A couple of weeks ago, the Big Men were speculating on potential buyers for OpenText. I opined that maybe HP would be looking to enter the market to compete with EMC. It was a brilliant piece of insight for all the wrong reasons. Right buyer, wrong target.
Turns out that HP has decided to buy their way into the market, but only with a single product, Tower Software. Like EMC, HP is looking to broaden their Information Management offering by adding Records Management and eDiscovery. If that is all they were looking to add, then buy Tower was a great move. I have always heard good things about their software for those purposes, though I always had doubts as to their complete ECM capability.
Alan Pelz-Sharpe makes the same assessment and adds some more useful insight. However, I think that HP’s competition for comparison is more EMC than IBM. EMC and HP are both from the world of hardware, acquiring Information Management related software to manage all of the data sitting on their hardware.
Alan states that they still need a better search component. Welcome to the world of EMC. Will EMC or HP add it first? This is a two-stage race. The first one to buy has more selection. However, the integration of said software is the second-stage. Integration is important and not to be over-looked. Just ask Microsoft.
What is Next?
The Big Men then enter a fun debate on the merits of the acquisition. I think that HP’s acquisition actually makes things harder to figure out. I can’t see HP buying any other ECM vendor, unless they are looking for a place to spend R&D money. Multiple solutions make life complicated. Just as IBM and OpenText.
The thing to consider in future acquisitions for HP is Tower’s architecture. They are heavy into Microsoft technologies. This isn’t a bad thing, unless you happen to be working for an anti-Microsoft IT shop. What this does do is lean future acquisitions to platforms that are, at a minimum, well tested on Microsoft.
That leaves OpenText. They can make it on their own, but they need to actually consolidate things if they are going to pull things out. After acquiring IXOS, Hummingbird, RedDot, and Artesia, putting everything into one place still isn’t easy. If I had to pick a buyer, it would be NetApp or Microsoft.
To be honest, I wouldn’t want to acquire OpenText if everything wasn’t consolidated. Of course if I bought them for 3 of their platforms, sold one off on its own, and just provided a migration path for the one that was left, that might work. Don’t you think that Artesia and RedDot would each make a nice CEVA?