In-Depth

Special Report: Borland -- Competitors view Borland's life-cycle plans

Borland Software has moved to take a unique position in the software development world. As a vendor that supports both the .NET and Java software camps, it has few large corporate companions.

IBM’s Rational division is a companion in this very quest, but many observers are taking a wait-and-see position on its .NET support until the dust settles from Rational’s merger with IBM. In the meantime, a handful of significant purchases have thrust Borland deeper into the SCM and related software spaces, where a host of "platform-agnostic" vendors are established.

ADTmag.com recently discussed these aspects of Borland strategy with several important players via e-mail. Some questions and answers follow.

We asked what is the importance of as well as the challenges for Borland going forward after its notable purchases last year of Starbase and TogetherSoft.

James Rogers, vice president of product marketing at Merant:
The importance of this acquisition is that by integrating these technologies, Borland will be able to deliver closed-loop change management across its entire suite -- a compelling concept for customers.

The primary challenge will be maintaining support for other best-in-class solutions as well as existing customer infrastructure. This is critical, since most organizations won't accept whole-scale replacements or migrations.

This is also important since Starbase simply does not have enough market presence, particularly at the enterprise level. It will be essential for Borland to partner and collaborate with vendors that not only have more market share, but that also offer more comprehensive closed-loop change management and broader platform support. This is essential, as many organizations are seeking to standardize and consolidate on a single change management platform across the enterprise.

Trying to reengineer these different technologies and point solutions into a common solution suite sharing a common repository, API layer and process is quite an undertaking. It will take at least 6-12 months -- in fact, I believe Borland recently asserted that it would take most of 2003 to integrate the pieces even for an initial suite offering.

 

Philip C. Deck, MKS chairman and CEO:
Digestion of an acquisition is always difficult, and Borland has two significant acquisitions to digest, and each one -- Starbase and TogetherSoft -- has a distinct way of working and culture, contrasted with Borland’s own culture. That's difficult to speculate as another vendor --however, they are digesting two organizations with distinct cultures. What we can speak to is the fact that we're benefiting from the digestion -- hiring sales talent, leadership from Borland and ex-Starteam people who are looking for a company focused on SCM.

Again, looking at their marketing efforts (the first foray appearing recently), TogetherSoft technology and thought leadership is prominent -- much more so than the SCM technology from Starbase.

Borland’s most significant challenge, from our point of view, is their ability to transition from a developer-oriented desktop vendor that delivers tools through a robust channel, to an enterprise software vendor catering to the highly individualized and demanding needs of large enterprise customers.

 

Scott Raskin, president, Telelogic Americas & Asia/Pacific:
To be competitive as an enterprise-level player, an ALM [application life-cycle maintenance] solution is a critical part of the mix. Telelogic believes that an ALM solution needs to be built on a requirements-driven, change and configuration management base that provides the infrastructure to optimize and automate the entire development process. Telelogic recognized this several years ago, when it purchased QSS and Continuus.

To create an ALM solution, the acquisition of these two product lines is a critical part of a long-term, enterprise-focused strategy. The challenge will be to integrate the products quickly and effectively.

The process automation provided by most ALM platforms -- and the quality of product integrations -- will push most mature development organizations toward ALM solutions. Meanwhile, less-mature organizations will still opt for standalone, best-in-class, easy-to-use solutions for specific needs at each phase of the life cycle.

Companies that provide both best-in-class, standalone products and best-in-class ALM solutions will be the most successful in the mid-term. Four companies are in a position to do this: Borland, Computer Associates, IBM and Telelogic. Borland, Computer Associates and IBM have focused on the software application development market. Telelogic, due to its history and strong product portfolio, has the ability to address the needs of software application development as well as [systems and] embedded software and systems development.

To read more about Borland from the Company Watch section of our site, please click here.

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