Autonomy buys Interwoven – What it means for customers
Analysts and industry observers alike have had a busy week since UK-based enterprise search vendor Autonomy made the surprising announcement that they are acquiring Interwoven. Interwoven was an established WCM vendor with ambitions and a few tools that took them beyond web content management. With the many commentaries that all claimed this to be big news, I want to put it in perspective as both vendors have so far been small, but growing dots on my radar. Here’s what the news means to customers:
Unlike when a bank buys another bank, there was little overlap between the product suites by Interwoven and Autonomy. Autonomy did not have a CMS and Interwoven did not have their own search engine. Autonomy certainly did not acquire Interwoven to leave the CMS marketplace, but rather to plant both feet firmly in that marketplace. This announcement does not change my prediction that there will be no CMS consolidation in 2009.
Existing Interwoven customers, residing mostly in the US, should be concerned. UK-based Autonomy does not have a good track record with their acquisitions, despite the fact that their CEO was recently crowned as entrepreneur of the year. The last major release of Interwoven Teamsite was back in 2004 and now might be a good time to consider cancelling the CMS maintenance contract.
If you are looking at procuring a solution from either Autonomy or Interwoven, I would strongly suggest delaying the purchase as long as possible, so that you can have a conversation with Autonomy about roadmap implications and some of the new buzzwords that they throw around. Autonomy likes to talk about “meaning based computing” and “manage-in-place architecture”. I don’t understand what that means, but as a customer you should. Also, Autonomy are known for big deals and tough sales people, so watch out!
Be prepared to listen to some funny stories from the competitors. Given the current economic climate, most vendors are desperate for new revenue, and some will certainly use this opportunity to spread some good old FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).