Hyland’s acquisition of Alfresco software accelerates its path to cloud

Hyland’s acquisition of Alfresco is different and -- if successfully executed -- will help the ECM software developer move confidently into the era of cloud-native, modern content services. This article outlines the reasons why.
Written by Forrester Research, Contributor

Hyland Software, best known for its OnBase and Perceptive content management portfolios, has just announced it will acquire Alfresco Software. Both vendors were named as "Leaders" in The Forrester Wave: ECM Content Platforms, Q3 2019 (subscription required). 

This is a natural next step in Hyland's recent rejuvenation strategy. Hyland's investments over the last year include the distributed ledger (aka blockchain) company, Learning Machine, focused on higher education credentials, and most recently the European RPA vendor (Another Monday), revealing an appetite to leapfrog into newer, adjacent markets. Historically, Hyland's acquisitions have been smaller, natural tuck-in technologies to further entrench itself in its key verticals – insurance, higher education, healthcare, and public sector. 

But the acquisition of Alfresco is different and – if successfully executed – will help Hyland move confidently into the era of cloud native, modern content services. Why? 

  • Alfresco brings one of the more modern architectures to the content management market, and it has adapted quickly to the rise of cloud, with early strategic partnerships with AWS. 
  • Alfresco's balanced portfolio of content, process and governance services are enhanced by its relatively recent application development framework "low-code" development toolkit, as well as its ability to integrate leading AI/ML services, such as those from AWS. 
  • Alfresco's own recent acquisitions (such as partners TSG for its insurance, cloud, and migration expertise, and pernexas for its SAP integration) have been shots-across-the-bow at long-time ECM mega vendors IBM and OpenText respectively, and this is important in the battle ground to migrate the many large, mature deployments that remain on-premises, particularly in regulated industries. 

Hyland's own modernization efforts and delivery of a next-gen cloud-native platform -- Hyland Experience Platform -- has lagged compared to other established ECM providers. The Alfresco acquisition will help because: 

  • Hyland's current investment in "Hyland Experience Platform" (HXP) makes sense to help move its predominantly on-premises and managed service customers into a modern cloud future, but HXP may not be mature enough for large, net new opportunities. 
  • Investment in HXP will continue to be important, in order to bring Hyland's acquired Perceptive portfolio into a common release cycle with classic Hyland products and develop some common, cross-product foundational services.
  • There is pent-up demand in large, regulated industries such as insurance, financial services, life sciences and government for modern cloud content platforms – and porting these mature apps and repositories to newer systems will demand scalability and a track record in the cloud. Alfresco helps deliver this to Hyland. 

This post was written by Principal Analyst Cheryl McKinnon, and it originally appeared here

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