OpenText has taken another step into the world of intelligent hybrid cloud computing with the release of OpenText OT2, which provides users with intelligence automation, security and a bunch of other enterprise information management applications on a single platform. The release responds to a need across some industries like finance, legal, life sciences and government for hybrid-cloud infrastructure though a public cloud.

“Today, we are yet again redefining the EIM market with the launch of OpenText OT2, our flexible, hybrid platform for EIM services and application deployment,” Mark J. Barrenechea, vice-chair, CEO and CTO, OpenText said in a statement about the release.

However, this is more than just a standard release from Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText. This is a major offering from the Canadian giant that will enable its partners to build customized applications using OpenText content management software and turning them into microservices.

A microservice is a software development technique that structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services. The benefit of deconstructing an application into different smaller services is that it improves modularity and makes the application easier to understand. And there’s the key. OpenText has spent a lot of effort over the past few years making its content and information management applications accessible to users. With this, it is taking a major step forward. The release will enable partners to build applications with OpenText components, so you can take the APIs and microservices and build whatever you want to build on the cloud.

The microservices in question include services for content collaboration, security, process automation, and analytics and other apps that can drive digital transformation across enterprises.

OT2 runs out of OpenText's own private cloud offering, OpenText Enterprise Cloud. It plans to keep OpenText OT2 tightly integrated with the current release of its main suite, OpenText 16, using quarterly updates Release 16 can run on customers' data centers, in OpenText's cloud, and now also on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Related, but separate, OpenText also announced that it is opening its cloud infrastructure to select members of its partner ecosystem. This will enable the world’s most innovative global systems integrators to create and market applications on the OpenText cloud, helping to further extend OpenText’s global reach.

Yammer Finally Gets Smart

After the release of Microsoft’s enterprise collaboration application Teams at the end of 2016, there was some speculation that the Redmond, Wash.-based giant would let its earlier social and collaboration network Yammer sail gracefully into the sunset. It was not clear at the time where Yammer would fit in a company that was investing so much time and money in Teams.

Microsoft Teams is a platform that combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and attachments. The service integrates with the company's Office 365 subscription office productivity suite, including Microsoft Office and Skype, and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products.

Microsoft, however, denied that it was going to sunset Yammer and insisted that it was working away behind the scenes on bringing into Satya Nadella’s brand-new vision for Microsoft. This week, Microsoft delivered on that promise and made it smarter by pulling it together with Stream, Microsoft Teams, and the rest of Office 365 to offer intelligent event capabilities in Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 was released in 2017 and offered integrated bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, including Intune device management, analytics and some Azure Active Directory capabilities, sold on a subscription basis.

When intelligent event capabilities are deployed in Yammer over the coming weeks, users will be able to:

  • Schedule a live event directly from Yammer communities
  • Use the dedicated event page in your community to drive sustained conversations with participants
  • Watch the event recording, on-demand, and review the discussion
  • Search the video’s automatically generated transcript to find and jump to specific content in the recording.

Live events help you bring company gatherings to everyone across the organization, on any device, so you can effectively communicate news and updates and drive employee engagement. Where communities in Yammer foster and sustain two-way conversation, events add moments of high engagement to help communities take important steps forward toward their goals.

Like pretty much any enterprise development from Microsoft, to take advantage of live events in Yammer, your organization will need Office 365, with active deployment of Yammer, Microsoft Teams and Stream. To enable the solution, you will need to have Office 365 Groups enabled and Office 365 identity enforced.

Assessing Collaboration Effectiveness

Before leaving, this week it is worth taking a look at two more releases from Microsoft that are designed to improve collaboration efforts in the workplace. The first is Workplace Analytics, the second is MyAnalytics nudges.

Workplace Analytics uses data from everyday work in Office 365 to identify collaboration patterns that impact productivity, workforce effectiveness, and employee engagement. MyAnalytics provides, data-driven collaboration tips that surface as you get work done in Office 365.

Learning Opportunities

The idea, according to Microsoft, is to ensure that the collaboration "habits" of individuals in the workplace are effective ‘habits’ and that shedding light on how work actually gets done in organizations is key to building more efficient, creative, and engaged teams.

Some of the challenges cited include identifying where meeting overload is happing, it provides minimal time for focused work, or identifies when employees are taking on high after-hours workload. Combine these insights with engagement survey results to find connections between work patterns and indicators of team health like engagement and innovation scores. Check out the video below:

 M-Files Cosies Up To TSO-DATA

Also this week, Plano, Texas-based M-Files, has announced that TSO-DATA has joined the M-Files Global Partner Program as a silver partner. Based in Germany, TSO-DATA is an expert in Microsoft Dynamics and is focused on medium-sized customers and their needs. Already, the partnership has resulted in the development of a document management system connector, which allows for integration of M-Files with Microsoft's Dynamics NAV ERP solution.

This means that electronic documents such as quotes, orders, invoices and emails that result from NAV master data and processes can be easily transferred and automatically archived to M-Files. In doing so, M-Files automatically enriches all documents from NAV with the appropriate metadata that establishes the business context of the document. The automatic keywording increases the data and process quality and reduces the process costs.

The M-Files connector for Microsoft Dynamics NAV is now available as a Microsoft-certified add-on for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, which are supported out-of-the-box.

Smartsheet Digs Deeper Into Hangouts

Meanwhile, Bellevue, Wash.-based Smartsheet has announced an integration with Hangouts Chat that enables users to take action without leaving the application, further extending Smartsheet’s capabilities within G Suite.

With the integration enabled, users can have their Smartsheet update and approval requests, notifications, and reminders delivered directly to Hangouts Chat. From there, they have the ability to respond to the request, set a reminder, or view the notification in Smartsheet for more details.

Smartsheet is a software as a service application for collaboration and work management that is used to assign tasks, track project progress, manage calendars, share documents and manage other work.

Snips’ New Blockchain-Driven Voice Assistant

Parisian startup Snips has announced that it is building new blockchain-driven voice assistant that, the company says, will provide users with better protection for their data because of its link with blockchain. Snips AIR, which will be available for consumers in the end of 2019, is set to be the first decentralized, privacy-focused voice platform. Instead of storing data in the cloud, Snips AIR will process data 100 percent on-device, ensuring that families’ personal data remains within their smart homes.

The company claims the new platform aims to address the numerous issues faced by existing AI voice assistants that are powering smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

The company says its AIR Network blockchain and edge computing to create a decentralized platform in which users are in control over their data. The technology allows data processing to be done locally without any data being sent to a cloud back-end.