Mission to Mars: Brenda Kirk on innovation at #CommunityLIVE

As Josh Linkner mentioned in his awesome keynote speech, if your organization isn’t innovating, the time to start is right now.

Brenda Kirk, Hyland’s executive vice president & chief product & strategy officer, agrees.

“We have been evolving and innovating since the day we began,” Kirk said. “But the need for innovation is unending. And our commitment to enhancing our amazing community and solutions is stronger than it has ever been.”

She then shared our long-term product vision and how we’re going to continue to innovate.

“A few years ago, my friend and mentor – our former CTO, Miguel Zubizarreta – used an analogy to describe our OnBase journey,” said Kirk. “He drew a parallel between the rapid innovation in flight that it took to reach the moon and the rapid innovation we would need to reach the ambitious goals we had set – our own moon if you will.”

Stage 1: Landing on the moon

“We aimed to be the best, independent enterprise content management provider in the world. To build an enterprise information platform that would meet the information management needs of the Hyland community. To provide exceptional experiences for our customers and partners – and to make it right when we miss the mark.”

You know, land on the moon. And we did it.

“We are very proud to be recognized as a leading vendor in the industries and markets we serve,” Kirk continued. “Gartner has rated us as a leader in their Magic Quadrant for ECM since 2010 and as a key Case Management vendor. Forrester has done the same in their Waves for ECM Transactional Content Services, and Dynamic Case Management. Now, we are eager to learn about our placement in the new Content Services Quadrant coming out this fall.”

Kirk then highlighted a few other accolades we’ve received that mean a lot to her, like when Great Places to Work and Fortune named us one of the best places to work for women.

“But above all,” Kirk noted, “the recognition we’re most proud of is our 97 percent maintenance renewal rate. This continued confidence among our partners and customers is the true test of an industry leader. And we thank them for that.”

“So, as explorers and innovators, after you get to the moon, what do you do?” she asked. “Naturally, you go to Mars.”

Stage 2: Charting our course to Mars

How are we going to get there?

“I want to share our product vision, the course we are charting to reach not only a project code-named ‘Mars,’ but our enterprise platform vision as well,” said Kirk. “We want you to be able to see what we’re up to and have the opportunity to provide feedback and help us shape our course.”

That means we’re going to continue our industry-leading investment in R&D, just as NASA invested in the Atlas 5 rocket to get the Curiosity Rover to Mars.

“Our R&D investment includes the addition of more than 150 people to our team in 2017,” said Kirk. “To fund a new planning and product management functions.”

Other R&D highlights include:

  • Continuing to invest in uncompromised quality software
  • Launching improved quality assessment periods and upgrade excellence programs
  • Increasing the use of automation, freeing resources to focus their talents on higher value work and help us accelerate our vision
  • Establishing a Release Candidate program for OnBase 17, ensuring that the general release was of the highest quality, ever – and based on feedback from customers it seems we have accomplished this goal
  • Continuing to focus on robust security

“We’ve also reorganized our R&D teams to align with the growth of the company,” Kirk noted. “We combined the Development and Quality Assurance teams into a single R&D organization. And of course, we continue to view our customers as partners in our success.”

That’s why, if you ask for an enhancement and it makes sense, we do it. Our success for more than 25 years is because of our customers. They’re our guidance system. That’s why we’re working on improving our online community that gives thousands of customers, partners, and employees a single place to network, share advice, and solve issues.

We’ll cover those improvements in a separate blog post next week.

Meanwhile, we made our biggest acquisition yet: Perceptive.

“You know what they say,” said Kirk, “if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.”

Along with the talented people who joined our ranks as both employees and customers, we are adding several incredible products and technology to our overall portfolio.

“Now our data capture technologies are even more sophisticated and use the power of machine learning to classify and extract data from documents,” said Kirk. “Going forward, we will lead the global market in the delivery of robust and highly scalable content and data capture technology. With a microservices based architecture, we will enable broader solution development opportunities to be deployed in the cloud.”

It’s cool stuff. In fact, our medical viewer technologies have the ability to assist physicians in detecting anomalies in medical images.

We have charted a clear course, but we want to get there quickly, so …

Stage 3: Slingshotting around the moon

To get to Mars, we’re going to use a technique pioneered by the Japanese space program to use the moon as a kind of slingshot, to utilize its gravitational pull to increase our velocity as we slingshot around the moon.

In this case, OnBase is our moon. It’s our foundation. Our leading enterprise information platform gives us the opportunity to continue improving and propel us to our goals – one of which is to help you do your job better.

Of course, our goal isn’t really to reach Mars, even though it’s the codename of our project. Our goal is to be the leader in what Gartner now calls content services.

“With OnBase 17,” Kirk said, “we addressed our customers’ needs with a new styling of the Web and Unity clients to provide a more modern, sleek and approachable interface. One of the most highlighted interface updates isn’t in the client itself, but in Unity Forms, which added rich-text formatting and the ability to embed hyperlinks in form text – giving customers a lot more flexibility to build great interfaces for their users and customers.”

We’ll also continue to improve The Hyland Cloud, which is a topic Kirk says she talks about in nearly every business conversation she has.

Now, Mars is appearing on the horizon, so we better get ready to land.

Stage 4: Preparing to land

So it’s time to get ready to transition from speeding through the cosmos to landing.

“With all this talk of space, I should use a Star Wars quote right now,” Kirk joked. “But that would be a complete betrayal of everything I hold dear in this world. So no Star Wars quote.”

Like the Curiosity Rover, which went from 13,000 miles per hour to zero in just seven minutes, we need perfect design, architecture, and development to land correctly.

In a similar way, our landscape is changing as we approach. But the good thing is, it’s exactly what we expected.

Stage 5: Adapting to a new landscape

“The notion that one monolithic solution can address all of an enterprise’s content needs is no longer realistic,” said Gartner analyst Karen A. Hobart. ”Content is increasingly distributed and diverse, and the tools, apps and needs will be vastly different based on audience and use cases. Demand is growing for smarter, more personalized content.”

Enter the term, or new landscape, content services. And again, it’s what we expected, because we’ve been headed in this direction for a while.

“Content services are a set of services and micro-services, embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types and to serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization,” according to Reinventing ECM: Introducing Content Services Platforms and Applications by Karen M. Shegda, Karen A. Hobert, Michael Woodbridge, and Monica Basso.

“We have been executing on a vision to bring all of this together, for some time. Quietly in the our research efforts, but not so quietly with ShareBase, our secure file sharing solution, and just last week with the release of Mackinac, our bridge of the healthcare data chasm,” said Kirk. “Your information management needs are top of mind for us as we develop the next generation of capabilities, tools, and experiences.”

We’re almost there!

“We’ve charted our course, we’ve used the gravitational pull of OnBase used our slingshot, and now we’re preparing to land. We are poised for the future because of this community. I thank you for your confidence and your partnership,” said Kirk.

“Mars is there, just waiting to be reached,” said Buzz Aldrin.

We agree. But please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the captain turns off the “fasten seat belt” sign. This will indicate that we have reached our goal, and you are free to move ahead of your competition.

Here we go!

Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien is a senior content strategist for Hyland and is the editor of The OnBase Blog. An author with an MBA and two books in print, he enjoys writing about how technology helps organizations decrease their dependency on paper to optimize processes and better serve customers. His industry certifications include CDIA and ecmp.

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