On August 6, 1991, without fanfare, British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee published the first-ever website while working at CERN in Switzerland. A few weeks before the arrival of Sir Tim’s world-changing innovation, a small team in Waterloo, Ontario officially incorporated OpenText, bringing to market technology to digitize, index, secure, manage and exchange the world’s most important and valuable asset – information. In 1991, information management was born!
The last 30 years have seen monumental changes across technology, society, and business; and the concept and practice of content management itself has changed immeasurably. From the digitization of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1991, to the first Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management in 2004, to the radical shifts in how people work in 2020, OpenText’s commitment to innovation has been instrumental in sustaining leadership through decades of change.
What is the secret formula for sustaining leadership in such a dynamic software market? Here are 7 key takeaways outlining how OpenText has maintained its position as a leader in ECM and content services technology after nearly three decades of innovation and change in the software industry:
- Start with a BHAG
OpenText was founded on a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal): to digitize and index the Oxford English Dictionary – no small feat in those days. Ever since, OpenText has stayed true to this seminal vision and has remained dedicated to securely managing information of all kinds.
Today, the BHAG set by Mark Barrenechea, the CEO of OpenText, is for every organization to maximize the value and minimize the risk of their information through a cloud-based, fully integrated information management platform.
- Capture a category
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was first defined in 2000 by AIIM as a group of methodologies and best practices required to “capture, analyze, map, preserve and store information” in a new era of digital content. OpenText quickly adopted the term, and – through our Livelink solution – began to define and shape the nascent ECM market, including the introduction of multi-user collaboration functionality.
In October 2004, the term ECM became firmly embedded into the lexicon of tech-speak when Gartner published its first Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management. OpenText was one of eight companies to appear in the Leaders quadrant that year, with Gartner noting that “Open Text’s ECM solution seamlessly combines collaboration with content management, transforming information into knowledge that provides the foundation for innovation, compliance and accelerated growth.”
Seventeen years later, as ECM has transitioned to content services, cloud has taken hold and AI has become a reality, we’re still in that Leaders quadrant – one of only two companies still in existence from that original Leaders list.
- Customer-centric innovation
From 2004 to 2007, Gartner included document management, web content management and records management in the overall ECM definition, a view that mirrored how the broader market saw “enterprise content”. However, as the end of the decade approached, the definition shifted towards the integration of information with business applications, a realization that content would underpin every aspect of business in the second decade of the millennium.
In 2013, OpenText once again looked ahead to where the ECM market was moving. In announcing an integrated suite of products, we provided customers with an agile information governance portfolio to maintain a secure, cross-enterprise framework and effectively manage content throughout its lifecycle.
A customer-centric focus on innovation continues today. As the global pandemic pushed people to work from home, we saw customers shifting their focus to remote collaboration and anytime/anywhere information access. Solutions like OpenText Extended ECM, OpenText Core Share and OpenText Core Signature could be quickly adopted by customers to integrate with and complement other remote, collaborative tools like Microsoft Team and Office 365.
- Build a platform
Never satisfied with standing still, OpenText continues to work with its customers to provide solutions for the next set of challenges and opportunities they would meet. With the launch of OpenText Release 16 in 2016, we delivered a single platform to manage and analyze the entire flow of information across a business; enabling IT, developers, and business users to quickly deploy content management solutions that can be easily managed by IT and deliver significant business value to the digital first organization.
The launch of this multi-faceted, unified platform was also indicative of the fact that both business needs and technology capabilities were rapidly outstripping the original scope of ECM. In November 2017, the respected analysts at Gartner unveiled the first Content Services Platforms Magic Quadrant, replacing the ECM Magic Quadrant. Once again, OpenText was selected as a Leader.
- Embrace new technology
The latest release of OpenText Cloud Editions continues to build on the innovation, R&D and customer-centric approach that has defined OpenText for 30 years. Our five clouds—OpenText Content Cloud, Business Network Cloud, Experience Cloud, Developer Cloud, and Security & Protection Cloud—embody the full benefits and promise of cloud-native technology but are adaptable to any hosting environment—providing flexible deployment options and helping organizations to rethink work-from-anywhere as they grapple with access, use and control of information in a new era of remote work.
The introduction of cloud-based content services technology has advanced content management platforms far beyond the concept of a static, inflexible monolith. Our Content Cloud offers end-to-end solutions—from information capture to lifecycle management, sharing and archiving—allowing organizations to simplify and speed the implementation of a fully integrated, cohesive platform that meets their needs.
- Develop an ecosystem
A key component of OpenText’s success has been our continuous commitment to partnering with the largest enterprise software companies and earning their long-term support and trust. This integration with key ecosystem players enables OpenText to provide optimal, “real world” solutions and be ready for new challenges as they arise.
For example, when global workforces underwent a rapid shift to remote work this year, OpenText Content Services solutions were already well-positioned to ensure highly dispersed workers could continue to easily access the information they needed from SAP, Salesforce, Oracle and others, and use that information to efficiently and securely collaborate through the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
To underscore this commitment to partnerships, OpenText and SAP have been partners for over 25 years. Today, OpenText is SAP’s largest solution extension partner, and this year we received the 2020 SAP® Pinnacle Award as the SAP Solution Extension Partner of the Year for the 13th year in a row. The suite of SAP-oriented solutions within the OpenText Content Services portfolio is the acknowledged industry leader in integrating any SAP platform into a centralized content management framework.
- Deliver business value
Critical to our ongoing success is our ability to unlock the value from our broad base of acquisitions. From the company’s first acquisition in 1995 through to our acquisition of ECM Documentum in 2017, all our acquisitions have paved the way to OpenText leadership in content management.
More recently, our strategic approach to M&A has enabled the company to deliver solutions that empower our customers to transform their digital business processes through SaaS applications that simplify complex content-centric challenges and deliver the information advantage.
A lot has happened in the last three decades, but one thing has remained consistent: our steadfast focus on innovating to help our customers securely maximize the value of their information, while reducing its risk. We believe this single-minded commitment is evident in our ongoing 17-year stretch as a Leader in the combined Gartner ECM/Content Services Platform Magic Quadrant. We were a leader in the very first MQ in 2004 – and have maintained our placement in the top right quadrant of every report since then.
What does the future hold for information management? The possibilities are almost endless, but content services technology will be at the center of how businesses run, how people work, and how the wheels of commerce, government and healthcare continue to turn. Content services platforms and applications are the foundation that will allow organizations to rethink what’s possible with their most valuable asset.
Take a few minutes to learn more about the possibilities with OpenText Content Services.
Lou Blatt is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of OpenText.