It’s about the customer — it always has been At Hyland, we develop our products and set our roadmap inspired by where our customers want to go. It’s like “choose your own adventure” for grown-ups.

I’ve been a part of Hyland for a very long time. Truth be told, I’ve been in the content services industry since we called it enterprise content management, and that was after we called it document management. I’ve seen an amazing evolution of the industry over the past quarter-century.

Man, that makes me sound old. I mean, back then the No. 1 song was “Macarena.”

They say with time comes wisdom; I’m not sure about that. Especially after mentioning “Macarena.” But it certainly does come with experience and observations.

For example, the first time I met folks from Hyland — aka ‘Hylanders’ — was at the AIIM conference in 1998. They built an actual baseball stadium in the middle of the trade show at the Javits Center in New York City, so they could make their big pitch. They were underdogs, for sure, but the energy and the passion of the Hyland people was palpable.

When you talked to them, the excitement about their technology was noticeable, but it was the context that was so much more important: Hylanders love to solve problems for their customers.

Focusing on customer success

But that was just the start. They could go on and on. Mostly about how they help their customers.

Our software is easy to use. It makes our customers’ lives easier. People become more efficient. It provides return on investment. It helps our customers give a better experience to their customers.

And the big one: We even let our customers request changes in our software. If what they need makes sense and aligns with our strategy, we do it.

The Hylanders I talked to delivered those messages with a tremendous sense of pride. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be one of them.

I wanted to be a part of an organization that took direction from its customers. An organization that not only developed its products, but also set its roadmap inspired by where its customers want to go.

That’s still true today. The same goes when our customers start asking for even more innovative technology, but we’ll get to that later.

After the baseball stadium moment in NYC, it still took me a while to become a Hylander. But in 2001, I finally joined. Back then, A.J. Hyland was our president and CEO.

“We’ll break through a brick wall for our customers,” he often said.

It was true. It still is. Though maybe we have gained some wisdom since then, as we now realize it’s much easier to build a door. … And a lot less messy.

Back then, I took a job that today still stands as the most fun I’ve had in my entire career. My role was to start a healthcare vertical practice at Hyland. To do so, I dug in deep to learn how healthcare providers could benefit from Hyland’s technologies. I focused 100 percent on our customers. And their customers.

What could we build that would make things better for the patients, the clinicians, the patient-finance area, registration, back-office staff and more? My job was to identify those needs, work with our product organization and deliver solutions that brought positive impacts to our customers and their organizations.

I did so by talking to them. Visiting hospitals all over the U.S. and throughout the world. Listening. And then relaying what I heard to our R&D team.

That always felt very meaningful, because you’re truly impacting people’s lives.

Letting our customers choose their own paths

Over the years, Hyland has continued its customer-focused journey unabashedly. We’ve grown our products and solutions to continue to provide our customers with the broadest set of functionality, scalability, out-of-box integrations, packaged solutions and low-code application building capabilities in the content services market.

We’ve done so by continuing to listen to our customers and expanding our R&D investment with more than 1,000 developers focused solely on our content services portfolio. We’ve also done so by recognizing that the speed of business impacting today’s customers means we must provide a portfolio of functionality that allows them to leverage our solutions across their enterprises — from content ingestion to disposition and every possible process in between.

It’s all about moving forward, while utilizing what already works. In fact, I was recently talking about this with my buddy John Phelan, our chief product officer. He talks to customers all the time too, so he understands as much as anyone that when you invest in a platform or solution, you need to be sure it’s for the long haul.

His main point is that we’re committed to continuing to support and invest in all our major content services platforms as far into the future as we can see — including OnBase, Perceptive Content, Nuxeo and Alfresco.

“We’ll also continue to invest in improved user experiences, integrations and solutions for all our customers,” he told me. “As you know, our product strategy is all about continuing to move these platforms into the future, while enabling our customers and partners to take advantage of our broad portfolio available today.”

Our platforms and solutions are the bedrock of our organization, which has grown from a few people building a baseball stadium at a tradeshow to more than 4,000 employees around the globe. And all of us are focused on making sure these solutions deliver the most value possible to our customers by listening to them and helping them choose their own digital transformation paths.

Evolving together

Ensuring the ongoing value of our partnerships with our customers is a business imperative. Sometimes, that means recognizing that we need to acquire companies whose technologies — like robotic process automation, blockchain and digital asset management — perfectly augment our value proposition. But we do so with a strategy based on customer success. It’s all about the complementary products you need to get work done quickly and accurately.

And in the cloud, if you so desire.

You see, back in 2004, we launched what today is known as the Hyland Cloud. Over the years, thousands of customers have leveraged Hyland’s solutions in the cloud. But the global pandemic accelerated many of our customer’s cloud strategies. Increasingly, they’re asking for more cloud-native functionality.

So we doubled down on our cloud-first approach as we acquired Nuxeo and Alfresco. Both companies are known for their innovation and their successes in market niches where Hyland often wasn’t competing. Their cloud-native platforms and embracement of the open-source ecosystem make them a perfect fit for our portfolio.

But our customers are also asking for more automation. So we acquired Another Monday, which gives them access to world-class robotic process automation technology. Our customers also want more secure content, so we added Learning Machine’s blockchain credentialing solution to our portfolio, giving them the ability to easily combat fraud, mitigate risk and provide official records.

These technologies serve to further accelerate our cloud-native development and our next-generation Hyland Experience Platform (HxP). Going forward, they will enable ALL Hyland customers to take advantage of the full breadth of our portfolio through the kind of modern cloud architecture that enables the speed and agility of today’s business.

When you take a high-level look, it’s clear to see the ‘why’ behind our acquisition strategy.

When customer vision = product vision

In fact, in our vendor profile for The Forrester Wave™: Content Platforms, Q2 2021, Forrester cites, “Hyland accelerates its cloud and innovation strategy via acquisitions and vertical focus.”

Our status as a leader on the Forrester Wave is important, because I believe it validates our long-term strategy. We believe these strong additions build on Hyland’s world-class leadership in the content services platform market.

A big part of it is the technology — the technology our customers are asking for. But another important factor is the extremely talented people we’ve added to our teams. People who know that technology is only useful if it’s what our customers need.

Because it’s about the customer. It always has been.

Ed McQuiston

Ed McQuiston is Hyland’s executive vice president & chief commercial officer, a position he’s held since 2017. Having served as vice president of global sales since 2012, his current role... read more about: Ed McQuiston

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