Is EIM the next big thing for the channel?

Man walking up staircase to the sky

The enterprise information management (EIM) market is an "untapped" opportunity for channel partners, according to enterprise software vendor OpenText.

At the firm's annual customer event in Toronto, Savinay Berry, OpenText's senior vice president of cloud service delivery said its EIM represented a "$100 billion strategic opportunity" for the firm and its partners.

The figure, calculated by the company, includes enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), customer experience management (CEM), discovery, plus trends like cloud, IoT, managed services and security.

Berry tells Channel Pro: "We think we are in a market which is only 3% tapped. We are in a $100 billion (£80.8 billion) EIM market, and we're roughly doing about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) in revenues today."

The next big thing?

It is estimated that between 60% and 80% of all data in the enterprise is unstructured or semi-structured – such as email, video, images and social media posts. The challenge customers face is how to collate, analyse and extract meaningful value from all that disparate information to better understand their business.

To this end, EIM is often touted as the next big thing in enterprise software because it promises answers to both known and unknown questions, says Steve Brooks, senior analyst at Synonym Advisory.

He says the opportunity for partners lies in the fact that the dream of a single monolithic business solution is dead. "The reality is that companies if they are not wedded to a single platform, are deploying ever more complex hybrid software architectures to deliver a business advantage," he says. "Technologies such as IoT, AI and social media, enabled in the future by 5G, will bring even more data – both unstructured and structured – into the enterprise data lake."

However, he says this calls for expertise in different source systems, industries and the EIM platform itself. "It's knowledge of the first two categories that channel partners can leverage to identify an opportunity. The understanding of those source systems is not just about the business data but how to extract, transform and load it into a cloud-hosted EIM.

Customer challenges

"Organisations face complex and daunting challenges in managing the ever-increasing volumes of content they create and receive," Chris Clark, sales director at Blackburn-based OpenText partner, Cad-Capture, tells Channel Pro.

"Compliance officers are worried that by not identifying and managing content appropriately, users are increasing the organisation's exposure to risk. Meanwhile, IT teams are watching storage costs balloon as they have no effective way to identify duplications in email attachments and file shares, or to determine what's important to keep and for how long.

"Managing, controlling and securing this content is critical to an organisation's overall information governance strategy, but these challenges are also an opportunity to reduce risk and increase business productivity."

Clark says Cad-Capture has responded to these challenges by extending the capabilities of its AIM Suite, making Asset Centric Navigation available for users of OpenText's Content Suite to automate and streamline the search and retrieval process for asset-related drawings, documents and information.

In addition, he said users can find, reference and use both structured and unstructured data in real-time, using Cad-Capture's HotSpots interface with Content Suite, meaning "decisions can be made more quickly, and issues resolved more successfully".

Cloud opportunity

"Only cloud provides the scalability and elasticity to deliver the categorisation, consolidation, and analysis of data," said Brooks. "Partners that can bring that knowledge and expertise alongside the EIM knowledge should be able to solve the dilemma that enterprises have – they want EIM, they often don't know how to start on that journey."

Indeed, with the firm announcing at Enterprise World that it wants to triple its enterprise customer base within the next few years, Berry revealed there will be a new iteration of the OpenText global partner programme "coming up soon", which will make it easier for partners to deliver cloud solutions.

The company also announced an expanded partnership with Google Cloud to provide new deployment options for Content Services in the cloud. Google Cloud has selected OpenText as its preferred partner for EIM services, while OpenText has named Google Cloud its preferred partner for enterprise cloud.

"Google is another example of how we're accelerating our journey to support more use cases in the cloud," says Berry. "Earlier, we couldn't say yes to a customer who wanted a public cloud option and wanted one contract. So that's going to be one other checklist item inside that updated programme for global partners that we are evaluating as we speak.

"We like to say partners are a force multiplier; they touch at least 40 to 50% of the sales that we do," says Berry. "So they are extremely important to us growing our three per cent of that $100 billion market."

With most CIOs expecting the volume of data coming into their organisation to multiply in the next couple of years, there does indeed appear to be an opportunity for channel experts to tap into a potentially lucrative EIM opportunity while helping their customers manage the information sprawl.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.