TechnologiesCloud & Applications

Parting the clouds and seeing the big picture

Unlocking the value of your investment in business applications and Microsoft Office 365®

Many OpenText customers, although they have or are deploying Microsoft Office 365, are still struggling with best practices, and are unclear on the differences between Office 365 and OpenText Extended ECM for Microsoft® Office 365®.

This was expressed to me when I was at the AIIM conference in sunny San Antonio, Texas, earlier this month, where I enjoyed some of the best BBQ ever and had the opportunity to meet many customers during my roundtable session. These customers were also confused about the benefits of connecting content from Office 365 with their ERP, CRM, and HCM business applications. I want to address those two important questions and part the clouds of confusion.

Office 365 and OpenText Extended ECM for Office 365

Companies are adopting Office 365 to empower their mobile and global workforce with seamless collaboration and increased productivity. (We here at OpenText have adopted Office 365, too.)

The OpenText Extended ECM Platform integrates with lead applications like Office 365 to bridge content silos and facilitate information flows. It improves process and user productivity by connecting content with the areas of the digital business that need it. It also brings the traditional strengths of ECM—governance and organization—directly to the content in the application where it was created.

Our expertise lies in helping enterprises create and manage these information flows so that they can maximize the value of their information. Content becomes available to those who need it, presented in the interface they want, and in context with other relevant info. This leads to better decision making, improved customer relations, and a fattened bottom line. The depth of our product line allows us to take a strategic, holistic view of your business processes and information management needs—as enterprises transform digitally, information is flowing from a wide variety of different sources like capture (OCR) and physical records that Office 365 doesn’t address.

An organization’s crucial business processes live in—and across—leading business applications like: SAP® and Oracle® for ERP; Salesforce® and Microsoft Dynamics® for CRM; HCM systems such as SuccessFactors® and Workday®; and other leading or legacy apps. We apply our expertise to help companies connect their content created in Office 365 to people and processes that need it to be more effective. We call this Extended ECM for Microsoft Office 365.

What’s the business value of connecting content and business processes?

Let’s start with content from Office 365 first. The unstructured information that is generated within Office 365—documents, images, PowerPoints, email, spreadsheets, and more—is significantly more valuable when it’s viewed within the framework or context of whatever business process or object it relates to.

For example, if I have a sales proposal on my hard drive, I don’t know if it is the most recent version, or whether I should be working with an amended version, or if I am missing a version with two signatures. Was this proposal ever sent to the customer? Did it need to go to finance for review? Without this context, the sales proposal is of limited value.

However, if I view this proposal in the context of a CRM application like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, this proposal becomes much more valuable. I can see if it was ever approved by finance and when it was sent to the customer and who received it.

There’s still a problem, though. Even if the version of the contract I’m looking at is stored there in the lead business application, I still can’t tell if it’s the final version.

And this leads us to the conceptual idea of “extended ECM.” By integrating ECM into the lead business applications that cross the enterprise and drive its business processes, you can aggregate all the relevant information and documents related to an object (i.e. associated with this customer) and present it in one convenient user interface, the proverbial “single source of the truth.”

You can have the complete picture and can view it all in an interface you’re comfortable working with, like Microsoft Office 365 (or Salesforce or SAP or Oracle and so on). In the screenshot below you can see how this looks with Extended ECM for Microsoft Office 365.

Take a look at this short, four-minute video to learn more about connecting your existing processes from leading ERP, CRM, and HCM business applications to your Microsoft Office 365 content to improve efficiencies and transform your business. We are literally connecting customers’ Digital Workplace to their Digital Business.

In my next blog, I’ll talk in greater detail about how we make the connection happen. Stay tuned!

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Chris Sargent

Chris Sargent is a software industry executive with over twenty years' experience in helping clients overcome business challenges by using technology. Having managed OpenText as a partner previously while employed at SAP, and again at Microsoft, he now helps OpenText customers understand how to maximize their investment when combining OpenText with partner solutions. Chris has degrees in both Computer Information Systems and Business Management, from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

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