Analytics is Key to Digital Transformation in UK Manufacturing

digital transformation

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

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Steel Mill Gains Insight, Makes Better Decisions Through Analytics


When you think of a steel mill, crucibles of glowing molten metal, giant molds and rollers probably come to mind, not complex financial analysis. But like every other industry nowadays, steel mills – especially ones that specialize in scrap metal recycling – have to keep reviewing their material and production costs and the ever-changing demand for their products, so that they can perform efficiently in a competitive global market. That was the case for North Star BlueScope Steel in Delta, Ohio, which produces hot-rolled steel coils, mostly for the automotive and construction industries. Founded in 1997, the company is the largest scrap steel recycler in Ohio, processing nearly 1.5 million tons of metal a year. To operate profitably, North Star BlueScope examines and analyzes its costs and workflow every month, pulling in data from all over the company, plus external market research. But it was hampered by slow and inefficient technology, centered on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets so large and unwieldy, they took up to 10 minutes just to open. Comparing costs for, say, the period of January through May required North Star staffers to open five separate spreadsheets (one for each month) and combine the information manually. Luckily, the company was already using OpenText™ iHub  as a business intelligence platform for its ERP and asset management systems. It quickly realized iHub would be a much more efficient solution for its monthly costing analysis than the Excel-based manual process. Making Insights Actionable In fact, North Star BlueScope Steel ended up adopting the entire OpenText™ Analytics Suite, including OpenText™ Big Data Analytics (BDA),  whose advanced approach to business intelligence lets it easily access, blend, explore, and analyze data. The results were impressive. The steel company can now analyze a much larger range of its data and get better insights to steer decision-making. For example, it can draw on up to five years’ worth of data in a single, big-picture report, or drill down to a cost-per-minute understanding of mill operations. Now it has a better idea of the grades and mixes of steel products most likely to generate higher profits, and the customers most likely to buy those products. To learn more about how North Star BlueScope Steel is using OpenText Analytics to optimize its operations, plus its plans to embrace the Internet of Things by plugging data streams from its instruments about electricity consumption, material usage, steel prices, and even weather directly into Big Data Analytics, click here.

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Engaging With Manufacturing Customers at Enterprise World 2016

manufacturing customers

Well, has it really been two weeks since I attended the best customer conference event I have ever attended? That’s Enterprise World in Nashville where over 2,000 like-minded people came together. It really was a great event. Having only been in the company for 5 months it really accelerated my learning curve on so many levels. But for me the most important thing was connection; putting a face and a handshake to people who have “virtually” been so helpful to me since I joined, and even more so, the chance to meet so many dedicated manufacturing customers from around the world who have invested in being with OpenText. When companies like ours come together with their customers on any level, but particularly, at a face-to-face level it creates a powerful and empowering partnership. In pursuit of that the Industry Strategists at OpenText organized an Industry Group session for customers to connect, engage, and follow-up on Enterprise Information Management themes, in my case, around the manufacturing sector. So how did my first session go? Good considering I had to follow the best keynote I have ever heard, Commander Chris Hadfield, an inspirational speaker, and then there was lunch. So, many thanks to the customers and partners who attended the session. From the start I wanted to promote our manufacturing group as customer-centric so I suggested some topics for consideration: The manufacturing user group meeting should be a meeting between customers and for customers It should provide an opportunity to build a community for connection, engagement and follow up It should meet in person a minimum of once a year at Enterprise World as well as ”virtually” at other times The group should offer the chance to develop working relationships The meeting should provide a platform to kick off next steps for the year ahead And provide the opportunity for customers to present and share the business themes they are addressing with OpenText solutions The session was very productive with interesting discussions. Consensus was that the people in the room would like a forum on which to communicate amongst themselves and OpenText. The customers suggested a good, ready-made and already popular platform could be a Linkedin Group. And if you are thinking Connect, Engage, and follow-up it was a great idea. So OpenText in Manufacturing is about to happen! If interested please contact me at so you can be part of it from the very beginning – I hope you will join us.

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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.  

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Twenty Good Reasons Why Manufacturers Should Attend Enterprise World This Year

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!

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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!

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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.  

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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 »  

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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.

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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.

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How B2B Automation Helps to Develop Greener Supply Chains

green banking

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.

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Expanding the Banking Universe with a Mobile-Only Play

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.

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Enterprise Mobility: Are you an Enabler?

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

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

customer experience

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

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

Internet of Things

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. The first video in my Digital-First World series for manufacturing discussed 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. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 access a recorded version of the webinar about this study via this link.  

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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.  

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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!

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