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OpenText: Partners in “incredible position” in post-ERP world

Channel partners should guide customers in their transition to next generation information management

Enterprises are now operating in a “post-ERP era”, which presents a fresh opportunity for the channel according to the man running OpenText.

That’s according to Enterprise Information Management (EIM) software company OpenText’s CEO Mark J Barrenechea, speaking at the firm’s customer and partner event, Enterprise World, in Toronto.

“Companies need to progress from a process advantage to an information advantage,” he said, adding that OpenText’s channel partners are “in an incredible position go in and strategically influence company agendas,” he said.

“It’s a very unsettling time, when you think about the challenges that users are facing, in terms of incorporating information in a meaningful way into their business processes,” John Mancini, former CEO of AIIM, and guest speaker on information management and digital transformation, told partners at the event.

However, Mancini believes there’s “an unprecedented opportunity” for partners, noting there are “big risks, but there’s big rewards,” as customers struggle with a crossover between “the third and fourth industrial revolution”.

“We went down the path of digitisation and automation; we’re still not at the end of that path yet. And we also started on a new path centred around robotics, AI and machine learning. It’s the intersection between those last two that creates such an enormous challenges and enormous opportunities for organisations as they think about their information management strategies.”

“The old approaches to managing content, and the old approaches to managing processes don’t work anymore. They’ve got to modernise what they’re doing.”

Mancini said he questioned a group of C-level executives on how they saw the volume of information coming into their organisation changing over the next two years. The execs responded that they expect to see a 4.2X increase in data during that time, of which 62 percent would be unstructured or semi-structured data.

“It comes down to thinking about how I disassemble and democratise some of the content and process management capabilities that I have in the organisation….But if you do it process by processes independent of each other, you’re going to wind up with even more chaos and even more silos than you have before, and organisations are starting to realise that.

“This represents an unprecedented opportunity for solution providers, this inflection point, when there’s fear, uncertainty, and doubt. But we’ve got to be cognisant of the way we go to market and the kinds of competencies that we bring to market has to also change.”

Mancini continued: “Most people agree with the idea that it’s important for a sales rep to be a product knowledge person. But it’s even more important for them to be a domain expert. That points to the shift in the industry from basic technology to process applications.

“The other thing is that you've got to embrace the edges of technology, you got to embrace analytics and machine learning and help users understand this. It’s still a pretty nascent area. It’s not nearly as far down the road as I think some of the articles and analysts would have everybody believe.

“The reality is figuring out how you do the hard and heavy lifting, how you manage information capabilities in the context of rapid change in the context of business. And so I think the opportunity for all of you is that help fill in that gap,” he told partners.

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