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


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

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Excellence in Sales Order Entry – From Document to Digital

digital sales orders

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

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Mastering Partner Marketing: The Do’s, Don’ts and The Reasons Why

partner marketing

Some things in life just naturally go together – fish and chips, tea and cake, sausage and mash. But it’s not just foods that combine well. Any good marketer will tell you about the benefits of joint marketing with partners – particularly if you align with a large complementary brand. Whilst the logic of working together may be a no brainer, it’s often the execution where things go awry. Take Financial Services for example. There’s certainly no shortage of opportunities for education, engagement and conversion as digital transformation continues to disrupt markets and business models, but creating a targeted, well executed partner marketing proposition is easier said than done for some companies. That’s why I decided to write this blog and share some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to mastering the partner marketing model. The Don’ts of Partner Marketing Activities Don’t Assume It’s An Equal Relationship – Once you’ve found a symbiotic reason to partner with another organisation, don’t assume your counterpart shares your view of how the relationship is defined. Marketers often assume partner companies will want a 50/50 marketing relationship. The cost of co-branding with certain organisations may involve doing things their way, not yours. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but don’t say yes to things if it pushes you further away from your objectives. Don’t Get Eclipsed – Don’t assume you can rely on the strength of just one brand to push your partnership. The smaller brand needs a very clear value proposition or it risks being eclipsed. Show why your respective offerings are of strength, both collectively and individually in their own right. Don’t Try It Without A Compelling Proposition – I’ve seen companies spend a lot of time and money on joint marketing campaigns for all the wrong reasons. If you’re not solving a common problem or addressing a related business pain, don’t bother. Competing for attention and then fragmenting it, is not a good approach. The Do’s of Partner Marketing Activities Do Have A Clear Understanding of Your Target Audience – And by clear understanding, I mean down to the name, job title, division and specific company where possible. Your partner may have an existing relationship in a target account that you can leverage so do your homework. Pick Your Channels – If you know your target audience, chances are you know their preferred channels. In Financial Services, for example, a consultative-based, informative face-to-face networking event aimed at specific individuals will generate greater interest than a standalone email campaign. Deliver An Integrated Experience – Make sure each element of your partner marketing campaign is integrated to drive traffic to your digital assets. That could be a dedicated, co-branded landing page, online registration, or joint solution. Make sure you connect the dots. A Good Example By way of an example, we recently partnered with SAP on a joint Financial Services marketing campaign, choosing a topic (common business pain) that’s affecting almost every financial services organisation: A digital ready workforce. Next we delivered a live debate for insight and networking (the preferred channel of our targets) – “Re-wiring Financial Services: Embedding A Digital Culture” . The debate comprised peer level, consultative speakers from banks, and digital disruptors, as well as our own respective industry experts. And of course, the event was broadcast for remote live viewing, as well as recorded for later viewing as a webinar – with these digital assets in mind from the outset. Because we focused on our joint target accounts with a compelling proposition, and used the expertise and relationships of both SAP and OpenText, we attracted 222 target prospects to attend and engaged them for 40 minutes. No mean feat for the type of people we targeted. The purpose of this blog post isn’t to try to impress you, but rather to impress upon you the benefits – and potential profitable rewards – of following a few simple, yet often overlooked, rules for successful partner marketing. You can view the webinar and other assets I mentioned here on the campaign microsite.

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Why Mastering ECM Strategy is key for Digital Fluency

ECM Strategy

Eleanor Roosevelt once said that ‘understanding is a two-way street’.  She’d obviously never encountered an information silo. For far too long, enterprise organisations have been trying to bridge the gap between the myriad of information locked away in silos and the lead applications where the work actually takes place. Historically, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has largely been a one-way, standalone repository for the proliferating volumes of unstructured data flowing through organisations. It’s a familiar story for most of us. Content management used to be a destination. Today, modern ECM solutions mean content is delivered both in context across departments and inline with processes, creating meaningful business value. Think of it as an enterprise-wide information grid that dynamically manages unstructured content with SAP’s digital core, in context, and on any device. But it’s not just the tools that are evolving. While the effects of digital disruption on business models are familiar territory to most of us, the changing demands on information management strategies are often underestimated. Technology alone can only do so much. You need to know how to get the best out of your systems to keep pace with digital change as the relentless disruption continues. It’s up to you to ensure you remain competent in your information strategy, skillset, and wider business acumen to support the increasingly hyper-connected, data-driven remit that lies ahead. Many companies I speak with can find it difficult to keep up with the voracious information demands from different parts of the business, including impatient, digitally native users, as well as balancing the security and protection of corporate IP and information. Yet all of us want to optimise our SAP investments, outpace (or at least keep in step with) our competition, and learn how others have addressed the same challenges we are facing in ways that we might not have considered. That’s why I’d recommend you to take one day out of your 2016 calendar and attend the annual SAP User Group conference, UKISUG, on 20-22 November at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. You’ll hear insights directly from digital leaders who have mastered their ECM strategies, such as L’Oreal and Swarovski, as well as innovative strategies for combining unstructured and structured content. Developing your ECM competencies not only benefits your organisation, but keeps your skill set both relevant and in high demand. Regardless of where you are on your own digital transformation journey, data is the lingua franca for the future of your business. The digital fluency of your EIM strategy will ultimately determine the success and ease with which you can mould cohesive, personalised interactions between your information, processes, and business requirements. You can find out more and register to attend the event here. You can also take advantage of our special £100 discount code. We’ll be at stand G1, come and meet us and continue the ECM strategy discussion there.

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Delivering Innovation in the First City of Innovation


In my opinion we couldn’t have picked a better city than Barcelona to host the return of the Momentum Conference to Europe. Why do I have this opinion? There are many reasons. First and foremost, Barcelona is a city that has always embraced transformation and innovation. It became the first European Capital of Innovation when it delivered on its promise to introduce new technology to foster economic growth and better the welfare of its citizens. The First City of Innovation Barcelona continues to innovate for the benefit of its citizens. When I look at the innovations that the Enterprise Content Division has delivered over the past three years with LEAP, InfoArchive and our hosting services I am inspired by what Barcelona is doing. By providing open data initiatives, the city is providing its citizens with valuable information and doing it in an open and continuous way. At Momentum Europe we are going to showcase our innovations that focus on data and information and how new methods of access and availability help organizations, business units and individuals transform the way they do business.In particular, I want to extend an invitation to those who have registered and to those thinking of attending. Consider attending the InfoArchive sessions and labs. InfoArchive is a solution that is helping all types of organizations move beyond the silos of data and information that stifle innovation and cast aside the legacy applications that thwart adoption of modern, flexible, open technology. The InfoArchive sessions will provide our Momentum guests with real-life scenarios and hands-on-experiences showcasing how companies are retiring legacy applications while leveraging the data and content these applications contained for strategic and customer-focused initiatives. We will provide examples of how InfoArchive not only has a rapid return on investment but can actually fund new initiatives. InfoArchive at Momentum Our InfoArchive sessions during Momentum Europe are intended to present attendees with an overview of our accomplishments and take them into the future of InfoArchive. We will give those present a glimpse into some of our largest projects, including: Our FinServ offerings that reduce the burden of regulatory compliance such as MiFID, surveillance and anti-money laundering Clinical archiving that eases HIM implementations like Epic InfoArchive for SAP that reduces the cost and burden of SAP HANA and SAP migration and consolidation In all these sessions we will show how unlocking data and content from siloed and Legacy applications provides valuable information to individuals and business units in a controlled and compliant manner. I look forward to seeing you in Barcelona, the first City of Innovation, for Momentum Europe 2016. Olé Infoarchive!

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Extreme Archiving


Yesterday we announced InfoArchive 4.0, and also introduced the term “Extreme Archiving”. With Extreme Archiving we mean the following important aspects and design criteria for an enterprise information archive for both structured and unstructured data: Extreme Scale Data volumes within in the enterprise are exploding, and managing this type of volume leads to many challenges. Large enterprises can easily have tens of petabytes of unstructured data and hundreds of billions of transactions that they need to retain for long periods of time due to increasingly strict regulations. In Financial Services, retention periods vary between seven and twelve years, depending on the country and data type, while in industries such as healthcare and the defense industry, this can easily go up to 100 years.   Extremely Small Although somewhat counter intuitive due to the previous point, the (cost) footprint of an archive solution is important. As you may have seen in the keynote, InfoArchive can scale up but it can also scale down and can even runs on a 35 USD Raspberry Pi with 1 GB of memory. The lightweight architecture is becoming increasingly important as new privacy laws force global enterprises to setup highly distributed archiving with geo-fencing of the data in specific countries. Where you could have a global archive in the past with only three server locations (e.g. Americas, EMEA and APJ) customers are now faced with the fact that they need a lot of instances in different countries. The cost of managing such a global archive goes up significantly, unless your system is lightweight and easy to deploy, with the ability to handle elastic scaling. Extremely Smart More and more customers are discovering the untapped potential of their historical data. With new analytics tools and machine learning capabilities, you can discover hidden gems in your archive. However, traditional Hadoop-based archives are exposing data, but don’t offer compliance controls over the data. Extreme Archives not only manage complex compliance requirements but offer the ability to give business users and data scientists access in a controlled and compliant way. Not only do we see a growing need for analytics over historical data, we also see a need to give 360 views over all data to end-users, which significantly changes the access load on your archive. Smart archives are able to scale dynamically when access patterns change over time. Beyond the “extreme” aspects of InfoArchive 4.0, here are my favorite new InfoArchive 4.0 features: 1. “Extreme archiving” that Scales Horizontally InfoArchive 4.0 is designed around a scale-out cluster architecture. Every component in the architecture scales horizontally from the storage layer, the database layer, the InfoArchive server layer and the web access layer. This allows us to offer a single archive for all data in the enterprise, eliminating costly archive silos. Large financial institutes need to manage extreme amounts of structured and unstructured data – hundreds of billions of emails; hundreds of billions of transactions; all social media and communications content created by their employees; and billions of documents – in a cost effective way. With InfoArchive, we can scale at the point of ingestion, the point of management and the point of access to the data. 2. Configurable User Interface Customers are now storing hundreds of different information types in InfoArchive from many different source applications. With InfoArchive 4.0, we are introducing a context-aware user interface that adjusts based on your role. We also allow customers to quickly configure a discovery interface, using an intuitive drag-and-drop capability, right from the browser. 3. In-Place Compliance Capabilities Once data and content has been ingested into InfoArchive, retention and other regulatory compliance policies can be enacted. With compliance built into InfoArchive, there is no need to copy the data to another repository or re-feed the data when compliance rules change. InfoArchive offers a wide range of compliance controls such as retention policies, event-based retention, legal holds, PCI compliance, masking, tokenization, chain of custody and full audit logs. InfoArchive 4.0 is now offering retention and hold policies at the record level. With in-place compliance, customers are not only managing today’s compliance requirements efficiently, they are also prepared for the future. 4. SAP Support We are not only releasing a new version of the InfoArchive platform, we are also releasing a new solution for SAP archiving scenarios. InfoArchive for SAP not only allows you to optimize your existing SAP environment, it also allows you to accelerate a migration to SAP HANA with the ability to decommission older versions of SAP. This new solution is a great addition to our portfolio of solutions, including our Clinical Archiving solution and a growing portfolio of partner solutions. I’m very excited about the additional value InfoArchive 4.0 will provide to our customers when it becomes generally available on June 13, 2016.

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Join us for a Free Information Session on how an Automated Supply Chain can help ECM be better

As an ECM practitioner, how much thought do you give to the complex back-office infrastructure that supports your organization’s supply chain? You should; success as a digital enterprise will only come from being fully digital outside and inside. In other words, a fully customer-centric process that draws on information from across the enterprise is great, but it will quickly stall if fulfilment involves chaotic piles of inventory management reports and frantic phone calls. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster. Go ahead and Google how much money and time it takes to win back a disgruntled customer, especially one who’s now using your carefully crafted social media tools to broadcast their dissatisfaction. Organizations in manufacturing, distribution, and retail face unique challenges when it comes to the supply chain and connecting with suppliers and/or buyers to exchange information related to transactions. Just keeping track of who you do business with, the right person to contact, and if they comply with your standards is a lot work–and that is long before you begin to process invoices and store information in your ECM system! That’s why we’re hosting a unique, free, half-day information session the day before Enterprise World kicks off for the front-office crowd to learn and experience how digital supply chain systems work and what they can add to overall business strategy, agility, and productivity. Please note: This is not a technical session! If you’re involved in anything from marketing to accounts payable to IT architecture, you’ll find the information here valuable. Join us on Tuesday, November 10 for this special educational session on digitizing and automating the supply chain. The session will include an overview of the benefits of automation, and a discussion of how outsourcing B2B integration to an expert can reduce costs and shorten implementation times. We’ll share a couple examples of how OpenText customers have transformed their B2B integration program through OpenText B2B Managed Services. The session will be led by Jeff Keefer, Global Director, B2B Managed Services at OpenText. Jeff is an expert at supply chain automation and is a trusted advisor in working with OpenText customers to enable supply chain automation through B2B integration and managed services. Yes, it may not be your job, but no one’s ever suffered from knowing too much about potential benefits, pitfalls, and solutions. And here’s your chance to hit Vegas a day early and gain insight into a whole, new area that really does affect your team’s performance. Plus, you’ll now be able to start peppering development meetings with knowledgeable references to terms like EDI and inventory turns! Looking forward to seeing you there.

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How many Clouds are enough to Archive Effectively? At Enterprise World, you’ll see the Answer is…One

Imagine if your IT department announced that it had launched an automatic new cloud archiving system to house all your business emails in the cloud and let you to access them from your email program of choice. No more “mailbox is full” messages. No need to delete large attachments to stay within memory limits. Less drama when you lose your laptop or your laptop needs upgrading. All your emails will be instantly available on your new hardware. Then picture the following month your IT admin announces that they’ve created a second cloud archive system. This time for the files and documents you use to conduct day-to-day business. You’ll have access to all your files and documents across multiple devices–complete with version control so that you can recover an old version, if needed. Pretty sweet! But hold on…the next month, those industrious IT folks delight you further with a third archive repository. This one dedicated to your SAP related data and documents. It introduces new and useful features such as displaying thumbnail views of documents right in your SAP application, and all relevant documents are dynamically presented exactly where and when you need them in your business process. In the fourth month (why is this starting sound like a Christmas carol?), your prolific IT admin team announce an archive cloud which operates behind the scenes to tighten security and governance for your BPM data and documents. Each cloud archive system on its own is fantastic in its own right, but when you put them together, you’ve got four separate systems in the cloud; four logins, four places to search to find what you want, four siloes of information not integrated with each other. You can search them from their native apps, but wouldn’t it be great to have a central place to archive? That’s the thinking behind OpenText Archive Center, Cloud Edition. It’s an enterprise archiving service running in the OpenText Cloud as a public cloud service. Best of all, it draws on our extensive experience in archiving methodologies and technologies to be fully enterprise-class and scalable to meet your needs. You can start archiving SAP content today; expand to email and files tomorrow; and, when you’re ready, expand your enterprise archiving further by connecting to other file types in other systems using open standards. All your enterprise content–in one archive system in the cloud. I’m hoping you’ll be able to join me at Enterprise World 2015 as I present a breakout session ECM-405 Product Update: OpenText Archive Center Has Launched! – specifically about the archiving challenges that businesses face, and how the introduction of Archive Center Cloud Edition helps alleviate these issues.

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Spotlight On! Richard Mieras

Meet Richard Richard Mieras is a Senior Training Consultant who specializes in OpenText Content Server Systems Administration and SAP® Extended ECM courses. Over the years, Richard has delivered virtual and in-person training to multicultural audiences across North and South America and Asia. This year at Enterprise World (EW) Training, Richard hopes to connect with students from his training sessions. Q: What courses or workshops will you be leading this year? I am conducting virtual and face-to-face training on SAP® oriented courses, as well as Content Server Systems and Search Administration, Archive Server Administration, and Content Server Knowledge Fundamentals Courses [final instructor assignments for Enterprise World are still being determined]. Q: What’s your pillar of expertise? My expertise is focused mainly on the SAP Extended ECM courses, and Content Server Systems Administration. Q: How long have you been an instructor at EW? Officially, I have been in the Learning Services department at OpenText since 2005. Before that, I conducted training courses with the iXOS Software company, which was acquired by OpenText in 2004. Q: What’s your favorite part about being an instructor? What I enjoy most is being to be able to impart the understanding of a topic to our customers, partners and internal staff, enabling them to use the products we offer to their advantage in implementation. Q: What part of EW are you most looking forward to this year? Enterprise World is always our best opportunity to connect with colleagues we don’t get to see through the year, and to renew connections with clients and partners—both new and from previous training sessions. What I appreciate about EW is that we often meet the people we taught previously in a virtual training—now we see them in person. Q: What song best describes your work ethic? The Chopin Nocturne in E Flat. It’s complicated, requires lots of practice, and needs to be played often, like giving training on a topic that requires preparation and practice to get over the anxiety of missing a note. Q: What’s your favorite movie, book, and TV series? My favorite movie is The Big Lebowski, my favorite book is John Adams by David McCullough, and my favorite TV series is “The Wire”. Q: Which super power would you like to have and why? Like everybody, I would like to fly, which I do in my dreams sometimes—like swimming in the air as you would in water. Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to say to your students? Please connect with me on LinkedIn if you’re interested in a professional social connection. LinkedIn: Connect with Richard and attend his training sessions at Enterprise World 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada from November 8-10. To find out more information about the training program, or to register for Enterprise World training, visit our website.

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Accelerating B2B Managed Services with SAP

For those of you new to OpenText but not new to GXS, you may not know that for twenty years, OpenText has been a close partner of SAP. In fact, SAP awarded OpenText their prestigious SAP Pinnacle Award the last 8 years in a row. OpenText is the established leader in managing unstructured information in context of business processes in a SAP environment. Now, SAP and OpenText have announced an extension to this already successful partnership to include OpenText B2B Managed Services. OpenText B2B Managed Services is an outsourced solution for managing day-to-day B2B operations required when exchanging a wide variety of transactions with trading and business partners. Running on our B2B integration platform known as the OpenText Trading Grid, part of the OpenText Cloud, OpenText extends the SAP Business Network with its reach to the more than 600,000 trading partners currently connected to the OpenText Trading Grid. This partnership is a recognition of OpenText’s leadership in B2B Integration. Of course, supporting SAP with OpenText B2B Managed Services is nothing new. OpenText/GXS has worked with many companies around the world to manage their SAP and B2B integration projects. Whether it is helping companies integrate to multiple global instances of an SAP platform or providing integration to a newly installed instance of SAP, OpenText has a wealth of experience with managing such projects.

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New Forrester Report Cites OpenText as having “the broadest ECM backbone for enterprise applications”

The latest ECM analysis from highly respected Forrester Research has been released, and OpenText has been recognized as a leader in their evaluation of the most significant ECM software providers. Now, that’s always great news; our ECM solutions are consistently ranked at, or near, the top in every analyst’s reports, and we work very hard to ensure our offerings deserve that designation. But this one’s different. What’s special about this Forrester ranking for me and the rest of the ECM team here is the area of focus for this report. Entitled The Forrester Wave™: ECM Transactional Content Services, Q3 2015, this new analysis concentrates specifically on the field of transactional content management, in our view, the ability of ECM platforms to integrate with the lead applications that drive back-office business processes and help organize, extract value, and apply governance to the huge pool of information and data they generate. It’s an emerging priority for many organizations, and Forrester has deemed it worthy of its very own report this year. It’s also been a long-standing focus for OpenText, and that’s why we’re so thrilled to be recognized as a leader by Forrester. We’ve believed for some time now that organizations won’t be able to make the full transition to becoming successful, streamlined digital enterprises if they’re still trapped in a world of silos and isolated information. A wide variety of our customers (a couple of case studies are here and here) are now realizing the benefits of embedding ECM into their business processes and fully utilizing their transactional content to drive value and productivity. So, what is this “transactional content?” It’s the seemingly endless river of information that fuels enterprises; the invoices, statements, applications, communication, onboarding, and more that mostly emanates from sources outside the enterprise and has been traditionally ingested through a variety of isolated systems‑BPM, HCM, ERP, CRM, and others. There’s a lot of it within most enterprises, it’s highly structured, and it contains a significant percentage of their knowledge capital. For years, this information has generally been acquired, used to trigger an immediate process or task, and then been relegated to its respective repository. If it’s needed again, one-off access usually involves time-wasters like screen flips, log-ins, convoluted queries, emails, or even phone calls and walks down the hall‑not exactly productivity central and nowhere near good enough to efficiently paint the whole picture of a case or transaction. What’s more, there’s often been very little in the way of standard governance practices applied to the information housed within these processes. The answer lies not in extracting that information and transferring it to another repository, but in bringing organization, intelligence, and agility to it right where it’s sitting. By embedding the inherent organizational and governance strengths of ECM solutions into operational standbys such as SAP®, Oracle®, Microsoft®, and Salesforce®, organizations can tie them together and create a holistic, cross-enterprise information flow. After all, these lead applications are where all the action takes place, where the knowledge workers do their jobs, and where the value created by this information can be best used. Why not keep it all there? The newest generation of ECM offerings has the analytical, auto-classification, and integration capabilities to bridge the silos isolating each of these applications, facilitate a seamless information flow, and build a single, unified view of a transaction. Users effortlessly see everything they need, when they need it, efficiency and insight skyrockets, and all involved are way more responsive and productive. We believe that Forrester has acknowledged the growing importance of this strategy. We also feel that the fact that they’ve recognized OpenText as a leader is validation we’re on the right path.

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OpenText and SAP team up to provide global B2B Managed Services

For twenty years, OpenText has been a close partner of SAP. In fact, we won an SAP Pinnacle Award the last 8 years in a row. This year, OpenText was recognized as a SAP Pinnacle Awards 2015 Winner “Solution Extension Partner of the Year” in category Value Creation. So with a successful partnership like that – what do you do to improve it? Extend it SAP and OpenText have announced an extension to this already successful partnership to include OpenText B2B Managed Services. OpenText B2B Managed Services is a comprehensive B2B outsourcing solution that provides companies with the people, processes and technologies necessary to maintain complex B2B e-commerce programs. B2B Managed Services operates on the OpenText Trading Grid, part of the OpenText Cloud, a fully hosted integration platform and includes mapping, trading partner on-boarding, data quality and connectivity services. With B2B outsourcing from OpenText, companies can build and grow B2B networks without making additional investment in hardware, software or human resources. OpenText extends the SAP Business Network with its reach to the more than 600,000 trading partners currently connected to the OpenText Trading Grid. Supporting SAP with OpenText B2B Managed Services is nothing new. OpenText has worked with many companies around the world to manage their SAP and B2B integration projects. Whether it is helping companies integrate to multiple global instances of an SAP platform or providing integration to a newly installed instance of SAP, OpenText has a wealth of experience with managing such projects. Read the press release here.

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OpenText and SAP Run Together for Exceptional Customer Impact

As we gear up for another year at SAPPHIRE, I’d like to reflect on the strong relationship that OpenText and SAP have shared for decades and look ahead to an exciting future together. For more than 20 years, we have worked together to empower the enterprise to manage its unstructured and structured information for business success. Our combined solutions make information more discoverable, manageable, secure, and valuable. Connecting SAP business suites with OpenText information suites delivers a powerful platform for innovation and opportunity. Together, we have: Transformed processing operations at Bumblebee Foods from being 100 percent reliant on paper to being 100 percent digital, with automated processes reducing costs by over 50 percent and significantly increasing efficiency. Positioned Alagasco for future growth through increased sustainability and performance. Centralized information has helped break down organizational silos, speed up sales processes, and maintain business continuity. Created a culture of innovation at Distell by empowering employees to share best practices and collaborate. As well as increasing productivity, the organization has managed its intellectual capital more effectively to enhance and protect its brand. As the world around us shifts to digital, the combined value that we deliver as partners grows exponentially. In celebration of this valued relationship, OpenText has been awarded the SAP Pinnacle Award for seven years in a row. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we have just received the 2015 SAP Pinnacle Award for “Solution Extension Partner of the Year”, making OpenText a recipient for the past eight years. This category honors partners who co-innovate with SAP to deliver exceptional customer impact. OpenText was selected for this year’s award based on our innovative approach that enriches and extends the capabilities and scope of SAP products and applications OpenText was formally presented with the 2015 SAP Pinnacle Award at the SAP Global Partner Summit last evening, in conjunction with SAPPHIRE® NOW, SAP’s international customer conference in Orlando, Florida. We’re on hand at this event to showcase the latest advancements in joint OpenText and SAP releases. Look for us at booth #130 at the conference where we’ll be demonstrating the power and flexibility of products like SAP Document Presentation, SAP Invoice Management, and Tempo Box Premium. We continue to build out the OpenText and SAP ecosystem. Our strategic solutions now support a broad range of SAP offerings—from HANA database and analytics to Simple Finance and the HANA Enterprise Cloud. Recent releases include HANA integrations for SAP Document Presentment by OpenText and SAP Invoice Management by OpenText—both designed to deliver deeper insight and content value, enhancing an organization’s process efficiency and the ability to make more strategic decisions. These extensions are available in the cloud, on premise, or as a hybrid solution. At Enterprise World 2014, our annual user conference, we introduced the OpenText Business Center for SAP Solutions, a platform for automating mission-critical business processes across the SAP business suite. We have now announced the general availability of this product. Using the OpenText Business Center for SAP, joint customers will be able to digitize entire processes in SAP—from capture to creation—without requiring complex configuration or programming resources. In the Digital-First World, all of an organization’s information and processes will be digital. This release is part of our commitment to simplify, transform, and accelerate business for the digital enterprise—enabling it to drive efficiency through digitization. In addition to expanding our support for SAP processes, we will be also be introducing Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium. Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium are secure solutions for sharing and synchronizing both personal and SAP enterprise content across different platforms and devices. Both deliver tight integration into SAP Extended ECM, giving users greater freedom to share and work with business content across any device, while still maintaining information governance and control. Tempo Box Value Edition & Tempo Box Premium enhance the SAP ecosystem by securely extending content tied to SAP business processes beyond the firewall to non-SAP users, including unlimited external users such as customers, suppliers, and partners across the business network. The ability to manage unstructured information in the enterprise plays a pivotal role in digital transformation—and it is a key capability that the OpenText and SAP ecosystem delivers. Our partnership continues to drive product breakthroughs that produce impactful and tangible results for our customers. Together, we are laying the foundation for a Digital-First World for over 4,500 customers and 50+ million active users—across two decades of innovation and into the future. Read the press release. Visit our website.

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Did You Know That 80% of High Tech Companies are ‘High Adopters’ of B2B Integration Technologies?

A few weeks ago I posted a blog summarising the automotive related results from a recent B2B study that OpenText sponsored. The aim of the study was to see if there was a direct correlation between B2B integration and how it impacts supply chain performance. I will take a look at the CPG related results in my next blog but as I am spending this week in the heart of Silicon Valley over on the US West Coast I thought it only appropriate to discuss the high tech results in this blog article. 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 global high tech industry is going through a major renaissance at the moment, new business opportunities being presented in the automotive industry, wearable devices and the internet of things sectors. In fact I would say that high tech companies are investing more in the internet of things related technologies than any other industry sub-sector at the moment, for example Intel’s investment in a new generation of chips for embedded devices. With all this focus on new investment areas it presents further opportunities for consolidation across the industry and only last week NXP semiconductors announced their intention to acquire their smaller rival Freescale Semiconductors. Continued M&A activity will present new challenges for B2B managers across the industry as they are forced to consolidate multiple B2B networks on to a single global B2B network. Increased regulatory compliance such as Conflict Minerals compliance is starting to be adopted by more regions around the world as a way of removing so called ‘3TG’ minerals from global supply chains. Increased regulatory compliance is driving a need for companies to think about how they manage their trading partner communities and how ultimately they should be working more collaboratively with their global trading partners. Finally this week will see high tech supply chains gearing up for the launch of the next big consumer must have gadget, Apple’s iWatch is finally being released. Apple is a past master at readying their supply chain for such product launches but it does nicely illustrate how the high tech industry has become so consumer driven in nature. So now let me discuss a few of the high tech related results from our study: 79% said they exchange B2B transactions electronically with their trading partners . I guess there is no surprise here that high tech companies have a high expectation to exchange business documents electronically with their trading partners. As with the automotive industry, the high tech industry is truly global in nature and in the case of semi-conductor chips they are manufactured in a multi-stage process that embraces many different production and finishing locations around the world. To try and encourage greater participation from its trading partners around the world, the high tech industry introduced its own highly successful XML based document format called RosettaNet which is still very much in use across the industry today. 58% said that B2B adoption had reduced their procurement costs. Greater visibility into the supply chain and in particular inventory locations around the world meant that high tech companies could reduce their procurement costs by being able to better optimise inventory from multiple locations around the world. In addition, the costs and time to manually process transactions across the procure to pay process can be reduced by providing high tech trading partners with the right B2B tools according to their technical capabilities. 54% said that shipment status was one of the most important B2B transactions in use across their industry today . Knowing when supplier shipments are going to turn up at the factory gate is crucial to the smooth running of today’s production lines. Connecting to a single, global, cloud based B2B platform such as OpenText Trading Grid provides the end to end visibility that high tech manufacturers require. It is not just improved visibility into the direct materials supply chain but also in the aftermarket repair business where field service teams need to know when spare parts will arrive, being able to tell a customer that their high tech product will be repaired by a specific date is key to improving customer satisfaction levels. 47% said that competing IT projects such as ERP were a barrier to starting B2B projects . Given that ERP projects such as a major SAP deployment are the most expensive and hence high profile IT project under the control of the CIO, it is no wonder that ERP projects tend to get 100% attention from IT resources during a roll out phase. Having all IT resources diverted to an ERP deployment can potentially disrupt other IT initiatives such as a B2B program for example. Then again I would argue that if 47% of high tech companies see ERP as a barrier to B2B adoption, I would say that during ERP implementation this provides the ideal opportunity to think about integrating ERP and B2B platforms together. ERP B2B integration is a key reason why many high tech companies have deployed our Managed Services platform to provide a single outsourced integration platform. So the barrier in this case certainly provides the opportunity for B2B integration. 42% said they processed invoices in real time with trading partners . In Europe for example, with 28 member countries of the European Union, there are 28 different tax compliance laws, 28 different ways to apply digital signatures and 28 different ways to archive invoices. If you are a high tech company based across the border in one of the Eastern European countries such as Slovenia then navigating your way through invoicing compliance in Western Europe is a complex process. The high tech industry is not only consumer driven but it is fast moving in nature and its suppliers need to make sure they can be paid quickly in order to make sure that they can fulfil orders to their numerous customers in a timely manner. Adopting B2B integration and in particular electronic invoicing can significantly reduce invoice processing times and by working with a company such as OpenText that offers electronic invoicing solutions it means that you can work with suppliers in any country, irrespective of the invoice regulations that may be present in these countries. In fact one further piece of analysis that we did as part of this project found that automating invoicing processes through the use of B2B integration technologies such as electronic invoicing had increased the speed of invoice processing by 156%. Overall, the high tech industry had the highest level of electronic B2B exchange of all the industries surveyed with nearly 80% being ‘high adopters’ of B2B integration technologies. As mentioned earlier this is due to the fast paced nature of the industry, with nearly 99% of high tech respondents performing two inventory turns per month, and the need to have a highly responsive supply chain network that can adapt to continually changing market dynamics. This is amplified by the diverse range of trading partners involved across the high tech supply chain, from contract manufacturers (who make products for many different customers) to distributors, and fabless semiconductor manufacturers to raw material providers. Exploiting new market opportunities over the next three years was one of the key initiatives being undertaken by high tech companies. 57% of South Korean respondents, of which a high proportion were from the high tech industry, said that supply chain complexity was a key barrier to B2B adoption, however I would argue that if companies chose a cloud based B2B platform then this would not only help to reduce supply chain complexity but it would help to provide the flexibility and scalability that the fast moving high tech industry urgently needs. If you would like to download your own copy of the new B2B study from OpenText then please complete the registration form here. When you have registered you will also be able to get access to an on demand webinar that we recently recorded with IDC, a copy of the webinar slides and an infographic that illustrates some of the key findings from the study.

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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

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Where Is the Data You Visualize?

Remember how BI companies used to market big data a few years ago? Most of them just connected to a Hadoop cluster, made a query, visualized a report or dashboard and then hit the “Big Data Press Release” button. This practice raises a fundamental question: Where is the data you visualize? The choices lay between two extremes: On the one end of the spectrum you query a data source and you generate visualizations directly with the data and on the other end of the spectrum you query a pre-generated and pre-aggregated data source that is dedicated to analytics and visualization. This data source used to be OLAP cubes, but now enhanced in-memory techniques are emerging, many of which use columnar database technology. The choice you make depends on a number of factors, including the query speed you require, the volume and variety of your data sources, and your need to display information in real time. It also depends on the size of your wallet. Although the two techniques are often used simultaneously, it is increasingly clear that the industry is moving towards real-time visualizations based upon an analytical database. This creates economies of scale, reduces errors and speeds up implementation. Close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine a BI project without data modeling. Analytics, visualizations and databases are slowly merging together.  Examples of technology in this area include SAP HANA, “software on silicon” database enhancements, and open source projects like Apache Spark. While it is important to keep in mind where the industry is heading, for obvious reasons (including cost, security and performance),  in-memory techniques will not disappear overnight. Now let’s think about different user categories (as we defined them here) and their need for in-memory data queries. I would chart them like this: Data Discoverers are the users whose work is most vulnerable to the industry move toward in-memory data queries, I believe. And this leads me to the following conclusion: BI companies that have focused on smart and good-looking data discovery tools have grown tremendously during the last couple of years. But that growth is not here to stay because the underlying technology simply relies too much on in-memory data queries.  

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Cloud Fax Takes Information Management to the Next Level

To this point we’ve discussed the key benefits of enterprise fax services in general – notably their ability to enable cost effective on-demand faxing while providing high degrees of flexibility and scalability. There are however specific features beyond these general descriptions worth mentioning. These features speak primarily to how both individual users and business systems leverage fax technology to optimize enterprise information management. From an individual user perspective, integrating fax with existing email and desktop applications is the main example – whether you integrate with Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes or another desktop program. This enables users to fax files without first printing them – turning a multi-step process into one that takes seconds. Your fax service should be able to convert common desktop file types – like PDF, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint as well as JPEG files to images for faxing without user intervention. Enterprise fax technology should also offer integrations that merge fax with back office applications and systems, multi-function devices (MFDs) as well as terminal systems that support “print only” functions. All of these methods make faxing convenient as it allows users and systems to strategically manage and send documents almost simultaneously. In other words fax technology lets you access various information management platforms and cut the typical cost and productivity drains associated with using traditional standalone fax machines. Enterprise fax services also offer add-on capabilities that streamline operations with regards to certain document management processes. For example you can incorporate capture technology that automatically extracts and converts inbound fax documents into data before delivering it into your unique workflow. Imagine you’re a supplier that receives sales orders via paper fax, but you’re experiencing lags in your business cycle from manually rekeying order information into your ERP system. That’s where these add-on document capture and workflow services can help. They will convert those paper fax orders into electronic data and deliver it into your sales ordering system, like SAP for example, based on your unique business rules. From there you can also add notifications alerting your procurement department an order has arrived, and is in process. Workflow examples like this, where fax plays a key role, can extend to everything from accounts receivable to loan application processing. NOTE: This is an installment of a Blog post series on enterprise-class cloud fax services. To view other posts in the series please refer to the following links: What Makes Cloud Fax Services Enterprise Class Assessing Cloud Architecture and Fax Performance Recovering from Fax Disaster Fax Compliance in an Ever Changing World Cloud Fax Services Make Administration Easy Simplify Global IT Support with Cloud Fax Know Your Cloud Fax Service Provider’s Strengths

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How do you Manage a B2B Environment Following Divestiture?

There has been one story dominating the media in the UK over the past few months, Scotland’s attempt to seek independence from the United Kingdom. Despite losing the referendum to go their own way, Scotland will gain extra powers from the UK government to help offer a better standard of living for their population and improve growth prospects for the country. The interesting thing here is what would have happened if Scotland had broken away from the UK. Everything from running the public services and utilities infrastructures, through to managing revenue generation initiatives such as setting tax levels through to the technology infrastructure to support the running of the country in an independent capacity. Not to mention the currency, border control and defence spending issues as well. Even though the independence vote was lost, there are synergies here with companies that are going through a similar situation, namely going through some form of divestiture from their parent organisation. There have been countless divestitures in recent years as companies look to cut costs and at the same time raise valuable funds to grow their business or diversify into new markets. The chart below from Deloitte highlights some of the reasons why companies divest operations. Whenever a company goes through a divestiture process, one of the most important things to ensure is that the business can continue operating with minimum disruption. This is not easy, especially when IT infrastructures have to be untangled between the two organisations. The divestiture process is incredibly complex and it will affect all areas of a business, including the external supply chain. Unravelling a B2B infrastructure from a parent company can appear at first to be a monumental task, not only having to establish the technical components of the new B2B infrastructure but also ensuring that external trading partners can be effectively managed during the transition process. For this reason many companies will establish transition teams to oversee all aspects of a divestiture process. At the end of the day the newly divested business must continue to make money from day one and so the role of the transition team, especially relating to managing the new B2B infrastructure is critical. Now there are a number of options open to the transition team with respect to the B2B infrastructure. Taking the right course of action or direction for the divested operation’s B2B strategy is a critical decision, if you go in the wrong direction it could restrict future growth opportunities for the business. So which path do you take? Firstly, a divested operation could continue to use their existing B2B platform which for many companies would probably be the easiest option for them to follow. However there are complexities with extracting the B2B platform from the parent company and then continuing to manage trading partner relationships etc. Secondly they could decide to introduce a brand new platform themselves or adopt the B2B platform from the new owner. Either of these options will mean severe disruption to the divested operation’s business processes and trading partner relationships. Finally they could decide to outsource the management of their entire B2B platform to a trusted partner. Following a divestiture, especially if the company is acquired by a private equity firm, the company will need to be focused on their core competencies. This will be manufacturing goods and bringing revenue into the business, not having to worry about how they manage their B2B infrastructure on an ongoing basis. Therefore out of the three possible options, outsourcing is the best possible route for managing a B2B infrastructure and any accompanying trading partner relationships. After all what does a private equity firm know about running a B2B infrastructure? This is where OpenText™ Managed Services can help. Whichever route the divested operation decides to take, they will have a relatively short period of time to transition to the new B2B platform. Typically, a parent company would give the divested operation anywhere between 6 to 18 months to become totally self-sufficient in how they manage their B2B infrastructure. Establishing a B2B infrastructure in a divested operation is intrinsically linked to the overall IT infrastructure that will also need to be established in the divested business. Networks and routers have to be setup, internet connections have to established, PC’s and Laptops have to be configured, email systems have to be setup for each user. In addition, ERP systems have to be rolled out, CRM systems have to be setup within the sales and marketing departments and IT systems have to be deployed in new warehouses and logistics facilities. Now I haven’t even discussed what needs to be done from a B2B perspective yet, but already you can see that the IT infrastructure alone, which will help to support the B2B platform, is incredibly complex. As for the B2B infrastructure, the divested operation will need to develop or possibly migrate document maps to the new platform, this could typically range from 100 to a 1000 maps. Not all of these maps would need to be created from scratch, in one example I have heard about recently, one third of the maps for a divested operation were brought across from the parent company, one third were transferred, but required a few customisations and the remainder needed to be created from scratch. Mapping is a complex and time consuming process, would your company be able to undertake this internally?, would your B2B team have the skills to do this or would those skills remain with the parent company? Another common area of concern is how to integrate to an ERP platform. A manufacturing company, especially one with manufacturing plants all over the world will have to somehow re-integrate its B2B platform to the ERP platform. The longer this process is delayed, the more chance there is for duplicate data being entered into purchasing systems, which then leads to a lot of manual rework and rekeying of data to ensure the view of the information in the ERP platform is similar to the view in the B2B environment. Being able to integrate these two platforms as quickly as possible, to ensure one seamless, real time view of information is essential. Again, would your company be able to undertake this integration activity yourself or would you have to seek help from an outside provider? The other area of importance from a B2B transition point of view is managing the external community of trading partners. During the transition phase, the company still needs to be able to order and take delivery of goods from suppliers, they will still need to get their manufactured goods distributed around the world and more importantly each trading partner will need to be kept up to date with what is happening during the transition to the new B2B environment at the divested operation. OpenText™ Managed Services has helped over 800 companies outsource the management of their B2B infrastructure. With many years’ experience of supporting some of the biggest companies in the world, OpenText is well positioned to help divested operations maintain continuity with their B2B platform and their trading partner community. There are five key areas where Managed Services has been deployed to help divested operations manage their B2B infrastructures. Document Mapping – This is by far the most popular outsourcing request that we have seen, potentially hundreds of document maps will need to be transferred to the divested operation. Companies could decide to move the maps as is, move and modify or write completely new maps. Either way, the divested operation is unlikely to have in-house skills to create their own maps. In fact mapping skills are likely to remain within in the parent company. OpenText has a dedicated mapping centre of excellence to create document maps of any type and skills to map to ERP systems or to any specific industry standards. ERP Integration – As with document mapping, a divested operation may lose access to valuable ERP implementation personnel following a divestiture. OpenText has been working with many companies to help integrate their B2B platform to ERP related business processes. This ensures that externally sourced information can flow seamlessly into the ERP system. OpenText™ Managed Services has been integrated with a range of different ERP platforms, including SAP where we have experience of creating a range of IDOC document types to support key business processes. Trading Partner Management – Trading partners will need to be managed during and after a divestiture has taken place. The newly divested operation will have to maintain these relationships so that supply chains are not interrupted and the supply of goods can continue as normal. OpenText offers, a number of trading partner management offerings, in local language around the world. This includes training the trading partners in how to use all aspects of a new B2B service, testing connectivity and document exchange capabilities and finally offering a number of performance dashboards so that the trading partner community can be effectively monitored. Global B2B Support – Loss of support from a parent organisation means that global B2B support services will have to be provided to maintain global trading capabilities. OpenText offers a truly global 24/7 ‘follow the sun’ support service. End users are able to speak with multi-lingual support representatives who will be fully trained in the specific capabilities of the divested operation’s business processes Technology / Legacy Platform Upgrade – Divestitures provide the ideal opportunity to upgrade or introduce new B2B technologies. In the past, the parent company may not have allowed certain technologies or processes to be introduced simply because they did not have the skills to implement or support them. OpenText supports both legacy and the latest internet communication protocols, thus ensuring that trading partners can be connected irrespective of which communication protocol they may prefer to use. OpenText also offers a number of web based B2B solutions that allow any trading partner, no matter what their technical capability, to trade electronically with the divested operation. For more information on how OpenText™ Managed Services can help your business please click here or alternatively take a look at the SlideShare presentation below. In a future blog I will discuss how companies are using periods of restructuring to undertake digital transformation projects.

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The Evolution of the Digital Manufacturing Business

In my last blog entry I discussed my own adoption of ‘digital’ technology over the years and how digital was currently going through another renaissance. However compared to the 1980’s when the adoption of digital technology was consumer driven, today it is the business world that is embracing digital. Before I discuss the future of the manufacturing digital business, especially as we enter the so called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ (or Industry 4.0 as it has become known among German manufacturers and highlighted in the above diagram from DFKI, 2011), I just wanted to use this blog entry to discuss how digital information has found its way into every department of a manufacturing operation over the past few decades. As I explained in my previous blog entry it was the design department that led the digital journey of many manufacturing companies. In the 1970s, design departments were just starting to introduce 2D Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages to try and automate manual drafting processes. Companies, mainly large manufacturers such as Ford and Boeing, were also investing heavily in mainframe computer systems to manage MRP and EDI systems. At the time, mainframe based solutions for running 2D CAD packages were expensive but they helped to speed up the design process and ensure that drawings were more accurate. Meanwhile on the shop floor, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) were just starting to be introduced to help automate certain equipment used in a manufacturing process. The introduction of PLC’s and other automated handling systems heralded the start of the third industrial revolution. In the 1970’s, digital information was really confined to the design and production departments. As I discuss the next few decades I will explain how information has become more digitised and hence more ‘ pervasive’ across the various departments in a manufacturing operation. Moving into the 1980’s, companies started to introduce 3D wireframe CAD models and this was really the beginning of building a stronger digital relationship between the design and production departments. The machine tool paths required to manufacture a component could be applied directly to the 3D CAD model and was subsequently used to drive Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines, ie machining information is driven directly from the external surface of the 3D CAD model. In addition, robotic arms were introduced to production lines to help automate assembly procedures. Smaller mainframe servers started to be installed to support the needs of the design office and the production department started to introduce CNC machining and MRP II software on dedicated servers. As manufacturers started to embrace Just-In-Time production systems, especially in the automotive industry, purchasing departments increased the use of EDI to automate and speed up the procurement process using Value Added Networks to connect with an increasingly global network of trading partners. The 1990’s saw the use of digital information explode across the manufacturing business. Design offices were moving from 3D wireframe to 3D solid and assembly modelling. Assembly modelling managed the relationships, ie positional information, between different 3D CAD models that made up a complete product and allowed detailed Bill of Materials to be compiled. It also allowed other information to be applied to the ‘assembly tree’, for example material, designer, and supplier type of information. The 3D CAD models could be used for other pre-production activities, for example creating rapid prototyping (3D printing) models to test conceptual designs, taking CAD models into a finite element analysis package to test stress levels across a component and create high quality 3D renderings and complex animations that could be used for marketing purposes. In addition, customers could put on Virtual Reality headsets and go on virtual tours of their products. This was really the decade when the ‘Virtual Product’ was introduced, some companies defined this as Electronic Product Definition (EPD). During the mid-1990s and as the internet started to become more pervasive, manufacturers started to build intranet and extranets to support the increasing volume of digital information being produced by their design and manufacturing operations. With the introduction of higher speed networks this was the decade where digital design information started to cross seamlessly into other manufacturing departments. MRP II systems evolved into ERP systems and as manufacturers started to expand their network of plants around the world they implemented a different ERP instance to manage the production operations for each plant location. During the same period, companies started to replace mainframe based systems with smaller, desktop based UNIX workstations. During this decade the 3D digital mock-up evolved still further and companies were trying to recreate the entire product within the design system. Complete digital representations of cars, planes and ships were being developed using new functionality such as clash detection, assembly/dis-assembly animations and simulation software. In addition, comprehensive web based data management systems were being deployed to manage the ever growing volumes of CAD data and ensure that globally dispersed design teams could get access to a central repository of design information. Marketing departments were able to use digital mock-ups as part of their product launches and for developing collateral and other supporting technical documentation. Meanwhile, RFID technology was starting to be used more widely within the confines of the factory for tracking goods or pieces of equipment. The development of web portals containing digital product information meant that field support teams could get remote access to information relating to a product, for example technical drawings and other associated maintenance information. Companies also started to establish content portals for storing other information created by Microsoft related products for example. During this decade companies started to replace expensive UNIX workstations with PC workstations and high end laptop PCs. Companies were also starting to consider how a complete digital representation of a product could be archived and handed to a client. For example as well as an airplane manufacturer receiving a physical jet engine to fit to an aircraft, they would also receive a digital representation of the engine which would help with the ongoing service and maintenance of that engine for the next decade or so whilst it was in service. During this decade companies expanded their ability to share and manage information using collaborative Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions. Over the last few years, manufacturers have been decentralising their design offices into countries such as China and India. This was to allow local market needs to be quickly included in product designs. For example Audi has established a design office in China so that they can develop longer wheel base cars, as Chinese consumers prefer to be driven rather than drive themselves. The introduction of high speed wireless networks helped to mobilise digital design information with the introduction of PLM focused mobile apps to review 3D designs on a tablet device for example. Even the sales teams are able to show 3D design information on a tablet device due to the availability of ‘lightweight’ 3D CAD models that can be exchanged across the internet in a relatively short time. 3D printing devices are seeing a renaissance as the price of the technology has come down considerably and it has gained wide spread consumer interest, especially during 2014, where numerous applications for 3D printed models have entered the media. Field service or maintenance teams can now access digital information through wearable devices such as Google Glass and assembly lines are seeing more humanoid style robots being deployed. For example Foxconn plans to deploy more than a million humanoid robots to support their contract manufacturing operations around the world. Finally there are drone devices, despite some early PR opportunities from Amazon and their drone based delivery service I think we are a few years away from this type of service entering the market, however drones do have a potential role to play in the service and maintenance area. From a technology point of view we are now entering the so called fourth industrial revolution where nearly every device will be connected to the internet and allow almost continuous data streams to populate in memory databases such as SAP HANA. The Internet of Things (IoT) is likely to transform the manufacturing sector over the next few years and this is an area that I discussed extensively in an earlier blog entry. Companies will start to deploy more cloud based solutions to support their operations and social media tools will start to be embraced in a more widespread manner than they have been so far. The Future, Introduction of the ‘Smart Factory’? So where do we go next?, the IoT is going to transform manufacturing operations considerably over the next decade and CIOs around the world are starting to work out how they will embrace the IoT across their respective businesses. I think we will slowly move from digital manufacturing to ‘autonomous manufacturing’. Due to the sheer amount of connected devices and hence closed loop systems that will be deployed across a manufacturing organisation, we will see ‘Smart Factories’ start to evolve. This video from Bosch shows how advanced they are with respect to developing a smart factory concept. One thing’s for sure, the sheer volume of unstructured Big Data and Big Content that will come from IoT connected devices is going to grow exponentially over the coming years. If this information can be ‘harvested’ and analysed efficiently then quicker business decisions can be made to improve the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process. In future blog entries I will discuss how OpenText can help manufacturing operations manage all aspects of their digital enterprise.

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Choosing the right fax server: Production Faxing and Application Integrations

Production Faxing If you have identified a business process or workflow involving faxes that are generated “automatically” (typically without human involvement), this section is particularly important. Automated faxing, or production faxing, is a term used to describe a means by which the application sends documents to the fax server, and the fax server then delivers the documents reliably as faxes, secure email or both. A fax server that has production fax capabilities should integrate seamlessly with back-office applications that produce batch-oriented documents. As a result, the fax server ingests the document from the back-office system, creates and formats the documents, and then delivers them as individual faxes, complete with notifications of delivery status and a traceable audit trail.Seek a solution that offers tools to receive data from network folders or print streams of large batch jobs (invoices, purchase orders, for example) and can reliably send them to unique recipients–fully unattended and automated. A production fax solution should have the ability to create automated notifications of the progress of each production fax batch job, and more importantly, each document within the group.Most fax servers will integrate with virtually any back-office applications with integration tools, modules and APIs, including those that support embedded scripting command languages, XML, JAVA, and COM. However, some fax servers offer pre-built, certified integrations to applications such as SAP® and Oracle®.Connector for SAP – Check to see if the fax solution has a prebuilt connector for SAP so that you can create, send and receive faxes from SAP. You can customize fax cover sheets either through SAP or the fax server. Use this integration to send batches of faxes at once where you can submit faxes to be grouped into a batch and sent later at a prescheduled time. Need to adjust your dialing rules? Advanced integrations allow configuration of special dialing rules that can modify outgoing fax numbers above and beyond the SAP “exception rules”. Connectors for Oracle – Check to see if your fax server has a prebuilt connector for Oracle so that you can create, send and receive faxes from Oracle systems such as Oracle E-Business Suite foundation or Oracle 9i applications. Use this integration to automate workflows with Oracle systems, making document delivery pains a thing of the past. Application Integrations There is a second subset of integrations known as application integrations–a good example of this is fax servers interoperating with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems. It can be thought of as production fax in reverse. They are similar however inasmuch as they both are considered automated application integrations–meaning the workflows (whether inbound or outbound related) are both unattended by personnel and thus fully automated. Fax servers should offer specific integrations to the most popular systems. Alternatively, fax servers should provide a comprehensive set of custom integration tools to build integrations ad hoc. Inbound fax documents and their metadata can be delivered outside of the fax server where a multitude of applications can access these documents and their metadata. Preferably, a fax server would have pre-built integrations for leading document management applications to send existing documents, create a new document as a fax, and drag and drop a document into the explorer view of the fax library. Search for fax servers with pre-built ECM integrations with: · Microsoft SharePoint® · IBM FileNet® · OpenText eDOCS · OpenText Content Server And finally, many organizations have built custom integrations for their in-house applications to interface with their fax servers. Most fax server providers offer a complete suite of integration tools like APIs, SDKs, and command languages to get the jobs done efficiently. Custom integrations require that a fax server offer a suite of tools including XML, JAVA, COM and advanced Web Services. Integrating a fax server solution with ERP, ECM and other back-end applications is one of the most efficient uses of fax server capabilities. Understanding your integration needs will help you evaluate and choose the right fax server for you. Coming up next – Choosing the right fax server: Easy Routing and Storage of Electronic Fax Documents. 1. What is the Business Need? 2. Desktop, Email and MFP Integrations 3. Production (Automatic) Faxing and Application Integrations 4. Easy Routing and Storage of Electronic Fax Documents 5. Security, Privacy and Compliance 6. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery 7. Ease of Administration and Administrative Tools 8. Telephony Compatibility

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