Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Farewell Hummingbird!

It has been announced that OpenText have entered into a definative agreement to acquire Hummingbird and that the deal should be closed in the next few months.

Hummingbird was always an interesting one to watch as an Industry analyst, and now they will be no more. Its sad really but probably was inevitable in such a fiercely consolidating market. I will always remember Hummingbird as innovative with strong technology, and some very loyal customers - but never very successful in marketing themselves.

I first came across Hummingbird around 98/99 when they were PC Docs looking to acquire the cutting edge and market leading enterprise search firm Fulcrum (not sure what happened to that technology!). They did this and promptly fell off the map - again not sure what really happened but boardroom battles were allegedly bloody and brutal. Then Hummingbird came along and picked up the fighting groups and folded them into the larger Hummingbird company. This appeared to many as a very odd partnership - as Hummingbird had no previous history or interest in document management and search, and in fact focused on connectivity products (with a side on data mining if I remember rightly).

Out of this came the new Hummingbird - made up now of many differing pieces! But some very exciting early technology did come out of the situation, I think it is fair to say that Hummingbird pretty much invented (or at least delivered) the very first Portal product for the Enterprise; and possibly more importantly always understood the need to manage (at least from a user perspective) structured and unstructured data together.

How they will fare under the ownership of OpenText is open to question, but OTX do seem to be rebounding strongly and pitching strongly for a leadership (behind EMC) position in the ECM arena. Hopefully they can take the strengths of Hummingbird and build on them further, and also act descisively and potentially spin off some of the overlap or non-core elements of the business quickly.

Speaking in Europe

In the fall I will be keynoting at cmf2006 in Copenhagen and at the ECM Plaza in Rotterdam. The themes in this blog (including the consolidation of the vendors) will likely be picked up there, and as always if you read the blog and plan to be at either event do say hello !

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