OpenText CEO Roundtable: The Future of Safe Enterprise AI

Technology Magazine attends OpenText World Europe 2024 and hears from company CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea about how OpenText will continue to harness AI

OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea remarked in his keynote address at OpenText World Europe 2024: “Don’t delete anything. You shouldn't waste anything because we don't know how we're going to use it.”

When it comes to AI, OpenText has been bold. Mark explains how the company has taken a ‘value-based design’ approach. In addition to launching AI tools like its Aviator search platform to advance human productivity with AI, the company also announced its Titanium X roadmap and the specifics of Cloud Editions (CE) to combine information management and data strategies with advanced AI capabilities.

“Considering ILM information and lifecycle management, you need to be able to remove things and move to less expensive devices, but I think part of the innovation has to be to truly achieve multi-tiers of storage and keep moving things along and to lower cost and energy consumption,” Mark says.

With this in mind, Technology Magazine attended a roundtable session at the event to examine OpenText’s priorities in Europe, in addition to how it seeks to keep AI responsible in a rapidly changing business landscape.

The strategic importance of Europe in 2024

Europe is a continent seeing plenty of upheaval with incoming AI legislation such as the EU AI Act, which will inevitably impact businesses as they seek to balance innovation with compliance.

AI strategies across Europe are aiming to make the continent a world-class hub for AI, ensuring that is both enabling technological progress and trustworthiness.

Over the past year or so, OpenText has continually invested in Europe to fuel digital growth strategies. Mark states how the company has expanded its presence across Europe via geography-specific data centres across Munich, the Netherlands and Paris. This is to expand its SaaS offerings.

He adds: “[OpenText also] has big customer centre teams in Madrid, Milan and Rome, including our sales professionals and professional services teams.”

OpenText CEO & CTO Mark Barrenechea speaking at OpenText World Europe 2024 in London (Image: OpenText)

The company also acquired British IT business Micro Focus to grow their information management and systems integration strategies. Moving forward, Mark examines how OpenText will continue to support its European presence.

“Europe is unique in a couple ways. I'd say first by industry, I'd say we have a different concentration of industries in. Europe than the US. Manufacturing is much larger in Europe than for us in the US,” he says.

“We've been investing in all the compliance requirements for Europe and so that's quite a difference. We have teams where we can triage issues and they never leave Europe. Our ability to run a cloud infrastructure is completely maintained within Europe.

“We have invested very strategically. We're innovating every 90 days.”

Adopting an AI mindset

When it comes to an AI-first mindset within a business, Mark clearly argues: “Never send a human to do a machine’s job.”

With private large language models (LLMs) becoming increasingly popular within business contexts, OpenText now works to help customers build their own data and IP to facilitate greater trust in automation in conjunction with their data. The company completes this by aiding them through business networks or via content management strategies.

“AI is full steam ahead in large enterprises to help customers trust in their own data,” Mark says. “One of the areas we’re exploring is our trading grid. We see a lot of data and Platform Athena is one of the systems we’re going to be applying AI to.”

Platform Athena is a cloud-based ecommerce solution by OpenText designed for system administrators.

Mark states that these developments will be made easier and more successful with the power of AI.

Aviator demo at OpenText World Europe 2024 in London (Image: OpenText)

“I think we need to take humans out of the loop for many processes,” he comments. “We need to get work to a point in time where it doesn't lose the human touch or the human oversight.

“Our role is different now. It's more creative - we want to ruthlessly take out the manual pieces and make sure complete flows are driven by machines, security being a really good example, but then we put the human touch and the human dynamic in a better position to do the final 20% or the final 10% of a job.”

It is no secret that there are plenty of public anxieties over AI replacing human workers. In fact, a February 2024 study by Deloitte found that 28% of workers surveyed are worried about technology threatening their jobs.

To this, Mark states that OpenText desires to focus on upskilling its employees in AI to elevate its workforce to better harness AI.

“AI has got to challenge how we learn,” he says. “I'm trying to provide tools to corporations to have them be smarter and more productive.”

Safety at the heart of innovate AI

When Technology Magazine asked Mark how OpenText would be keeping AI responsible, he suggested that the company would be committed to avoiding fraud and bias.

“We're using our data team to make sure that as soon as you include something, you exclude something,” he says. “We're making sure that we're including as wide a data range as we can.”

Mark also highlights that OpenText is also investing in a lot of education programmes, saying: “We've brought a lot of speakers in to talk about our value-based design approach. We want to start at the beginning of the design process. If you get the design right, the final outcome should be in the best shape possible.

“We've also put a lot of value in our data and ethics team and we want to make sure that we're asking the right questions and are value-oriented, starting at the design level. 

“Those are two things that we're doing that we think will produce the best outcome.”

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