Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Day: July 1, 2009

Busy Week in XML Content Management Market

Holiday weeks can be sleepy weeks in enterprise software news, but this week has seen one significant press release each day in the XML content management market, or component content management (CCM) market if you prefer.

  • On Monday, SDL announced the acquisition of XyEnterprise, and the creation of a new business unit based on XyEnterprise and Trisoft called SDL-XySoft.
  • On Tuesday, Really Strategies, the makers of the Marklogic-Server-based system RSuite, announced the acquisition of SaaS CCM provider DocZone.
  • Today, Quark and EMC announced an integration of Quark XML Author with Documentum.

First, the necessary disclosures and caveats. Of the six companies mentioned, we’ve worked with all of them, I believe, and I actually worked for XyEnterprise back in the 1980s and early 1990s. That said, each of these announcements is significant.

SDL, through both organic growth and acquistion, has grown into a substantial business that spans globalization technology, globalization services, CCM technology, and WCM technology. My colleagues Mary Laplante and Leonor Ciarlone know them much better as a company, but I believe it is safe to say that SDL is in a unique position spanning essentially four markets, but four markets that make a great deal of sense under a single umbrella. The product support content managed in a CCM technology is the best point of integration for globalization/translation tools. A CCM technology is also an excellent underpinning for a global company’s web presence or web precenses (the latter more likely, especially when one considers the need for localized web sites). And services are an essential piece of this puzzle. It’s the rare company that staffs heavily for localization, and even when they do, very few would staff full time to cover all of their language needs. Is SDL in a position to represent one-stop shopping for large companies with complex product content that needs to be localized into many languages? Again, my colleagues could answer that question more precisely, but it’s not a crazy question to ask.

Mary has more on SDL XySoft over in the globalization blog.

The acquisition also breathes new life into XyEnterprise, a company with highly functional, mature technology and excellent executive leadership. We take it as a very positive sign that XyEnterprise CEO Kevin Duffy will become the CEO of the newly combined business unit, reporting to Mark Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of SDL.

The Really Strategies acquistion of DocZone is on a smaller scale of course, but it is is significant in that these two companies represent two leading trends in the CCM marketplace–management of component content in native XML repositories (MarkLogic Server for RSuite and Documentum Content Store for one version of DocZone) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Count me among those who have been skeptical at times about SaaS for CCM, but DocZone, under Dan Dube’s leadership, has made it work. Really Strategies, in the mean time, has developed an impressive CCM offering on top of Mark Logic Server, and they have quietly built up a strong customer list.  We think the combined companies complement each other, and the new management team is excellent, with Barry Bealer as CEO, co-founder Lisa Bos as CTO, Ann Michael in charge of services, and Dan Dube as VP Sales and Marketing.

Which brings us to Quark and EMC. Both companies have been developing more CCM capabilities. EMC acquired X-Hive, and a lot of XML expertise along with it. They have since added more XML expertise on both the product management and engineering side. As they have integrated X-Hive into the Documentum platform, they have logically looked to build out more capabilities and applications for vertical markets. The integration with Quark XML Author makes perfect sense for them, giving their customers and prospects a ready mechanism for XML authoring in a familiar editorial tool.

For Quark’s part, the move is a logical and very positive next step. They had previously announced this kind of integration with IBM Content Manager, which has a strong presence in the manufacturing space. With EMC, Quark now has a strong partner in the pharma space. Documentum has long dominated pharma, and Quark XML Author, under Michael Boses and previous owner In.Vision, had built up a long list of pharma customers. Boses and his team know the pharma data structures inside and out, and it will be interesting to see the details of how Quark XML Author will integrate with Documentum and its storage mechanisms. (I am sure both EMC and Quark see the potential as more than just the pharma market–government is also a good target here–but the pharma angle will be fruitful I am sure.)

So, what news is on tap for tomorrow?

SDL Scores with SDL XySoft

SDL continues its ambitious build-out of technology solutions for end-to-end content globalization with its acquisition of XyEnterprise, announced on 29 June. From Gilbane’s perspective, it’s a win all the way around, especially for buyers who continue to seek solutions for the more difficult obstacles to multilingual, multichannel publishing.

The vendors win. The acquisition brings immediate scale to both XyEnterprise and SDL Trisoft. Both companies were having to work really hard to reach the next level, and both were at risk of very slow progress through organic growth. The deep expertise and market focus of each company are highly complementary–SDL Trisoft with DITA and high tech, XyEnterprise with S100D in aviation and aerospace and a proven track record in commercial publishing. SDL Trisoft gets solid North American support and professional services organizations, and XyEnterprise gains the ability to better serve customers in Europe.

Buyers and customers win. First, the consolidation of two of the leading suppliers of component content management gives buyers a new comfort level with vendor viability. Second, efficient, affordable multilingual, multichannel publishing remains a very expensive obstacle for many global 2000 companies. In Gilbane’s new research on Multilingual Product Content, we identify the multilingual multiplier–costs that are solely the result of producing formatted content in another language. SDL XySoft will be able to address the multiplier problem with tight integration of the XyEnterprise XPP publishing engine, which has been a true differentiatior for Xy throughout its history. Third, existing and new customers will benefit from the extensive combined experience that SDL XySoft has in complex, standards-based publishing and content management.

The acquisition is also an opportunity to reinforce the core value propostions for XML and component content management. These technologies and practices sit at the nexus of a set of knotty problems: reusing content across applications, repurposing content for different outputs, and translating content for multiple global audiences. A single-vendor, integrated solution that addresses these problems is more evidence that the market is finally making progress towards overcoming the language after-thought syndrome, identified in Gilbane’s new study. Such solutions support the trend towards the:

“. . . steady adoption of content globalization strategies, practices, and infrastructures that position language requirements as integral to end-to-end solutions rather than as ancillary post-processes.” — Multilingual Product Content, Gilbane Group, 2009

This acquisition should be relatively easy for SDL to absorb, as there’s already an established business unit into which Xy’s capabilities fit (in contrast to SDL’s acquisitions of Trisoft and Tridion, which were completely new businesses for SDL). In addition, SDL XySoft has a proven leader in former XyEnterprise president and CEO Kevin Duffy. Duffy takes the role of XySoft CEO, reporting directly to SDL Chairman and CEO Mark Lancaster. Duffy managed to build a small niche software company into a respected player in its market, surviving through good and bad times. He now get his chance to see what’s possible with the resources of a global organization behind him.

See the SDL press release and the XyEnterprise press release for more information. Gilbane’s study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value Chains will be published on the Gilbane site in mid-July. The report is currently available through study sponsors Acrolinx, Jonckers, Lasselle-Ramsay, LinguaLinx, STAR, Systran, and Vasont.