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OpenText shares customer experience cloud platform roadmap

Two years after its initial release, OpenText Experience Cloud finds its footing with integrations to enable composable experiences with content and data.

LAS VEGAS -- The OpenText Experience Cloud doesn't look like experience clouds from other vendors. It may, however, find users in key industries if OpenText can give them the right integrations and accelerators for their specific verticals.

OpenText Experience Cloud provides services and integrations that let the information management software provider's customers compose experiences with data pulled from OpenText and third-party applications that is ingested by its customer data platform (CDP). While it launched in 2020, this year's OpenText World user conference was its coming-out party.

Customer experience platforms from Adobe, SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle include marketing, e-commerce and customer service clouds -- and all but Adobe include CRM as well. OpenText's Experience Cloud does not offer those services. However, it does include many CX-critical components: a CDP, customer journey orchestration, and integrations with its TeamSite web authoring environment and Exstream communications platform.

CX cloud updates, integrations

Experience Cloud integrations were one of the main themes at OpenText World, the company's first North American in-person user event in three years. OpenText released integrations for digital asset management and customer communications applications for its content management and web portal designer. Customers can use the tools to build composable experiences -- user-configured by channel, be it web, mobile apps, or chat -- for employees, partners and customers.

While many customer experience platform vendors start with a marketing cloud and a CDP for marketing use, OpenText's Exstream fills the routing and delivery of communications.

"Exstream is really sort of our heritage," said Guy Hellier, OpenText vice president of product management. "Business communications have to involve the complete customer experience. We don't come at it from a marketing-first standpoint; we come at it from a complete journey."

The OpenText CDP comes with the Experience Cloud and does not require a separate license as it does with most vendors. It can ingest data from sources outside OpenText. Google's BigQuery data warehouse is one integration that went live at OpenText World, with more to come in the near future -- including customer data output from Salesforce Einstein tools, Hellier said.

Such integrations follow a general trend of combining data from disparate sources and augmented analytics to drive automations and letting customers set their own privacy and communication preferences, said Seth Siciliano, head of Google Workspace ISV Partnerships, in a keynote session with OpenText executive vice president and chief product officer Muhi Majzoub.

The data is the key, regardless of the cloud it resides in.

"Whether [companies] are Google customers, OpenText customers or other companies," Siciliano said, "they're looking to access their information and derive insights to make actionable decisions through a single pane of glass, no longer wanting to search across different data repositories to find those insights and take action on them."

Consumers are getting more selective and impatient with digital customer experiences, said Kaspar Roos, founder and CEO of Aspire, a consulting and analytics firm. After an eight-hour workday using computer and mobile-device screens, they have little bandwidth left to deal with bad -- or time-consuming -- user experiences in their personal lives. And that includes a low tolerance for off-topic marketing.

"Consumers are changing," Roos said. "They're really sort of looking for more relevant digital communications."

Experience Cloud targets verticals

The question is, who will use the OpenText Experience Cloud? Current OpenText customers who have not yet set up a CDP are obvious. The company recently said it has few customers right now -- but Joshua Stein, business development and account executive for OpenText partner Solarity, sees future customers in healthcare. His company tackles the problem of digitizing faxes that are still pervasive in healthcare documentation workflows.

Healthcare systems often don't implement Salesforce or Adobe customer experience tools for many reasons, Stein pointed out. Some of those include regulatory issues and a lack of budgetary resources. But more than that, he said, the dominant CX vendors' products just can't serve a patient experience as well as they do consumer or B2B experiences. Having a platform that enables customized CX outside the typical marketing-based applications and clouds could possibly work for those organizations.

"There's no one [tech vendor] positioned in that market that's really owning the experience," Stein said. "If they're going to make the experience work, they're going to have to show that to the market. OpenText showed it today [in keynote demos] for consumer goods and manufacturing, but they need to be able to get that message right for healthcare."

Other users of OpenText Experience Cloud might include governments and financial companies that don't use the leading CX players' clouds due to regulatory or IT infrastructure reasons, said Predrag Jakovljevic, principal industry analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers.

"Healthcare is a good example, along with other life sciences and government agencies," Jakovljevic said. "A lot of direct to consumer businesses can use that type of scenario where it's recontact driven but they don't have a lot of marketing operations needs -- because they're going direct and there's no segmentation or scoring."

Pricing for OpenText Experience Cloud varies according to the size of the customer, API usage and services required.

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget Editorial.

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