OpenText EIM Day Toronto, Company/Product Keynotes

I always try to drop in on vendor events that happen in my own backyard, so today I’m at OpenText’s EIM Day in Toronto. OpenText is a success story in the Canadian software space, focused on enterprise information management, which includes content and process management. They have grown significantly through acquisitions, acquiring (somewhat controversially) two different BPM vendors (Metastorm and Global 360) to add to their home-grown content management capabilities.

Following a welcome from Jim McIntyre, the regional VP of sales, we heard a keynote from Mark Barrenechea, CEO. Barrenechea was with SAP Oracle in the past, and obviously has continued to leverage those strong ties into the ERP market by integrating and partnering with SAP and other ERP vendors. He sees information-based strategies as the direction of business-technology transformation today, providing support for all of the unstructured information that lives alongside the structured information in ERP and other line of business systems. He outlined several transformations going on in the information enterprise: paper to digital; hierarchical to social; on premise to hybrid cloud; fragmented to managed, secured and governed; products to platforms; and ERP to EIM. He claimed that they will be able to replace multiple different products with a single platform from OpenText covering everything from capture to archive — capture, content management, process management, customer experience management (CEM) — although it appears that’s not yet released, and not clear if this will be a product branding exercise rather than a fully integrated platform.

This appeared to be a fairly conservative audience in terms of product adoption — I sat with someone who was just in the process of converting their LiveLink installation to Content Server, which I think is a bit overdue — so I’m not sure how well the message about their Tempo social collaboration platform went down, but OpenText will be pushing it later this year by using it for customer support and service interactions. What did go over well was Barrenechea’s scare tactic about Dropbox and Google Docs licensing — “did you know that they have the right to use your content for whatever purposes that they want?” — as a lead-in to the need for content security.

Barrenechea wrapped up with a product overview in their four main categories:

  • ECM, with Content Server, Tempo Box (an enterprise Dropbox-like product) and Archive (storage management)
  • CEM, with Tempo Social, DAM (digital asset management), WEM (web experience management) and CCM (customer communication management) making up the social suite
  • BPM, with Assure, MBPM and targeted apps making up their Smart Process Apps
  • iX (information exchange), with Secure iX, EDI and MFT (managed file transfer) providing secure transactions
  • DX (discovery), with InfoFusion and Semantic Navigation, indicating OpenText’s reentry into enterprise search; keep in mind that OpenText was a spin-off from a University of Waterloo project for indexing and searching the Oxford English Dictionary, making search part of their DNA

This still seems like a lot of products to me, many of which came through acquisitions hence may have quite different internal architecture. Although Barrenechea made claims that these are integrated, I did hear the qualifier “…on some level”. Hopefully they are integrated in more than his slide deck.

We had a deeper product view with Lynn Elwood, VP of product marketing, walking us through a (fictional) customer use case for a tablet manufacturer:

  • Creating and publishing product web pages using WEM (this functionality originated with the Vignette acquisition), including a review/approval cycle for the content before publication, plus cross-platform publication to update Facebook and Twitter with the newly published information, as well as mobile-optimized sites. This also gathers metrics and KPIs about the published information, including user actions, sentiment, ratings and comments.
  • Customer communications using StreamServe for customizing any customer communications, including adding customer-specific messages to invoices and letters.
  • Dynamic case management for help desk and product complaints/returns, which can include scanned documents with content captured automatically and added as case metadata. Mobile device support and Tempo Box allows a customer to take a photo of damaged goods and upload for the CSR to review.
  • Process analytics with ProVision (previously acquired by Metastorm, which was then acquired by OpenText) to model and simulate processes for improvement.
  • Records management within their Content Server product. This includes direct integration with Microsoft Outlook, so that emails can be manually dragged (or automatically moved) into folders that are managed by Content Server, hence can be part of a case and controlled by records management. There’s a lot of automated classification built in, so that content can be automatically found, classified and managed according to policies and usage.
  • Content storage management using their Archive product, which includes media staging and access control (including geographic constraints) based on policies.

A good overview of the product suite, but I’m still left with the feeling that this is a huge grab-bag of partially integrated components based on a variety of acquisitions over the years. They are definitely making progress in bringing them together, and the sort of use cases that Elwood showed us will help customers to understand the range of capabilities that OpenText can provide. As long as the products are individually capable and moving towards a common vision in terms of architecture, integration and user experience, there is an advantage to dealing with a single vendor for an array of related information management functionality: after all, that’s the same reason that many enterprises buy IBM products, in spite of an equally fragmented product acquisition and development strategy.

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