Vignette buys Tower, turns up ECM heat

Vignette has turned up the heat in the enterprise content management (ECM) market announcing plans to acquire Tower Technology for $US125 million.

The ECM market has been abuzz with acquisition activity in recent months including EMC's acquisition of Documentum and IBM picking up Tarian Software last year.

Vignette's senior vice president and general counsel Bryce Johnson said the company is not concerned about such big name rivals including the likes of well-established players such as FileNet because the acquisition allows for a "complete ECM offering and breadth of functionality" that sets them apart from the rest of the pack.

"We are combining collaboration technologies and portal solutions that can be integrated with enterprise document and records management functionality; there is real synergy with Tower without any product overlap," Johnson said.

In Australia, Vignette customers include AMP, Optus, the Commonwealth Bank, Australia Post and Toyota while Tower Technology has 300 local sites at the big end of town in banking, insurance and government.

Tower Technology has 50 staff undertaking software development in Australia and Johnson said these local operations will be maintained. "There will be no change to existing installations; customers will receive the same level of support from the same people," Johnson said.

"We have already contacted customers advising them there will be no impact on operations; our integration strategy has already begun and we expect to announce a product roadmap at the end of March." Vignette will be able to manage the complete lifecycle of an organisation's enterprise content which has become a top priority for government, financial services, pharmaceutical and other regulated industries.

Meta Group senior vice president Andrew Warzecha said spending in the ECM market will top $9 billion by 2007.

"Robust document and records management has become a requirement as government and commercial organisations focus on compliance and risk reduction so we expect strong spending in this area," Warzecha said.

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