Open Text invests CD$225 million in R&D

Enterprise content management ECM vendor Open Text Corp. is investing CD$225 million over five years in research and development (R&D) in three key areas, and creating 400 related jobs at its Waterloo,Ont., Ottawa and Richmond Hill, Ont., locations.


The investment will be put toward R&D in green IT, mobile apps and high-performance systems, areas that basically span the Waterloo-based company’s enterprise and Web content offerings, said Eugene Roman, chief technology officer with Open Text. “We are building the next-generation of systems and applications for our customers through this process,” said Roman.


The next decade is one of “influential content,” where powerful laptops, smart phones and social networks are connecting people and businesses, said Roman. “We are in a position to serve that market and also to innovate in that market,” Roman said.
Roman said to expect new products to emerge out of this focused investment.


The money will be used to expand the footprint of existing research centres in Waterloo, Ottawa and Richmond Hill. Waterloo will have an additional building constructed on campus as part of the expansion.


As a result, 400 jobs will be created mostly in R&D. Roman estimates about 300 to 350 of those 400 are new, with the remaining being positions relocated to Ontario from other research centres as part of a centralization effort. But because the initiative is spread across five years, Roman said those numbers may shift depending on “how work shapes up.”


Hires will be new grads at the masters or PhD level in engineering, arts and sciences and digital arts, and experienced professionals.


In tandem with this investment by Open Text, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello announced a CD$33.75-million contribution to the company’s initiative as part of the province’s Next Generation of Jobs Fund.


The investment anchors Open Text’s operations in the province and furthers Ontario’s reputation as a leader in digital media and IT, said Pupatello in a statement. “We’re proud to support Open Text’s latest investment that creates high-value jobs for Ontario families,” said Minister Pupatello.


The additional injection of funds from the provincial government, about 15 per cent of the overall investment, will give Open Text added flexibility by lowering the net cost of R&D over the next five years, said Roman.


“When you are doing research and development, you are always saying, ‘I wish I had an extra two or three people on the project,’ and this is what that is going to do for us,” said Roman.


The government boost will also help Open Text compete on the international market, said Roman.


As chief technology officer, Roman said his mandate is to grow Open Text’s innovation engine, and this announcement is a very deliberate part of this agenda. “We have been working on this plan for a number of months,” he said.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau 

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