  spending millions of dollars developing low power chips to place on connected devices, it means that the device will become even more ‘intelligent’ and almost autonomous in nature.  I think we will see a lot more strategic partnerships announced between the semi-conductor manufacturers and industrial equipment manufacturers such as GE and ABB etc. Naturally, cloud, mobile and big data plays a big part in the overall success of an IoT related strategy. I certainly think we will see the emergence of more FOG based processing environments.  ‘FOG’ I hear you ask?, yes another term I heard at a Cisco IoT world forum two years ago.  Basically a connected device is able to perform some form of processing or analytics task in a FOG environment which is much closer to the connected device than a traditional cloud platform.  Think of FOG as being half way between the connected device and the cloud, ie a lot of pre-processing can take place on or near the connected device before the information is sent to a central cloud platform. So coming back to the conference, there was actually another area that was partially discussed, the area of IoT standards.  I guess it is to be expected that as this is a new technology area it will take time to develop new standards for how devices are connected to each other and standard ways for transporting, processing and securing the information flows. But there is another area of IoT related standards that is bugging me at the moment!, the many derivatives of the term IoT that are emerging.  IoT was certainly the first term defined by Kevin Ashton, closely followed by GE who introduced the Industrial Internet of Things, Cisco introducing the Internet of Everything and then you have the German manufacturers introducing Industry 4.0.  I appreciate that is has been the manufacturing industry that has driven a lot of IoT development so far but what about other industries such as retail, energy, healthcare  and other industry sub-sectors?  Admittedly IoT is a very generic term but already it is being more associated with consumer related technologies such as wearable devices and connected home devices such as NEST.  So in addition to defining standards for IoT cyber security, connectivity and data flows, how about introducing a standard naming convention that could support each and every industry? As there isn’t a suitable set of naming conventions, let me start the ball rolling by defining a common naming convention!  I think the following image nicely explains what I am thinking of here. In closing, I would argue, based on the presentations I saw at the ARC conference, that the industrial manufacturing sector is the most advanced in terms of IoT adoption. Can you imagine what sort of world we will live in when all the industries listed above embrace IoT, one word, exciting! Mark Morley currently leads industry marketing for the manufacturing sector at OpenText.  In this role Mark has a focus on automotive, high tech and the industrial sectors. Mark also defines the go-to-market strategy and thought leadership for applying B2B e-commerce and integration solutions within these sectors.

Read More

Forget the Oscars, Tata Motors Won a Bigger Award in Mumbai


Last week I had the pleasure of attending our Innovation Tour event in Mumbai, the first leg of a multi-city tour of the world to showcase our Enterprise Information Management solutions and how they help companies move to the digital first world! The event was very well attended and it was good to see keen interest being shown in our new offerings such as Actuate and Core and our other more mature EIM solutions. Enterprise World has traditionally been our key event of the year, but the Innovation Tour provides a way for OpenText to get closer to our customers around the world, Mumbai was no exception with keen interest shown in our expo hall. I have been to India before, two years ago in fact, to meet with an automotive industry association that looks after the ICT needs of the entire Indian automotive industry. Back then, the discussion was focused around B2B integration. However, last week’s event in  Mumbai showcased all solutions from the OpenText portfolio. One of the interesting solution areas being showcased by one of our customers was Business Process Management (BPM) and it is only fitting that one of our Indian based customers won an award for their deployment of BPM. Why fitting? Well, India has long been the global hub for business process outsourcing, so I guess you could say there is a natural interest in improving the management of business processes in India. OpenText has a strong presence in the Indian market. OpenText presented a number of awards during the event, and Tata Motors was the worthy winner of the award for the best deployment of BPM. Incidentally, Tata Motors also won the global Heroes Award at last year’s Enterprise World event for their deployment of our Cordys BPM Solution. So who are Tata Motors, I hear you ask? Well, they are the largest vehicle manufacturer in India with consolidated revenues of $38.9 billion. Tata Motors is part of a large group of companies which includes Tata Steel, Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, Tata Technologies and many other smaller companies that serve the domestic market in India. Tata Group is fast becoming a leading OpenText customer showcasing many different EIM solutions. For example, Jaguar Land Rover uses OpenText Managed Services to manage the B2B communications with over 1,200 suppliers following divestiture from Ford in 2009. Tata Steel in Europe also uses our Managed Services platform to help consolidate eleven separate EDI platforms and three web portals onto a single, common platform. So, simplification and consolidation of IT and B2B infrastructures is a common theme across Tata Group, and Tata Motors is no different with their implementation of OpenText BPM. Tata Motors has struggled over the years to exchange information electronically with over 750 vehicle dealers across India. Varying IT skills, multiple business processes, combined with having to use a notoriously difficult utilities and communications infrastructure across the country was really starting to impact Tata Motor’s business. In addition, their IT infrastructure had to support over 35,000 users and there were over 90 different types of business application in use across 1,200 departments of the company. So ensuring  that accurate, timely information could be exchanged across both internal and external users was proving to be a huge problem for Tata Motors. Step forward, OpenText BPM! Tata Motors decided to depoy our Cordys BPM solution as a SOA based backed platform to connect all their business applications and more importantly provide a common platform to help exchange information electronically across their extensive dealer network. Even though they had deployed Siebel CRM across their dealer network, Tata Motors faced a constant challenge of having to process a high volume of manual, paper based information, quite often this information would be inaccurate due to mis-keying of information. A simple mistake, but when scaled up across 750 dealers, it can have a serious impact on the bottom line and more importantly impact customer satisfaction levels with respect to new vehicle deliveries or spare parts related orders. Tata Motors had a number of goals for this particular project: Implement a Service Oriented Architecture – Primary objective was to setup a SOA environment for leveraging existing services and hence avoid re-inventing the wheel. They also wanted to use this platform to streamline the current integrations between multiple business systems. Process Automation / Business Process Management – They had a lot of manual, semi-automated of completely automated processes. Manual or semi-automated processes were inefficient and in some cases ineffective as well. Some of their automated processes were actually disconnected with actual business case scenarios. So the goal for implementing BPM was to bring these processes more nearer to ‘business design’, thus improving efficiency and process adherence. Uniform Web Services Framework – Tata Motors goal was to try and establish a single source of web services that could convert existing functionalities of underlying service sources into inter-operable web services. So, what were the primary reasons for Tata Motors choosing OpenText BPM? It was a SOA enabler, its business process automation capabilities, comprehensive product for application development, minimizes the application development time and improved cost effectiveness. Their BPM implementation covered two main areas: Enterprise Applications Integration – mainly deals with inward facing functionalities of employee and manufacturing related process applications. They had many applications but they had a common fault, they did not follow SOA principles. Web services had to be developed inside every application which was very inefficient from a time and resources point of view. In addition, if an application had to connect to SAP then it was an independent, unmanaged and insecure connection. Customer Relationship & Dealer Management Systems Integration –Tata Motors is the biggest player in the commercial vehicles sector in India and one of the biggest in terms of passenger car related sales, with over 750 dealers scattered across India. The dealerships are managed using Siebel CRM-DMS implementation but with many changes being rolled out across the system it needed a supporting platform to effectively manage this process. Cordys became the primary environment for developing CRM-DMS applications. So in summary, Cordys BPM has been integrated with SAP, Siebel CRM-DMS, Email/Exchange Server, Active Directory, Oracle Identity Manager, SMS Gateway and mobile applications across Android and iOS. The Cordys implementation also resulted in a number of business benefits including, improved process efficiency, stronger process adherence, built on a SOA based platform, significant cost and time savings. The project has already achieved its ROI ! Moving forwards OpenText BPM will act as a uniform, centrally managed and secure web services base for all applications used across Tata Motors landscape, irrespective of the technology in which it is developed. The platform will also provide an evolving architecture to mobilise existing applications and they plan to integrate to an in-house developed document management system. Finally, the go forward plan is to move their Cordys implementation to the cloud for improved management of their infrastructure. I have visited many car manufacturers over the years and one company head quartered in the Far East had over 300 dealers in Europe and each one had been allowed to implement their own CRM and DMS environments to manage their dealer business processes. Prior to the acquisition of GXS (my former company) by OpenText, I had to inform them that GXS didn’t have a suitable integration platform to help seamlessly connect all 300 dealers to a single platform. With OpenText BPM we can clearly achieve such an integration project now and Tata Motors is certainly a shining light in terms of what is achievable from an extended enterprise application integration point of view. Congratulations Tata Motors! For more information on OpenText BPM solutions, please CLICK HERE. Finally, I just want to say many thanks to my OpenText colleagues in India; it was a very successful event and a team effort to make it happen. For more information on our Innovation Tour schedule, please CLICK HERE

Read More

4 Questions: Dieter Meuser Discusses Analytics in Manufacturing


Dieter Meuser and two colleagues founded iTAC Software AG in 1998 to commercialize a manufacturing executing system (MES) developed for Robert Bosch GmbH. The timing was ideal, as manufacturers sought ways to leverage the nascent Internet to automatically monitor and manage their plants and thereby improve quality and efficiency to bolster the bottom line. Today, iTAC (Internet Technologies & Consulting) is one of the leading MES companies serving discrete manufacturers, and has customers throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. iTAC.MES.Suite is a cloud-based, Java EE-powered application that enables IP-based monitoring and management of every aspect of a manufacturing plant.  OpenText Analytics provides the business intelligence (BI) and analytics capabilities embedded in iTAC.MES.Suite. You can see the software in action in booth 3437 at the IPC APEX EXPO, held February 22-26 in San Diego, California. Learn more about iTAC’s participation in IPC APEX EXPO here, and learn more about the company at the end of this post. Meuser, iTAC’s CTO, has extensive experience working with manufacturers worldwide. He’s also an expert on the German government’s Industry 4.0 initiative to develop and support “Smart Factories” – that is, manufacturing plants that leverage embedded systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive efficiency and improve quality.  We asked Meuser for his thoughts on these topics. OpenText: iTAC has more than two dozen enterprise customers with plants in 20 countries. What do those customers say are their pain points, particularly with regard to data? Meuser: The biggest single pain point is this: Companies have lots of data, but often they are unsure how to analyze it. Let me elaborate:  Many types of data are recorded to fulfill manufacturers’ tracking and tracing requirements. (Called “traceability standards,” these include VW 80131, VW 80160, MBN 10447, GS 95017 and others.) Data collected via sensor networks, such as plant temperature or humidity, are part of these standards. The objective of collecting this data is to continuously improve manufacturing processes through correlation analysis (or Big Data analysis), accomplished by running the data through intelligent algorithms. But because manufacturers frequently aren’t sure which criteria they should use to analyze the data, analysis often does not happen to the extent that manufacturers want.  As a result, data is collected and stored for possible later analysis. This can lead to a growing mountain of unanalyzed data and very little continuous improvement of processes. But it also illustrates why introducing data management right at the beginning of a tracking and tracing project is so important. Data management, supported by analytics, enables process optimization that otherwise would fall by the wayside. OpenText: How do manufacturers use and analyze data – sensor data in particular – to improve their processes? Meuser: Within manufacturing plants, the most common analysis is called Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) based on integrated production data collection and machine data collection (PDC/MDC). This is done within the plant’s manufacturing execution system (MES). PDC/MDC can happen automatically if the plant’s systems are integrated, or manually via rich clients. The captured data can be evaluated in real time and analyzed via free selectable time intervals. Common analyses include comparing planned changeover and turnaround times with actual values; comparing actual production (including scrap) with forecasts; and examining of unexpected equipment breakdowns. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in these analyses feed into OEE, productivity and utilization. Reducing non-conformance costs is another important business case for data analysis in both IoT and Industry 4.0. The availability of structured and unstructured sensor data related to product failures (and costs associated with them) enables new opportunities to determine non-conformance. There is enormous potential in systematically analyzing causes of production failure. Failure cause catalogues (which many manufacturers have collected for decades), can be examined with the help of a modern data mining tool. Analyzing this data on the basis of quality, product and process data helps to reduce failure costs in a Smart Factory. OpenText: What is the role of analytics and data visualization in IoT and Industry 4.0? Meuser: A major objective of data analyses and visualizations in IoT and Industry 4.0 is automatic failure cause analysis. This is accomplished by measuring and testing product errors along with data about manufacturing machines, equipment and processes, then identifying inefficient processes in order to establish solutions. These solutions must be checked by process engineers who have years of experience. Humans and machines go hand in hand when we optimize product quality in an Industry 4.0 factory. OpenText: What are the benefits of a Smart Factory? Meuser: A Smart Factory consists of self-learning machines that can identify the causes of failure under specific conditions, determine appropriate measures to address a failure, and send messages to inform operators of problems. This is sometimes called a cyber-physical system (CPS). Combined with appropriate software models, it enables autonomous manufacturing machines (within certain limits) and supports the overall objective to optimize processes and avoid failures before they happen. The Smart Factory is enabled by modern data analysis techniques. It relies on data about products, processes, quality and environment (e.g. room temperature or humidity) as appropriate. The ability to interface an ERP system with production equipment creates continuous vertical integration that covers the entire value chain, from receiving to shipping. Be sure to visit iTAC at the IPC APEX EXPO, and read more about iTAC.MES.Suite in this case study.       More about iTAC iTAC Software AG is a leading provider of next-generation, platform-independent and cloud-based MES solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers within the discrete manufacturing sector. The company has more than 20 years of experience in internet-based solutions for the discrete manufacturing sector, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet To date, iTAC has amassed an enviable portfolio of over 70 global enterprise customers across five primary industries: automotive, electronics/EMS/telecommunications technology, metal fabrication, energy/utilities and medical devices. Customers including Audi, Bosch, Continental, Hella, Johnson Controls, Lear, Schneider Electric, Siemens and Volkswagen rely on the iTAC MES Suite to optimize their production processes. iTAC’s product portfolio represents the solutions for the Smart Factory of tomorrow. Its principal components are the iTAC.MES.Suite, the iTAC.Enterprise, Framework and iTAC.embedded.Systems, including its platform-independent iTAC.ARTES middleware and iTAC.Smart.Devices, the company’s new physical interface solutions.

Read More

Will the Creation of ‘On Device’ or ‘On Thing’ Based B2B Transactions Ever Become a Reality?


Over the past five years CIOs around the world have been rolling out their cloud based B2B strategies. Whether deploying B2B on premise, on cloud or as a hybrid environment, companies have been able to deploy B2B infrastructures according to their budget, strategy and technical capabilities. Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service initiatives have been deployed with great effect, and numerous other ‘as-a-Service’ definitions have evolved. So where next for B2B based infrastructures?, well with nearly every CIO formulating a strategy in support of the Internet of Things, how about an On Device or On Thing based B2B strategy? I have posted twenty or so blogs relating to cloud infrastructures since 2010 and over the past year I have spent some time looking at the Internet of Things and where this may go in relation to supply chains of the future.  In a couple of my IoT related blogs I provided some examples on how I thought IoT connected devices could connect into an enterprise infrastructure, (read about it here), and then initiate some form of closed loop ordering process as part of a replenishment or predictive maintenance scenario. I read an article on last September where the author described something called the Internet of ‘Things as a Service’ or TaaS for short.  I didn’t realise it at the time of writing my own blogs but this is exactly what I was describing, namely a connected device will be able to analyse its own consumption trends or wear rates and then be able to place some form of order for replacement parts without any human intervention.  OK, sounds a bit far-fetched but I can guarantee this is where things, no pun intended, will be going in the future. Billions of dollars are being spent on developing onboard or embedded processing, sensing, storage and analytics based technologies for IoT based devices.  Many companies such as Intel are betting huge research budgets to develop next generation semi-conductor chips that can be embedded on ‘things’. In fact only last week, OpenText acquired a leading analytics company , and they have been looking at embedded analytics for IoT devices. I will take a look at embedded analytics in relation to B2B in a future blog entry as I believe it will transform how companies visualise, interact and manage B2B related information flowing across the extended enterprise. Two weeks ago I had an interesting discussion with ARC Advisory Group relating to device or ‘thing’ level creation of B2B transactions. ARC use the term Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to describe their take on this area as they are keen to differentiate themselves from more consumer focused IoT devices such as wearable technology and home automation equipment. As I have mentioned before there are many big players entering the IIoT space, for example GE (who originally coined the IIoT term), Cisco and Bosch to name but a few. Could we see a piece of equipment in the field, for example a generator or excavator, initiating a B2B transaction by itself to order a replacement part that is just about to fail? For the purposes of this blog I just wanted to introduce the idea of a device or ‘thing’ derived B2B transaction and you can read more in the ARC article that was written to support this.  

Read More

Did You Know 76% of Automotive Companies Exchange B2B Transactions Electronically?

In December last year I posted a blog relating to a new study from OpenText that was conducted by IDC Manufacturing Insights. The main goal of the study was to see if there was a direct correlation between B2B integration and how it impacts supply chain performance. The study covered three industry sectors including automotive, high tech and consumer product goods (CPG). For the purposes of this blog article I wanted to spend a few minutes reviewing the results from the automotive related respondents to the survey. We recently hosted a webinar with IDC to discuss the findings from the study. You will be able to get access to this and other downloads related to our study at the end of this blog. The survey relating to this study covered all the major automotive manufacturing hubs around the world, including Japan, China, North America, Brazil and the UK as OpenText wanted to obtain a truly global view of how B2B solutions were being deployed across the industry. I would like to now discuss some of the more important B2B integration results from the study that relate to the automotive industry. 76% exchange B2B transactions electronically – the automotive industry needs to support a network of global trading partners and it is therefore important to be able to exchange B2B transactions electronically. Whether working with a casting manufacturer in China or a plastic housing manufacturer in Brazil, being able to onboard global suppliers and ensure that information can be exchanged electronically, irrespective of technical capability, is a high business priority for many automotive companies. 67% exchange information collaboratively and in real time – the automotive industry relies on numerous partnerships including those with outside contract manufacturers and design consultancy firms and hence it is important to be able to exchange information seamlessly and in a collaborative fashion with these key partners. Time to market in the automotive industry can provide a key competitive advantage and being able to exchange information in real time helps to support this particular corporate initiative. From a manufacturing point of view, Just-in-Time production systems rely on the timely delivery of Advance Ship Notice (ASN) transactions from key suppliers, therefore having a highly available B2B integration platform in place is critical to the reliable delivery of these transactions. 59% said that B2B integration had reduced inventory levels – being able to connect globally diverse business systems to a common B2B platform helps to improve end to end visibility of business transactions. Providing access to a common B2B platform means that manufacturers have improved inventory visibility across global production and distribution facilities. 44% said that supply chain complexity was a key barrier to improving B2B integration – the global nature of the automotive industry, combined with the complex nature of the products being manufactured, namely vehicles, means that it can sometimes be difficult to roll out new B2B integration projects in a timely manner. Car manufacturers are starting to introduce more global vehicle platforms, and this has helped to reduce the number of parts in a vehicle, which has the knock on effect of simplifying the supply chain. Working across different geographies, cultures and time zones means that companies need to partner with a B2B provider that can truly support their global operations. OpenText is the world’s largest provider of cloud based B2B integration services. 43% said their reason for adopting B2B integration was mandated by customers – many automotive suppliers around the world are asked to exchange B2B transactions electronically by their customers. In many cases being able to trade electronically is a condition of doing business with their customers. Large car manufacturers such as Ford insist for example that ASNs are exchanged within a relatively narrow window and the only way tier 1 suppliers can do this is to exchange ASNs electronically. 62% had fully integrated their B2B and ERP systems together – another study conducted by OpenText showed that over a third of information entering ERP comes from outside the enterprise. So having tight integration between a B2B and ERP system is crucial to the smooth operation of today’s automotive production environments and the new IDC study reconfirms this. If transactions entering ERP can be automatically checked to ensure that only up to date and accurate information enters ERP then it will help to reduce downstream rework of information and prevent inaccurate information entering other production systems. Incorrect information could potentially bring production to a halt. The study showed that the automotive industry has a high proportion of ‘focused adopters’ of B2B integration solutions due to some of the unique automotive production processes that need to be supported. The shift in focus towards ‘preferred relationships’ across the industry has driven, over the years, a significant improvement in the quality of IT systems, and as such many automotive companies are exchanging information collaboratively and in real-time with their key trading partners. This is an essential feature to help reduce inventory costs and speed up their time to market. Finally, IDC asked automotive companies which new technologies such as cloud computing, mobile, big data and social media would see exponential growth in the future and big data came out on top. It is no surprise big data had such a positive response due to the sheer volume of information flowing across today’s automotive supply chains. We also took the opportunity of asking the survey respondents which emerging technology trends such as the Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Advanced Robotics and Wearable Devices would lead future investment priorities and as expected 3D Printing came out on top. 3D Printing is one of the most disruptive new technologies and has the potential to reshape the automotive supply chains of the future. In some cases we may see ‘zero length supply chains’ being introduced on the back of 3D Printing technologies. This is an area that I will be looking at more closely in a future blog entry. If you would like to download your own copy of the new B2B study from OpenText then please complete the registration form via THIS LINK. When you have registered you will also be able to get access to an on demand webinar that we recently recorded with IDC, a copy of the webinar slides and an infographic that illustrates some of the key findings from the study.

Read More

Join Santa Claus on his Journey to the Digital First World!

When OpenText acquired GXS in January 2014, little did the company know that they would also be acquiring a customer widely regarded as having one of the most secretive businesses in the world. Over the years, many companies have decided to outsource the management of their B2B environment and in 2008, GXS signed a Managed Services contract with its most high profile customer, Santa Claus Enterprises in the North Pole. Over the years I have kept in close contact with this particular customer as they have been a shining example of how to deploy the full portfolio of B2B solutions from OpenText. Each year, just before Santa’s busiest period, I have provided a summary of the enhancements to their B2B environment. The evolution of Santa’s B2B environment is documented via the blogs below, feel free to take a look through as they will also provide some interesting insights into what it takes to deliver millions of Christmas presents on just one night of the year. 2013 – Santa deploys the Internet of Things across his North Pole Operations 2012 – Santa begins to evaluate the information flowing across SantaNet and implements a Big Data strategy 2011 – OpenText Active Community gets rolled out across Santa’s trading partner community to improve day to day collaboration across his Present Delivery Network and he also gets nominated for B2B Heroes award 2010 – Santa evaluates how cloud computing and mobile devices could improve North Pole operations 2009 – Santa completes deployment of OpenText Managed Services and begins to embrace social media tools 2008 – OpenText Managed Services chosen to support Santa’s new B2B hub, OpenText Intelligent Web Forms deployed to create SantaNet Santa’s little helpers, namely his army of elves, were asked by Santa to review the portfolio of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions from OpenText to see where further benefits could be made by automating manual business processes and digitising the remainder of his business operations. Many companies are embarking on a digital journey to improve the way in which different departments manage and get access to their corporate information. In fact ‘Digital Transformation’ projects are high on the agenda of many CIOs around the world at the moment and OpenText is in a unique position to provide a one stop shop to transform companies into a digital business. In August I received an email from Sonja Lundström, Santa’s trusted advisor and executive assistant, inviting me to go up to the North Pole to provide a digital business briefing for Santa and his executive board. Santa’s board members comprise of senior executives from some of the world’s leading toy manufacturers including Mattel, Hasbro and Lego. As with previous trips up to the North Pole, I was asked to check in at the Elf Air desk at a secret terminal at Schipol Airport just outside Amsterdam. This year I had the privilege of travelling on one of Santa’s new Airbus A380’s, a converted passenger plane that allows Santa, when required, to expedite the shipment of thousands of parcels to any one of his Present Distribution Hubs located in strategic locations around the world. The plane I travelled on, call sign ELF020, was one of a fleet of ten aircraft that Santa had chartered for the 2014 holiday season. 16 hours after leaving the UK I was checking into the North Pole Ice Hotel, a stone’s throw from the entrance to Santa’s primary toy manufacturing and distribution facility. I decided to get an early night as I knew the following day would be quite busy! The next day I walked across to Santa’s factory and I was whisked up to the executive briefing centre where I was introduced to Santa’s board members. Five minutes later and the main man himself walked through the frosted glass doors to the board room. Following introductions, Santa’s Chief Elf Information Officer provided an update on their current IT and B2B related projects. I have documented many of these projects quite extensively in the earlier articles which I listed at the beginning of this blog. Needless to say I was very impressed by the ROI that Santa had obtained by deploying OpenText Managed Services. Santa’s core B2B platform, the Present Delivery Network (shown above), processes billions of transactions each year and over the last five years, Santa had seen a 40% growth in new present orders through SantaNet, a web form based toy ordering environment that our company setup in 2008. The growth in new orders had come from the so called omni-channel effect with children placing toy orders through PCs, mobiles and tablet based devices. In addition to deploying a world leading B2B platform, Santa’s team rolled out their ‘Internet of Santa’s Things’ infrastructure, a high profile initiative to provide improved visibility across Santa’s Present Delivery Network. The Internet of Things has become one of the most talked about disruptive digital technologies of 2014, and Santa had no concerns about deploying his IoST environment and he certainly proved to be a digital trail blazer in this particular area. In addition, Santa had embraced a number of other disruptive technologies during 2014. Last year I discussed how Santa’s elves were using Google Glass in their warehouses to improve their toy pick rates. In addition to Glass, Santa had tested some other high profile disruptive technologies. A few years ago Santa invited Steve Jobs to his factory and following lengthy discussions Santa Claus Enterprises became a leading member of Apple’s beta test program. As soon as the early iWatch wearable devices were revealed to the world’s media in 2014, Apple despatched a shipment of iWatches for every elf in the factory. These came pre-loaded with a number of festive mobile apps to help improve the day to day efficiency of Santa’s team of elves. 3D printing was rolled out across Santa’s production department, not just for manufacturing proof of concept toy designs but to build scale models of new sleigh designs that would then be refined in Santa’s onsite wind tunnel. Sleigh research budgets have increased significantly over the years and 3D printing was helping to develop the most aerodynamically refined sleigh in the world. The final area of digital disruption that Santa embraced in 2014 was advanced robotics. Santa had heard that Foxconn, a leading contract manufacturer to Apple, was deploying up to a million ‘Foxbots’ across their manufacturing operations. Santa decided that he wanted to deploy ‘Elfbots’ to bring similar efficiencies to his own production operations. Santa is now working with Andy Rubin, head of Google’s newly formed robotics division, to define a development plan for his network of 2,000 Elfbots. Santa has done a great job of ensuring that he can seamlessly connect with the little children around the world. So in many ways Santa’s operations were already significantly digitally enabled but now that GXS had been acquired by OpenText there was scope for the deployment of further digital information tools. After all, many of the new disruptive technologies such as connected IoST devices were producing high volumes of unstructured data that would need to be archived, analysed and acted upon as required. After the CEIO had provided his updates it was time for me to take to the floor. I provided Santa and the board with a high level introduction to OpenText and they were very impressed with the joint customer base and the opportunities available to embrace new Enterprise Information Management solutions. Even though Santa had consolidated many back end business systems, such as his Elf Resources Platform (ERP), there were still many different information silos located within the various departments of his operations. Just finding the right information at the right time proved to be a challenge on occasions. To gain further efficiencies across Santa’s operations it would be important to ensure that all departments could feed off of a centralised digital information hub. This hub would be accessible any time, any place or anywhere, useful considering the global nature and complexity of Santa’s operations. OpenText solutions are divided across five key ‘pillars’, shown by way of the chart below, Santa’s B2B solutions are under the Information Exchange pillar. Before I had even explained each of the five solution pillars, Santa could immediately see that there was a significant opportunity to increase the footprint of OpenText solutions across his business. Santa said that he would like OpenText to become his trusted guide during his journey into the digital first world. But first he wanted me to highlight how OpenText could manage different types of information from the key stages of a toy’s lifecycle. I created the chart below to help illustrate some of the key process stages across Santa’s manufacturing operations. I have also overlaid, where appropriate the five key solution pillars as they apply to each stage of the lifecycle of a toy (which in reality could represent any manufactured product). Now I could go into detail around how OpenText can help manage information across each of these twelve process steps, but for the purposes of this article, let me just expand on five of these. Toy Design & Engineering – At this phase of a toy’s lifecycle, any information associated with the design of a toy will need to be centrally managed and archived in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution. Typical files managed at this stage include 3D CADCAM models, 3D printer files, 2D drawings, production related information and high quality rendered images and 3D animations. A Digital Asset Management solution from OpenText would allow Santa’s marketing elves and outside PR agencies to review and download high quality rendered images and videos for use in promotional materials. Information Exchange (IX), solutions such as Managed File Transfer, allows Santa’s design elves to send large file size design information anywhere across the external enterprise, including contract manufacturers. Procurement / Supplier Onboarding – This is part of the toy’s lifecycle that GXS, now Information Exchange, has been supporting over the past few years, from on-boarding suppliers and ensuring they can exchange B2B transactions electronically to providing back end integration to Santa’s ERP platform. In addition, it is important for a procurement team to work collaboratively with their suppliers and all proposal, contract and contact information will need to be centrally managed. The procurement elves may need to undertake some form of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) assessments across their trading partner community. The area of GRC is becoming an increasingly important area for many companies and new regulations such as conflict minerals compliance needs to be adhered to and managed in an effective way. Just as an aside, Santa takes Corporate Social Responsibility really seriously, so much so that he would like to setup an Elf Information Management System (EIMS) to help with the day to day management of his elves and ensure the quality of their welfare whilst working in the toy factory. Plant Maintenance and Asset Management – Santa has an army of elves conducting proactive maintenance on shop floor related manufacturing and assembly equipment. Given the tight production schedule that Santa has each year, his elves ideally need quick access to maintenance and machine test procedures, 2D maintenance drawings and equipment test and compliance certificates. Even ensuring that Santa’s elves adhere to the latest Elf and Safety procedures has become a challenge over the years. The elves already have access to ruggedized tablet devices for use on the shop floor. Using Appworks, OpenText’s mobile app development platform, Santa’s elves would be able to get remote access to any information archived in the central content management system. In addition, the elves need to follow a standard process for maintaining each piece of equipment and OpenText’s Business Process Management (BPM) solution would be able to more effectively manage all the process steps involved with maintaining Santa’s production equipment. Can you imagine what would happen on the 24th December each year if the toy production lines are halted due to a malfunctioning assembly robot? Online Customer Experience – The SantaNet portal had worked well over the years and allowed the little children of the world to login to a portal and submit their present wish lists! At this stage of the toy’s lifecycle, various web related assets will need to be created and managed, eg product brochures, toy promotion videos and animations will need to be accessed by different elves across the extended enterprise and outside video production agencies. OpenText Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions are ideal for this purpose. Given the connected nature of today’s children, Santa would be able to setup a best in class ‘Young Person Experience Management’ offering that would leverage OpenText’s Web Experience Management offering. In addition, all other internal websites used by his elves could be upgraded with the latest portal technologies offered by OpenText. Recalls and Warranty Repair – The final stage of a toy’s lifecycle relates to the potential recall or repair of toys. Unfortunately not every toy delivered via the chimney makes it safely down to the fireplace and breakages can occur. Santa established a toy repair and recall centre ten years ago however many of the processes used to recover broken toys from the world’s children are quite lengthy and prone to delays due to the amount of manual paperwork that needs to be processed. In addition to repairs, sometimes toys have to be recalled, perhaps due to poor quality workmanship by Santa’s elves. Whether repairing broken toys or recalling faulty toys, Santa’s elves could significantly improve operational efficiencies by deploying OpenText’s Business Process Management (BPM) solution. BPM will ensure that every toy that needs to be repaired or recalled follows a strict series of process steps. This ensures that a consistent and repeatable repair/recall process can be established and this helps to improve Child Satisfaction Levels, a key metric used by Santa to keep the world’s children happy with their toys. In addition to providing an overview of these five solution areas, I explained to Santa that OpenText was looking at how the different pillar solutions could be integrated together. I also showed a new fast moving video which helps to describe the OpenText Cloud. To wrap up my presentation to Santa and the board I also discussed new development areas and highlighted a recent announcement concerning OpenText’s intention to acquire the business intelligence company, Actuate. Last year when I visited Santa Claus Enterprises HQ, I was shown the latest beta version of SantaPad, a Big Data analytics engine for processing toy consumption trends across the little boys and girls of the world. Actuate could potentially provide the business intelligence platform to significantly improve the big data analytics capabilities across Santa’s operations. Santa was so excited by this news that he requested a briefing of Actuate’s capabilities, as and when it was convenient for OpenText to do so. We had just gone over our two hour presentation slot with Santa and I decided to summarise how OpenText helps businesses move to a 100% digital business. Firstly OpenText can help to Simplify Santa’s back end platforms to manage enterprise wide business information, irrespective of which application the information was originally created in. Secondly, OpenText can help to Transform information from literally any format to another and ensure that digital information can be exchanged both internally across the elf community and externally across third party contract manufacturers and logistics providers. Thirdly, OpenText can help to Accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, which would allow faster business decisions to be made. Santa’s operations would ultimately become more responsive to changing consumer demand and increased competition from new emerging toy markets. This brought our meeting to a close and I had a number of actions to follow up on with my colleagues back at OpenText! In closing, Santa wished OpenText and our global customers Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year and he said he was looking forward to working closely with OpenText during 2015 and beyond. So it just leaves me to say season’s greetings and best of luck for 2015!  

Read More

Demand Forecasting for Star Wars VII Merchandise – Use the Force

One year from today (December 18, 2015) the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga will be released into movie theaters around the world. The movie will only last two hours, but kids will relive the movie for years afterwards with the Star Wars action figures and other new toys that will accompany the film. Forecasting demand for toys and merchandise associated with a major movie release can be quite challenging. When the original Star Wars action figures were released in late 1977 there was a huge supply shortage the following Christmas. A small toy company named Kenner had licensed the rights to produce toys for the original Star Wars film.  With numerous production delays and budget overruns, few associated with the film expected Star Wars to be a success before its release.  Consequently, Kenner had not bothered to manufacture any merchandise in time for the release.  Needless to say, the film was a smashing success breaking box office sales records and creating a loyal fan based of millions seemingly overnight. As a result, Kenner had to develop a merchandising strategy to capitalize on the film’s widespread popularity.   But the development of plastic toys required over a year.  The action figures needed to be designed, sculpted and tested.  Expensive and time consuming steel molds were needed to support the manufacturing activities.   Starting in mid-summer, Kenner would not be able to get the products to market in time for the all-important Christmas holiday season.  Although Kenner held the license rights to the biggest movie in history, it could not capitalize on the opportunity because it get its merchandise to market fast enough. Toy manufacturers won’t make the same mistake with Episode VII. With filming already completed in Iceland and Abu Dhabi earlier this year, I suspect design has already started on action figures, replica ships and other merchandise in preparation for launch day. Manufacturing on the toys will need to start four to six months in advance (July-September 2015) to allow adequate time for product to be shipped from China via ocean freight to stores around the world. Forecasting demand for toys will require the usual guesswork. Which action figures will be the most popular? Will it be the older versions of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo or will it be new additions Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren? Only the force could be used to accurately make these predictions. Episode VII’s release seven days before the Christmas holiday will complicate matters even further. Millions of kids will view the movie in the first few days then make last minute additions to their holiday wish lists. Santa and his elves will have to work quickly to respond to changing demand patterns up until Christmas Eve. I think the best way to launch the toys would be not to mass manufacture them in China, but instead to produce them on-demand in retail stores with 3D printers.

Read More

Data Driven Summit – Excellence Awards and Customer Panel [Video]

Customers are the lifeblood of Actuate and we’re proud of the ones that joined us at Data Driven Summit 2014. What we love are their success stories. We love to hear about their experience and perspective on building the next big app – and how they are using Actuate to reach and engage their customers with embedded analytics. To acknowledge their contributions, we created the Actuate Excellence Awards program to recognize innovative embedded analytics implementations and impressive return on investment among Actuate customers and open source BIRT developers. The Excellence Awards were presented during Data Driven Summit 2014 – Actuate’s annual series of customer events. Actuate’s Senior VP of Marketing Nobby Akiha handed out the awards, then moderated a panel of Actuate customers on stage. In Santa Clara, attendees got to hear from Laverne Williams with Canadian telecom SaskTel (@SaskTel) and Sean Christian with Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, a California public utility, about their travels with BIRT. Increasing Insight, Reducing Costs SaskTel’s Williams said the telecom started with Actuate’s Metrics Management option for BIRT iHub and expanded its relationship to include BIRT iHub Enterprise with data visualization dashboards. SaskTel’s use of BIRT iHub helped the company improve productivity and efficiency through data loading and scheduling. For example, SaskTel’s sales department attained better information and insights for management, account managers and key account primes. SaskTel’s support and service divisions gained self-service access to role-specific, personalized customer metrics by using BIRT iHub. Likewise, the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County looked to BIRT iHub to facilitate decision making at many levels. The organization embedded BIRT into its Oracle Asset Management middleware to drive its bottom line. As a result, engineers have a tool that lets them look at the data in an intelligent way.  BIRT iHub helped the organization reduce overtime costs by 40 percent. Here’s that discussion at the Data Driven Summit in Santa Clara, Calif. Winners all around the globe Santa Clara was just the beginning of this year’s Actuate Excellence Awards Program. Fifteen Excellence Awards winners were recognized around the globe. The customer winners and award categories for this year’s Excellence Awards are as follows: Santa Clara – November 6, 2014 SaskTel: BIRT Implementation Singapore – November 11, 2014 Optimum Response Pty Ltd: BIRT Analytics Implementation Paris – November 18, 2014 Centreon: BIRT Implementation MGStream: BIRT Embedded Analytics Toute la Téléphonie Industrielle (TLTI): BIRT Implementation London – November 19, 2014 Diginius: BIRT Customer Facing Application NHS England: BIRT Data Driven Application Frankfurt – November 20, 2014 BVI Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management: Statistical Self-Service Member Portal Endress+Hauser InfoServe GmbH: Interactive Automation Solutions European IT Consultancy EITCO GmbH: System Integrator iTAC Software AG: Manufacturing Execution System – Embedded BI SWM – Stadtwerke München: BI Competence Center New York – December 3, 2014 Dell Services: Return on BIRT New York City Transit: BIRT Implementation Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corporation: BIRT Embedded Analytics “Our customers consistently set new standards of excellence within their industries that drive positive change, increased value and better engagement for organizations worldwide,” said Pete Cittadini, president and CEO of Actuate. “Congratulations to this year’s winners – customers that have contributed great technological advancements through their use of BIRT, thus introducing a new level of innovation to the field of embedded analytics.” We’ll be posting more of the Data Driven Summit 2014 video series here, including the demonstrations, BIRT data visualization insights and panel discussions with industry insiders. Subscribe (at left) to be informed when new videos are posted.

Read More

Enterprise World 2014 – Digital Disruption Across Tomorrow’s Manufacturing Supply Chains


OpenText hosted Enterprise World 2014 in Orlando last week, our main customer focused conference for the year. With nearly 2000 attendees, the event was a huge success and it provided the ideal opportunity for our customers to learn more about how OpenText will be helping companies develop a digital first strategy. OpenText also unveiled a number of exciting cloud based announcements as well as provide an opportunity to showcase enhancements to our Enterprise Information Management suite of product offerings. There was also a very strong industry focus at this year’s event and it provided me with the opportunity to define my vision of how digital disruption would impact tomorrow’s manufacturing supply chains. I wanted to use this blog entry to highlight some of the key messages from this particular session. I began the session by describing some of the macro-economic trends that were impacting today’s manufacturing industry. From globalisation to consumer driven product innovation, today’s manufacturers are quickly restructuring their supply chains to accommodate future growth and new digital trends. Much of this growth will occur in a new set of emerging markets collectively known as the MINT, (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries. For the past decade companies have focused on the BRIC countries and now they have the MINT countries to contend with! You can find out more about the MINT countries through one of my earlier blog entries. I then went on to discuss the evolution of the digital manufacturing business, this was an area that I discussed quite extensively in an earlier blog entry, click here.  I wanted to try and highlight that the manufacturing industry has seen pockets of ‘digital innovation’ evolve over the years, however most of this digital innovation has centred around information that has originated from the design department. The design department has essentially provided the central hub from which various departments across a manufacturing business have utilised digital information. I then went on to explain how digital information powers the integrated value chain and how Enterprise Information Management solutions from OpenText can help to manage all types of digital information across the entire lifecycle of a manufactured product.  I explained how at a simplistic level, an end to end product lifecycle could be broken down into twelve key process steps. From managing digital information at the market / customer requirements stage, through to production and aftermarket support, each stage of the process generates different types of digital information that needs to be managed, archived and potentially exchanged across a digital supply chain. I will expand on this concept in a future blog entry but you can see at a high level below how I have mapped across OpenText’s key solutions across each step of a product’s lifecycle, further details on this are available via the SlideShare link at the end of this blog. Following this discussion I went on to discuss the future of the digital manufacturing business and in particular how key technologies being introduced today would impact digital manufacturing strategies of the future. For the past few years manufacturers have been embracing cloud based ERP, PLM and B2B solutions, but moving forwards CIOs across the manufacturing industry will have to support a broad range of digital information coming from a variety of different sources. I highlighted five of the more popular technologies that were getting a lot of air time in the media at the moment. For example: Wearable devices such as Google Glass and how they will help in for example the warehouse and logistics management space How 3D printing was likely to revolutionise manufacturing and see ‘zero length’ supply chains being introduced Deployment of advanced robotics platforms such as ‘Baxter’ and the so called ‘Fox Bots’ to automate manual production processes Introduction of drone based logistics and how they will potentially improve the efficiency of short distance delivery networks The Internet of Things and how it was likely to impact the design of future B2B platforms and improve the efficiency of supply chain networks The Internet of Things was the last area that I covered in my presentation and this was probably the most significant from a digital disruption point of view. I have discussed the IoT in earlier blog entries, most recent example is shown here, and what I wanted to do for this presentation was provide a point of view for how B2B, EIM and IoT will work together in future manufacturing environments. I used the graphic below to try and provide a high level view of what a future manufacturing business could look like with digital information being both visible and accessible from one end of the manufacturing supply chain to the other. The grey area depicts the traditional information management space that OpenText has served over recent years.  The blue area highlights the external connectivity and exchange of digital information, provided by GXS and EasyLink, across the extended enterprise, and the orange section highlights the information that will be coming into the enterprise from thousands of connected devices that will be connected to digital business networks in the future. I had some great feedback from this presentation at Enterprise World and it certainly helped provide attendees with a vision of how OpenText can help manufacturers fight their way through the complexity of managing digital information in the future. If you would like to see my entire presentation from Enterprise World, then please click on the following link to view the SlideShare based presentation. Enterprise World 2014 – Manufacturing Industry Breakout Session from Mark Morley The post Enterprise World 2014 – Digital Disruption Across Tomorrow’s Manufacturing Supply Chains appeared first on All About B2B.

Read More