Content management vendor Vignette is acquiring Australia-based Tower Technology in a $125M cash and stock deal. In general, the move is intended to fill a document management gap in Vignette’s content management portfolio.
The Bottom Line: The acquisition will help Vignette customers address pressing compliance issues in the short term without seeking outside vendor help. Still, for the next five years, Vignette and its traditional competitors must vie for one of the few positions that will be left in the enterprise market for general-purpose content management systems.
What It Means: This is primarily a technology acquisition, and as such it’s a good one. Tower’s technology is worthy, unique, and much needed. It offers a full range of document management capability, accounting for many forms of structured and unstructured content, dealing with imaged documents, handling workflow and integration with financial-driven business processes, and managing records. While Tower IDM is a broadly capable document management system, Seraph gears itself toward paperwork elimination and Web access to documents.
The jewel may well be the third, lesser known product, WebCapture. Its ability to record Web sessions and transactions is unique and will prove valuable in addressing compliance issues across the range of Vignette’s existing enterprise Web portfolio.
The acquisition also gives Vignette some additional customer exposure: geographically, with an Australian base and a strong presence in Europe, and vertically, with a Department of Defense certification and strong public sector presence.
Of course, in addition to filling a functional purpose and garnering exposure to new customers, Vignette hopes that the acquisition will allay investor concerns about the rapidly converging content management, portal, collaboration, and knowledge management markets. Other recent events include Stellent’s $59M acquisition of imaging vendor Optika and IBM’s acquisition of document management vendor Green Pasture.
Conclusion: As usual, many daunting challenges lay ahead. Most large enterprises have too many document management systems already, and in the midst of their efforts to rationalize them, new possibilities aren’t always welcome. And while the late tendency toward one-stop shopping may make Vignette and its traditional competitors’ more complete portfolios appealing to many enterprises, don’t forget that IBM and, increasingly, Microsoft are in this market too.
In five years, only a few general-purpose content management, collaboration, and knowledge management vendors will continue to exist. We’ll see more acquisitions. We’ll see some vendors specialize types of content, business processes, or vertical industries. We’ll see Microsoft, IBM, and one or two others.
AMR Research originally published this article on 28 January 2004.