OpenText improved the delivery of demos and POCs


OpenText needed to improve the delivery of its complex software demos and POCs. Sales consultants relied on laptops and in-person meetings for demos, and as the company added suites of products, complexity increased and performance suffered.


Sales consultants can quickly spin up demos and POCs with self-service access to virtual IT environments, showcasing solutions, immediately resolving customer concerns, and giving customers hands-on experience. OpenText has shortened sales cycles and increased new business.

About OpenText

OpenText (Nasdaq: OTEX) is a provider of Enterprise Content Management software for the world’s largest companies, government agencies and professional service firms. Headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, the company has more than 3,400 employees worldwide with over two decades of expertise in enterprise content management supporting 50 million users in 114 countries. OpenText brings together leading content experts to help organizations capture and preserve corporate memory, increase brand equity, automate processes, mitigate risk, manage compliance and improve competitiveness.

OpenText’s Challenge

Neil Wilson, technical marketing manager at OpenText, is responsible for supporting over 300 sales consultants with complex software demos. The sales team provided demos using virtual machines on laptop computers. This approach quickly turned into a challenge as they needed to bring multiple machines to customer meetings to showcase their complex ECM software suite. It was also becoming costly to provision laptops powerful enough to run complex enterprise applications such as SharePoint or SAP.

Wilson started investigating cloud solutions that could automate the provisioning of sales demo environments and enable his team to:

  • Quickly spin up sales demo environments
  • Remotely address customer obstacles or concerns
  • Provide self-service access to virtual IT environments to minimize lost productivity
  • Improve the customer evaluation experience and shorten sales cycles

In addition to the cost of providing their consultants with powerful laptops, the sales team was also faced with a shift in strategy. To keep ahead of the market, OpenText made the decision to move from a provider of point solutions to become a suite-based vendor. As a consequence, the sales team needed to demo multiple products in order to showcase the complete suite solution, and the simultaneous use of multiple products on multiple machines created performance problems during demos.

The sales team was also challenged with quickly addressing customer questions during the sales process. If a customer wanted to see a follow up demo of a specific feature set, the sales engineer would often have to travel back to the customer’s office and spin up a new demo – a costly and time consuming undertaking.

Additionally, OpenText wanted to increase the rate at which it updated its sales demos. The company produced demo DVDs, which it distributed to the field once or twice a year. Demos quickly became outdated and it was difficult for the sales team to keep up to date with the latest offerings. Based on these challenges, Wilson knew he needed to identify a better solution for sales demos, and decided to take a look at the cloud.

Skytap Solution

After a thorough evaluation of the marketplace, Wilson selected Course Manager based on its ability to quickly and cost-effectively support complex software demos. Selecting a virtual private cloud like Skytap would save the company significant cost over building an internal private cloud offered by other vendors.

OpenText signed up for a Skytap account and in less than 48 hours had access to a full sales demo environment in the cloud. Over the course of a few weeks, OpenText rolled out Skytap accounts to its 300 sales consultants worldwide. “Using Course Manager, we can now fire up complex software demos in a matter of seconds. This capability is absolutely critical as we have a large portfolio of products that cannot be taken to customer offices on laptops and USB drives,” said Wilson.

“We are also impressed with how easy it is to share our demos with customers, even when we’re not on-site. We’re often asked to demo additional products and solutions as we get deeper into the sales process, and before Skytap, that would have meant a return trip to the customer’s office.” In fact, the ability to provide remote demos has been key in shortening OpenText’s sales cycle. According to Wilson, “Prior to Skytap, we had to make the trip to the customer’s office if there was an issue preventing a deal from closing. Now, we can instantly spin up a demo and address a customer’s question on the spot.”

OpenText is now using Course Manager for approximately 7,000 hours of sales demos each month. Based on the success of its sales team, OpenText has extended its use of Course Manager to proof of concept deployments. “Skytap has significantly changed the way we interact with prospective customers and deliver POCs. We can now provide potential customers with direct access to our solutions and walk them through scenarios based on their specific needs,” said Wilson. OpenText is also beginning to use Course Manager for training and cooperative partner development initiatives.

Specific benefits OpenText experienced with Course Manager include:

  • Provisioning time for sales demo environments is now immediate
  • Ability to scale sales demo and POC infrastructure according to demand
  • Central library of ‘best practice’ templates to quickly spin up demo environments
  • New sales demo releases now distributed four times per year vs. one; updates are instantly available to the entire sales field through Course Manager.

“Course Manager is a game-changer for OpenText. Our sales team can now instantly conduct sophisticated demos of our software whether they are remote or onsite with the customer. By moving to Skytap, we have improved the customer evaluation experience and shortened our sales cycle.”

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