OpenText expands Google Cloud partnership within rearticulated cloud strategy

OpenText’s expanded partnership with Google Cloud makes it a preferred cloud partner – second only to OpenText’s own cloud – as the company doubles down on their cloud strategy.

OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea onstage Tuesday

TORONTO – “I feel like Charlie felt when he inherited the chocolate factory,” declared Mark Barrenechea, OpenText’s CEO, in discussing his company’s expanded relationship with Google Cloud, during the kickoff keynote at OpenText Enterprise World here on Tuesday. The significant escalation of the Google partnership makes OpenText Google’s preferred partner for Enterprise Information Management [EIM] Services, while in turn Google Cloud becomes OpenText’s preferred partner for enterprise cloud. Barrenechea further outlined the significance of the expanded relationship within the context of OpenText’s overall cloud strategy and their strategic partnering initiatives.

The rise in the importance of the relationship with Google Cloud has been dramatic. The initial partnership was announced only seven months ago, and it is part and parcel of OpenText’s overall shift to a cloud-preferred model.

“We are re-born cloud,” Barrenechea emphasized in his keynote. “In that journey, we went from having no cloud product to being a top ten cloud provider over six years. The cloud is our destination for innovation.”

The Google announcement preceded major announcements made to OpenText’s own cloud on Wednesday, with strengthened offerings in OpenText Cloud, Business Network and new applications delivered on their OpenText OT2 EIM-as-a-service cloud offering.

“We are going to the next level of partnership with Google,” he announced onstage. “We are delighted and honoured that we have been selected as the preferred strategic EIM partner for content services for Google Cloud. We have announced we are going to go deeper into Google Cloud Platform for production, for Disaster Recovery, for backup.

“We will support Google deeply,” he added. “We aren’t interested in generic clouds that don’t add value. With Google we can get to transcription services, and  get into the clickstream.”

The expanded relationship will see OpenText leverage Google Cloud’s Anthos multi-cloud to deploy and manage containerized EIM application workloads in a multi-cloud environment. In addition, OpenText announced the general availability of containerized versions of several EIM applications including Content Server, Extended ECM, Documentum, InfoArchive and Archive Center on GCP. They will also integrate their portfolio within Google G Suite

“We are also launching a Go-to-Market initiative where our joint sales and solution teams will be educated and integrated to present an integrated proposal to customers,” Barrenechea added.

Barrenechea defined OpenText as having what is essentially a three tiered strategy, and situated the Google relationship within that.

“The OpenText Tier is the top tier,” he said. OT2 runs only in the OpenText cloud, and we provide certain SLAs in our cloud. Under that, is the preferred tier, which is Google Cloud. We will innovate with machine learning transcription services to their APIs for storage and monitoring. Then you have the other clouds, which we support.

“So the ranking is us, then the Preferred, which is Google, and I suspect we will add others in this category over time. The third is the certified clouds. The best SLA is the OpenText cloud. There will be slightly less in Google, and then the third tier, which we will support but not have the incredible features and innovation.”

Barrenechea indicated how the Google Cloud announcement fits into the larger theme which he emphasized around the event.

“Our messaging is that automation is no longer enough,” he said. “Everything has to be machine readable, and just as important as the automation is the insight you can get out of it. It used to be about the best process.”

The expanded Google Cloud relationship will deepen that insight, through integration with key Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services from Google.

“This relationship’s foundation is a deep engineering alignment of co-innovating together,” said Kevin Ichhpurani, Corporate Vice President, Global Ecosystem at Google Cloud. “We are taking the enormous content in EIM systems and putting machine learning on top to create new offerings. You have had tens of thousands of legal contracts that go into a drawer after they are signed which can now be accessed and used to see patterns and derive insight.”

Barrenechea emphasized at the event that OpenText’s ecosystem partners like Google and SAP are their largest and most strategic relationships, and there are clear parallels between those relationships, even though the Google relationship is relatively new while SAP has been a deep OpenText partner for many years. In May, at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW event, OpenText and SAP announced a Content Services partnership which has strong parallels with the new one with Google Cloud.

“This is similar to our announcement with SAP we announced at SAPPHIRE, where we will be their de facto content service provider,” said Patty Nagle, OpenText SVP and CMO.

Barrenechea sees the extension of both relationships as having similarly disruptive effects.

“SAP will use us for content services, not Box or DropBox or OneDrive,” he said. “We are going after Box and Dropbox hard in the enterprise. We will give them no rest and no quarter. It is an all-out battle to win that use case, and we will win.”

While OpenText is placing its big bet on the cloud, Barrenechea said that on-prem – which he likes to call off-cloud – will continue to be fully supported, at least for now.

“Our position today is we will support off-cloud forever,” he said. “It’s a very sincere position. We will support it fully. It’s a big part of our install base. There are still a lot of use cases to run on prem – in regulated industries, construction, banking – customers who want a managed cloud but still off-cloud. So OpenText Cloud Editions is cloud-first, not cloud-only.”

At the same time, he also indicated that the cloud product is simply a better product.

“Our capture capability is equal, or perhaps a little stronger in the cloud,” he said. “Our services layer will be stronger in the cloud. Our last few acquisitions have all been cloud. We will make an assessment of our position here again in two to three years.”

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