Man sitting down reading a newspaper.
PHOTO: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

SAP’s Sapphire conference is always a big deal and this year’s conference was no expectation. There was something for everyone, but particularly for users of OpenText content services.

Content Services, as we have already seen, is one of the core technologies in the digital workplace, and OpenText has been one of the big providers since 2017 when Gartner announced the death of enterprise content management. OpenText and SAP have always been very close particularly through the Open Text Extended ECM for SAP solutions that were designed to offer content management in SAP environments.

The Sapphire conference saw the two companies taking that a step further. They announced a unique co-innovative partnership which will allow for the simple management of structured data and unstructured content across all SAP S/4HANA Cloud applications. The OpenText content services for SAP Cloud Platform will provide a centralized content repository and advanced content capabilities across all SAP applications, reducing information sprawl and content management costs.

They also announced enhanced content integrations, including a range of additional integrations to further enhance content management and insights for SAP and SAP S/4HANA users including:

  • OpenText Core for SAP SuccessFactors: Providing the simple management of employee file content.
  • OpenText Extended ECM for Microsoft® Office 365: A cloud solution connecting Office 365 directly into SAP ERP, CRM and related business applications.
  • OpenText Information Extraction Service for SAP Solutions (IES): This offers users machine learning and optical character recognition (OCR) to capture and extract the right information from incoming communications.

Content services manage unstructured digital content and are essential to building an intelligent and connected enterprise. Data driven connected apps are a key part of the digital workplace, which means OpenText and SAP are making a major play to manage the content that keeps a digital workplace alive.

Standard services that will be provided include document management, such as folder, file and metadata management, versioning and viewing capabilities and attachment lists. The premium services include extended content management, Office 365 integration, capture and document generation services.

Available in Q4 2019 and developed on OpenText OT2, the new services will aim to address the need to manage structured data and unstructured content across applications and intelligent business processes delivered through SAP Cloud Platform.

Microsoft Unveils Fluid Framework

Elsewhere, Microsoft has unveiled a new development platform and document model for what it describes as “interactive experiences.” The new platform named the Fluid Framework will launch in software developer kit (SDK) and a handful of new Microsoft-developed apps, late this year. There are initial use cases too according to a blog about the release that include:

  • Experiences powered by the Fluid Framework that support multi-person co-authoring on web and document content at a speed and scale not yet achieved in the industry.
  • A componentized document model that allows authors to deconstruct content into collaborative building blocks, use them across applications, and combine them in a new, more flexible kind of document.
  • Fluid Framework makes room for intelligent agents to work alongside humans to translate text, fetch content, suggest edits, perform compliance checks and more.

Microsoft also plans to make the technology broadly available to developers and integrate it into Microsoft 365 experiences like Word, Teams and Outlook

The objective is to provide better support for fast, simultaneous multi-person co-authoring on web and document content. The new model will allow authors and creators to deconstruct content into collaborative building blocks. It will also allow content authors to work with intelligent agents, which can perform tasks like translating text, fetching content and more.

US Governor Raises Office 365 Migration Concerns

It’s not all good news for Microsoft though. The US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has posted its advice for organizations using Microsoft Office 365 — particularly if they've relied on a third-party contractor to implement it for them when migrating from on-premises to the cloud.

A report from CISA pointed out that as the number of organizations migrating email services to Microsoft Office 365 and other cloud services increases, the use of third-party companies that move organizations to the cloud also increases. The objective of the report, CISA wrote, is to warn organizations of the risks involved in transitioning to Office 365 and other cloud services.

The problem, according to the report, is organizations using a third party have had a mix of configurations that lowered their overall security posture (e.g., mailbox auditing disabled, unified audit log disabled, multi-factor authentication disabled on admin accounts).

In addition, the majority of these organizations did not have a dedicated IT security team to focus on their security in the cloud. These security oversights have led to user and mailbox compromises and vulnerabilities. As a result, the report advised organizations to make sure that the infrastructure assets are protected against attackers who could take advantage of misconfigured Office 365 installations during service migrations and afterward.

It also recommends the development of an organizational cloud strategy to protect infrastructure assets by defending against attacks related to their Office 365 transition, and securing their Office 365 service. The report outlines a number of things that organizations should be doing to protect their organization after moving.

Gartner’s iPaaS Leaders

Meanwhile, Gartner has identified the leading providers of integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS). These vendors provide capabilities to enable subscribers (also known as “tenants”) to implement integration projects involving any combination of cloud-resident and on-premises endpoints, including APIs, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).

This is achieved by developing, deploying, executing, managing and monitoring integration processes and flows that connect multiple endpoints, so that they can work together. According to the Magic Quadrant, Informatica, Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, Workato, SanpLogic, MuleSoft, Oracle and Microsoft lead the pack this year with nine other companies spread across the quadrant.

The report was published at the end of April but just became public. It also shows that mega vendors such as IBM, Oracle and SAP are increasingly incorporating iPaaS into broader, “megaPaaS” propositions, and thus turning their iPaaS into an enabling component of broad cloud platforms for data and analytics, IoT solutions, smart machine deployment and other scenarios.

iPaaS, as a result, can play a key role in puling the digital workplace together by integrating technology, platforms and infrastructure. While they don’t have a direct impact on the productivity of workers, without this kind of integration these types of workplaces are difficult to build.

Although the primary use case for iPaaS offerings remains cloud service integration, the report reads, their usage has broadened to include on-premises application and data integration, API publishing, ecosystem integration, IoT and other scenarios.

Templafy Buys iWRITER

Finally, this week, Templafy, an enterprise template management and document creation, has announced that it has bought iWRITER a Microsoft Office solution for brand identity and template management that claims to have 350,000 users at 1,200 businesses.

This is Templafy’s second acquisition (the first being Veodin and SlideProof last August). iWRITER (like Templafy) gives access to Office templates in PowerPoint, Outlook, Word and Excel. Assets like corporate identity, logos and linked data are all streamlined and connected to other databases, giving users access to their corporate branding content, images and marketing communications worldwide.

With the acquisition of Veodin and SlideProof and now the expansion with iWRITER, Templafy’s growing platform of offerings not only reaches a wider range of customers, but also proves to be at the forefront of the enterprise template management and document creation industry. More on this as it happens.

“Merging with Templafy allows us to become a global leader in template management solutions, where we can offer additional products under the Templafy name,” said Arjen Hartog, managing director at iWRITER. “Not only are the business growth opportunities endless, but Templafy is also a great culture fit, which has made this acquisition the right decision for us moving forward.”