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Next generation information management underpins modern work

Intelligent content services are enabling organisations to facilitate collaboration in an anywhere workforce and drive faster digital transformation

In a little over 12 months, the way we work has changed beyond all recognition. Up until early-2020, the transition to a more mobile, distributed workforce model was moving slowly but steadily with people veering towards the odd day working from home or working more irregular hours. The coronavirus pandemic, however, accelerated the move at a rate nobody could have foreseen. Suddenly, the future of both private and public sector enterprises relied on enabling employees to work productively from home.

Though people will return to offices, indeed some already have, those spaces are being reimagined as just one part of a hybrid model in which remote working will continue to feature heavily. The last 12 months have shown organisations with a robust information management strategy adapt more easily and advance faster, and that talent is now everywhere. Amid the war for digital skills, organisations can no longer afford to be restricted to one or a few locations if they want to attract the greatest talent.

There are also challenges in this new world of work, however. “Proximity is important when you innovate,” says Mark Barrenechea, chief executive and chief technology officer of OpenText. “We still want clusters where we can learn from each other and share experiences. As leaders, we must also be honest and authentic, and embed equity, diversity and inclusion in our company culture.

“Meanwhile, modern work is being met by three other forces – modern experiences, such as omnichannel and contactless payments; supply chain regionalisation, sustainability and connectivity; and cybersecurity and resilience – that are all accelerating the pace of change. We have never worked this fast and we will never work this slow again.”

In this new age of modern work, everyone needs the ability to spin up a shared workspace and collaborate on a document, whether they work in the same organisation or not. Enabling collaboration within the four walls and firewall of the enterprise is not enough though as modern work is powered by an extended, distributed workforce that needs to be able to share and retract information with customers, partners and supply chains whenever needed, and outside firewall limitations.

Information carries great value but also great risk, particularly when it’s so dispersed. This creates challenges for the IT department when it comes to applying governance for issues like privacy and records management. IT teams no longer have a choice; modern work is transforming rapidly and resisting the shift will only magnify the perils of shadow IT, where staff circumvent policy by emailing data home or copying to drives, ultimately creating more security issues.

If your internal content is in a mess, you can’t provide the great service customers expect outside; you can’t successfully deliver digital transformation

With the right technology, however, organisations can still keep control over information. Just like people are moving from the office to working in the cloud, technology is doing the same. Traditional on-premise enterprise content management, or ECM, is evolving to cloud-native content services technology. Content services applications allow anybody to access the information they need wherever they are, and in a way which ensures data is secure, protected and can be audited in the appropriate ways. 

“With content services, it becomes much easier to give people access to information, to roll it out and to configure it globally for a whole company,” says George Harot, product marketing director at OpenText. “The modern way of providing content services goes beyond just managing information to being more about flexibility and extracting value from your content. You extend capabilities as you need them in a modular way.

“Our new content services technology intelligently utilises automation so you can analyse your whole file system and identify what’s important or risky. You can identify personal customer information and redact it if needed, or highlight it for deletion or further consideration. Content life cycles are managed automatically. Most people working remotely from home aren’t focused on security. They don’t want to do enterprise content management. They want it to happen magically in the background. That’s what we do.”

Crucially, content services technology underpins wider digital transformation efforts. OpenText Content Services platforms and applications integrate with leading business applications, including SAP SuccessFactors, helping to facilitate, for instance, human resources processes such as recruitment and onboarding in a modern work environment. HR professionals reviewing CVs don’t want to have to save them somewhere separately and have to manually put a six-month retention period on them so they delete after a certain time. They want that to automatically happen in the background.

With integration enabled by OpenText Content Services, the documents they need on any given day are presented seamlessly in their SuccessFactors application. If they look at an employee’s file, all relevant information comes up along with what’s outstanding. Are health and safety certificates up to date? Is a salary review imminent? OpenText Content Services technology is enabling this experience by working in the background to identify and aggregate relevant information. The user never has to leave SuccessFactors.

“They just log in to their system as they do every day,” says Harot. “And governance is transparent and easy. Humans are rubbish at doing records. It’s not their day job and with content services they never have to do it again.”

Beyond the specialist HR role, a seamless experience for other employees is just as important. The ability to perform self-service by securely accessing their own information and requesting or uploading relevant documents enhances the employee experience, while also enabling the HR department to spend less time on processes that can be automated by OpenText Content Services and more time solving key business challenges.

“You’ve got to have optimal control of your content internally to be able to transform externally,” says Harot. “If your internal content is in a mess, you can’t provide the great service customers expect outside; you can’t successfully deliver digital transformation.

“In the modern, digital enterprise, with ever-increasing sources and volumes of data, these goals are only possible through the smart application of content services technology. You’ve got to get your own house in order before you can provide a better digital experience externally. Once you’ve got that foundation, digital transformation becomes much easier. And when more disruption or regulations arrive, you can respond and adapt much faster.”

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