Wow the déjà vu is just too strange! In June of this year, I attended Pervasive’s Metamorphosis Partner event–during which IBM announced that it would acquire Cast Iron. Now, in November, during Pervasive’s very well-attended IntegratioNext User Conference, Dell announced plans to buy Boomi.
As I wrote after the Metamorphosis event, IBM’s acquisition of Cast Iron put the spotlight on the tremendous demand that cloud computing is creating for integration software to bridge the gap between on-premise and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications—as well as between SaaS solutions. This drumbeat has continued to strengthen, leading Dell to the conclusion that Boomi’s integration capabilities are an essential ingredient to making its Virtual Era solutions and services strategy a success. Integration is very strategic and critical for both IBM and Dell, and each has vast marketing and technology resources to invest in these acquisitions. As a result, Cast Iron and Boomi are likely to become more formidable opponents for Pervasive.
So how will Pervasive, which has arguably been the market leader in the integration space to date, fare as competitive pressure continues to mount? Based on what Pervasive announced at IntegratioNext, and as importantly, the conversations I had with many customers and partners at the event, I think Pervasive will manage just fine, for several reasons.
1. Pervasive has an innovative, stress-tested integration portfolio that’s growing stronger. Pervasive has been a leader in helping end-user customers, ISVs and channel partners solve the tricky problems of data and application integration since 2003. Today, Pervasive’s integration line-up includes a wide range of integration options for on premise, cloud to cloud, between cloud and on premise, including:
- Data Integrator, an integration platform that connects a plethora of databases, flat files and legacy formats and applications, including virtually any software-as-a-service (SaaS) and on-premises applications. With the latest release, Data Integrator V10 in now available the cloud as well as on-premise.
- DataCloud2, initially launched in 2009, is a fully multi-tenant, on-demand integration platform that combines the Data Integrator platform and DataSynch with Pervasive Integration Agent, a lightweight agent that sits behind a company’s firewall to connect on-premise apps with the cloud. Developers can tap into Pervasive data services, including its catalog of data adapters, to accelerate development.
- DataCloud Marketplace, where both customers and partners can shop for integration tools. End users only buy the solution the need, they don’t have to purchase other technology from Pervasive. Pervasive has already created several small business integrations, such as Salesforce.com to Intuit QuickBooks and Salesforce.com to Freshbooks–pricing starts ad $19.95 per month. Developers that create integrations with Pervasive technology can put them the marketplace, set their own price, and create an ongoing annuity revenue stream.
2. Pervasive enjoys a great track record with ISV partners. About 60% of Pervasive’s business today goes through the channel, mostly via ISVs that embed Pervasive integration within their solutions. Embedded ISV integrations are becoming a key differentiator for business software and cloud vendors because they ensure that the integration won’t cost more than the solution.
3. More focus on the SI and consultant channel. While embedded ISV integrations are a great, friction-free way to provide integration, they won’t solve for an endless combination of integration scenarios—particularly in the SMB market. Pervasive is providing more tools and marketing programs that SI and consultant firms are also finding very attractive. Strategic Growth, for instance, uses Pervasive technology to provide reasonably priced, repeatable and easy to integration between Salesforce.com and NetSuite. Since these software vendors won’t integrate with their competitors, partners can seize on the opportunity to build new revenue streams by creating integrations to serve their own customers, which they can also sell in the Pervasive Marketplace.
4. The integration challenge has always been complex, and is becoming more multifaceted. More applications need to be integrated both in the cloud and on premise. In addition, adoption of new mobile and social media solutions is on the rise. By providing more turnkey (and less costly) integrations Pervasive and its partners can alleviate the problems of one-off custom integrations and costly updates.
5. Pervasive is taking significant strides to boost its marketing capabilities. Pervasive hasn’t always articulated what it does and how it helps as clearly as some of its competitors. But, the vendor has hired new marketing people to help it articulate its strategy, messaging, and the business value of Pervasive integration solutions in a clearer, more compelling way. At the event, I did notice that Pervasive sessions seemed much more tuned to business value than in the past–now they need to keep it going.
Finally, Pervasive enjoys its freedom. Although I don’t believe that IBM and Dell will squander their respective acquisitions of Cast Iron and Boomi, each of these acquired companies is now a little fish in a very big pond. As such, they are likely to sacrifice some agility as part of these larger, more bureaucratic companies. In contrast, Pervasive, as an independent company, can keep a laser-like focus on integration, without worrying about having its focus diluted and/or dispersed within a large IT company that has many other irons in the fire.