Borland Canada playing it safe

The best way to appeal to Canada’s conservative software-buying public is to convince them you’re the safest bet, according to the new country manager for Borland Canada.

And it’s a strategy Christopher Corey says software tools-maker Borland is well suited to follow. When it comes to IT purchases, “Canadians are more conservative stereotypically,” he said. As well, executives in industries where IBM/J2EE have been strong in Canada, including the financial services industry, may not like the idea of becoming too entrenched in that camp over the long-term.

“For them, Borland becomes a conservative play,” Corey said, pointing to the company’s desire to remain platform neutral.

That’s one of the new assignments for Borland as it cultivates its relations with users of its flagship Delphi product, continues to go head-to-head against such companies as IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., and draws up plans to take on Microsoft Corp. later this year with its new suite of Gailieo .Net development tools.

Several other factors make Borland a potential favourite among nervous IT managers, Corey added. First is its performance – six quarters of profits during what has arguably been the worst IT economy slump ever. Next, according to Corey, is Borland’s technology stance. With IBM more or less in the J2EE camp and girding to do battle with Microsoft’s .Net, Borland is keeping its feet firmly planted in both camps, maintaining “coopetition” arrangements with both vendors.

Then there’s Borland’s recent spate of acquisitions, largely given the thumbs-up by observers, of TogetherSoft and Starbase, boosting Borland’s weakness in the application modelling and space in the process. This allows development team members to better collaborate on a single project.

The results of that activity are already available – the company recently launched Borland Together Edition for JBuilder, a Borland-labelled version of the modeling environment that became the company’s property through the acquisition of TogetherSoft. Together Edition for JBuilder also will become part of Borland Enterprise Studio 5 for Java, an upgraded version of the company’s development suite for Java development, and replace Rational Rose in that suite, Borland officials said.

Borland’s other purchases in 2002 year included Redline Software Inc. of San Jose in January and Highlander Engineering Inc. of Lakeland, Fla., in May.

It’s the completion of those acquisitions, plus some changes in the economy, that’s prompting Borland to focus on a concept it calls application lifecycle management (ALM) – namely, integrating its suite of tools to not only ease the job for developers, but to help keep all members of software project teams from management better informed.

“ALM is a space around software development that extends far beyond the tools,” Corey said. “Philosophically, what it does is bring the whole team together…[it] breaks down the walls and brings this (development) community together.”

By allowing development project team members to easily communicate, return on investment (ROI) is proven faster and developers gain more stature within their organizations. It also spread the Borland mindshare, as Corey admits the company’s brand is not always well recognized outside of developer circles.

Corey official took the reigns at Borland Canada on Tuesday. He previously worked as a district manager at Rational Software, which was acquired by IBM Corp. late last year. He plans to strengthen alliances with the company’s partners, including resellers and integrators, and is planing to specifically target customers in government and the financial sector.

As to rumours that Microsoft may follow IBM’s lead and acquire its closest development tools partners, Corey said while Borland maintains a close relationship with Redmond, Wash., he doubts such a move would be in its best interests, as it may threaten its relationship with Java JBuilder users.

“We offer Microsoft customers (that) they would otherwise have failed to access,” he said.