OpenText adds
With the acquisition of British company weComm Ltd., maker of a mobile app engine, OpenText Corp. will be able to provide a mobile app layer to its suite of enterprise content management (ECM) offerings and afford developers the ease of producing mobile apps.

Waterloo, Ont.-based OpenText’s chief technology officer, Eugene Roman, who said he is “personally championing” the acquisition, explained that the mobile app engine, called Wave, is necessary for the company’s technology infrastructure in order to push forward its mobile strategy.

“It allows us to expose in a mobile way whatever part of the suite we choose to offer up,” said Roman.

Wave, a platform for building and delivering media-rich apps, is device-agnostic, meaning enterprises can keep up with the trend that is the infiltration of a broad array of mobile devices by end users.

“Would you rather write a piece of code for 10 different devices, 10 different times. Or, would you rather write it once and expose it to 10 different devices through the engine?” said Roman.

OpenText’s ECM suite spans products and modules from compliance, business process management and portals to integrated mobile support and enterprise information archiving. Specifically in the mobile space, the company has OpenText Everywhere which is pre-packaged mobile apps for its ECM suite for collaboration, document management and workflows.

Roman said that while OpenText had initially focused its suite primarily on content and workflow, now the focus is on helping enterprises build mobile apps to render a Web experience to customers.

While apps are proliferating in the consumer sphere, the business sphere is undergoing a similar trend, he said. “We see that same effect happening for enterprise apps, both on the Web presence that enterprises have and internally for their employees,” said Roman.

According to George Goodall, senior research analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Inc., OpenText’s acquisition of weComm is a step forward in broadening its core functional footprint. “It has a number of innovative offerings from the Vignette acquisition but the mobile space moves very quickly and OpenText has to continue to expand,” said Goodall.

OpenText acquired Vignette Corp., a Texas-based ECM vendor, for $310 million in 2009.

Goodall said he’s looking forward to seeing how OpenText’s mobile strategy evolves given its relationship with Research in Motion Ltd. and SAP AG. The company made its ECM tools available to the Waterloo, Ont.-based vendor’s BlackBerry users in March 2010. And, in October 2009, it expanded its partnership with the German software vendor letting it resell its ECM suite for SAP customers.

weComm will operate as part of OpenText and will bring along its staff of 30 or so. Roman said no decision has yet been made as to whether weComm’s chairman & CEO, Graham Summers, will join OpenText.

As for the mobile app developer community that’s grown around the Wave platform, Roman expects they should perceive the acquisition as an “opportunity to do more” by building apps faster, cheaper and easier given the myriad mobile operating systems on the market.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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