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OpenText cloud suite adds developer, experience features

OpenText releases Cloud Edition 20.4, which gives users more development tools. It also adds applications to OpenText's burgeoning digital experience platform.

OpenText today released Cloud Edition 20.4, which gives users broader development tools to integrate the company's content services into multi-cloud, multivendor application stacks. It also expands the capabilities of OpenText's digital experience platform.

A new OpenText Developer Cloud integrates developer tools previously specific to different OpenText cloud applications into one services platform, and consolidates access and authorization for apps across all OpenText services. The Developer Cloud also offers training documentation, blogs, code snippets, and access to the developer community.

OpenText Experience Cloud added a host of AI tools for managing data input to the platform and delivering personalized content, as well as media management and voice of the customer features. OpenText Content Cloud features new tools to manage integrations with SAP, Microsoft and Salesforce applications.

Many components of the release reflect OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea's efforts over the last few years to open up OpenText's technology so it can better integrate with other vendors' applications, and to enable customers to mix and match his company's cloud services with others from tech giants such as AWS and Google.

Some of OpenText customers are still tied to on-premises IT deployments because they are tied to legacy systems, or are conservative in nature. Yet OpenText has to keep up with the rest of the tech world's cloud-first trend, Forrester Research analyst Nick Barber said.

"It's about enabling customers to bring their own stack -- or bring their own features and capabilities -- versus buying [one vendor's] entire stack," Barber said, noting that many companies often have content management, marketing automation and e-commerce from three different vendors. "The value there is stitching those things together."

The product releases came in conjunction with the OpenText World virtual user event.

Carbonite acquisition bears fruit

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, OpenText's complex product roadmap remained mostly intact this year. A few things moved up in priority because of the acceleration of digital commerce and the world's massive overnight transition to remote work, said Muhi Majzoub, executive vice president and chief product officer at OpenText.

It's about enabling customers to bring their own stack -- or bring their own features and capabilities -- versus buying [one vendor's] entire stack.
Nick BarberAnalyst, Forrester Research

Immediately after the pandemic shut down in-person business, the company integrated digital signatures for documents, Majzoub said. Previously, it had been available in certain applications such as Documentum and Core Share, a document collaboration tool. The service enables customers to deploy e-signatures in applications outside of the OpenText ecosystem, too.

"When the lockdown began in March and we and all our customers went home and became virtual workers, we felt the need to accelerate delivering a standalone e-signature product and microservice," Majzoub said. "Customers were building applications and needed that service."

Also higher in the mix were endpoint security management and backup tools created from OpenText's $1.42 billion Carbonite acquisition in January. Majzoub said that OpenText itself pushed out the tools to all employees when the pandemic sent workers home. Another acquisition that took place a little over a month later, XMedius, manifested in new OpenText cloud voice, unified communications, text and fax-over-internet features to enable remote work collaboration and customer communications.

While OpenText scaled both of those vendors' previous offerings to bigger enterprise scale for its existing customer base, Forrester's Barber said OpenText can use Carbonite to court new users.

"It's not surprising that OpenText is eyeing that lucrative midmarket space," he said, adding that companies such as Adobe and Sitecore have turned their attention to medium-sized companies recently, as well as prospects for their respective customer experience platforms.

Some supply chain application support features moved up in the roadmap because of how the pandemic realigned business priorities, Majzoub said. One app in particular (see image, below) maps the progress of order delivery; B2B users of OpenText systems can transmit real-time data, pegged to a map, to their customers.

OpenText supply chain tracking
OpenText's supply chain tools added to its digital experience platform enable B2B users to track shipments in real time with maps.

New tools mine vertical business

OpenText also released a vertical-specific SaaS information modeling tool for the construction industry in Content Cloud, following previous releases of life sciences data management tools.

Other large tech vendors such as Salesforce and Oracle are moving into verticals with new offerings, to simplify adoption of their technologies by addressing challenges common to an industry. Majzoub said many of OpenText's vertical-specific products are developed jointly with large customers, and then generalized for others in that sector.

"We had been in life sciences; that's one of the main reasons we acquired Documentum," Majzoub said, noting that some of the products OpenText released sprung from co-development projects with drug makers Novartis and Merck. "We have similar activities in construction, and oil and gas."

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