OpenText has been beating the Digital First drum pretty loudly in North America. And this week it finally brought the message to France.

It didn't have any particular reason to beat the drum it in Paris, apart from it being a mighty fine city. It was just the latest stop on its Innovation Tour.

Innovation In Paris

OpenText's Innovation Tour gives the company a chance to connect with its companies in cities worldwide. After a day in Paris yesterday, the European leg of the tour will move on to Eindhoven, the Netherlands next Wednesday. In North America, OpenText will conduct sessions of the tour in New York City and Toronto on April 7 and 8, respectively.

It also gives it a chance to spread one of its core messages: namely, that companies must transform themselves to remain competitive in this "Digital First World."

Unveiled last November at Open World in Orlando, OpenText's Digital First concept revolves around the idea of digital transformation — and the idea that organizations need to simplify, transform and accelerate their Enterprise Information Management (EIM) to become a Digital Enterprise.

Since then, OpenText has been selling the concept hard. Its numerous acquisitions in the past 12 months, including Actuate and IGC, dovetail with its objective to provide organizations wit the tools they need to navigate the transformation.

"We are about to begin the information revolution," CMO Adam Howatson told the audience. "How long will that take, and how it will shape up is still not known. [As an organization] what are your plans? What will happen in the next five years?"

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Howatson, citing statistics from Gartner, noted that no one was working on smartphones — let alone tablets — as recently as eight years ago.

Now those that don’t work on mobile devices are the exception rather than the rule.

In the very crowded room, there were only two people who admitted they did not own a smartphone. You could almost feel their embarrassment.

What's wrong with not having a smartphone? Nothing, of course. But the constant information consumption that is now part of every business day was fueled by access to smart devices. And that rate of information use is not going to slow.

In truth, there is a nexus of forces driving digital transformation, including mobile devices, analytics, social media and the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart businesses see the writing on the wall.

Citing figures from Capgemini, Howatson said enterprises that have developed well defined and managed information management strategies are 26 percent more profitable than those that are less focused on their strategies and 50 percent more profitable than those that don't have a strategy at all.

Getting Cloudy

The cloud is the heart of this digital transformation. Without it, it is unlikely that many companies could afford to transform. It also explains why OpenText has invested so much in cloud computing in recent years.

The cloud is really the assembly line for computing. The goal should be to transform from an organization that spends a lot of money on a few apps on-premises to an organization that consumers its app as a service through a vendor like OpenText, Howatson said.

"The idea is to reduce the cost to an operating expense instead of a capital expense. You don’t need to buy applications, you just need to sign up to the services,” he added.

There are other issues around this vast mountain of information that is being generated every day the need to be addressed. Where, for example, is the data going to be stored? What data is going to be stored? What data can your organization dump? Do you have the resources to maintain the data you need? Is your data in a compliant location? Will you be able to get meaning out of it?

The list of questions are endless — and yet another driver in the information revolution.