You may recall, earlier this month, we reported that OpenText was buying Metastorm and that the deal was expected to close by the end of March. At the time, we couldn’t predict just how enthusiastic OpenText (news, site)  was about the deal, with the result that it has closed it this week.

Also, at the time, we could only speculate that OpenText (news, site)  would incorporate Metastorm’s products into its enterprise content management system. With this week’s announcement, it has outlined exactly what it is going to do, and what it hopes Metastorm will do for it.

OpenText and BPM

The first thing it does is to add business process management to its ECM, and that this integration will act as a key addition in building its ongoing partnership strategy with Microsoft. That partnership aims to develop, in the coming years, a whole list of process improvement solutions that will be able to combine content management and process management capabilities.

If there were any doubts about the wisdom of combining content management and business process management, it should be kept in mind that in 2009 the BPM market, according to Gartner, was worth US$ 1.5 billion and growing at a compound rate annually of 15%.

The other thing that is driving this deal, OpenText says, is that a large number of its clients are coming to it and asking for combined ECMs and BPMs -- probably not all that surprising, as enterprises search for new economies and ways to keep up with increasingly stringent compliance demands.

And OpenText says it also has a plan for the future of the two combined. Once the two have been integrated in whatever way OpenText is thinking about -- it hasn’t shed any light on that -- it intends to develop the ECM and BPM functionality by adding case management solutions in areas such as customer on-boarding or claims processing.

In effect, what OpenText is talking about is turning its enterprise content management system from a behemoth into a super-behemoth.

OpenText and Microsoft

The Microsoft partnership element of all this is that Metastorm‘s BPM solutions can integrate into Microsoft environments, particularly with SharePoint -- which, for OpenText and its ECM, would have been a prerequisite of any buy.

That’s because OpenText prides itself on its ability to integrate not with just with SharePoint, but also with Office (we won’t mention Office 365 again today!) and offers users centralized management of their SharePoint sites using the compliance and lifecycle management features that come with OpenText.

Metstorm cost OpenText US$ 182 million. However, with BPM growth combined with content management demands, it’s hard to see how Metastorm won’t pay for itself in a short period of time.