Nashville by Joshua Ness

NASHVILLE – Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText is heading to Music City, USA this week for its annual Enterprise World user conference.

The conference, which opens today, is expected to attract around 2,000 people to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center here for four days of keynotes, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. Attendees will hear the enterprise information management (EIM) provider deepen conversations about the imperative of digital transformation as well as discuss the solutions it offers to fuel that change.

OpenText Releases, Acquisitions

OpenText has already made plenty of news in 2016. In April, the 9,000-employee software provider debuted Release 16, the final phase of its Blue Carbon Project, which features applications and analytics centered on cloud services.

The same month, it acquired customer experience software assets from rival HP for $170 million. The package of solutions include platforms for digital asset management, web testing, and targeting and customer behavior analytics.

In June, OpenText dropped $315 million to acquire another round of HP assets, this time customer communications management, process automation and document delivery solutions.

It also sold off $600 million worth of senior debt notes to fund future acquisitions and spent $163 million to acquire Recommind, an e-discovery and information analytics provider.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, vice president and managing director of VOCalis for Digital Clarity Group in New York City, expects the conference to give OpenText a chance to catch its corporate breath and share its vision for the future.

While OpenText has been busy recently taking on all the HP — ex-Autonomy — assets, he doesn't expect to hear much about that at the conference. “It’s much too early and will take time to settle. What I do expect to hear more about is how the analytics and ECM sides of the business are shaping up,” he said.

Answer for EMC Leap?

alan pelz-sharpe

OpenText could make a leap forward in the enterprise content management (ECM) side of the business, Pelz-Sharpe said.

In May, EMC announced LEAP, a new ECM offering that it is offering free to customers as part of its "LEAP Together" program. Formerly known as Project Horizon, the move could go a long in re-winning the hearts of weathered Documentum end users — especially if they find the LEAP experience as wondrous as EMC's pitch and analyst reactions suggest.

Of course, OpenText's chasing a giant competitor here.

EMC made $24.7 billion in 2015. OpenText pulled in $1.9 billion in its latest full-year reporting.

“One way or another OpenText is one of the last big players in a still highly lucrative space so one would expect them to be setting the agenda to some degree,” Pelz-Sharpe told CMSWire. “EMC got plenty of pats on the back with LEAP and its success with InfoArchive to date so I would really like to see more maturing and integration in the ECM stack at the (OpenText) conference and most importantly improved and new use cases.”

OpenText’s analytics and BPM stacks have had a good few years now to mature. Pelz-Sharpe said he hopes to see some steps forward and practical applications that advance the BPM cause.

Information Hub (iHub) in particular shows promise here but some good customer presentations and real life use cases will be important to see,” Pelz-Sharpe added.

'Serious' Focus on Cloud

Adam Howatson of opentext

Adam Howatson, OpenText’s chief marketing officer, told CMSWire the company has doubled the number of sessions and the number of technical staff on site at the conference to give customers a first-hand look at new technologies.

Sessions will include a focus on EIM, cloud, analytics and business networks. OpenText plans to:

  • Explore the features and enhancements of OpenText Release 16, a single platform that manages and analyzes the flow of information, addressing user experience, machine-to-machine integration, automation and other aspects of the digital organization
  • Explaining big data analytics concepts, architecture and secrets, including columnar databases, calculations in-database, algorithms, complex segmentation and high performance
  • Discuss OpenText cloud strategy and offerings

“We have a serious focus on the cloud with the Release of 16, particularly with hybrid cloud architecture being able to support customers," Howatson said.

“Our client base includes some of the world’s largest organizations. They need to have the greatest breadth of capabilities supporting the widest possible range of use cases on a single platform. And that’s a key tenet of Release 16 — being able to deploy that in a hybrid architecture for those types of clients who don’t exclusively deploy on-premise or in the cloud.”

HP Fills Whitespace

OpenText plans to showcase its new customer experience-based capabilities through the spring acquisitions from HP. Howatson said those acquisitions filled gaps in the OpenText Customer Experience Suite.

“Digital experience is one of the major driving forces around digital transformation and the ability to interact directly and digitally with customers,” Howatson said. “We’re taking on board new capabilities that were previously white spaces for OpenText.”

OpenText acquired from HP:

  • HP TeamSite, a multichannel digital experience management platform for web content management
  • HP MediaBin, a digital asset management solution
  • HP Qfiniti, a workforce optimization solution (call center)
  • HP Explore, customer behavior analytics
  • HP Aurasma, an augmented reality program
  • HP Optimost, web testing, targeting, personalization
  • HP Exstream
  • HP Output Management
  • HP TeleForm
  • HP LiquidOffice for customer communications management, process automation and document delivery solutions

“We previously didn’t have an integration directly into the call center, which is customer experience, front and center,” Howatson said. “With Qfiniti, we have call center optimization, monitoring, recording and quality control. We’ll also have A/B testing for web and media assets, another capability that previously didn’t exist. We’ll also have more scale, more reach and a base of very talented employees.”

Fireworks Over

Although the HP assets and Release 16 were big news for OpenText this spring, Pelz-Sharpe doesn’t expect many more fireworks out of the Canadian provider at this week's conference.

“OpenText does what it does and investors like it that way, so I expect fewer big announcements than most conferences,” he said.

“OpenText is culturally a fairly conservative software firm, not a wiz bang Silicon Valley firm. It continues to have one of the most voracious appetites for acquisitions, and in the main it has bought wisely. Though progress has been made, making sense of the bulging portfolio will remain a challenge for the firm and the recent acquisitions surely won’t make the marketer’s life any easier.”

Title image of Nashville by Joshua Ness.