OpenText is in a transitional period, propelled by "hugely ambitious" and even "transformative" ideas that could help propel the "very traditional company" to the "cutting edge of the digital transformation ahead."

That's the collective outlook from two analysts queried after the close of the company's annual customer conference, Enterprise World 2015, in Last Vegas last week.

Both Melissa Webster, program vice president, content and digital media technologies at IDC, and Alan Pelz-Sharpe, research director for social business at 451 Research, acknowledged there are challenges ahead for the Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise information management (EIM) vendor.

However, Webster said the company was making progress in executing the strategies it outlined at Enterprise World 2014. And Pelz-Sharpe described OpenText’s cloud vision as a smart play and potential “differentiator.”

Circling the Pillars

In what was marketed as "the biggest release in the history of the company," OpenText used the conference to showcase the next generation of its EIM software — OpenText Suite 16 and OpenText Cloud 16.

"These suites have been designed to help our customers fully embrace new technology so they can take advantage of digital disruption and create a better way to work," OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea wrote on the company blog.

OpenText Suite 16, the on-premises version, spans four product suites: content, process, experience and analytics. The cloud-based version, OpenText Cloud 16, includes content, process, experience, analytics and business network suites.

Although neither release has a single blockbuster feature, Weber noted said they both contained "a whole bunch of great enhancements."

OpenText's strategy revolves around five pillars: enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), customer experience management (CXM), information exchange and discovery.

OpenText, Webster said, has "done a great job aligning the company around the five pillars, giving each pillar equal weight and showing the integrations among those five pillars. Every single pillar has really attractive enhancements, which are compelling."

Next year, look for enhancements that will enable customers to "pull from one pillar to another."

"I think we’re going to see some revolutionary things from there forward.  But, I think this release very much gives customers what they wanted," she said.

'Transformative' Times

The release looks "really attractive for the existing install base to move up to," she said. And new embedded analytics promise customers access to greater insights. "I think that’s going to be a very successful strategy. That’s kind of transformative," she said.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, said OpenText was navigating a “transitional period” and “competing on many fronts.”

“The world of business apps is going through a huge transition,” Pelz-Sharpe told CMSWire. “It’s not just about the cloud. It’s about modularization, making applications more mobile, analytics.”

It’s no longer simply the ECM days where OpenText competed against FileNet and others. Now it's competing against analytics vendors with its Actuate product. It also has its B2B Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) stuff, he said.

ECM is a “very complicated marketplace” split by the customer experience management side and the traditional document management side.

Smaller, lower-priced EFSS vendors like Box are in the mix, too, noted Pelz-Sharpe, who wrote an OpenText analysis  (subscription required) for 451 after last week’s conference.

“It’s a challenge for any company,” Pelz-Sharpe told CMSWire.

He called OpenText’s journey to branch out of a traditional ECM model “hugely ambitious, but I see why they’re doing it.”

And, they’ve been profitable, he noted, keeping investors happy.