ORLANDO, Fla. -- When they return to work Monday morning, the 2,000 or so attendees of the OpenText Enterprise World 2014 conference at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort will operate under what their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) provider calls a cloud data "bill of rights."

Data Promise

Mark Barrenechea, CEO of the 8,200-employee, Waterloo, Ontario-based company, introduced the OpenText Cloud Bill of Rights during his keynote here Wednesday. It's a six-pillar pledge to OpenText cloud customers -- who generate about a third of the company's revenues -- to protect and be transparent with their data.

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What did Barrenechea and OpenText promise?

  • We will not lose your data
  • You own your content, unlike other services
  • We will not spy on you, unlike other services
  • We will not sell your data
  • We will not withhold your data
  • Locate your data where you want it

Easily, that drew the biggest round of applause from the crowd at the two-day general conference.

Setting Competitive Stage

Some analysts are applauding, too.

"OpenText is setting up a competitive cloud position by announcing this," Maureen Fleming, ​program vice president for business process management and middleware for IDC, told CMSWire at the Orlando conference. "Specifically, this is a way for OpenText to signal its view of enterprise class qualities of cloud service compared with cloud-only vendors. Several aspects, such as private cloud and guarantees of zero data loss, are keeping with enterprise class."

Fleming called the lack of content ownership and data-loss pillars "potshots at the cloud-only services, particularly the ones that went viral on the strength of their success in the consumer market."

Check the Pudding

Jim Lundy, lead analyst and CEO of Aragon Research, told CMSWire that OpenText's Bill of Rights is "more marketing than standards." Dig into the company's Service Level Agreement (SLA) in its cloud offering for the good stuff, he suggested.

"We trust OpenText has more data substance outside its one keynote slide. We didn’t expect them to put the SLA on the fancy screen at the resort," he said.

Lundy's point is check the pudding -- and not the picture on the box.

In OpenText's data pudding, you could find, for instance, how many data centers on which OpenText will keep a copy of an enterprise's data and content.

"The better firms have one copy in one data center and another replicated copy in another," Lundy said. "Most business providers do not try to claim a right to an enterprises' content. Consumer firms like Facebook have tried repeatedly to make a claim on content. Enterprise software providers do not make a claim on ownership."

In many countries, Lundy noted, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have to provide access to information if the law stipulates that.

"Many companies outside of the US do not want their data stored in a US data center due to the US Patriot Act," he said.

R Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research and perhaps the father of the term "bill of rights" for enterprise software, said OpenText's promises are all possible and a "great start to be more customer centric." The harder promises, Wang said, will be to:

  • Ensure that data residency and government requirements are met no matter where you are
  • Allowing for the actual brokering and marketplace of data to put spot price on insights

What They Say

Putting its "Bill of Rights" into writing was the "least we could do," said Muhi Majzoub, senior vice president of engineering at OpenText. 

"It is what our customers demand of us," Majzoub told CMSWire in an interview Thursday in Orlando. "Our competitors are not willing to put in writing what their commitments are. Mark is very passionate about this. If a customer pays us to host their data in Germany, we're going to make that commitment to them."

OpenText's pledge to "not lose data" is backed by its track record, according to Majzoub. An OpenText customer, he said, has never reported a loss of identity or security on the company's managed hosting or cloud platforms.

"Security is at the core," Majzoub said. "We're building on our heritage."