OpenText sets its cloud sights firmly on managed services

Last week I was in Nashville, Tennessee at OpenText Enterprise World 2016, getting a first look at the company’s latest offerings and hearing about its bold plan to take on IBM.

I also got the chance to speak to Lynn Elwood - VP of cloud – about OpenText’s cloud strategy and its vision for the future. OpenText has been “doing cloud for a long time,” now boasting 37 data centres around the world and over 65,000 customers - featuring a lot of household names “across pretty much every industry,” from manufacturing to finance, healthcare and the public sector.

But it’s only recently that the company has started really talking about cloud and it’s not through the more traditional infrastructure approach: “Cloud for us is running and managing all of our applications. So we don’t sell Infrastructure-as-a-Service, we don’t have a data centre. We do managed services all the way up to and including the application and all the data. I think of it as application-as-a-service because it’s really a full service model that we have, whether its platform services or whether it’s full on managed services.”

This strategy is clearly illustrated in its suite of applications, most of which can be run on any cloud, especially the information management and analytics areas. “They can be run on on-premise, they can be run on Amazon, Azure etc.,” Lynn said, “but somebody still has to manage them.”

Mixed in with this managed services vision is a pragmatic approach based around what is best for the customer - whether that be a cloud, on-premise or hybrid tactic - described by Lynn as “a big difference between us and some of the others in the industry. We very much accommodate customer choice and almost all of them are hybrid because they’re not going to move everything at the same time. Even if they want to eventually they’ve got to do it in pieces, so everyone has some systems in different environments.”

And looking ahead, managed services is well and truly where OpenText wants to stay: “I don’t see why we would go there [to an infrastructure-based approach]. That’s the low value piece of it really, the high value piece is actually providing the managed services and managing the applications.

“I don’t see the value in providing infrastructure as a service. There are those that are in that business but really we’re a software company and a managed services company.”

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