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OpenText's Enterprise 2.0 Strategy UnfoldsOpenText's Enterprise 2.0 Strategy Unfolds

A good way of perfecting your trend-watching in the high-tech sector is by paying close attention to how and when vendors release their so-called strategic road maps. It's essentially their way of legitimizing themselves in an increasingly competitive and noisy marketplace.

George Dearing

March 4, 2008

3 Min Read

A good way of perfecting your trend-watching in the high-tech sector is by paying close attention to how and when vendors release their so-called strategic road maps. It's essentially their way of legitimizing themselves in an increasingly competitive and noisy marketplace.And when the big boys start jockeying for position by reworking products and retooling their message, you can bet the demand is there. This time the company is ECM veteran Open Text and the demand is for Web 2.0's big brother, enterprise 2.0.

I spoke with Bill Forquer, executive VP of marketing at Open Text, as it launched its enterprise 2.0 strategy during this week's AIIM show in Boston. "Customers are telling us they want to not only satisfy traditional ECM requirements, but they also want to couple that with the productivity and drivers of Web 2.0 and social computing," said Forquer. I asked Forquer about the real enterprise 2.0 differentiators for Open Text and how it would stand out among ECM's heavyweights. "Brand-conscious clients want to be able to draw on the user's motivations for interacting with their content. Our customers have to be able to capture the bread crumbs of those experiences. "That's where our Experience Optimization piece comes into play," said Forquer. "We're improving the user experience through analytics, blogs, tagging, and other personalization elements." Forquer also stressed the importance of its Workgroup Optimization release, a set of collaborative services that provide structure around groups like communities of practice and program offices. According to Forquer, most features in Workgroup Optimization will be delivered in the context of Open Text's Extended Collaboration offering, a set of tools he says can provide the foundation for helping customers deploy enterprise 2.0 capabiliies. "Business practices and behaviors are limited in today's collaborative environments," added Forquer. "Customers want to package and use best practices around how they want to get work done. Part of our strategy is to have configurable applications and services that hone in on those structures. It's really about about building out a broader set of collaboration capabilities." The other notable part of the road map is what Open Text calls "Enterprise 2.0 Content Management". According to Forquer, Enterprise 2.0 Content Management will provide customers with flexible ways to use some of Web 2.0's best known faces, things like forums, wikis, blogs, and tagging. "This is about the 2.0 content itself," said Forquer. "And it has more to do with a behavior change. A lot of companies just don't have a sustainable practice built around how content is managed. Culturally, companies are figuring out they need to be able to adapt or they're at a competitive disadvantage." I also asked Forquer if his company's lineage of "service-oriented everything" gives them a leg up on other vendors delivering enterprise 2.0 capabilities. "We've always taken the Switzerland approach, meaning we'll always deliver infrastructure into whatever environments we need to," explained Forquer. "You've seen that in the case of SAP's NetWeaver, where we've ECM-enabled some of the largest SAP environments around." "From an ECM perspective, it shouldn't be thought of in such a controlled environment. Some of our clients want ECM through Outlook, some through SAP's GUI, and some want it through the browser," he added. Forquer was adamant that companies should start incorporating social computing into ECM strategies, and provided e-mail as one of the towering examples of how corporate America failed in the past. "E-mail was this different thing that users didn't really embrace in the context of business. It's basically sitting there as another silo," said Forquer. "We still see clients scarred by how they managed e-mail. Companies are embracing these new forms of communication in the context of how they're managing their lines of business, the way they create work product," said Forquer. "The 2.0 world is different; this time the business context is inevitable."

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