How to Turn an Aircraft Carrier: A Review of OpenText World 2021

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opentext 2021

How to Turn an Aircraft Carrier: A Review of OpenText World 2021

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We attended OpenText World Europe this April to learn where the ship is headed. OpenText made it very clear that it is staking its content management future on the cloud. The company announced Cloud Editions 21.2, an all-encompassing, all-in effort to achieve that long turn away from on-premise legacy software. Mark Barranchea, CEO, pledged an R&D investment of over $1 billion in R&D in their diverse stable of products. For a company with $3 billion in sales last year, that is a very impressive number.

OpenText has become a leader of the Enterprise Content Management market by sheer size, and through the acquisition of many successful content management software brands over the past 20 years. Indeed, if the industry were described as a fleet of boats, then OpenText is now an aircraft carrier.

You’ve probably heard the old business platitude about how long it takes for an aircraft carrier to change course and subsequently, why smaller and faster attack boats have the edge in a sea battle. In the case of OpenText, this old bromide also describes how long it takes to move several key content products into the cloud while simultaneously fending off market share attacks from a circling host of nimbler competitors.

At Deep Analysis, we tend to focus on the fast boats, the leading-edge innovators with AI-powered engines and the result is we are quickly bored by incrementalism. But there’s something to be said about the slower, incremental approach of the aircraft carrier which, when it is finally pointed in the right direction, can then unleash its unequaled firepower.

We attended OpenText World Europe this April to learn where the ship is headed. OpenText made it very clear that it is staking its content management future on the cloud. The company announced Cloud Editions 21.2, an all-encompassing, all-in effort to achieve that long turn away from on-premise legacy software. Mark Barranchea, CEO, pledged an R&D investment of over $1 billion in R&D in their diverse stable of products. For a company with $3 billion in sales last year, that is a very impressive number.

Cloud Editions 21.2 includes OpenText Core Content, described as the next generation of content services in the cloud with APIs. While this is surely good news for OpenText’s installed base, they are somewhat late to the cloud-native content battle and will face entrenched competition if they hope to acquire new customers.

On the Cognitive Capture product front, the news of note is that OpenText Information Extraction Engine (IEE), their intelligent document processing (IDP) platform with machine learning, will be integrated soon into Intelligent Capture (formerly Captiva). IEE has been in use within the SAP customer community for over two years and promises to enhance the classification and extraction capabilities of Intelligent Capture. Additionally, they announced that all Capture products will be cloud-native within 24 months. 

One announcement stood out to us. The latest release of OpenText Developer Cloud which is the culmination of a two year project to offer many legacy and on-prem functions as API services in the cloud. Customers can now choose from OpenText microservices such as workflow, capture, e-signature and several more process automation functions. This puts OpenText square into the mix for customers looking to rapidly develop new content processes. OpenText offered the interesting stat that the Capture service is already receiving over 2 million calls per month.

Finally, the elephant in the (virtual lobby) room was Documentum. There were several questions from users about investment in the future of Documentum, acquired ages ago (2017). The answers came on Day 2. OpenText announced that Documentum D2 would now have mobile invoice approval and mobile workflows. The D2 Smart View UI gains upgraded workflow management features. A D2 integration with OpenText InfoArchive was demonstrated, and phase one of a new Documentum integration to Microsoft Office 365 was announced. Coming later in 2021 for Documentum will be integration with OpenText’s e-signature platform and a fuller integration into Office 365 and Teams.

Will this be enough to keep more Documentum customers from joining forces with that other aircraft carrier, SharePoint? At the very least, OpenText won’t give up without a good fight. The aircraft carrier looks to be about 140-150 degrees into a 180-degree manoeuvre and when it’s aligned, watch out.

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