Tag Archives: TORONTO

Evaluating CMS platforms, LA County stays on Documentum

TORONTO — It turns out that when you have an organization so big it would be a Fortune 500 company if it were in the private sector, comparables are hard to find when evaluating CMS platforms and a possible rip and replace.

That’s a challenge the tech team including Murtaza Masood, the assistant director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Human Resources, faced when deciding whether to stay with Documentum and its myriad content service tentacles that reached throughout the county’s systems, which serve 110,000 employees. The evaluation came last year after OpenText acquired Documentum from EMC.

In this Pipeline podcast, Masood describes how it took three years to get an HR digital transformation started so they could then move forward and streamline processes.

We embarked on a strategic roadmap to transform all things HR into digital platforms.
Murtaza MasoodLos Angeles County

“We embarked on a strategic roadmap to transform all things HR into digital platforms — self-service HR [or] on-demand HR, if you will,” Masood says in the podcast, which was recorded in July at the OpenText Enterprise World user conference.

Masood added that he then was tapped to rethink the department’s workflows to slash the time it takes to complete common processes such as responding to HR complaints, civil service exams, workforce employee development and executive services.”

In the middle of that, the county’s long-used document management platform was acquired by a competitor, which precipitated the process of evaluating CMS vendors — and considering possible replacements — on top of the other updates to the documentation processes that were going on.

In the end, the massive enterprise decided to stay on Documentum and migrate slowly into the cloud instead of going the big-bang route. Why?

“Based on our size and the scale of the process, the business continuity aspect of it,” Masood said.

Endpoint security tool fueled OpenText’s Guidance Software acquisition

TORONTO — When OpenText acquired Guidance Software in September 2017, the content management vendor needed its endpoint security tool.

Of course, OpenText also was pleased that endpoint security tool came with some other attractive assets: the well-known data forensics application seen on CSI and used by law enforcement and government investigators; an E-discovery platform; and Guidance’s loyal customer list.

Although OpenText plans to support all of those other assets in its aggressive growth-through-acquisition strategy — and one longtime customer confirms that needed integrations are underway — the biggest draw was the endpoint security tool.

OpenText’s private cloud has 50 million endpoints today, and is expanding as more customers migrate more data into it, CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea said.

“We wanted to enter the security market,” he said during an OpenText Enterprise World media question and answer session.

While OpenText built its customer base on content management, which in time has evolved into content services, customers are demanding tighter hybrid cloud security, as well as content access control.

The endpoint security tool from Guidance fills in technological “white space” OpenText needed to fill, while acquiring Covisint brought much-needed ID management, Barrenechea concluded.

OpenText Enterprise World 2018 image
OpenText Enterprise World 2018

AI coming to EnCase

Guidance’s flagship application, EnCase, is used to collect and petrify data so it remains legally admissible in civil and criminal trials.

Lalith Subramanian, vice president of engineering for analytics, security and discovery at OpenText, said in an interview that the endpoint security tool now is needed mostly for laptops on the OpenText network.

But more use cases are coming as OpenText customers prepare IoT implementations that will multiply that number and as sensors come online, Subramanian said.

“People are not there yet but they’re going to get there,” he said. “Our challenge is more to support the breath of the platforms that are possible.”

Subramanian also said that a secondary opportunity OpenText saw for the Guidance acquisition was incorporating Guidance’s Magellan content-specific AI tools.

Guidance included no AI in its applications, but AI can help humans performing e-discovery for lawsuits, as well as data forensics investigations to sort documents and classify data.

We wanted to enter the security market.
Mark BarrenecheaCEO and CTO, OpenText

FBI investigators, Subramanian said, tell OpenText they are overwhelmed with digital data associated with cases and AI may quickly be able to identify patterns and starting points for evidence that sometimes take teams days to figure out.

OpenText forensicist James Kritselis has been assisting Guidance customers in extracting data from devices for years, taking on the most intractable cases to catch criminals.

He said he sees AI as a potential boon for finding connections (“link analysis” in investigator parlance) in data that aren’t obvious to humans. One example would be when a criminal might conduct relevant conversations — or pieces of conversations — in multiple apps.

“If I see WhatsApp on a phone, AI would be able to start to look in Bumble or Tinder — to figure out what other social media apps would be relevant,” Kritselis said in an interview at the conference.

Integrations coming together

Meanwhile, Liberty Mutual Group’s  insurance investigation unit doesn’t need the endpoint security tool as much as it does linkage with other OpenText applications and services, said Brian Morrison, principal business systems analyst. His group, based in Dover, N.H., had used OpenText and Guidance software separately for years.

While some customers may have felt apprehension when OpenText acquired Guidance, Morrison said he has seen some quick wins in consolidating workflows already and looks forward to more.

Getting information for evidence out of Guidance products and into OpenText required many connectors and third-party helper applications. That process also is a drag on IT staffers, keeping up with the needs for preserving data through the workflow so it remains legally admissible.

“[I’m looking forward to] being able to get there without all these connectors,” Morrison said.

“These are application developers and systems support people. I’m taking their time for something that if I could just get [from OpenText], they could work more on supporting the users, working on reporting, analytics and other things instead of grabbing something for me that’s three years old and absolutely meaningless to them,” he said.

Execs: Content management in the cloud not as easy as it looks

TORONTO — Companies like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft are pushing content management in the cloud, and they’re joined by OpenText, which announced the containerization of its systems for use on public clouds, such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and AWS.

“Friends don’t let friends buy data centers.” That was OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea’s recurring joke during his OpenText Enterprise World 2018 keynote, during which the company unveiled its cloud- and DevOps-friendly OT2 platform.

Barrenechea later clarified to reporters that while some customers are standardizing on AWS and Azure, most OpenText cloud customers are on OpenText’s private cloud. Opening OpenText apps and microservices, such as its Magellan AI tools, to the public clouds will also open up new markets for content management in the cloud, Barrenechea said.

But several speakers from the stage — including celebrity nonfiction writer and Toronto native Malcolm Gladwell — cautioned that while the cloud might bring convenience and freedom from data center upkeep, it also brings challenges.

The two most frequently mentioned were data security and process automation, as well as a related issue: automating bad or unnecessarily complicated processes that should have been fixed before their digital transformations.

Data security getting more complicated

If you have 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, I would venture to say that it’s no longer top-secret.
Malcolm Gladwellauthor

The internet of things and mobile devices comprise a major security vulnerability that, if left unsecure, can multiply risk and create entry points for hackers to penetrate networks. Opening up content management in the cloud — and the necessary multiplication of data transactions that comes with it — can spread that risk outside the firewall.

Persistent connectivity is the challenge for Zoll Medical’s personal defibrillators, said Jennifer Bell, enterprise CMS architect at the company. Zoll Medical’s IoT devices not only connect the patient to the device, but also port the data to caregivers and insurance providers in a regulatory-compliant way, which mandates data security the whole time.

“Security is huge, with HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] and everything,” she said.

IT leaders are just beginning to grasp the scale of risks.

At the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), even “smart microscopes” with which researchers take multi-gigabyte, close-up images have to check in with their manufacturer’s servers every night, said Matt Eisenberg, acting chief of NIAID’s business processes and information branch.

“Every evening, when the scientists are done with those devices, it has to phone home and recalibrate. And this is blowing the infrastructure guys away, because they’re not used to allowing this kind of bidirectional communication from something that really doesn’t look or feel like a computer or a laptop,” Eisenberg said.

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell giving conference keynote
Author Malcolm Gladwell delivering keynote at OpenText Enterprise World 2018

Meanwhile, Gladwell warned that data security threats are coming from every direction, inside and outside of organizations, and from new perpetrators.

Also coming under the spotlight was security of content management in the cloud when Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were able to steal sensitive military documents and hand them over to WikiLeaks, Gladwell said.

Government data security experts are having a hard time preventing another such breach, he continued, because security threats are rapidly changing. The feds, however, haven’t; they’re stuck with Cold War-era systems and processes that focused on a particular enemy and their operatives.

“It’s no longer that you have a short list of people high up that you have to worry about. Now, you have to worry about everyone,” Gladwell said. “If you have 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, I would venture to say that it’s no longer top-secret.”

Cloud: BPM boon or problem?

Content management in the cloud by way of SaaS apps can also bring process automation, AI and analytics tools to content formerly marooned in on-premises data silos. It can also extend a workforce beyond office walls, giving remote, traveling or field-based workers access to the same content their commuting co-workers get.

That’s if it’s done right.

Kyle Hufford, digital asset management director at Monster Energy, based in Corona, Calif., serves rich media content to an international marketing team that must comply with many national, state and local regulations, as well as standardized internal processes, approval trees and branding rules.

His job, he said, is opening access to Monster Energy’s sometimes-edgy content worldwide, while ensuring end users stay compliant.

The work starts with detailed examination of how a process is done before moving it into the cloud.

“People think there [are] complexities around approvals and how to get things done,” Hufford said. “In reality, they can take a 15-step process and make it a two- or three-step process and save everybody time.”

Panelists at OpenText Enterprise World 2018 conference
Panelists at OpenText Enterprise World 2018 conference, from left to right: Marl Barrenechea, OpenText CEO and CTO; Gopal Padinjaruveetil, vice president and chief information security officer at The Auto Club Group; Jennifer Bell, enterprise content management architect and analyst at Zoll Medical; Kyle Hufford, director of digital asset management at Monster Energy; and Matt Eisenberg, acting chief of the U.S. NIAID business process and information management branch.

As mature companies like SAP, Microsoft, OpenText and Oracle make big pushes into the cloud and bring their big customers along to migrate from on-premises systems, process issues like these are bound to happen, said Craig Wentworth, principal analyst for U.K.-based MWD Advisors.

Wentworth advised enterprise IT leaders to take a critical look at the vendor’s model in the evaluation stage before embarking on a project for content management in the cloud.

“I worry that, sometimes … software firms that have been around for a long time [and add] cloud are coming to it from a very different place than those who are born in the cloud,” Wentworth said. “Whilst they will be successful certainly with their existing customers, they’ve got a different slant to it.”

OpenText OT2 hybrid cloud EIM platform debuts

TORONTO — OpenText OT2, a new hybrid cloud-on-premises enterprise information management platform, brings self-service SaaS appdev environment to customers that crave the cloud’s flexibility and economy but often must keep some data at home, typically out of regulatory concerns or legacy application tethers.

Hybrid cloud EIM deployments — and apps connecting them — were previously feasible with OpenText on its AppWorks platform. But the company promises that the combination of OpenText OT2’s unified data model, updated interface and modernized, developer-friendly environment will make it more straightforward and faster to design and update applications.

That will cut development time for custom apps from weeks to hours in some cases, Muhi Majzoub, OpenText executive vice president of engineering and IT, said in an interview.

“OT2 simplifies for our customers how they invest and make decisions in taking some of their on-premises workflows and [port] them into a hybrid model or SaaS model into the cloud,” Majzoub said.

He added that life sciences and financial customers have taken a particular interest in that process to streamline records processes — and add AI and analytics behind them.

OpenText Enterprise World 2018 stock pic
OpenText Enterprise World 2018

New tools from new acquisitions

Some of the new OpenText OT2 microservices that can be deployed with low-code appdev or native programming reflect OpenText acquisitions from the last couple of years such as Covisint and Guidance Software. The short list of tools from these includes analytics, ID management and IoT endpoint security.

OpenText OT2 debuted at the company’s annual OpenText Enterprise World 2018 user conference, with Mazjoub planning to demonstrate the first OpenText OT2 apps, some created by customers and others by OpenText employees.

The company plans to keep OpenText OT2 tightly integrated with the current release of its main suite, OpenText 16, using quarterly updates. OpenText 16 connects to numerous associated applications and services, many of which have thousands of customers, such as document management platforms Documentum and Core, as well as software designed for specific vertical markets such as legal and manufacturing.

OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea
OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea giving keynote at OpenText Enterprise World 2018 in Toronto

Widening the market

OpenText OT2 apps will also be available for partners to run on Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google clouds.

It will be interesting to see if enterprise technology buyers will need, for example, OpenText Magellan AI apps set up specifically for content, said Alan Lepofsky, Constellation Research vice president and principal analyst.

Also remaining to be seen will be how the new system will compete against other vendors’ products, such as those from ABBYY that also offer content-specific AI tools.

“It comes down to: Will customers want to use a general AI platform like Azure, Google, IBM or AWS?” Lepofsky said. “Will the native AI functionality from OpenText compare and keep up? What will be the draw for new customers?”