Open Text is becoming an extremely acquisitive company. Its latest acquisition is Captaris, a vendor that provides document and data capture solutions that allow paper documents to be converted to digital content, as well as managing the associated processes.
This acquisition is designed to expand Open Text's partnership offerings through the creation of tighter integration with its invoice-management products that work with SAP and Oracle. Captaris also provides business information and delivery solutions that are built on the Microsoft .NET framework and integrate, process, and automate the flow of content.
This is another important acquisition for Open Text because it expands the functionality of its Livelink ECM platform to provide input management. With the leading ECM vendor EMC expanding its own functionality through acquisition on a regular basis, other vendors must do likewise in order to remain competitive. However, there is a risk in this approach that organisations will move away from the very large ECM platforms to smaller products on the grounds that they do not require all of the extra functionality offered by the large vendors.
Input management is an area that was lacking in ECM systems until EMC acquired Captiva. Although ECM products had supported the lifecycle of content from its creation to destruction, they were not as strong on importing existing content into the ECM repository. This was an important omission, particularly as the vendors have been building solutions to perform tasks such as forms-processing and claims-handling for the insurance industry.
Open Text has vowed to continue Captaris's products, as well as its partner and customer support, which should provide comfort for existing customers of Captaris. To benefit fully from the acquisition, Open Text needs to make sure that any integration work is carried out quickly to enable customers to enjoy the advantages of being able to import documents directly into Livelink.
Open Text has been very effective at expanding its ECM platform through a number of strategic acquisitions of niche vendors with complementary products, which is enabling it to compete effectively against EMC.
In the longer term, it is almost inevitable that an ERP vendor will acquire Open Text, probably, and the tighter integration with invoice management solutions that work with SAP and Oracle will also prove to be of benefit to its acquirer.