9 Realities of the Post-COVID Landscape

BrandPost By Paul Gillin
Apr 20, 2021
Digital Transformation

OpenText CEO addresses the digital revolution accelerated by the pandemic, and why businesses should use it as a growth opportunity.

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Credit: OpenText

“We have never worked this fast, and we will never work this slowly again.”

That’s how OpenText CEO & CTO Mark J. Barrenechea summed up the state of a world coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as he kicked off the OpenText World Europe virtual event on April 14.

With the arrival of vaccines ushering in new optimism, organizations are ready to learn from the lessons of 2020 to make themselves more resilient, more agile and more sustainable, Barrenechea said. In his view, the pandemic left nine new realities in its wake.

  1. Digital is the future. “Those that own their digital capabilities will advance faster,” he said. Changes mandated by the crisis have been “a great accelerant for digital.”
  2. Flex work is here to say. “If you were 100% in the office before, you will be a mixture afterwards,” he said. New work styles and collaboration technologies will emerge as a result.
  3. Talent is everywhere. The productivity of home-based workers will cause organizations to rethink geography-bound approaches to hiring. “This is an opportunity to widen the aperture when you’re no longer tethered to a physical space to recruit the best talent from anywhere,” Barrenechea said.
  4. You need proximity to innovate. Nevertheless, there will still be a need for clusters where people can learn and share.
  5. High productivity is masking exhausted employees. With employees out of sight for the past year, many are working harder and taking fewer breaks. That’s a looming crisis, Barrenechea said. “We need to provide tools and awareness that keep our productivity improvements going without creating exhausted talent.”
  6. Gen Z needs to be re-engaged. Gen X works longer. Barrenechea counts himself among the latter group whose members need to get comfortable with careers that last longer than they once expected. Gen Z, the first of whom turn 24 this year “need to get re-engaged into purpose and mission” after having been particularly hard hit by a year of isolation.
  7. Keep it authentic, honest and crisp. Call it the Zoom effect. “I’m so appreciative, as a CEO, that my employees now welcome me into their homes and I welcome them into my home,” he said. Interactions are more honest as a result.
  8. Equity, diversity and inclusion need to be part of your culture. The key to unlocking passion is objectivity and the belief that everyone can contribute and succeed.
  9. Supply chains will be regionalized due to the pandemic-related disruptions that exposed the fragility of global networks.

The new realities of the past year have also played a part in transforming OpenText’s innovation cycles, with new functionality delivered every 90 days to OpenText Cloud Editions, the company’s comprehensive information management portfolio. “We’ve simplified to five clouds, four deployment options, and one technology platform,” Barrenechea said. “Together, OpenText Cloud Editions form the Ultimate Cloud.” He pledged to invest $1 billion in Information Management research and development over the next three years.

Cloud is central to the company’s evolution, but so is customer choice, he said. For example, OpenText Cloud Editions can run on-premises or in a public or private cloud. Regardless of the options customers choose, they will enjoy the benefits of cloud-native principles like extreme scalability and integration via application program interfaces (APIs).

The modern work experience, including digitalization, collaboration and sharing, and work from anywhere, is a key focus area for the OpenText Content Cloud, said Barrenechea. The OpenText Content Cloud powers modern work by improving user productivity, process stability, and providing solutions to assist with regulatory compliance. “This is the most complete and integrated content cloud in the market,” he said.  

The OpenText Business Network Cloud, which seamlessly connects organizations to their global ecosystems, now delivers 100 out-of-the-box integrations with major applications, payment, service management, analytics, and other platforms. That all adds up to “faster time to value, time to commerce and time to transact,” Barrenechea said.

The OpenText Security & Protection Cloud couples data protection and backup, endpoint detection and response, threat intelligence services, and digital investigations and forensics with information governance, risk and compliance to secure your information. “We’re here to remove the friction from innovation,” he said. “We’re here to make sure that innovation can happen without disruption like ransomware, and that innovation can happen while you protect your IP.”

Watch Barrenechea’s keynote and the other OpenText World Europe sessions on-demand.