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.

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