Digital Transformation and Thoughts From Gartner Symposium

I recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the Gartner Symposium in Dubai on behalf of OpenText. This was a three day event held at the Madinat Jumeirah complex and the second of the Gartner Symposiums I have attended now, having been to the same event in Cape Town last September. It was a very good event, well organised by OpenText and Gartner, with a great attendee list.

The key thing I found interesting from Gartner was their definition of an organisations Digital EcoSystem. This extends in all directions with Intelligence at the core, expanding out into Customers, Things, EcoSystems and IT Systems (which is not a million miles away from what I presented, happily!). Gartner’s top 10  top 10 Strategic Technology directions for 2017, which they broke out into three categories (Intelligent, Digital and Mesh), was also interesting and I went to many breakouts on this topic.

My session was straight after the opening keynotes on the first day and it was the only speaking session at that time. The title of the session was “7 ways to drive Digital Transformation in your organisation”. The OpenText team had done a great job promoting the session with flyers all round the auditorium so over a third of all attendees were present, with standing room only. My 20 minute session was minutes straight before the private Gartner analyst sessions and breakouts started (and the first official break!).

So what did I present to the assembled executives?

As I went through drafting the deck and looked at other decks from similar events it occurred to me that one of the big challenges with Digital Transformation (and not Digitization – see this great post here on that topic) is that it could be hard to know where to start. Sure, everyone has Digital Transformation on their agenda and understands that they need to become more digital. They probably also know that they should have started this a couple of years ago and be further along their transformation journey. But it’s a very big topic to transform an organisation and so knowing where to start could be the part that is holding companies back.

In OpenText we have 6 sets of solutions (pillars) that make up Enterprise Information Management (EIM). These are Content, Experience, Analytics, Discovery, Network and Process. Each of these can enable transformation across an Enterprise in different ways, be it providing a new content platform for an organisation to enable compliance, enabling different ways to market or streamlining enterprise processes.

In my role in OpenText I look after our EcoSystem products (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and SalesForce). We focus our attention on 7 ‘enterprise systems’ (based partly on the SAP Digital Core) that are present in every organisation whether you are a small startup or a large construction company. The 7 systems are IT, Finance, Products, Assets and IoT, Suppliers, Workforce and Customers. One of our key strategies is to take content, and place the content in the context of the lead application, only by having Content and Process in Context can transformation be effective.

Digital Transformation – where to start

What I couldn’t find in any of my research was a presentation that mapped the 6 Pillars into an organization’s Enterprise Systems – to maybe give some ideas on where to start. Transformation doesn’t have to affect every single of an organisation at once, it can be in a single Enterprise system, for example transformation of HR, or Finance.

There are some obvious synergies in our solutions – our Experience solutions linked to a transformed customer experience; our Content solutions linked to IT providing an enterprise wide solution for Content Management and Archiving; and of course our Analytics solutions linked to IoT and Big Data. Also, the combination of more than one pillar such as Content and Process to improve Finance processing. In fact even in obvious areas like Experience Suite and Customer Experience by applying more than one pillar can dramatically increase the effectiveness of transformation initiatives (for example, Customer Experience is pretty meaningless without robust Analytics to measure the effectiveness of new experience).

The presentation is below and highlights synergies and customers who have started their transformation by combining the solutions and systems. Each reference covers one or more of the pillars (solutions) around a particular business transformation (and are all available to read in more detail on the OpenText website).

In summary

So the key message from my session was: Look at the specific areas of the organisation to transform first. Combine the different solution pillars from OpenText with the Enterprise Systems that we recognise in the EcoSystem and start your transformation from there.

From the feedback I received at the event and in the private sessions between attendees and myself it seemed like the presentation served its purpose. As always, I appreciate any comments, feel free to connect with me, my details are in the presentation!

Jonathan Beardsley

Jonathan is a Program Manager in Business Transformation and Digital Disruption, particularly interested in how customers are digitally transforming their supplier, customer and business relationships and where OpenText can help.Previously a CEM Architect for 15 years working across a variety of Digital Marketing requirements, helping customers deliver new and innovative online and digital channels.

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