ORLANDO, Fla – If you think American football is rough, head down to Australia for its version. Those guys don’t need pads.

And if you think that’s rough, try putting together the content and platform for managing the Australian Football League’s massive Website — in three months. The AFL told its web journey in the general session keynote at the 2013 OpenText World Enterprise Information Management Conference at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton here.

CMSWire.com shares the organization's story, and more experiences from two other OpenText business partners, SAP and Unilever.

AFL: Tackling a Large Web Project

The Australian Football League's ambitious venture included setting up 19 Websites that ultimately would include 160,000 articles and 58,000 videos for the world's fourth largest attended sporting event.


“We had some challenges; some serious challenges, in fact,” Michael Solomon, head of operations in the AFL, told the crowd. “It was a bit ambitious. We thought we could deliver this in three months, which tested our executives’ patience — and their bank accounts.”

It’s when the AFL decided to partner with OpenText and the engineering team to help harness the massive information and content and create a welcoming Website. 

That was about 11 months ago, and today, the AFL site has about 72 million unique visitors a year and just less than 2 million app downloads.

“You try to customize 60 to 70 news cycles a day, and every piece you make creates havoc somewhere else,” Solomon said.

It was all worth it -- the AFL is the No. 1 sports site in Australia.

“If it wasn’t for OpenText, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are,” Solomon said.

SAP: Information Tech Impacting World

As the OpenText Global Partner of the Year, SAP's partnership with OpenText as the most strategic software partnership it has on a global basis, according to John Graham.

“Information technology has an ability to make an impact on the world’s challenges and the opportunities in front of us,” said Graham, the head of ecosystem and channels for SAP Americas.

SAP’s John Graham. Photo by Dom Nicastro.

The middle class will double by 2030, and countries like India and China and those in Latin America will see such growth, Graham said.

“Technology has a great opportunity to help here,” Graham said, by bringing good services to this arena.

How? SAP is investing major efforts into the cloud, mobile and in-memory.

In the cloud, growth in each the public and private clouds has been impressive, and through this, SAP has a million trading partners it works with in 190 countries. In its in-memory platform, SAP and SAS partnered to advance in-memory data analysis capabilities for businesses across industries. The partnership leverages the SAP very fast in-memory HANA platform and the analytics capabilities of SAS software. In simplest terms, it incorporates the HANA platform with SAS advanced analytics algorithms. 

The partnership was announced at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas late last month.

“Effective decisions take insight,” Graham said. “You need a combination of data and content.”

To this effect, OpenText’s new Project Red Oxygen is great because it helps enterprises seamlessly integrate content into the application, he said. OpenText, Graham added, is the first SAP partner to have their products that SAP resells fully and is available on HANA.

Unilever: Gaining Insights from Content

Thomas Benthien of Unilever, which provides personal care and foods products, said his organization depends on companies like SAP and OpenText to touch new territories on its goal toward doubling business by 2020.

Using platforms like cloud services for a distribution management system with is truck companies to deliver goods has been crucial for business operations.

Thomas Benthien of Unilever. Photo by Dom Nicastro.

As it processes in ERP systems 31,000 transactions per minute, that volume could double by 2020; hence, the organization needs to have applications and partners whose solutions can scale to the increase. Unilever uses a combination of SAP, Ariba, OpenText and GXS in its enterprise.

Speaking of the industry as a whole, Benthien, director of European IT Business Partners, Shared Services & IT at Unilever, compares today’s changing market to that of when the World Wide Web debuted.

“When the Internet started it was about connecting and being able to do it in a quick way,” he said. “And you needed to be able to access the information, and then it was visualizing the information.”

Content at the end, Benthien said, is what drives business. His organization was cited by Gartner as the No. 4 supply chain company -- behind Apple, McDonald’s and Amazon.com.

“We drive a lot of content, and we buy a lot of content,” Benthien said. “Having the capabilities to create information out of that insight is crucial.”

EIM -- Misunderstood?

So how can more organizations be like the ones on stage this morning?

CMSWire.com caught up with Rahul Mehta, principal of SapperOne in Pleasanton, Calif., after the keynote about the state of EIM.

EIM, he said, is a “misunderstood space” for business technology leaders because organizations fail to have “a single point of ownership to drive their EIM initiatives.”

Organizations also struggle with directly tying their EIM strategies into business value, which “misses the point,” Mehta said.

EIM directives must start at the very top, he added, with general managers and heads of businesses leading the charge from there.

Too often, Mehta said, “CIOs get the brunt of the stick.”