Progress Drops the Boom

Scott Francis
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Well, this was quite a surprise, from Progress:

Divest Non-core Product Lines. Progress will divest ten non-core product lines: Actional, Artix, DataXtend, FuseSource, ObjectStore, Orbacus, Orbix, Savvion, Shadow and Sonic.  Each of these product lines are strong and viable, however, they no longer fit into the Company’s core portfolio.  Fiscal 2011 revenue for these products totaled $172 million.  The Company expects to complete the divestitures by the middle to end of FY 2013.

The arguments presented for the change include cost reductions, focusing on faster growing markets (Cloud development/deployment platform), and focusing on a narrower set of products to execute on.

Neil Ward-Dutton still has the best analysis on this story so far :

If you take a look at Progress Software’s home page on the web today, you’ll see the following four things highlighted (along with a blog post from CTO John Bates):

  • the launch of Responsive Process Management (RPM) 2.2
  • the results of a ‘BPM smackdown’ analysis that placed Savvion in a leading spot
  • a case study of Apria Healthcare, based on use of Savvion’s BPM technology
  • another analysis showing Actional as a leader in its space.

With the new Progress strategy outlined in a press release today, all of those four things will go away.

His coverage isn’t as negative as my cherry-picked quote sounds.  Also, the divestiture is up to a year away.  But pre-announcing such divestitures doesn’t always work out so well (see HP’s announced divestiture of WebOS and the PC division for an example).

It looks like, in the consolidation of BPM vendors, not all consolidation is made equal.  Some mergers and acquisitions worked much better than others.  It is especially stark to read about as I’m sitting here in Las Vegas, attending IBM Impact, which is better and better than ever – with a key part of that growth and momentum being BPM.

Footnote: Forrester’s judgment was pretty tough as well, mainly noting that this takes Progress out of competition, in their view, for the second tier of enterprise software providers:

Now, approach Progress as a specialist vendor with three distinct products, not an enterprise platform provider. Progress has good products, but clients must include in their evaluations of those products the continuing business-execution risk the company faces during the next year. Progress is still in transition.