Global 360 buy

The announcement Wednesday of the $260-million acquisition of business process management (BPM) vendor Global 360 Inc. by OpenText Corp. “strengthens our resolve” in the BPM space, said an executive with the Waterloo, Ont.-based company, which already made a similar purchase earlier this year.

Having bought BPM vendor Metastorm Inc. last February, this second purchase in the same space for the enterprise content management (ECM) vendor is “basically a natural expansion into an adjacent market,” said Lubor Ptacek, vice-president of strategic marketing with OpenText (NASDAQ: OTEX).

Ptacek said one of the “sweet spots” in Global 360’s technology is case management—managing the documents along a process such as opening a bank account or applying for a mortgage—and is part of the motivation behind “doubling up” on its investment in BPM.

The ECM space has traditionally had an element of transactional content management and that many decisions in an organization are based on the content residing along a business process, said Ptacek.

And, while Ptacek said it is too early in the transaction to detail how Global 360’s technology will be integrated into OpenText’s platform, customers of Global 360 can rest assured that standalone offerings will continue to be available.

“We have no intention to disrupt anything that customers have bought or might be in the process of buying today,” said Ptacek.

It’s was also too early for the company to detail which roles Global 360’s leadership will play within OpenText.

While Global 360’s BPM focus is document case management with a heavier focus on content management, that of MetaStorm is more human-based BPM. Just this week, MetaStorm released a new version of its BPM offering with new features such as a personalized collaboration environment.

Ptacek wouldn’t say which other areas in BPM OpenText will consider adding to its arsenal, but did describe the existing BPM portfolio as “comprehensive” as it stands now.

The common denominator in all this is Microsoft Corp., which plays the role of partner for OpenText, Global 360 and Metastorm. “That plays a big role into our strategy,” said Ptacek.

Michelle Warren, analyst and president of Toronto-based MW Research & Consulting, said this acquisition strengthens OpenText’s commitment to Microsoft and also “strengthens Microsoft’s role within the Canadian enterprise BPM space.”

The pairing of business process and content should help IT departments with “streamlining the two so that users can easily access the information they need, in a timely matter,” said Warren.

“I expect growth from existing Microsoft customers, as they strengthen their commitment to the platform,” said Warren. “In addition, I expect new customers to consider and decide upon it.”

Other players in the BPM space include Armonk, New York-based IBM Corp. and Germany-based Software AG. As for where this slew of BPM acquisitions places OpenText, Ptacek said the purchases have all been of industry leaders and, as a result, has netted the company “quite a bit of critical mass.”

With Global 360’s multiple international offices, Ptacek said he is currently not aware of plans to consolidate locations, although that might always happen if both companies have offices in the same city.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau


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