A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the (Hyland) Forum…….

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Hyland Community Live 2023

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the (Hyland) Forum…….

by:
last updated:

So my Vegas residency is well underway, and this time around, it's Hyland's annual Community Live event hosted at Caesars Forum. The name is key to understanding this particular event; it's all about the Hyland Community. In theory, that is what all software vendor events are about, but that's not the case in practice.

So my Vegas residency is well underway, and this time around, it’s Hyland’s annual CommunityLIVE event hosted at Caesars Forum. The name is key to understanding this particular event; it’s all about the Hyland Community. In theory, that is what all software vendor events are about, but that’s not the case in practice.

More often than not, annual events focus on vendors shouting how great they are from the rooftops. What you got here at Caesars was a more down-tempo but more engaged bunch of attendees, and our goal in attending was less to visit the keynotes and sessions but instead to spend some quality time with the attendees. Particularly so, as this year has been a pivotal one for Hyland (you can read about that in our previous blog here), but I can honestly say that none of that seems to have impacted the attendees, be they partners’ or customers impressions of Hyland, the company, or its products. 

My big takeaway from the event is the challenge that attendees and partners face in shifting their focus from managing content to automating it. It is a challenge echoed across the industry after decades of trying to bring some order (typically via a repository) to unstructured data (documents, images, etc.). The priority now is to automate all the tasks and processes associated with that data. The challenges are technical and cultural; information managers have not traditionally involved themselves in process management, and process managers have not usually involved themselves in managing the data sources they utilize.

However, in our conversations in Vegas, what also becomes clear is that people’s definitions of ‘automation’ are, at best, fluid and vary widely. I mention this because historic technology divides, or in analysts speak,’ this technology in (MQ) Magic Quadrant X’ and ‘that technology in MQ Y’ no longer resonates with buyers like they once did. Customers have problems to solve; they don’t care about the tech (though it must work well); they care about the proposed resolution of their situation. That came across fully in my conversations with Hyland customers in sectors such as Financial Services and Higher Education. They are more than happy with their OnBase or their Perceptive Content document management system; their challenge is to unpack and leverage features, functions, and basic but critical automation. The folks I spoke with knew next to nothing about Hyland’s competitors (beyond the ubiquitous SharePoint), nor did they seem to care.

That’s reflected, for example, in one of Hyland’s announcements, which, on the surface, is unremarkable yet resonated well: the ability for OnBase to integrate with Epic Chart Search and Tapestry. For the uninitiated, Epic is a $3B healthcare records software company. Hyland is a long-time partner of Epic, and these integrations ensure that records in both Epic and OnBase can be retrieved within the same query and scanned records can be accessed within Epic workflows. Neither announcement will garner many headlines, but both bring tangible and measurable benefits to end users, eliminating double work and potentially reducing errors and costly workarounds. And in users eyes, at least, these are valuable ‘automation.’ The reason for mentioning this is that beyond the AI-grabbing headlines, these are the kind of real-world improvements that customers of Hyland (and their competitors) are looking for; they make a difference even if they in no way, shape, or form can be defined as sexy.

Arguably much sexier, though I have yet to get all the details, are updates to the Hylands Credentials product—specifically, APIs for stamping, e-signatures, digital signatures, and blockchain anchoring. Few Information Management vendors have done anything to date with Blockchain, nor have they grasped its potential. But credit where it is due, Hyland has. So again, there is some complex technology under the hood but a straightforward but valuable use case on top, in the simplest of terms, a blockchain platform with a no-code application that simplifies issuing and validating credentials. Again, it’s a simple but compelling use case, but organizations can save huge amounts of money by reducing redundant copies and (almost) eliminating fraud and errors. It’s already established and used in higher education, but we expect and would like to see its use expand more widely into sectors such as healthcare in the coming year. 

So, to paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s much ado about nothing. And the twist here is we like that, as it seems, so do many, if not most, of Hyland’s customers. It’s not about splash and pizzaz; it’s about effectively and efficiently improving business operations. Yet no customer conversation I had could top the Hyland Innovation Award winner for sustainability and environmental impact. In summary, a South Carolina child fostering agency moved to Onbase for case management. I say move, but it was a dramatic transformation because the previous system relied on an 18-year-old Access Database and paper documents. That’s the real world out there, folks, so when people tell me ECM or Document Management is dead, I genuinely wonder if they have connected with reality; it might not be fashionable, but when done well, it still makes a difference, and I can’t even imagine how a disjointed group of agencies dealing with vulnerable children functioned before this change. 

Of course, not all projects are so dramatic, but that’s the point and sums up Hyland. There is not much drama or headlines to grab, but Hyland is out there  (along with a few others), and they are trying to solve their customer’s problems.

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