SAP

OpenText & SAP: 10 Years and Still Growing

Each May, the OpenText team enjoys the fantastic opportunity to support our long-time partner SAP at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference. Few companies can stage an event the size and scope of SAPPHIRE NOW with as much style as SAP, and It is a phenomenal experience and gives OpenText and SAP get the chance to spotlight the deep relationship we have built over the years. This year, however, the celebration of our alliance reached unprecedented heights. During SAPPHIRE NOW, we announced both the 10th anniversary of our partnership and also our 10th straight win of a prestigious SAP Pinnacle Award. This year’s honors came for both Solution Extension Partner of the Year and SAP Database and Data Management Partner of the Year. These are milestones in which we take great pride, yet in many ways they only show the tip of the iceberg in the relationship between our two companies. It truly has been a banner year for the SAP-OpenText partnership, crossing the 1.1 billion Euro mark for revenue over the history of our relationship, and surpassing the 100 million Euro total in a fiscal year for first time. These are the kind of substantial and increasing results every partnership strives to achieve and we are ready to enthusiastically pursue even more collaboration opportunities to bring exciting innovations that keep our customers successful. The most recent path to great opportunity for our joint efforts comes through a just announced overarching cloud resale agreement between the two companies. With this newest expansion of the relationship, OpenText will become the first Canadian organization to go active and be fully engaged in the SAP Cloud. We now offer extended ECM for SuccessFactors, Digital Asset Management for Hybris and Vendor Invoice Management as our first cloud solutions. In other words, SAP’s largest partner is now also in lock step in supporting the S4HANA platform and the push to the cloud. On the Ground in Orlando At the SAPPHIRE NOW conference we have the opportunity to see first-hand how OpenText, working in tandem with SAP, is able to match the demands of the customers in the marketplace- and we saw just that! Traffic to the OpenText booth was among the strongest we had ever seen—giving us an opportunity to show more joint customer the solutions that will enable them to maximize the emerging technologies of machine learning and cognitive computing to drive their digital agenda forward. More than ever, businesses view gleaning insight from their storehouses of data of paramount importance, and this is a central part of the value that OpenText brings to the SAP channel. At our booth, we were able to demonstrate OpenText’s solutions that allow customers to optimize, automate, and gain efficiencies and control over the upwards of 90 percent of their information that is unstructured or semi-structured. Conversations with our customers serve to validate the OpenText roadmap and motivate us to reach higher heights in providing solutions for customer’s increased control and insight of their information. Our journey continues as SAP, as well as many partners and customers from our own ecosystem, will join us at our featured Enterprise World 2017 event in July. We invite you to join us in Toronto as well as we continue to make news that will change the face of business.

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Bring Content Into Context of the EcoSystem with EP2 (SAP, Sharepoint, SuccessFactors, Salesforce, Oracle) and More

EcoSystem

Many of the OpenText EcoSystem products (quick reminder – EcoSystem products are solutions for SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle) are part of the EP2 release, building on the foundation laid down last year with Release 16 and adding features requested by you, our customers to improve productivity and speed to implement. xECM Platform: the xECM family of products has grown from xECM for SAP, Oracle EBS and Microsoft Sharepoint this year with new products xECM for Process Suite and xECM for Engineering Documents all based on the platform foundation. You can find more details about these xECM versions, as well as the rest of the Enterprise Applications in the Content Suite EP2 launch blog here, but wait – don’t go just yet, there’s lot’s more to read here too! xECM the platform EP2 has new features to improve Workspace Creation from the lead application, better browsing and View integration as well as Batch Creation. Also, and probably most importantly, Completeness Check. This much requested feature from our customers ensures that a workspace is fully populated, be it a HR workspace for SuccessFactors, or an opportunity workspace for Salesforce. Of course, all of the features in the Core platform are available within the various version of xECM as well. xECM for SAP EP2 continues its market leading, Pinnacle Award winning (10 years in a row) integrations into SAP applications with support for SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer, offering full support for EIM into the Account, Lead and Opportunity workspaces integrated into the C4C UI. To support organisations moving to S/4 HANA Cloud, xECM now extends the CMIS interface to support the SAP CMIS profile. Finally, enhancements have been made to the Business content windows and to the way metadata properties are assigned – improving the implementation times and reducing the need for custom development. xECM for SuccessFactors EP2 adds some very impressive new capabilities including support for HCM on premise. This is critical for customers who have HCM and are migrating to SAP SuccessFactors as you can now view employee data from two systems connected to a single Employee File. Other features include document completeness validation – ensuring all documents are present when a workspace is created and finally, Duration management capabilities to schedule automatic HR document follow ups to aid in HR compliance (e.g. automatic reviews, escalations and expiry dates). These are just the top 3 features in xECM for SuccessFactors however there are many more. xECM for Salesforce EP2 is all about support for Lightning. With EP2 OpenText upgrades the widget integration to Lightning, Salesforce latest experience platform. Following Lightning design principles the integration of the OpenText widget can be flexibly configured to deliver modern enterprise apps. Building on the Lightning design also allows xECM For Salesforce Ep2 to be fully mobile xECM for SharePoint EP2 adds new capabilities to support search, browse and favourite Business Workspaces from within Outlook, making it seamless to add emails to a workspace both from the desktop and web interfaces. Also in EP2 is support for Office Groups integration allowing users to view group calendars, tasks conversations and notes into the Business Workspace and finally a new Search Widget allows Office 365 users to search natively for content in the xECM repository. xECM for Oracle EP2 receives a new coat of paint and now supports the new Smart UI as well as the classic UI, fully integrated into the Oracle EBS (12.1 and 12.2) UI as well as the platform capabilities outlined above. It’s not just xECM – EcoSystem products that offer specialised capabilities are also covered with EP2: Microsoft Application Governance and Archiving EP2 (AGA) is given the same capabilities as xECM for Sharepoint to support search, browse and favourite Business Workspaces from within Outlook, making it seamless to add emails to a workspace both from the desktop and web interfaces. Outlook is where collaboration happens, but it must not become a silo and the new EP2 capabilities helps solve that problem. As well as Outlook integration, AGA also includes the same Search capability to allow users to search inside the archive for content from Sharepoint. There are also some additional enhancements to simplify common tasks and configuration when archiving content from Sharepoint to the Archive Document Access and Archiving and Archive Center for SAP Solutions, Cloud Edition EP2 has enhanced support for the SAP Fiori UI with the new Business Object Browser, ensuring that all content is properly presented in context. In addition they contain more flexible layout in the SAP Business content window. Document Access has a new asynchronous report for record declaration to enable full text search of existing content. Recently licensed features of Archive Center Cloud Edition are CMIS interfaces and file share archiving and additional enhancements to the Archive Center application SAP DAM EP2 (just to remind you this is the number 1 rated DAM solution on the market, and the only solution preferred by SAP Hybris – in-case you forgot) has an all new Workflow engine to reduce the time and complexity in setting up the platform with a more lightweight workflow engine. In addition to a host of new UI features, SAP DAM is further integrated into the new Customer Experience capabilities of Hybris 6.x releases, and SAP DAM 16 EP2 exposes new widgets to ease integration into Hybris smart edit. We also gain advantage of the improvements made to the OTMM platform, on which SAP DAM is based and extended (you can read about some of these here) Document Presentment does have an EP2 release, however there are so many new capabilities within this product, it deserves a blog in it’s own right – to follow shortly Employee File Management EP2 received some minor updates and fixes. For customers who are wondering where the EP2 launch is for VIM and Business Center – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in the EP3 launch later in the year. EP2 for the EcoSystem continues to expand on the foundation of Release 16, making xECM the platform even more the future of ECM, by bringing Content into Context, as well as making the other applications in our Portfolio even more mission critical. And keep reading our EcoSystem blogs for details on upcoming events including a South African Customer Day, Digiruption, SAP Sapphire and Enterprise World 2017.

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Simplify Migration to SAP HANA and S/4HANA

SAP HANA

Traditional Data Volume Management for SAP® Data volume management in SAP with SAP data archiving has been a best practice for SAP customers since the days of SAP R/3 and throughout the lifecycle of the SAP Business Suite. The reason for this is clear and the value of data archiving well understood, With each transaction, data is stored in the database and the volume of transactional data is ever growing. As your productive SAP database grows, resource consumption and administration effort go up while system performance deteriorates and response time for the end user goes down. This is true when using the traditional databases for the SAP Business Suite. But is this still valid going forward? The New World of Big Data with SAP HANA When SAP released SAP® HANA®, a new in-memory database, and customers moved to SAP Business Suite on HANA and SAP S/4HANA, some of the pain points become a thing of the past. High system performance and good response times are a given with SAP HANA. Also the resource consumption seems to have been reduced as HANA has a compression factor of 50%. BUT: SAP HANA as an in-memory database that requires a robust hardware platform. By nature, an in-memory database requires computing power and a substantial amount of main memory. If your database today has a size of 2 Terabyte, it will be 1 Terabyte with HANA and the memory requirements somewhat higher at about 1.25 TB (Formula: DB size (traditional DB) / 2 + 20% + 50 GB) according to the SAP QuickSizer for HANA (see SAP note 1793345) Where resource consumption in the past mostly meant expensive high performance disks, it today means an expensive, robust HANA appliance. Best Practice 1: Data Volume Management before Migration to HANA Consequently, when moving to HANA as a database, be it to SAP Suite on HANA or SAP S/4HANA, it is best practice to clean up the SAP database before doing the migration to HANA and archive older transactional data. The archived data will still be accessible in Suite on HANA and S/4HANA via the standard SAP tools and interfaces, such as the SAP Archive Information System. If you have not established a data archiving practice yet, this is the time to get started if your database is of a relevant size, for example 1 Terabyte and larger. Best Practice 2: Use a Compliant Archiving Platform And as you do so, make sure to store the resulting data files via the ArchiveLink interface on a secure and compliant storage platform. Such a platform is provided with OpenText™ Archiving for SAP® Solutions and OpenText™ Document Access for SAP® Solutions. The underlying OpenText Archive Center securely stores the SAP data files on leading storage vendor platforms, which have an immutability feature and are thus compliant storage platforms. Archive Center provides a hardware abstraction layer and in addition automatically creates backup copies of the files. This is different from storing data files in the file system, where files are not protected and you need to take care of backup and migration when the file server changes. Best Practice 3: Remove Unstructured Content from the Database And as you do the clean-up, there is one area you may want to check, that is unstructured content in your SAP database. If you haven’t configured the storage location of GOS attachments (GOS = Generic Object Services), all unstructured content that your users have added via GOS has ended up in the database and adds to the overall volume. You can check the size of table SOFFCONT1, and may want to control table DRAO for SAP DMS (Document Management System) documents as well. GOS attachments as well as DMS documents can be stored on OpenText Archive Center with OpenText Archiving and OpenText Document Access for SAP Solutions. You simply define a new storage category to reside on the OpenText Archive Center. With simple configuration you can switch from the old category to the new category (TA SKPR08). And for the migration of existing documents there is the SAP report RSIRPIRL. As a result, the unstructured content is stored on the OpenText Archive Center and your database is relieved from the burden of the unstructured content. Summary: Establish Data Volume Management and Reduce TCO Our recommendation is to establish data volume management. Data archiving helps you to reduce and control the size of the database. This reduces administration and hardware costs and can significantly reduce your TCO for the SAP landscape, and if you plan to migrate to SAP HANA as a database, you can realize significant savings by reducing the memory footprint of the HANA database, and with that the hardware footprint of the HANA appliance. For more information about SAP data and business document archiving with OpenText view the following: OpenText™ Data Archiving for SAP® Solutions OpenText™ Archiving for SAP® Solutions OpenText™ Document Access for SAP® Solutions And have a look at customer success stories on SAP data archiving here.

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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – How can Customers use OpenText and SAP for Timely Deletion

GDPR

In part 1 of this blog, we discussed what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means for enterprises and how data and content, which is generated and stored in the course of day-to-day business processes in SAP is subject to this regulation. Our example was the incoming vendor invoice on paper, which is scanned, attached to the SAP transaction via ArchiveLink and then securely stored on the OpenText™ Archive Center. This paper invoice may contain a contact name of the supplier, a phone number, an email address, all data that when combined together could identify an individual, such as an employee of the supplier. This personal data is protected by GDPR. Let’s recap: Collecting and processing data is legitimate as long as it serves a justified purpose, as defined by GDPR, “if data processing is needed for a contract, for example, for billing, a job application or a loan request; or if processing is required by a legal obligation …” Justfied purposes for storing and retaining personal data include laws that govern retention of content, such as tax relevant data and documents, where retaining the scanned vendor invoice or a customer bill is not only justified but an obligation. BUT: When the legitimate reason for the procession has expired, the transactional data and the attached ArchiveLink document need to be deleted. In our example above, the scanned vendor invoice needs to be retained as long as taxation laws require, but be deleted just after this retention period, which is 10 years in Germany for example. This means that enterprises are advised to set up retention rules to govern the necessary retention AND put processes in place that will delete data and attached content in a timely fashion, when it is no longer needed, or when the justified purpose for retention has expired. Retention Management for SAP® Data and Related Content Neither OpenText nor SAP can provide legal advice or guidance in this matter, but they do offer software capabilities that help customers set up policies and procedures for retention and deletion of transactional data and attached content. The products that play together here are SAP® Information Lifecycle Management (SAP ILM) and OpenText™ Enterprise Content Management solutions for SAP: OpenText™ Archiving, Document Access and Extended ECM for SAP Solutions (see OpenText Suite for SAP). SAP ILM provides records management for SAP data and can also be configured to apply the same retention schedule to the attached SAP ArchiveLink documents. However SAP ILM itself does not provide the storage for data and documents but relies on ILM aware platforms for this purpose. OpenText Archiving, Document Access and Extended ECM provide the compliant ILM aware platform for ILM data files and ArchiveLink documents. These solutions store the content, enforce the retention and holds from ILM and pass it up to the hardware level, and, at the end of the lifecycle, execute the deletion request coming from SAP ILM. SAP ILM acts here as leading application for the retention management of SAP data and attached ArchiveLink documents. So far so good, if you only look at SAP data and attached ArchiveLink documents. Enterprise Wide Records Management However, personal information in business documents does not stop at the boundaries of the SAP applications. You will also have content outside SAP, which you want to retain and manage, put under records management and execute timely deletion when the reason for retention has expired. This is where Extended ECM for SAP Solutions comes into play. Extended ECM provides DoD certified records management for SAP ArchiveLink documents as well as NON-SAP content, which can be related to SAP business objects via the ECMLink module. A customer that wants to benefit from the DoD certified records management for documents can use Extended ECM for all unstructured content inside and outside SAP, whereas SAP ILM provides the records management for SAP data. If SAP ILM is to delete data which relates to Extended ECM content that has not yet expired, both solutions can synchronize, so that business documents in Extended ECM will not be orphaned by SAP ILM. At the same time, Extended ECM represents the ILM aware storage platform for SAP data and documents. So SAP ILM together with Extended ECM for SAP Solutions can manage the retention of data and unstructured content inside and outside SAP. Where to Find More Information Learn more about OpenText’s capabilities to support GDPR requirement by reading our other blogs here and here. You can also visit our main web site and learn how OpenText EIM offers capabilities that support customers to prepare for GDPR or listen to our webinar.

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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – What is it and how Does it Impact Enterprise Information Management

GDPR

In May 2016, a new EU Regulation and Directive was released to govern the protection of personal data, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It will enter into force after a two year grace period in May 2018. This is just little more than one year to go and enterprises need to get active to evaluate what it means for them and how they need to prepare. As stated on the European Commission website: “The objective of this new set of rules is to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business.” Data protection laws are nothing new in the European Union. However, the new GDPR rules presents some significant impacts and changes to current data privacy regulations. For one, what used to be a directive, is now a regulation with full force of the law, valid across all EU countries. And despite BREXIT, the UK government has confirmed that UK will implement GDPR (read the UK Information Commissioner’s blog on this topic). The other important aspect is that GDPR now imposes substantial fines upon individuals and enterprises that do not adhere to the law. Minor breaches will be fined up to 10 Million EURO, or up to 2% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year for a business, whichever is higher. Major breaches will be fined up to 20 Million EURO, or up to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year for a business, whichever is higher. And it should be re-emphasized that the turnover is not just the turnover of the EU located part of the enterprise, but the worldwide turnover of the enterprise. Protecting Personal Data of EU Citizens – What does that mean? As GDPR protects the personal data of the citizens of the European Union, it imposes duties upon enterprises, that collect and manage personal data. These entities are called “Data Processors”. Data processing entities located in the EU are subject to GDPR, but also companies outside the EU that process personal data of EU citizens. So the regulation also applies to non-EU enterprises: EU GDPR requires compliance outside of the EU as well (EU GDPR applies for non-EU companies with contact points to the EU). Collecting and processing data is legitimate as long as it serves a justified purpose, as defined by GDPR, for example “if data processing is needed for a contract, for example, for billing, a job application or a loan request; or if processing is required by a legal obligation …” Such justified purposes for storing and retaining personal data are, for example, laws that govern retention of content, such as tax relevant data and documents, where retaining the scanned vendor invoice or a customer bill is not only justified but an obligation. What is the relevance of GDPR for Day-to-Day Business Processes? There is personal data processed and stored during the course of day-to-day business processes that relates to business partners, such as customers and suppliers, in the procure-to-pay processes as well as order-to-cash process. To give some concrete examples, let’s now take a look at an enterprise that uses SAP ERP to manage their processes and OpenText to attach business documents to these processes. It is of course not just about the data created and stored in the SAP database of the leading enterprise application (ERP, CRM, …), it is also about the business documents that are captured during this process. Take for example, an incoming vendor invoice on paper, which is scanned, attached to the transaction via ArchiveLink and then securely stored on the OpenText™ Archive Center. Or in the example of an order-to-cash process it an incoming sales order and delivery note to a client, which are linked to the SAP order and stored in OpenText. May 2018, GDPR will start to apply following a two-year transition period to allow the public and private sector get ready for the new rules. So how should enterprise prepare and get ready for GDPR? With regards to aspects of storing personal data for a justified purpose, enterprises need to set up policies and procedures – not only to retain content as long as they are obliged to do by law such as taxation or product liability laws, but also to delete content in a timely fashion when it is no longer needed respectively the justified purpose for retention has expired. Learn more about OpenText’s capabilities to support GDPR requirement in the SAP environment in a forthcoming blog post, and also by reading our other blog entries here  and here. You can also visit our web site and learn how OpenText EIM offers capabilities that can support customers to prepare for GDPR or listen to our webinar.

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

S4/HANA

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

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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

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Delivering Innovation in the First City of Innovation

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

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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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 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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