OpenText lays out product roadmap, with a major unknown being impact of unclosed MicroFocus acquisition

OpenText’s new CE 22.4 release was clearly set within the Titanium roadmap,  and while the final stage of that roadmap, the integration of MicroFocus, remains under wraps till the deal closes, the successful turnaround of Documentum under OpenText’s stewardship augurs well here.

OpenText’s Chief Product Officer Muhi Majzoub

On Wednesday at Open Text World, OpenText’s Chief Product Officer Muhi Majzoub took the stage to deliver the product keynote. The news itself came as little surprise to the attendees, given that the announcement had actually been released the previous day, and they had been able to attend relevant  sessions then. What Majzoub did, however, was frame it all within the broader context of OpenText’s strategy so the attendees could see how things are planned to evolve beyond the newly announced Cloud Editions [CE] 22.4 to Titanium and the future.

The new CE 22.4 announcements involved all five of the OpenText clouds – Content Cloud, Business Network Cloud, Experience Cloud, Security Cloud and Developer Cloud. Not all of these announcements were brand new – that comes with having three years between major events and the need to remind customers of signal accomplishments – but some of them were.

OpenText Experience Cloud has been enhanced with two new solutions for Customer Experience Management (CXM) and Digital Experience Management (DXM) use cases.  They integrate key capabilities across OpenText applications Exstream, TeamSite, Media Management, Experience CDP, and Core Experience Insights, all within a composable platform out of the box.

“This common interface is something that we have wanted to do for one or two quarters,” Majzoub said.

“We have also added the ability to build applications with API services and put them in our intelligent core,” he added.

Also new are enhancements to OpenText Exstream and OpenText TeamSite, which are also part of the experience cloud. New seamless electronic signature processing integrated to Core Signature, and automated archiving to OpenText InfoArchive accelerate time to market. TeamSite is enhanced by the ability to configure and compose unique intelligent digital workplaces to improve productivity and surface relevant data insights for improved decision making.

“All of these signature capabilities are new,” Majzoub stated.

They are also complemented with a new integration to Google BigQuery, which will let web developers and content creators benefit from dynamic AI/ML driven data processing to deliver more personalized and relevant experiences and communications.

“We delivered our new Contact Center as-a-Service for Experience, and there will be more new functionality in the next two releases with the completion of Titanium,” Majzoub said.

Another new integration is one between OpenText Core Content and Microsoft. It lets users open or save documents to Core Content directly from Microsoft Office Desktop applications and view, edit or co-author directly within Core Content.

OpenText also announced a new Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Order to Cash Adapter Kit for OpenText Business Network Cloud Foundation.

“These new capabilities in the Business Network  Cloud are targeted at the midmarket, and provide these companies, who may have limited EDI skills, very quick onboarding for supply chain partners,” Majzoud said.

Security innovations include modernizing forensic investigations, with enhancements to OpenText EnCase Forensic and OpenText EnCase Endpoint Investigator. These include the support of new cloud connectors for Facebook Messenger, Slack and Microsoft 365 Archive, enhanced workflows and Mac collections. OpenText EnCase Endpoint Security improves orchestration with the ability to conduct off-VPN anomaly detection and manage custom automated response actions. CE 22.4 is also enabling scalable network visibility and faster collection and analysis of external Packet Capture [PCAP] with OpenText Network Detection & Response.

“We also have a new AI service for our Webroot BrightCloud threat intelligence, as well as a new Zix email integration,” Majzoub stated.

Majzoub emphasized how OpenText’s use of APIs has been critical in all of this, and that even though more creative use of APIs has become a broad industry trend, he thinks despite that broad trend, OpenText is still at the forefront of the market in this respect.

“I consider that we are ahead of the market for information management,” he said. “There is no other vendor that has equal levels for API for information management, even though our API and Developer Cloud, at six months, is relatively new. Developers are very important to us. Two years ago, we made the decision that everything we built would be attached to an API and available to our customers and partners. Now our APIs and Developer cloud give the ability to build quickly without having to create a content store or metadata store by leveraging our APIs. We have allowed unlocking developer creativity.”

Majzoub stressed how all this will fit into Titanium going forward, and noted that while the full unfolding of Titanium is two quarters away in the 23.2 release, some parts have already made their way into the last two releases.

“Titanium will bring together in 23.2 and give you a complete intelligent core,” he told the keynote audience. “It will give you advanced capabilities in every one of our clouds – deeper security capabilities, deeper integration. It will also give full public cloud feature capability to Content Suite, Documentum and other applications.

“With Titanium, we are in a three-step approach,” Majzoub said. “The first is to  deliver parity in functionality and make our public cloud equal to our private cloud. Those are parts of Titanium. This element is very much focused on new logos, who want public cloud parity.”

The second stage is providing tools to migrate to the public cloud – for those customers who choose to.

“We are equally committed to choose to support on-prem as well,” Majzoub stated. “We automate and simplify all kinds of deployments. With Chevron, we took a $3 to $4 million cost down to $100 thousand.”

The third stage will take place in six months when the MicroFocus acquisition is complete. That acquisition is extremely important in the company’s plans, in that with its acquisition, the company is taking a portfolio of products which has historically underperformed, and looks to turn them around.

The model for that would be OpenText’s acquisition of Documentum from what was then Dell-EMC. EMC originally acquired Documentum in 2003, adding an enterprise content management capability to their storage portfolio, in one of those deals that may have looked good on paper, but failed in reality because Documentum was outside EMC’s core competency, and EMC didn’t really understand the business. Things didn’t improve when Dell acquired EMC, and eventually Dell sold the whole Dell EMC Enterprise Content Division to OpenText in 2016 for less than EMC had paid to acquire Documentum.

“When Documentum came to OpenText it was stale,” Majzoub said. “The decline in the quality of the product resulted in the engineering team getting bad customer feedback, and they were tired of that. The underlying issue was that Dell EMC did not know how to invest in a software company. We listened to our customers and they told us that the UI was really bad. It took seven clicks to do something that should take one click. There wasn’t a mobile UI – things like that.”

Majzoub indicated that OpenText remade Documentum, drawing on OpenText’s strengths to do so.

“We didn’t rewrite 50 or 60 million lines of code,” he said. “But we made public APIs available to customers, delivered a new UI, and new integrations such as one with SAP that excited customers.”

Majzoub emphasized that the way OpenText was able to turn Documentum from past-its prime software to a key part of a winning solution set is a portent of what they expect from the MicroFocus assets.

“Mark [Barrenechea] with Documentum proved we can take a stressed asset that is stale and beat up and create a gem of a solution,” he said. “When this deal is closed, we will have a clear road map and a clear strategy. Mark is brilliant when it comes to the right strategy for the company. I am at awe in what we have done with Documentum.”