Supply Chain Now Episode 449
“f you think about every company today, they’ve got a challenge: how do we get employees back to work and what kind of digital solutions can we provide to provide remote working if that’s what companies want? They are trying to find that fine balance of solutions that improve day-to-day collaboration.”
Mark Morley, Product Marketing Director for Business Network at OpenText
OpenText is a $3.1 Billion information management company headquartered just outside of Toronto. They were started as a University of Waterloo research project in 1991 and have grown through acquisition, absorbing over 60 companies, one of which was GXS, where Mark Morley was working as their EMEA Industry Marketing Director.
Today, Mark is the Product Marketing Director for Business Network at OpenText. In addition to continuing to drive supply chain digitization, his team has been focused on ethical sourcing and supply chain sustainability because both are top of mind with CXOs today.
In this conversation, Mark tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:
· The importance of being able to respond in real time to current situations and corporate disruption through flexibility, visibility, and actionable insights.
· How much more important digital information management will be if companies make the decision to keep their employees working remotely in the long term or indefinitely.
· The future potential associated with incorporating blockchains into digital supply chain information management, especially for companies in manufacturing, food production and pharmaceuticals.
It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world. Supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things. Supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:28):
Hey, good morning, Scott Luton, Greg white with you here on supply chain. Now. Welcome to today’s show. Good morning, Greg. How are you doing? I’m doing great. How are you doing? I’m doing fantastic. This has been an outstanding week. Uh, we’re really excited about today’s conversation. We’re gonna be talking with a global technology leader that helps provide them, uh, market-leading information management solutions in the information age. So we’re gonna be working hard, Greg, as always to elevate your supply chain accurate. Right? I love it. When you say that. Yeah, I love this. And you know, we’ve joked with the folks at OpenText, the biggest company you’ve never heard of. Right. So let’s hear about what they’re doing. Although Scott, I got to tell you, OpenText is a public company. They are in the tequila, sunrise supply chain tech stock index. So I feel like there might be one or two people who’ve learned about them from that.
Scott Luton (01:26):
Well, from doing my homework, the brightest people in industry have heard of open text and we’re looking forward to sharing kind of, um, with some perspective, point of view and Mark story here momentarily. Quick programming note, before we get started, if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. All right. With no further ado, let’s bring in our featured guest. Who’s been waiting patiently here. Uh, Mark Morley, director, strategic product marketing with open text, the information company, Mark. Good morning. Hi, good morning. Thanks very much for inviting me to a shine board. We have really enjoyed our warmup conversations and getting to know you better and all the many things that open text powers across the globe here lately. And we’re looking forward to sharing that with our audience. So for starters though, before we get into business and work and all that hard stuff, let’s talk about Mark Morley.
Scott Luton (02:23):
Let’s talk about, you know, your background where you’re from and give us a story or two, you know, from your upbringing. Yeah. So I’m based in Redding in the UK, which is about 30 minutes West of London. Um, my interest in supply chain really started out at school, funnily enough. Um, so very hands on with the subjects were metalwork and woodwork and how things were made. And naturally there’s an evolution that work out well, where do the things come from to make those products? So that’s really fired up my interest in that time. And then one day I was in a computer lesson and our first computer that was brought into the school was wheeled in on big trolley.
Mark Morley (03:00):
And we had 30 colleagues of mine in the classroom trying to work out, or how do we timeshare this one computer in the whole school to sort of explore computer programming. And that really got my interest in the area of software and programming at that time. So we’re talking now about the mid eighties, which seems like an age of code now, and even looking at punch cards, for example, you know, how can you develop routines on punch cards? But the problem we had there of course, was waiting for three or four days to get the results back, uh, how the, how those cars were programmed. So that really sparked my interest in the software industry way back at school.
Scott Luton (03:37):
So Mark, I got to ask you, do you recall what the computer was? The first computer you had?
Mark Morley (03:42):
Yeah, it was, it was actually a UK based computer called research machines, three 80 Zed. It was a big black monolith of a computer that was wheeled around the school. Um, and I think in those days, the gut, the UK government was trying to make sure that every school in the UK had at least one computer. Um, and we’re talking about 1983, 1984 at this time. So
Scott Luton (04:08):
Apple too. He was one of the first that they, that we used in school here in the States. And I can definitely relate Mark to your point because, uh, in middle school, which is when I, I think we first started using them, we got like five minute turns and that those five minutes might be all you get all week, you know, because everyone has a chance and you know, so interesting now, uh, while we still have a lot of work, more work to do to make sure everyone has access to technology, it’s still, I mean, just the proliferation of where it is everywhere. And, and, you know, from your hand to the classroom, to at home, it’s just, it’s amazing to think back to the environment in the eighties, uh, computers on trolleys.
Mark Morley (04:52):
Yeah, around that time, my uncle had an Apple Lisa, which of course is one of the first computers have a mouse at that time. And, uh, my grandfather bought me a Commodore Vic 20 back in 1983. And that really helped to accelerate my interest in the computer industry and where it was going. It was all computer games at that time, but I knew there was, that was an area in industry that wants to get involved with what
Scott Luton (05:13):
One thing about at those early ages where you’re, you know, looking at those pioneering devices, what one element really just grabbed hold and ensured that this is, you know, you’re going to be in the technology business.
Mark Morley (05:26):
I would say honestly, it’s about the automation, because at that time we were hearing stories of our own companies using robots on the production shop floor, for example. Um, and today, you know, when you’re looking at Microsoft HoloLens and all these other devices, Google glass, et cetera, there’s, there’s a constant thread way back to the mid eighties where these technologies started to evolve. And, um, you know, I looked at some of the technologies when I was at university and that sort of cemented my career in terms of where I wanted to focus, where I wanted to go to. So I always had interest in automation, which brings me right. Upstate with the current company that I, that I work.
Greg White (06:02):
Cool. Outstanding. We’re going to talk about that momentarily. One final question. Uh, so you’re, you’re living reading now, is that where you grew up?
Mark Morley (06:10):
No, I actually grew up, um, on the East coast, in the UK, just North of a place called Dover where, which is actually where I was born and it’s one of the world’s busiest ferry ports. So travel logistics, hub point of view. It’s one of the busiest ferry ports in the world actually, but I lived in a small town called deal just North of Dover. And so I’ve always been near the coast. I’ve always enjoyed the sea. And here I am today in the middle of a tech corridor in Redding and our office is based next to Oracle, HP, Microsoft, and some of the big leaders. So you could call it the sort of Silicon Valley of the UK in terms of where I’m located today. So a good position to be in
Greg White (06:49):
Outstanding they’re in Redding. All right. So Greg, let’s, let’s dive into the, his, uh, Mark’s professional journey. Yeah. I’d love to hear about what, um, you know, what your career was like after high school, after college, whatever, all, all the way up to what you’re doing today. I mean, tell us about any roles that were particularly, you know, the particularly nurtured, the found foundation that you built even in high school.
Mark Morley (07:13):
Yeah, sure. So the journey really started after school. When I went to college, studied engineering, a computer aided engineering at that time, as you’d imagine. So combining my practical knowledge of making things with computers and software and bringing those two stories together. Um, I did a master’s degree and computerated engineering at Cranfield university in UK. Um, so Cranfield, as you probably know, is a leading university for supply chain and logistics. Um, so that’s one of the top postgraduate universities in Europe. Um, from there I joined a company called computer vision and this was all focused around software 3d design software and the CAD cam market computerate design and manufacture, um, work. I joined that company in 1992. Um, and then the company was taken over by PTC who also one of the big players in the product life cycle management space, uh, back in 1997.
Mark Morley (08:06):
And at that time of the takeover, I wasn’t sure where I was going to be going career wise journey wise. So I took a bit of a career break. I actually left the industry as a whole and went to work for the McLaren formula one team, the racing, why not? So, yeah, so my previous company, computer division manager had a sponsorship partnership deal with McLaren. We supplied the CAD engineering software and which they design their vehicles and their race cars. And I joined McLaren to manage the technology partnerships, um, for the particular team. However, I decided that it was a bit of a lifestyle career and I was, I was itching really to get back into technology. So I rejoined PTC in, uh, 1999 and I took on an instant
Greg White (08:50):
Itching to get out of racing.
Mark Morley (08:53):
Yeah, I guess I was missing the technology piece. I love racing as a, as a sport. I still find formula one and IndyCar now. Um, but I was missing the hands on with the technology, if that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. So I, rejoined PTC took on an international marketing role with that company, built out their network of demo centers for PTC to be able to showcase their design software in different locations. And then due to restructuring, I left that company in 2003. However, I just started an MBA, a personally funded MBA at that time at work business school. And then I joined my former company GXS back in 2006 and one interesting area as though, while I was doing my MBA, I decided to do for some reason, a dissertation, uh, looking at the space tourism industry. And when you think back to 2006, there was no industry. There were hardly any company. So how you do a research project on something that doesn’t actually exist. So it’s interesting times it was looking at Virgin galactic and where those companies were going for low earth orbit, satellite deployment and space tourism, and now roll forward 20 years space X, and what they’ve achieved. I’m just starting to see these shoots of growth. And what I originally looked at way back in 2006 from a research standpoint,
Scott Luton (10:16):
Well, Mark really quick. What, why did you choose space tourism? What, what caused you to focus? What were you thinking? The written you’re a trailblazer?
Mark Morley (10:28):
The reason for that was that one of the companies that PTC donated software to as part of their program was a company called star chaser industries based in the UK. So they were a startup building rockets. Um, they had, uh, a couple of rockets that they’d actually successfully launched from UK soil. And I got to know the CEO of that company fairly well. He wanted a business plan developing a sponsorship program developed. And so I got to know him very well. What I did was build my dissertation around that particular company. Um, they’re still going today. However, of course, companies such as Virgin galactic and SpaceX have accelerated, um, you know, the move around that particular industry. Um, but for me that got me an interest in industry marketing. So doing the research in the industry, what are the drivers, what are the pain points?
Mark Morley (11:17):
And so when I joined GXS in 2006, I joined as automotive industry, uh, marketing director at that time. Um, so looking at the trends, how do we develop solutions to target the automotive industry? And I was in that role for about, uh, six years, um, before OpenText acquired GXS and GXS, you know, it was a very well known name in the supply chain sector, and it was acquired by OpenText. I hadn’t even known about in text when the company acquired GXS in 2000, no biggest company knows exactly. And, and today I’m a product marketing director with the company. So
Greg White (11:58):
There’s work cut out for you. Yeah,
Mark Morley (12:00):
It has. It’s worked out and there’s been a thread through my journey from school through university to where I am today. I’m looking at global supply chains.
Greg White (12:09):
So Hey, quick comment, Greg. I know we’re going to keep driving back to space. I’m a big space nerd, Mark. And, uh, and this is not for that. This is not original thought, but I’ve heard others talk about, you know, once we do establish a permanent presence on the moon or even Mars, however many years away, can we complain now about global supply chains? Can you imagine that supply chain galactic, right?
Mark Morley (12:35):
Yeah. Galactic supply chains. It’s a, it’s an interesting area. Interesting discussion we already hear about, I think there are us companies look at mining on the moon, for example. I mean, how do you get those goods in real time, back to the UK? I mean, it’s just a whole different area that eventually takes off.
Greg White (12:50):
I think you just kinda throw it in. Eventually I know technical engineering answer there. Yeah. Well, that’s interesting. So that’s, I mean, that’s a very intentional path towards supply chain, you know, with a brief stop and racing, which I have to say I’m a little envious about, but I recognize that it’s not always good to make your vacation, your vocation. So, um, but that’s a really intentional path towards supply chain for how early you started, which is not earlier than I started by the way, Mark. So there wasn’t a lot of education there and there weren’t programs for supply chain specifically, or was there one at Cranfield then?
Mark Morley (13:35):
Yeah, Cranfield back in 2000. Let me think. Back in 93, I think it was, um, and even to the present day, there’s a gentleman there, uh, professor Martin, Christopher, he’s one of the leading researchers at Cranfield in supply general logistics, you probably heard of him. And there are a couple of others there that are very well known in supply chain space. Um, however, I decided to sort of follow my interest from school around design computer software. Um, so yeah, I got to meet many of the supply chain professors at Cranfield very respectable, uh, education facility. Um, but my interest was still in the design side at that time and three D CAD.
Greg White (14:15):
So anyone, anyone in that stage of your life really stand out as a mentor or somebody who gave you that kind of aha moment that kind of helped you break through or find direction? Yeah.
Mark Morley (14:28):
Yeah, I think there’s, um, I think from a direction standpoint, there are many innovators out there, entrepreneurs, you know, if you think of something like James Dyson, for example, and the business that he’s established originally making Hoover’s way back and now to where they are today, where they want us to build this electric vehicle, which unfortunately they’ve been on hold for, um, council together. But looking someone like that who starts up a business from scratch, designed innovative products, they’ve got to develop and design their sourcing strategy, the middle league from parts of the far East as well. So looking at the global nature of what guys, such as James Dyson did and others, uh, was sort of inspiration for me that I, not that I wanted to emulate, but sort of follow their journey, if that makes sense from a supply chain perspective.
Greg White (15:15):
Yeah. Well, so let’s talk a little bit about where you are now about OpenText, right? We’ve said it a couple times. It’s a big company, right? I mean it’s over almost 3 billion, is that right? Or
Mark Morley (15:27):
That’s correct. Yeah. 3.1 billion. The latest revenues for the company.
Greg White (15:30):
Okay. So tell us a little bit about how you landed there. I mean, you told us your, the company you were at got acquired, but how you wound up doing what you’re doing, what does OpenText do? So if there’s anybody who doesn’t know, they can be clear on that and then a little bit about what your role really means. Right. You know, the title often belies the actual activities of the day, right?
Mark Morley (15:53):
Yeah. So as you said, OpenText, there’s a $3.1 billion company Canadian headquartered in Waterloo, just outside Toronto. And we are an information management company started as a research project back in 1991 at the university of Waterloo where for researchers. And in fact, um, the gentleman that was part of that project is still, uh, our chairman today, uh, Tom Jenkins. And they looked at a project of how to digitize information, uh, way back then. So for example, how do you digitize the Oxford English dictionary? How do you search for specific information within that huge volume of data and information and make that information meaningful across the business? Um, and that established that really our first search engine technology, which at that time was licensed to a young company back then called Yahoo. So our search engine technology actually helped to start off new business, which was quite an interesting, uh, story back then.
Mark Morley (16:53):
So you mentioned right at the beginning, you know, one of the largest companies that people have probably never heard of, um, but sort of establish, um, other companies in that way was certainly quite interesting from a technology point of view. So we’re focused on an area called information management. OpenText has been a very acquisitive company over the years, acquiring about 60 to 63 companies in that timeframe, um, and expanding it from the original area of content management. So managing, uh, any type of file, digital information, moving across the business, um, into security, cyber resilience, um, digital asset management for videos and, you know, those kinds of files. So they’re really focused up until 2014 on managing documents within the enterprise. And it wasn’t really, until they acquired my company, GXS in 2014 that they wanted to focus on the external enterprise and connecting and integrating the external ecosystem. And that’s the division that I’m part of stake or business network.
Greg White (17:57):
So GXS was EDI and I assume other connectivity mechanisms, correct? Yes.
Mark Morley (18:05):
Yeah. So GXS was formed out of GE information services, uh, which was spun out, I think in 2008, actually in 2000 as global exchange services. So there’s a bit of history behind that company. Um, setting up one of the world’s first email systems for Microsoft and how they started their business, um, back in the early days. But you’re right. I mean, EDI is, you know, it’s technology that’s been around since the 1960s, everyone says there’s new technology. That’s going to replace it XML in 2000 that even blockchain today. And it hasn’t happened yet. So EDI is what I would regard as sort of the DNA of today’s supply chains. It’s there and moving information from one location to another electronic.
Greg White (18:47):
Okay. Yeah. I mean, I remember the days back in the nineties talking about eight, 15 and eight 52, right? Electronic PO records, electronic invoicing, electronic risk, uh, acknowledgement of receipt. Um, yeah. And, and I, I recall being one of those people who thought, Oh, no XML or whatever is, is going to replace it, but you know what, there is a certain staying power and this is a good lesson. I think for people to learn about technology, one technology takes longer to implement than you expect into, uh, which you’ve demonstrated in two cases. And two, it lasts a lot longer if it’s economically feasible and that’s why RFID sticks. And that’s why EDI sticks is because the economies of scale continue to grow as the product matures or as usage expands.
Mark Morley (19:43):
Well, exactly. So if I can, I can weigh in. I’ve learned something here. I’ve learned a big lesson learned here. I have been mispronouncing how to say Yahoo for 30 years, the English. I love it. I love the English accent, I guess, but I love it. Yahoo. I love that.
Greg White (20:03):
Such a, it sounds much cooler when you say it like that. No. And that’s, those are all important lessons. Um, I have to go back to something you said because of this often, I’m going to say, I think this often, uh, confuses the audience. It doesn’t confuse me just to be clear, but it might confuse the audience. And that is when you say document management or digital management, explain what digital, what the management part of that means, because I think that’s, that can be a really vague term and I’m not sure that everybody and I can tell you that. I certainly don’t understand, you know, what’s that dynamic
Mark Morley (20:45):
Document management part of our represents probably half of our revenue is a huge part of our business. And when we talk about document management, it’s all about, should we say in a high level terms, the archiving of information. So whether that’s test reports, material specifications, uh, digital videos to show how to disassemble a piece of equipment, for example, any, any type of digital document that’s moving around the organization that’s updated, it’s modified, it’s changed. You need to be able to keep track of those modifications. And that’s really what a document management system is doing now, whether that’s just normal documents that I said, or whether you’re archiving, video feeds, audio files, you know, we have that ability to archive any type of digital information and that’s one half of our business. And I’ll go on to explain more about what our business network does, um, in a moment, um, to sort of compliment that
Scott Luton (21:41):
Ton of talk here lately about adaptive supply chains, especially, and it’s been around, you know, this notion has been around for years, but 20 and 2020, you’re like 20, 20, Holy cow. Is it, is it ever a, it’s what everybody is after. Right. Um, so let’s talk about what adaptive supply chains and how you define that. And let’s talk about some of the things that, how OpenText is powering organizations that have adaptive supply chains.
Mark Morley (22:11):
Yeah, that’s true. So when you think of the word adaptive, um, and it’s been top of mind, actually with many supply chain and logistics leaders over the last few months with COVID-19, they’ve had to very quickly restructure supply chains. Um, and also I would describe it as a black Swan event with COVID-19 because it’s kind of chain leaders, they’ve got no choice, they’ve got to restrict the supply chains. And in fact, I read a report yesterday, um, where a UK manufacturer of Shri, should we say small widgets is actually onshoring their production from China back to the UK. And they’ve actually found it cheaper now to manufacture back in the UK than sourcing from China. Um, so that ability to restructure the supply chain quickly based on various factors that may be impacting, whether it’s disruption in the supply chain, for example, you know, companies have struggled over the years to not only restructure their supply chain, but restructure their backend it infrastructure to keep up.
Mark Morley (23:05):
So that ability to sense when changes are required and feed that into some form of adaptive system, if you like, um, that focuses on a cloud based environment to allow manufacturing anywhere, sourcing from anywhere and essentially provide the flexibility that companies need. The ability to, as I said, manufacturer source anywhere, collaborate with trading partners, anywhere in the world, being able to maintain visibility of shipments, whether it’s using IOT data, for example, to know where the shipment is and the condition of the shipment, and then deriving insights. So taking those four pillars, if you like flexibility, visibility, and insights, taking those together, they sort of underpin some of the thought leadership and development work we’re doing around this concept of the adaptive supply chain. Being able to respond in real more real time to current situations and how companies have been disrupted.
Greg White (24:01):
That’s a really important concept because there is such a huge blind spot whenever there’s, whenever there is inventory and motion, right. We don’t know exactly where the container is. I mean, we don’t know exactly what stage it’s at. I think of imports. And I think of the possibility that falls off the ship. It never makes the ship, it gets stuck in customs, right? Or quarantined in customs or, or it, it doesn’t make the drayage drop or, you know, whatever, whatever can happen. But if you can monitor that in real time, at the very least, you can know you’ve got a crisis coming before it hits. And at the very best you can identify alternative plans to say that one is stuck in a, you know, an LTL Depot and it’s not going to get picked up until tomorrow. So we need to provision for fill in or substituting, you know, um, different items for this one or whatever.
Greg White (24:58):
Um, I have a particular having been a retailer, I have a particular soft spot for being able to see that I remember, you know, semis winding up in Mexico and finding out that the stuff was being sold off the back of the trailer. A guy who had, we literally had a driver, I had a girlfriend in Reno and they would get hammered for four days straight and the stuff would not show up. It’s your would have been nice to know when something got off track or got delayed. Um, and that, that the data and the technology is available to do that is critical. It’s critical. It was critical 20 years ago, but it’s really critical now, like earlier in your answer, uh, Mark, you were alluding to how, uh, leadership and the operation wants to go here, but the technology has got to be able to power that. And, and it seems like a, a portion of what you do. And the OpenText team does is make sure that technology doesn’t hinder the business from being able to take advantage of the, of an opportunity, but it helps power it and helps helps that, that leader or that leadership team or the operation seize the day and seize the opportunity. Right?
Mark Morley (26:10):
No, exactly. And today we’re all about providing that circled digital foundation. So as I mentioned earlier on OpenText’s up until the GXS acquisition focused on internal management of digital information and with the acquisition of GXS, uh, now OpenText provides integration solutions to the external supply chain. Now we have made other acquisitions over the last six years, such as IOT solutions, identity, and access management, and most recently solutions that allow us to integrate with those enterprise systems. So it’s all about building that digital foundation and that digital backbone that extends from the digital supply chain through the firewall, into the enterprise, and being able to integrate seamlessly with SAP, for example, um, or Oracle, and then between different applications, such as transport management systems. So that integration layer, I believe is critical to underpinning future digital transformation projects and embracing all the new disruptive technologies that are out there today. And that’s what we’re about. Connect once reach anything, integrating, um, people systems and things across the supply chain
Scott Luton (27:21):
Love that there is no shortage of disruptive technologies out there, good things, but how can all these technologies and the platforms and apps all place play nice in the sandbox. That seems to be a huge challenge these days. Um, all right. So I want to shift over to, uh, the, the COVID-19 environment, but I don’t, I want to make sure that, that we, we, uh, um, talk, we, we do adaptive supply chain, right? So is there anything else that comes to mind around, you know, um, this notion of, of ensuring empowering that your clients and their respective operations and organizations, you know, they have supply chains that can adapt and evolve and flex. I like those four pillars. You were talking about flexibility, collaboration, insights. What was that? Fourth one, Mark. How can I forget that? Goodness gracious. Right? You can say supply chain without saying visibility or control towers. That is right before we go over the COVID-19 Mark. Anything else that you’d like to add examples? Or what have you about adaptive spotting?
Mark Morley (28:30):
Yeah. I think many companies struggled to stay on where, where did we start? And I think if you look at the pandemic and COVID-19 many companies are in a position where they’ve got to do something there, you know, COVID-19 is sort of forcing their hands, they have to change, and they won’t know where to start. They may not have the resources internally to deploy solutions that improve flexibility, collaboration, et cetera, that I mentioned earlier on. So to that end, um, what we can do is help those companies. We can all commend it teams that may struggle to resource these new projects with something that we call managed services. So we undertake the integration on behalf of these companies. Um, we have our own data center network worldwide. And for example, we can help companies digitize their supply chains, onboard their trading partners and accelerate that digitization process so that what we’re trying to do really is better prepare them for the next disruption. So how can we leverage various integration technologies, visibility tools, IOT, for example, to provide the visibility and insight to almost predict what is what’s going to happen to our business during the next disruption. And as I said, you know, leveraging outside resources, augmenting those it teams with technologies, people process technologies is, uh, an ideal way, uh, to really help companies, uh, establish and evolve that adaptive supply chain.
Greg White (29:55):
So I’m curious, Mark all that sounds really, like you said, companies don’t know where to start. What is, I mean, from your standpoint, what is an ideal size or type of customer? I mean, what is, what is the market for products like yours?
Mark Morley (30:12):
Yeah, I mean, we, we work with many companies around the world. So as an example, Gartner puts out a top 25 list every year of the top supply chains. We, as an example, and that information is freely available. We currently power 21 of those 25 supply chains. They’re all connected to our network. We’re providing connectivity to whether it’s a tier one automotive supplier suppliers and the retail sector. So we focus primarily on retail, consumer goods, automotive tech, industrial, and financial services, corporate to bank, for example, and we work with many sizes of companies. And as you can imagine, a big multinational with suppliers all over the world. We may have mum and pop shops based in outer China, somewhere that just has an internet connection. They just want to be able to, um, type information into a web form. We take care of the backend conversion into an EDI transactions. It removes that complexity from the really small supplier, and we get them on the first rung of the digital supply chain ladder, if that makes sense. And then it all builds from there in terms of capabilities.
Greg White (31:15):
I think back to my sporting goods days and the hacky sack supplier, if anyone even remembers what a hacky sack that was literally making hacky sacks in his garage in Denver, Colorado. And we got him on EDI at the time. And it’s good to see that there are still options for companies like that. As you said, to start on the first rung of the ladder, that’s, um, you know, the kind of happy meal of supply chain, if you will get them started, right. And then allow them to mature to the various levels that that is where efficiencies are made as I’m sure, you know, Mark, because there are so many small suppliers out there just getting them to do something is helpful and so critical to the business.
Mark Morley (32:01):
Yeah. They’re looking for guidance on, in terms of where to go next, what type of technology to adopt. And yes, there are industry bodies out there such a GS one is a good example, you know, deploying standards that any company can leverage in the retail CPG space, for example. And that helps to accelerate adoption at the end of the day. Yeah.
Greg White (32:19):
Greg will have to do an upcoming episode on the hacky sack supply chain. I think it’s intriguing probably pretty light right now. You don’t see people kicking them around campus anymore. Uh, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna pose that question to my three kids and see if they even have confab and what that is. Yeah. Um, alright, so, uh, you to address a little
Scott Luton (32:40):
Bit Mark, um, you know, the COVID-19 the pandemic environment and, um, let’s, let’s dive a little deeper on that. How have you seen your customers needs shift? And, and to that end, how have you seen OpenText, uh, shape its its value prop its offerings and its work to make sure these, these clients have what they need?
Mark Morley (33:01):
Yeah. So in terms of more broadly, if you think about every company today, they’ve got a challenge of how do we get employees back to work and what kind of digital solutions can we provide to provide remote working if that’s what companies want. So it’s trying to find that fine balance of solutions that improve day-to-day collaboration. You know, whether you’re using video conferencing tools, whether you’re using collaboration, portals, um, you, we have platforms that allow companies to collaborate and share files, uh, remotely securely, um, but also tools that allow you to redline and Mark up video files. Maybe you’re part of the video and media industry, for example, but having, you know, tools there that are improve that collaboration process, but even, um, improving the security, the supply chain, improving cyber resilience and end points. I mean, that’s more broadly what OpenText can provide today to help companies, um, get employees back to work, whether that means working remotely.
Mark Morley (33:57):
But then when you look on the supply chain side now, how do you get, or how do you ensure that you can work seamlessly with suppliers through disruption? And yeah, many companies have been disrupted. I can’t think of any other event over my career for sure where nearly every single global supply chain was almost shut down during March and April time. So how do you leverage technology to, um, identify alternative suppliers maybe as a dual sourcing strategy? So we have some technology called a global partner directory, for example, think of it as a telephone directory of every supplier connected to our network. 1.2 million companies are connected to our business network globally, and we can leverage this, um, telephone directory in essence, to filter, to search for key suppliers. We may want to work with, we’ve implemented it with information from Dunham and Bradstreet and EcoVadis who specialize in ethical sourcing solutions, for example. So we’ve been trying to help companies accelerate the onboarding of alternative suppliers, but to do that, they need to be digitized. They need to be connected. So we’re seeing an increasing interest in cloud based solutions today. And CIO are very keen to divert budget to explore cloud-based integration solutions. And I think that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. I think today now is cloud moment. You know, it’s going to accelerate the growth really quickly. So
Scott Luton (35:21):
You shared a lot there I’d like to dive into, but I think one of the big things, uh, and, and Greg, we’ve talked about this extensively, you know, some companies are not going to go back to the office. They’re going to remain a remote, uh, remote environment for a long time to come, if not permanently and the
Greg White (35:38):
Technology and, and the, um, the secure technology behind that. I’m not gonna only imagine some of the conversations you’re having Mark, because we’ve seen, you know, while plenty of smaller businesses are taking out, you know, let’s go remote for the foreseeable future. There’s also been some announcements of some really large organizations that are shutting down dozens of offices. So, um, I bet you’re having a ton of those conversations around not just to, to set up the technology to allow that to happen and productivity to happen, but happen securely in this, in this ever challenging cyber environment.
Mark Morley (36:14):
Yeah. I mean, even taking OpenText ourselves, I mean, we made an announcement back in April time that we were going to close 50% of our offices because we found that we just didn’t need, we, when the pandemic started back in March timeframe, 13,000 employees open, went completely remote working. And apart from others, obviously some of the people working in our data centers that did need to be in the office, but nearly 13,000 employees working remotely, we decided to shut 50% of our offices. We didn’t need the floor space and we could prove that remote working works now in terms of the solutions and areas I mentioned earlier on improving the collaboration visibility, that’s what we do day in, day out. And if we can help companies accelerate that remote working or move to that remote working mentality, I think it’s a game changer in terms of the type of technologies out there today. And you know what Steve said, cloud maturing, if it hasn’t matured enough already, since 2010, when many companies started to talk about a cloud mobile, big data, 2010, everyone was talking about the technology, but I think unfortunately COVID-19 has accelerated, um, the interest in those kinds of technologies.
Greg White (37:24):
Undoubtedly, I mean, you know, we’ve heard it two things, one cloud and two supply chain. It is, it is those industries moment because of this. I mean, you know, I’ve been in supply chain, arguably for, let’s say more than two decades around two decades. Um, but you were in high school when I started in supply chain industry Mark. So, um, it was only part time then, uh, but, uh, you know, if you think, if you think about the acceleration of need here, it’s really because of the acceleration, uh, or the identification of these industries of this was such an incredible use case business case for defining what supply chain is. I don’t, I don’t get asked the question anymore ever what supply chain is. And, uh, and in 2010, 2011, I had a cloud supply chain technology company of my own, and I answered two questions just to get in the door. What is cloud and why would I ever do that? And two, what is supply chain again? Yeah, the thing is, if I think
Mark Morley (38:36):
Back to 2010, we saw this shift to the cloud and one of the drivers back then was actually the earthquakes in Japan. So when you think of that, many of those Japanese companies with data centers around Tokyo, those earthquakes hit that, you know, it impacts all of their global supply chains of production facilities. And of course, many of those Japanese companies had defined the behind the firewall software legacy environments that couldn’t grow. They couldn’t expand and they weren’t adaptive if that’s the right correct term current situation. So we saw the growth in cloud around 2010. And I think, unfortunately the pandemic is gonna accelerate that probably five and 10 fold. Now, um, companies don’t move, they’re going to get left behind.
Greg White (39:19):
Well, and as you said, automation is so much more important and so many companies are moving towards it because of, of COVID-19 that the only way to power, the expectations that you said earlier, the collaboration, the adaptability, all of that, the only way to, to power that is with a gigantic computer. And the only way to economically do that is to have a computer that you only pay when you’re doing that heavy, heavy lifting. Otherwise you put a $10 million computer in there. That’s used about 2% of the time and, you know, you use it just to hit peak and that is the value of cloud. And it also allows you to process the complex algorithms and relationships and integrations that are necessary to connect and adapt rapidly in, in the environment you’re describing. And it helps you win chess games too. Right.
Greg White (40:18):
Um, all right. So Mark, uh, a lot of what you just shared a moment ago, as you were kind of talking about the COVID-19 environment, all of those have universal, um, application, regardless of what environment we’re in, based on where we were, where the world’s going. Let’s keep going down that trend and let’s really take a, uh, as you were talking, talk, speak broadly, what else are you tracking right now? There’s so much, I mean, gosh, it was tough and doing our homework for this conversation. It was so tough to go into all the different things that OpenText is doing. So, um, I appreciate your willingness to kind of, uh, really focusing on what your, where you’re spending your time, but what else, what else are you keeping your finger on the pulse of when you look at global supply chain in 2020 and beyond?
Mark Morley (41:05):
Yeah, there’s, there’s two main areas that we’re looking at at the moment. And as I said, right at the beginning, I, I get involved with a lot of thought leadership on behalf of the business unit that I work for with business network. And over the last six months, we’ve put quite a strong focus on ethical sourcing, for example, thank you. Um, no, and sustainability, because it’s top of mind with every CXO today, CEO, they want to know where the goods are, come from. What are the constituent parts that go into making a product? Are they hopefully using conflict free minerals, for example, um, as part of that sourcing process. So building out thought leadership, um, around ethical sourcing is number one. Um, and how, for example, you know, when you think about our network, as one example, we are processing something like 26 billion transactions per year, electronic transactions across our network.
Mark Morley (41:54):
If I think about the amount of paper and number of trees we’re saving as part of digitizing those supply chains that equates to around 6 million trees just by digitizing those paper based information flows on our network. So indirectly we’re contributing towards developing more sustainable supply chains by digitizing that information, the secondary I’ve been looking at is really the disruptive technologies. There’s been a lot of talk about IOT, AI, blockchain, and when blockchain started to come into the markets, probably about three years ago, I think from a supply chain perspective, um, many companies wanted to find out, well, what is blockchain? Um, how can companies use it? And there was a lot of research done by the analyst firms, such as Gartner and IDC about the individual technologies. So IOT, AI, blockchain, what they weren’t really doing was thinking about what happens if you take that technology collectively.
Mark Morley (42:52):
So for example, if you have IOT sensors connected to a shipment, you want to take that shipment information, the sensor device data into maybe an AI machine learning platform to discover insights. But what if you could actually archive that information into a blockchain as well, and then retain the provenance of the shipment as it moves through the supply chain? So I sort of develop thought leadership around that area. And one of the analysts I spoke with at IDC three years ago said that I was one of the first people that he had spoken to that sort of discuss these technologies collectively as part of what we defined back then as the autonomous supply chain. Um, so I know there are many different supply chain definitions from adaptive ethical supply chain and now autonomous supply chain. But I think the autonomous supply chain really embraces those new technologies.
Mark Morley (43:40):
Um, and really it provided a platform for us to talk about blockchain, even though OpenText has many solutions. We don’t have a blockchain solution per se at the moment, but we’re exploring partnerships. We’re keeping an arms length on the technology because there’s a lot of hype still around it, but we know that the number one use case for blockchain at the moment is around track and trace provenance of goods. And there’s no end of examples, that companies have been sharing with a media analyst and I’m sure you’ve had conversations as well. Um, so we’re just keeping our finger on the pulse, looking at what’s going on. Um, and as I said, I’m having many cup of customer meetings about the technology with enterprise architects. They want to get our point of view, where do we think the technology is going? Is it going to replace EDI? I always say, no, it’s complimentary technology. So that’s really, I’ve talk, talking point of thought leadership over the last few months, Greg, what added, there’s so much there to dive into, but what, what is, uh,
Greg White (44:37):
What’s one thing that really stands out and what Mark shared? Oh, I think the thing that stands out is that we are finding what to do with these technologies, right? IOT, I think one of the biggest values of IOT is it’s a predictive technology. It can tell you for instance, that the, you know, the flux capacitor is out of tolerance and it’s about time to replace it right with, with blockchain. It is an immutable and unchangeable record. It is a verification and electronic verification of trust is essentially what it is. So you can verify for instance, as, as Mark said, if you’re talking about EDI and that in combination, you can verify, this is the PO that I received. This is the invoice that I issued against it. This is the shipping manifest that I’ve produced. This better be what’s on the truck. And, and the blockchain can verify that, that hasn’t been altered, can verify that, that it ties back to the original documents and it can be verified at every step because there are opportunities for let’s be generous and say failure, um, in, in the supply chain at every step.
Greg White (45:52):
I mean, you can verify, and they’re doing this now, right? They’re verifying which fishermen in Indonesia caught this fish and which boat they were on. And I mean, they’re even doing that in, in those kinds of markets. And, and following that provenance, as he said all the way through the supply chain, if you think about it, I love this example. One of the most counterfeited products in the world is all of oil and supply chain would be a great model for that to make sure that we’re getting all of oil to make sure that, that, you know, we know which tree it came from. And, um, and you know, cannabis is the cannabis industry is a great example of that because track and trace is such an important part of it. You know, what soils were used, what amendments were used, what fertilizers were used, et cetera. And you have to keep track of every aspect of the plant. So all of those things become really meaningful. And, and as we talk about autonomous supply chain and we talk about realtime visibility, blockchain is a great communicative device and a great verification that what you’re seeing is the truth. Yeah.
Mark Morley (47:06):
And I liked your reference to the flux capacitor cause it got me thinking about the Doloria. Um, and also when you think of the title of that film back to the future, you know, we’re going, we’re thinking of EDI technology. That’s 50 years old now had its 50th birthday last year. And now we’re sort of augmenting EDI technology with IOT, with AI, with blockchain. So it’s sort of foundational to everything goes on today with supply chain. So I thought been a reference to that, cause I thought it was a nice quote that you gave him the facts.
Scott Luton (47:35):
That’s the only part I can think of in the moment, what I’ve been watching too much, Netflix, well, speaking that flipped cause a great DeLorean, a documentary on Netflix about that whole story. It’s fascinating. It’s very good. And it really is. Um, alright, so, uh, enough about flux capacitors, uh, and back to the future. And I love that, that, that, uh, reference that. Um, all right. So Mark sidebar, a sidebar question, um, with, you know, cold chain and, um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s explosion, you know, Greg, you don’t have tackled that industry, uh, here in recent weeks and talking about some of the acquisitions and the movements, and certainly what’s on the horizon for cold chain, whether it’s vaccine related or, you know, food pro all the different things that are pushed through a very controlled environment. Uh, Mark, is that, is that a space that, that you, uh, and a lot of your work are y’all deeply involved in coaching? Yeah, very much
Mark Morley (48:38):
So. I mean, we work not just with large food manufacturers as you’d expect consumer goods manufacturers, but also pharmaceutical companies. So again, I guess using that provenance example of blockchain, I had a discussion with an enterprise architect as a pharmaceutical company probably a month ago now wanting to understand more about blockchain, how it can be used in that context, but also IOT. So how can they track the raw ingredients that go into that as medicines, not only for tracking purposes, but also for preventing counterfeit medicines entering supply chain as well. And we know that there’s no end of counterfeit goods out there in the market. So anything that we can do to leverage integration technologies, visibility solutions, to secure the supply chain in the best way. And I think that’s where blockchain will have its moment in the future. But as I said, underpinning, that is the integration capabilities. If companies I’ve not got a digital supply chain, if they’re going to find it really difficult to embrace these new disruptive technologies,
Scott Luton (49:37):
Well put good stuff there. Alright, Greg, I, I tell ya, um, Mark gets, gets our juices going. I mean, I mean all the different aspects of the technology equation that companies are trying to solve these days, it seems like Mark’s got a pinky here or index finger they’re involved in all of it. It it’s, it’s really fascinating. You gotta keep your finger on the market. So as well as the non technology, the only non technologist in this, in this conversation, I’m glad there are smart folks like Greg and Mark that are making that kind of stuff happen. All right. So, um, you know, Mark, we’re looking forward to, we’ve got a live stream with you on the equation where audience is going to be able to, you know, ask you some questions and pose their, their observations. That’s gonna be, that’s gonna be live in all capital letters. You’re going to get a ton of questions around. Yeah, absolutely. Uh, I’m
Greg White (50:28):
With you. I think this is going to be a outstanding, um, conversation with our audience. And then of course, we’ve got a webinar on the docket as well, but Mark, let’s make sure that our audience knows how to connect with you and learn more about OpenText. So what’s the best way.
Mark Morley (50:42):
Yeah. So firstly, we have a couple of websites, opentext.com is our main website to learn more about OpenText and our solutions for the broader information management capabilities, um, my division business network. So if anyone’s interested on how to digitize the ecosystem both internally and externally, um, you can take like a business network.opentext.com. And if anyone’s interested in following me on LinkedIn or Twitter, I’m certainly on there as well. And I do try and post a lot of informative information around supply chain. And there you guys have, um, like quite a few of the posts on there, which has been great. And so yeah, anything that happens in supply chain feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter. And hopefully I can provide you with analytical insights.
Greg White (51:26):
No doubt. I have no doubt that there will be valuable insights. Well, hopefully our audience has enjoyed this, this conversation as much as Greg and I have a with Mark Morley director of strategic product marketing with open text. I love the tagline, the information company, uh, Mark, thanks so much. And looking forward to reconnecting with you probably in the next few weeks, Greg, I loved this conversation. I mean, there were, I had to pull back at times because you know, 60 minutes doesn’t go far. What was your favorite part? My favorite part was the way he says provenance. Um, no, honestly, you know, I had my discovery moment early in this, in this session. And that was, as Mark talked about, um, you know, his learnings in high school and, uh, discussions around other technologies that we thought were going to take over. I mean, if you think about it, Mark was in school when the book 1984, which was written in 1949, actually came into being in a lot of the automation that he was being told about.
Greg White (52:33):
And we were all being told about then still had not come into being and wouldn’t come into being for decades. And I think that’s a great lesson for us to learn is things like w it’s been a great and humbling lesson for me to learn around things. Some of the things I mentioned, like XML, displacing EDI and things like that, it takes a long time and economics are critical to the longevity of technologies, even if they are perceived as old. Um, you know, because when things get old, let’s call it mature. The cost effectiveness becomes so compelling that people figure out ways to do it. And we talked about RFID in, uh, and of course, um, now I’ve forgotten what it’s called, uh, uh, EDI. Right? Um, but the beautiful thing that I think OpenText is doing is they’ve that the economics of that, and they’ve, augumented it with other technologies and integrative data between enterprises and that is so important today and that’s critical to the success.
Greg White (53:35):
So we’re using the economical and effective and we’re using the visionary and forward looking, uh, to, to combine, to create a better supply chain. And in this day, when two things to me stand out one security, you know, we just barely talked about security, but security is a big gap in supply chain because that mom and pop that guy making hacky sacks in his garage, that’s the person that could bring down target or whomever, right. That, um, with a breach because of lack of security. So I sort of overarching, uh, security technology is fantastic as well as creating that connection between enterprises. So there’s just so much here. Um, Mark it, you know, he loves the design of it. Um, I know that you’re continuing to, to envision the future and, and make things, um, continue to meet the growing and rapidly as you said, changing needs of the industry.
Greg White (54:35):
So it’s, I mean, it’s really cool stuff. It’s hard to think about data and think it could be exciting, but it is because it is changing things for the way the supply chain has done. And it’s bringing supply chain into the future today. Absolutely making it adaptive. Of course it isn’t an invigorating discussion hopefully to our audience. Hopefully you enjoyed as much as we did. There’s so much the takeaway from this, this first conversation with Mark Morley. So on that note, you can check out all of our programming at supply chain, our radio.com. If you enjoyed this conversation, a fondness and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from check out our upcoming live stream. Cause we’ve got some, some hot ones coming up and we want to hear from you our audience. But on that note, when a challenge of, Hey, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time here.
Would you rather watch the show in action? Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Mark Morley to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.
Mark Morley Following completion of a Master of Science Degree in Computer Aided Engineering at Cranfield University in 1992, Mark joined the CAD/CAM software company Computervision as a solutions consultant. Following an acquisition by PTC in 1997 Mark took a small career break and went to work for the McLaren Formula One race team as a technology partner manager looking after the marketing activities of the technology sponsors to the team. Mark returned to PTC as an International Marketing Manager in September 1999 with a responsibility of establishing a global network of software demo centres. Following restructuring of PTC in 2003, Mark decided to take an MBA at Warwick Business School with a focus on marketing and a dissertation that looked at establishing a Space Tourism business. Following completion of the MBA, Mark joined GXS, a supply chain integration solution provider as an Industry Marketing Director focused on the Automotive sector in 2006 and then in 2014 OpenText acquired GXS. Today, Mark is Product Marketing Director for Business Network, a provider of cloud based integration solutions.
Greg White serves as Principal & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com
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