Tony Skinner 0:03
Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel for www.podcastsmybusiness.com.au. And today we’re welcoming Albert Nel from www.opentext.com. How are you, Albert?
Very good and you. Thank you, Tony. And thanks for having me.
Tony Skinner 0:19
Yeah, I’m great great. And we were just talking before that we’re both in North Sydney, in different locations. And it’s just the way of the world these days, it’s all remote, rather than the face to face as much.
Yeah, it is. And it’s the last 15 months of change the world, I think it’s, there’s a lot of people that feeling a lot of fatigue, based on the video in the two dimensional world and looking forward to, get back to a three dimensional world and meeting people. And it’s amazing to see how the society and the world and the business world especially has has adapted to how to do business in a remote environment, which is fascinating to see how quickly we adapted as well.
Tony Skinner 1:05
Yeah, that’s actually true. Yeah. I mean, it’s been a challenge for all of us on I know, and I’m sure, but we’re lucky here in Australia, we haven’t, we’re in Island, and we were able to snap those borders shut. Some other countries that are islands didn’t quite figure that out. And they unfortunately, didn’t quite work out as well. So one of the things that we’re discussing, was about the huge amount of information and information overload and trying to process and deal with it, especially with the cloud. We all hear the cloud this thing out there somewhere. So how are you helping businesses to deal with that?
So it’s, I think, over the last five to six years, as we’ve started moving into the industry which was all around artificial intelligence and machine learning, you started seeing more and more data being generated, because the benefit of artificial intelligence is the more data the better you can analyze them, the better insight you can get into that information. So it was all about how do we start generating more information faster, make more sense out of this information? And how do we make certain business decisions on that information, or that insight that we get? But what’s essentially happening is it’s now especially what happened with a pandemic, we suddenly went from everyone in the offices to overnight, everyone becoming a work remote worker, which, Firstly, put enormous amount of pressure on most organizations to say, How do I now suddenly have 50,000 and 100,000 employees working remotely, instead of in the office, which it’s, we’ve had interviews with some of our biggest customers, and they said, when they had to plan, if they had to plan something similar to this, it would have taken them two years to execute a project like this, to take everyone’s office space to remote.
And we had to do it overnight, which I think is it’s probably the biggest corporate and global experiment, which I think no CEO would have in their right mind thought of doing this experiment, if it wasn’t for something like the pandemic, but it has kind of tested us in terms of how do we start communicating with people.
I think that apart from the amount of information generated through the whole industry people and companies started thinking that we need to start communicating and sharing information in more ways than ever to keep our employees and our customers, and our consumers more engaged. So what happened is, we started just creating more information, which is becoming a massive problem. At the moment, if you just look at the amount of sources of information that we use every day in our personal and professional lives. It is almost impossible for us to be able to consume it.
So the important part is how do we start prioritizing? How do we prioritize the information that we get to actually make sense and be more productive? Because that’s ultimately where we want to go? I think that’s where, where AI has played a massive part in terms of really providing context to the amount of information that’s out there, and being able to faster prioritize what information we want to consume, and how do we want to make business decisions based on that information?
Tony Skinner 4:24
Okay, so yeah, you’re right, with all this large amount of information. And I guess just to make it easier for people to understand a little bit more, who aren’t necessarily directly in the industry. I put it down to things like loyalty carts, yeah, we have a loyalty card, or I don’t because I do a lot of stuff with Google. And I know about Google and AI, and I know what happens to that data. I’m glad it’s unfortunate that people don’t aren’t quite aware, but that’s okay. But there’s lots of data there. And loyalty card is a perfect example of that data. And so I guess what you help businesses Be a spider in the middle of a spider’s web, drawing on all the little poke components on little parts and putting it together. And then what making that into a package usable that they can then use for marketing and other sorts of purposes.
It’s not just for marketing, but also for internal use, I think one of the things that open text does is really strong within a regulated or highly regulated environments, or customer. And if you look at the Australian market, Australia is highly regulated, if you look at the different industries, that makes up the major ASX stock 50. Its banks is mining companies, and they are all highly regulated. So it is not just about how do we create information which we can share with our customers? But it’s also how do we manage internal HR documents or HR information? How do we manage our finance information? How do we manage our customer information?
How do we manage personal information? And how do we manage that in a protected environment. And I think what the pandemic taught us is that moving people remotely means that people suddenly start using corporate information on personal files, file systems at home, or personal computers at home, or they start sharing it via these public file sync and share systems, which suddenly take all your corporate records and the most critical assets that you have within your organization, and put it out everywhere in the world, which suddenly starts creating a lot of security risk for you, especially from a regulator, but also in terms of fraud out there as well. And how do you so way open text play in is how do we manage that information? And instead of having all these different versions and copies of information all over the world, especially in a remote environment?
How do you start creating control and security and protection around that information to make sure that when your auditors or the regulators come to you, that you are able to prove that information is there’s a single source of the information? And then also this information is protected? But then more so as you said with a loyalty card is then how do you take that information, and then make certain business decisions on that information and start sharing that information as marketing material?
So it’s twofold. It’s really in that customer experience space, where we apply, but also internally, how do we protect the most important assets within your organization and provide the right governance around that to protect that information?
Tony Skinner 7:33
And I think you’re right about that. And I’m just thinking about, you know, you got user experience, and everybody’s at home. Yeah. And you’ve got a fragmented workspace. And you’ve even got, you know, elements of trust and security on an individual basis. And we’ve all been forced into a new, like to use a marketing term a paradigm shift. Absolutely. Yeah. And like you said, it’s happen rapidly. So how do you go about ensuring that you’ve got the safety and security on an individual basis?
And it’s exactly what you said, Tony, it’s, we focused as companies, we focus on how do we make sure our employees is get the right end user experience in terms of how do they actually engage with information, but forgetting how do we actually protect that information.
So what open text does is, if you start looking at the biggest systems that employees work with on a daily basis is normally your, your big earpiece systems like SAP, or your big HR systems like success factors, or Salesforce from a CRM point of view, or Microsoft Teams, with all the Microsoft Office products and things. So those are the major systems that most employees engage with. So and it’s easy to control the data within those systems. But what we do at the backend is we become the backbone behind those different systems. And we control that unstructured information.
So essentially, your documents, your invoices, your CVS from an HR point of view, or your offer documents, or customer proposals in the CRM space, all that information will be stored and managed within the open text platform. And then from there, we will be servicing them up. So in that ensures that all this information is not sitting on personal personal desktops, or not shared, and we’re not creating all these different this this this information in the wild would be talking about everywhere in the world. It provides the opportunity to really protect that.
If you look at the HR process. For instance, if someone gets a CV, how do you store it? How do you manage it? If once you do an offer letter, and in normal companies, that’s not always a big challenge, but you start looking at the bigger resources companies and the bigger retailers where they’ve got to work for Which the attrition is enormous where they do 10 to 15,000 offer letters on a monthly basis for you to be able to manage that in an effective way, in a regulated way is very, very difficult. And that’s where we started looking at how to how do we become the backbone of how do you manage all the unstructured information within organizations?
Tony Skinner 10:20
You mean, we’re not scanning and posting out offer letters?
No, not anymore.
Tony Skinner 10:30
Okay, so that obviously makes things more efficient and more effective. And I presume that also means great cost savings as well.
Absolutely, I think it’s, if you can start minimizing the amount of information that you create and where stored and where you need to protect it and manage it, then it’s a massive amount of not just hard costs from an infrastructure point of view, or a cloud infrastructure point of view. But it also increases efficiency and productivity. Because suddenly, if I just look at certain end users, the amount of times they spend finding information and searching for information searching for a document is enormous. And the productivity that it brings by having it in a central centralized place, and not disparate across the organization is enormous benefits and efficiencies that that drives within organization.
Tony Skinner 11:24
Okay, so I had some background noise, then as I predicted, these things happen. So how long has open text been going for?
We actually 30 this year. It’s a it’s open text as a Canadian company. We actually started as a project out of the University of Waterloo. And our first essential space was in the web search where we partnered with Yahoo. From there, we moved into the content management space. With a couple of acquisitions that we’ve made, we moved into the business network.
So creating a trading grid, understanding how big suppliers and supply chains, how do we communicate over supply chains, which extended our reach into not just content management, but also supply chains, and management of supply chains.
We’ve recently moved in security space as well. We realized as you start moving into becoming a cloud company, and there’s all this remote working. It’s not just about creating a protecting the information inside, but it’s how you actually provide security at the various endpoints, and you can prove that the security is protecting the information as well. So we’ve transitioned over the years, from being a small little search company to now being one of the largest software companies and fastest growing cloud companies as well.
Tony Skinner 12:48
Yeah, fantastic. And while I’ve got you, I always like to get some business tips. So considering what we’ve been through and what you’ve seen, what businesses and how they’ve had to change and adapt. What do you think is a good tip for a business that has gone through all this sort of change? And hasn’t quite got on top of all of this?
Yeah, I think it’s a everyone is still learning. I think it’s if you look at it’s a we did a study last year, around information overload and the whole pandemic, and it feels like a lifetime away, that it’s happened, I think most companies have adapted pretty well.
But we will continue to adapt to a new way of working, I think it’s important for us to understand where the boundaries are in terms of how do we create information, how we share information. And it’s very important for us to start focusing on personalization of information, which can create a lot more relevance in the market and make sure that information is consumed in a more better way, and allows us to make a lot more better decisions as well.
I think what we try to teach internally, and as a company, we’re starting to look at how do we move back to becoming a a more hybrid workforce, I think it’s important for employees to to ensure that they they break up their days, make sure that they focus on, how to be more productive. This remote working has really created an environment where people work extremely long hours, which adds so much stress onto people and obviously impact performance, ultimately, as well. So it’s important that people start looking at their own self wellness as well. During this as we start adapting to whatever the new normal or the new paradigm is gonna be.
Tony Skinner 14:34
Yeah, well, who knows? Maybe, like you’re talking about AI and stress, maybe there’ll be an AI system, which will peer into people’s eyes and see how stressed they are and forced them to have a break and shut down the computer for them. Wouldn’t that be good?
Wouldn’t that be good time? that would that would help us a lot because I know we all get stuck on that. And it’s so easy at home because you go Oh, I just need to do this a little bit. Just a little bit. Yeah. And it’s becoming a Much bigger issue. So maybe that’s something we’re thinking about.
Absolutely. I think so. And it’s important, as you say, it’s people get stuck in a chair, and they don’t need just get up and take a walk. But yeah, I totally agree. If we can assess stress levels and fatigue, and how do we actually manage that fatigue and that stress level as well. And a lot of that responsibility is coming on to companies now, to make sure and ensure the wellness of the employees during the this this really stressful time.
Tony Skinner 15:32
Yeah, this is a whole bundle of issues here that we could unpack barely scratched the surface. So anything else you’d like to add?
I just like to thank for the opportunity. I think it’s a great opportunity. I think we’re moving into a digital era. It’s we haven’t even started. I think the pandemic has kind of forced us to be more digital, and to transform quicker. And as our CEO said last week, it’s we’ve never worked as fast as we’ve worked today, but we will never work as slow as we work today as well. So,
Tony Skinner 16:07
wow. Okay, there you go. All right. Look, thanks very much for your time, Albert. And that’s from www.opentext.com. And thanks very much.
Thank you very much Tony, have a good day.