OpenText Struggling to Digest Acquired CCM and CX Software
Last year, it was big news when OpenText™ acquired much of HP’s customer experience (CX) and content management software and then, soon after, added its customer communications management (CCM) assets, including Exstream™. We shared our thoughts on this move back in 2016:
“We agree with Forrester’s assessment (in the Forrester Wave: Customer Communications Management, Q2 2016, Forrester Research, Inc., June 15, 2016) that OpenText has a strong vision (we, too, believe that CCM is an equal and integral part of CX), and we applaud the willingness of OpenText to take up the challenge of integrating so many different tools and technologies. But along with the rest of the industry, we’ll wait to see how it plays out. It must be acknowledged that HP sold its CCM and CX assets for a reason.”
We were cautious at the time, pointing out:
“OpenText’s acquisitions will be more of a struggle for them to integrate than they perhaps anticipate. Several different CCM tools, plus multiple CX tools, plus the tools they already had, all built on separate software foundations (i.e., very different code bases using a mix of languages), using different technologies, supporting the cloud and open standards to varying degrees...well, let’s just say they have their work cut out for them.”
In other words, we applauded the strategy but expressed concerns about the difficulty in executing it effectively. We posited that developing new software with open standards and a services-based architecture would ultimately be the more effective approach to improving CX and CCM platforms than the acquire-everything-and-integrate-it-later approach favored by OpenText and other large platform vendors.
One Year Later: How’s It Going?
A little more than a year later, we have the opportunity to see how it’s going for OpenText. The new Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q3 2017 (Forrester Research, Inc., September 21, 2017), was recently published, and OpenText was among the vendors evaluated for that report.
Forrester's citation policy precludes us from providing any details in this article on how OpenText scored on "portfolio cohesion and consistency." We can say, however, that we believe the 2017 Digital Experience (DX) Platforms Wave findings support our prediction.
Integration challenges are not limited to OpenText. We think the 2017 DX Platforms Wave underscores the difficulty for any organization or vendor to integrate legacy technologies that were not originally envisioned to be tightly intertwined. The growing importance of integration is reflected in a separate report, Digital Experience Platform Trends, 2017 (Forrester Research, Inc., September 21, 2017), where the authors declare:
The "best-of-breed versus native functionality" debate is over — 73% of DX decision makers favor easy integration characteristics, compared with 45% for best-of-breed status. Products joined by mergers and acquisitions frustrate customers because they have to force-fit the product integrations. Native solutions are the logical answer.
Why are we emphasizing this point about integration? It's not to shame any vendors. It's because a recent Forrester survey conducted as part of the research for The State Of Digital Experience Delivery, 2017 (Forrester Research, Inc., April 28, 2017) report found that chief among the buying criteria for digital experience technologies is "ease of integration." As our regular readers are well aware, we’ve been pounding that drum for some time now.
We’ll be going into more details on the importance and methodologies of digital experience software integration in upcoming posts, so be sure to subscribe to our blog to get notifications.
About John Zimmerer
John Zimmerer is the senior director of marketing at Topdown, where he leads market research and outreach efforts for the company's customer communications and customer experience products. Most recently, John has been researching and writing about the future direction of the technologies that power customer experience, and is regarded as a thought leader in this area. John has nearly 20 years of software product marketing experience. His areas of expertise include market research, analyst relations, public relations and digital marketing.