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OpenText CEO Blasts IBM Watson, Calls It Slow and Expensive

OpenText increased its IoT capabilities through its acquisition of Covisint.

Edward Gately

May 23, 2018

5 Min Read
OpenText CEO Mark Barranechea at Enfuse 2018

(Pictured above: OpenText CEO/CTO Mark Barrenechea on stage at Enfuse 2018, May 22, 2018.)

OPENTEXT ENFUSE — Acquisitions have been and will continue to be a major part of OpenText‘s growth strategy as the company increasingly focuses on security, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

That’s according to Mark Barrenechea, OpenText’s vice chair, CEO and CTO. His keynote kicked off the company’s Enfuse 2018 conference in Las Vegas. Some 1,500 attendees from 40 countries, including more than 600 companies, are in attendance.

The enterprise information management (EIM) company now has nearly 300 million end users, and it’s providing managed services to nearly 2,000 companies, he said. It also has the 10th largest cloud in the world, he said.

“Two things we must do,” Barrenechea said. “Security is the digital platform. And two, we have to take AI and drive business. It’s not going to get slower, bad guys aren’t going to slow down, and business isn’t going to slow down.”

OpenText increased its IoT capabilities through its 2017 acquisition of Covisint, a cloud platform for building digital identity management, IoT applications, and automotive and transportation supply chains. The company now has IoT customers in industrial, commerce, cities and towns, homes, vehicles and people, he said.

Late last year, OpenText acquired Guidance Software, adding that company’s EnCase line of e-Discovery, endpoint detection and response, digital investigations, and data risk management offerings to its portfolio. It also acquired cloud service HighTail and then introduced the OpenText Release 16 Enhancement Pack 4 (EP4) that further extends security, AI, IoT and cloud support into its EIM platform.

Acquisitions are at the center of OpenText’s total growth strategy, Barrenechea said.

“At the core of it, we’re doing it because our customers are asking for more,” he said. “We have great (experience) managing enterprise information platforms and archives; why not secure them? And if we’re securing them, why not provide discovery? And if we’re discovering them, why not move that to the endpoint, and secure and do all of that for the endpoint? We’ve been growing double digits as a company led by acquisitions and it will continue.”

OpenText also has been growing organically, expanding through partners, distribution and sales force, Barrenechea said.

“When we buy a company … we have a point of view on how a partner program should run, so we will take those programs and standardize them on the OpenText approach,” he said. “We learn things along the way.”

Barrenechea called AI …

… the “new frontier” for digital transformation.

“A lot of people view AI as scary, robotic figures, he said. “It’s going to take a job; it has these sci-fi feels to it. We should look at it a little more like Iron Man. We need to view AI as decision support. I would like to pursue that before we cut the human out of it. So we’re very focused on an augmented approach for AI.”

Barrenechea blasted IBM Watson, saying his company’s Magellan AI platform is superior.

“What I don’t like about Watson is it is expensive, takes a long time to use, and doesn’t fit our belief system,” he said. “Customers want to move fast.”

All of OpenText’s technologies provide “quite a lot” of opportunities for partners, Barrenechea said.

“There [are] so many more tools in the tool shed for our partners to bring to market,” he said. “If you were selling EnCase in Texas, we now can bring three or four more relevant products to the same buyer that you’re bringing to. Or if you have some expertise and we have a larger network, we can bring that expertise to a different geography as well.”

Given the larger footprint of OpenText and its metal-tiering system for partners, “the more you invest, the more we invest,” Barrenechea said.

“If a partner is investing in an event, investing in training or awareness, as you move up the tiers we invest more with you,” he said. “As a larger company, you get that benefit as well. And, you’re either in or not in building a partner culture. We worked really hard, and we’re not saying we’re perfect, but we have a partner-oriented culture. We built our sales force, professional services, dedicated teams, a metals system, market development funds; we dedicate partner tracks, it’s ingrained in our culture.”

Patricia Nagle, OpenText’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said there’s a “lot of agility in the way that you can engage and work with OpenText” that may not have existed with Guidance.

“So it’s just a more robust, sort of programmatic way that we go to market,” she said.

Digital Intelligence both resells OpenText products and builds systems incorporating OpenText products. Christopher Stippich, its president, said there’s recognition by OpenText of the “amount and quantity, and depth of data that’s out there, and how do we go about harnessing that and using it in some way that it makes sense from an investigative or forensics standpoint?”

“You have those bad or nefarious actors who are out there who are taking stuff and using the information for bad, and we need to be using the same tools and techniques to prevent stuff, recognize earlier and identify those players to protect the integrity of the information that’s there,” he said. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. We just need to be using the same tools and the same data to further the mission of protecting it.”

Sumuri integrates OpenText into its Talino forensics workstation. Steve Whalen, its CEO, said his company supports both law enforcement and corporate, and “whatever’s thrown in front if us, we have to come up with a solution.”

“It’s great to see companies like OpenText come up with their solutions alongside of ours, and we try to do what’s best for the customer in whatever shape or form we need to,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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