Open Text acquires Global360 - Good for Buyers?

  • 13-Jul-2011

OpenText today announced that they are to buy Texas based-SharePoint partner Global360.  Most acquisitions like this end up becoming quite disruptive for you the customer.  Is this one any different?

Global360 is a firm with a fairly storied history.  Formerly known as eiStream, they have been around for many years and have emerged from a number of merged and similarly acquired firms and products including Kodak, Kofile, and identitech. Global360 is best known in recent years for building Case Management and BPM-centric applications on top of Microsoft SharePoint. As buyers of our ECM research know, they are distinguished primarily by the fact that the key offering (ViewPoint) is essentially a very usable application toolkit designed to understand transactional processes. In short it is a solid company with a pretty good set of products.

The question is where does this fit into OpenText's already bulging portfolio?  Well, on the surface at least, it adds more BPM (Business Process Management) capabilities -- even though OpenText just bought another BPM vendor (Metastorm). I guess it also adds another SharePoint partner and customer base,

But to my eyes, customers won't get much out of this acquisition.  As we say often enough, the Real Story Group is not here to advise vendors, but this kind of move just has to concern existing customers and potential buyers.  With so many overlapping products, and so many integration tasks (both technical, personnel, and cultural) to undertake, should buyers just move away until this constant state of turmoil eventually settles down?  I think that at the very least you need to ask yourself whether any particular Open Text product be around or have the support it needs when you need it.

Likewise you need to figure out exactly who at OpenText you can really deal with, rather than expecting any generic account representative to truly understand what the company has to offer.

In summary this might be an acquisition that makes financial analysts and shareholders happy, but for current owners of Global360 software and future buyers of OpenText products, it is going to take quite some time to see its whether this is truly a positive move or not.  I have been in this business a long time, and  -- good product or not -- I have no idea whether Global360's tools will sink or swim once fully absorbed within the vast family of OpenText products.  Past history is not promising.

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