Enterprise Content Management

OpenText picks over once-feted Autonomy software

A few years ago it might have made banner headlines but the news that Canadian enterprise content management veteran OpenText is buying up an assortment of HP software assets including Interwoven products and Aurasma indicates just how times have changed when it comes to how companies today handle their digital assets.

OpenText would once have been regarded in the upper tier of ECM but today its name isn’t heard so much as fashions have moved on. It still possesses a market cap north of $6bn as it has become a last stop for many once-revered information management firms. But much of the attention and buzz today is on cloud companies like Box and Dropbox as firms seek to make their data a source of nimble collaboration, sharing and insight.

OpenText, 25 years old, might not be fashionable but it remains a staunch stronghold in legal, public sector and other areas where large swathes of content must be archived, retrieved and shared and where many organisations have scant appetite for uprooting old systems. Interwoven, which HP acquired with its disastrous purchase of Autonomy, was once a hot web content management property as firms built their first serious websites. On IPO in 1999, close to the peak of dotcom mania, shares rose by up to 180 per cent.

Today, both companies are likely to be relying on licensing revenues rather than new business and the $170m Open Text is paying for various HP properties is less than a quarter Autonomy paid for Interwoven alone seven years ago.

One other asset was notable in this deal. OpenText is also picking up Aurasma, another one-time Autonomy product that was a pioneering augmented reality app. You might still see adverts that invite you to use Aurasma to be transported to supplementary information. When it launched in 2011 the Aurasma app won awards and rave reviews and its logo was even on the shirts of Tottenham Hotspur footballers in a generation that included world-class stars such as Luca Modric and Gareth Bale. As recently as 2013, HP software boss Robert Youngjohns was praising it as a way to “bring paper to life”.

OpenText will no doubt attempt to milk revenues from Interwoven and Aurasma customers and the analyst Tony Byrne of Real Story Group has some strongly worded views here. HP meanwhile jettisons software that doesn’t fit well with the new printers-and-PCs focused HP Inc. How times have changed.


Related reading:

HP boss picks up Autonomy pieces

New HP, old problems in bloodbath market



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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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