Open Text gets eMotion-al

Open Text Corp.’s announcement that it has acquired eMotion, the media management division of visual media provider Corbis Corp., is likely a move to round out the company’s digital media portfolio with a hosted service option, said one analyst.

By integrating eMotion into Open Text’s Artesia digital media group, the Waterloo, Ont.-based enterprise content management company is essentially “adding more value to its product line, and giving more opportunity to sell into its existing customer space,” said Vinay Nair, research manager for enterprise applications research with Toronto-based research firm IDC Canada Ltd.

Open Text’s offering in this marketing asset management space, Artesia DAM, is based on an on-premise licensing model. Adding eMotion’s on-demand offering means users can choose, depending on their preference, from what Nair called a “complete stack.”

Traditionally, digital asset management and media asset management players have toiled in separate camps. But with such acquisitions, said Nair, those distinctions are blurred and the best of both functionalities will be integrated to render a superior offering. “When they start to mix that code up to build an interoperable solution, then you’ve got a better product,” he said.

According to Scott Bowen, president of the Artesia digital media group, the acquisition of eMotion “complements the core enterprise offering,” Artesia DAM, and also results in the company acquiring “the same value proposition…but in a hosted model.”

Marketing departments, said Bowen, have a “long history on leaning on outside service providers for core business activities” and in many large organizations, marketing departments may not even rank high on the IT department’s priority list.

“In short, this is going to bring us a broader portfolio for offerings to the marketing department,” said Bowen, who also acknowledged that pre-acquisition, Open Text’s offerings to marketing organizations did lack the hosted element.

Although the option existed to tailor the group’s on-premise flagship product into an on-demand model, said Bowen, it made more sense to acquire eMotion given its existing customer base and operational infrastructure already in place.

On the topic of whether the Artesia digital media group would further expand its portfolio with more acquisitions down the road, Bowen said “on the media side, the safest thing to say at this point is that [digital media] is an area of high strategic interest for Open Text.”

Bowen said digital media is an area that is “growing very nicely” for Open Text and will become increasingly important to the portfolio.

Open Text has made a number of fairly small acquisitions in recent years in the range of $5 million to $10 million in an effort to “compete against the Oracles of the world,” according to George Goodall, analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

Earlier this month Open Text bought Kitchener, Ont.-based Spicer Corp., a vendor of document viewing technology. On the surface, in the case of Spicer and others, the technology acquired may appear “mundane”, said Goodall, but the company is “slowly bolstering [its] footprint with these types of niche things.”

And although Goodall thinks eMotion is a “natural fit” for the Artesia digital media group, he’s not certain the move is all that relevant to Open Text’s enterprise 2.0 strategy around networking platforms like wikis and blogs. “I don’t really see that as a strong play there.”

As for eMotion, a company Corbis bought in 2005, “[it] was always a bit of an odd duck in the Corbis family,” thinks Goodall. Corbis may have branched out from its traditional roots as a media management vendor to offer things like media asset services, but is now likely sticking to its core business.

Jon Schupp, vice-president of digital asset management at Corbis, will join the Artesia digital media group as vice-president of software services.

Schupp described eMotion’s time with Corbis as “successful” and opened doors in corporate marketing organizations it would otherwise not have had. However, he said, although the partnership worked from a flow and process standpoint, “it didn’t help us advance our own roadmap in a way that we’ll be able to now…with the much deeper set of engineering resources available at Open Text.”

eMotion is “at home” being part of a technology-driven organization, said Schupp, and “the roadmap and technology base on which Open Text goes to market is very complementary to what we do and to what our customers need from us.”

Bowen said that, as a result of the acquisition, Open Text and eMotion customers will experience no change to services offered to date. However, the company has “every intention of enhancing that service level and augmenting it in time.”

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