Outside-in, business-savvy: OpenText’s BPS aspiration

Neil Ward-Dutton

Friday, February 24, 2012 by

When OpenText made acquisitions of Metastorm and Global360 within 6 months of each other last year, I blogged:

In the medium term … I hope Open Text will communicate a credible plan that supports existing customers of Metastorm and Global 360 while showing they can also craft a vision for how something bigger and better can be delivered by pooling knowledge and resources.

The period after an acquisition is always a tough one, as customers and prospects look for direction and answers; anyone making an investment decision is understandably cautious. When there are two acquisitions on the table then things get even more challenging! I’ve had quite a few conversations with prospective investors in BPM technology who’ve expressed uncertainty (at least partly because other vendors have sown seeds of doubt – and that’s completely to be expected).

I’ve been keen to get an update from OpenText’s newly formed Business Process Solutions (BPS) business unit for some time, and a couple of weeks ago I got to spend some time with VP of International Marketing and Alliances, Bhavesh Vaghela. Here’s some of what I learned.

OpenText’s new CEO, Mark Barrenechea, has stated that his aim is to grow OpenText into a $2bn company by revenue (though a timescale was purposefully not given). Key to the growth plan, though, is extending the company’s footprint from ECM into business process management (in its broadest sense). The new BPS division – formed from the Metastorm and Global 360 acquisitions – is responsible for making this push.

The Strategy and vision for BPS is oriented around the “outside in” approach to business improvement – which focuses first on customer experience, and uses that to structure, prioritise and shape the ways that an organisation delivers services to its market. The aim is for BPS to organise itself around three propositions:

  • Enterprise Case Management – using case management and unstructured process management approaches and technologies to deliver highly tailorable and personalised services across multiple channels and venues, for those areas of work which need to be optimised for flexibility (think front-office capabilities around customer service, sales, and so on – where there’s potential advantage in blending core work co-ordination systems with real-time analytics, marketing automation, decision management and other disciplines).
  • Enterprise Service Management – using core BPM technologies to industrialise the delivery of back-office administrative processes within a ‘business service’ framework, for those areas of work which are a cost of doing business and which should be optimised for cost (think some IT service delivery pieces, HR services like leave requests and employee onboarding, and so on).
  • Modelling and Visualisation – using analysis techniques and technologies to discover and design portfolios of business capabilities, and set the stage for business transformation projects that then lead to interest in the ECM and ESM propositions above.

Further to this, OpenText is committed to making engineering investments in the three “tech trends du jour”: social, mobile and cloud; to be fair, though, given the outside-in starting point for its strategy, these make sense – and from a cloud perspective BPS can build on the experiences gained by Metastorm in building M3 and testing it on the Azure Platform.

At this high level, I have to say that the BPS strategy and vision looks pretty smart: OpenText seems to have found a way of framing the main capabilities of its Global360 and Metastorm acquisitions that creates a coherent whole that’s also keyed into a set of goals and challenges that many large organisations are wrestling with currently.

Of course, the big question now is all about execution. A sound strategy and vision are necessary, but ultimately not sufficient, for success. Can OpenText’s BPS business:

  • extend, re-package, integrate and re-position its current portfolio of technologies so they all fit into the broad strategy and vision?
  • bring existing customers with it and not alienate or confuse them?
  • educate its salesforce about how all this works, and its value to customers?
  • integrate BPS technologies with other OpenText technologies in ways that add value without creating overweight and underpowered / confusing products?
  • (there are probably more).

It remains to be seen! I’ll be continuing to watch with interest and report as I hear more.

Posted in BPM

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