Interwoven Snapped Up by Autonomy

Big new yesterday -- the acquisition of Enterprise Content Management provider Interwoven by Autonomy. A surprise to many, not so much because Interwoven was snapped up, but more because it was Autonomy that did it.

Regardless, the news has sparked much discussion in the ECM industry. Or wait.. it's the Web Content Management industry that is all a buzz...

We call Interwoven an enterprise content management provider because they offer a number of solutions aimed at the enterprise content management market. One only has to take a peek at their products page to see the number of products available. Of these TeamSite (Web CMS) and WorkSite (WorkSpace/Document Management) are probably the most known.

Which begs the question, does this acquisition cause bigger ripples in the Web content management world or the enterprise content management world? Apparently, it depends on who you ask.

The Content Management Industry Weighs In

Obviously many content management providers sat back and weighed the consequences of this acquisition (see our news on the deal).

FatWire seems to believe this is good news for them. Interwoven was looking to be a major competitor in the Web Experience Management space against them. Not anymore according to FatWire:

"There is great uncertainty around the future of Interwoven’s web business. Autonomy has stated clearly that the main focus for the acquisition is the legal and compliance side of Interwoven’s offerings, not the web business. Thus it is unlikely that the web business will receive much further investment inside the larger organization. We saw a similar fate for Stellent within Oracle. Regardless, the company will be going through significant restructuring for the majority of 2009 and will be re-evaluating its priorities and investments."

It seems that Vignette agrees: “The acquisition is an interesting pairing for both companies.  We believe this will shift Interwoven away from its focus on web content management, creating  opportunity for Vignette to expand its market share,” said Dave Dutch, senior vice president of products and marketing for Vignette. "We plan to continue our march in introducing product and solution innovations in the WCM space.”

Of course, the acquisition is also seen as good news for the SaaS Web CMS space as Clickability points out: "The Autonomy/Interwoven combination is going to provide very 'old school' technology," said Robert Carroll, vice president of marketing at Clickability. "This move is designed to help sales of Autonomy's information management suite, not to improve or expand the innovation or quality of Interwoven's CMS product. A SaaS-based Web Content Management solution remains the best option for companies who are looking for a cost-effective CMS with rapid innovation and quick implementation times."

Open source ECM vendor Alfresco sees the possibility of changes for Interwoven's Worksite product. Alfresco CMO Ian Howells says that "It will be interesting to see what Autonomy plan to do with the overlapping product sets of Interwoven’s WorkSite and Automomy’s Meridio. No doubt their respective install bases will be bracing themselves for potential impact on product roadmaps.”

Will Interwoven Leave the WCM Space?

So is it true? Will this acquisition result in the slow demise of Interwoven's solutions for Web Content Management? Unlikely says CMS Watch analyst Alan Pelz-Sharp. He believes that although its clear that Worksite is a clear fit for Autonomy, they currently do not have Web Content Management. As a result they "will be keen to keep that side of the business busy and profitable".

He does however say that "If Autonomy hoped to build an integrated ECM solution with all these moving parts [such as Worksite, WCM, DAM from Interwoven] then that is going to be a mighty task that will take many years to complete."

Do ECMs Have an Advantage in this Economy?

He's not the only analyst who disagrees with the idea that Interwoven will be leaving the WCM space. Tomer Tishgarten,VP of Development at Engauge Digital believes Interwoven's Web Content Management solutions are going nowhere. His take is that Autonomy/Interwoven and other ECM vendors are poised to win in this struggling economy.

Mr Tishgarten believes that many companies are not using the ECM they've invested in to their fullest potential and that even with the slumping economy, these companies are looking for ways to start new initiatives without incurring high costs. He has "concluded that clients will quickly realize the full potential of these ECM systems as consultants raise the point that they already have the necessary yet unused capability in their tool chest."

Although it's too early to know the outcome for certain, it is difficult to believe that Interwoven is going to move away from the Web Content Management market. Autonomy is a big corporation known for their acquisition capabilities. They may not focus heavily on WCM at the beginning, but it's likely that any current plans Interwoven had for WCM will continue in the near future until the dust settles.

So we've heard from some in the industry, now it's your turn to weigh in? Do you think this is the demise of Interwoven's Web CMS solutions? Or the beginning of a brand new ECM just itching to capture the market by storm?