Will portal open doors for Vignette?

Will portal open doors for Vignette?

Portal vendor Epicentric was acquired last week by content management player Vignette. The portal capabilities of Epicentric will be integrated into the latest V7 version of the Vignette content management application, but market analysts Ovum do not believe the total product offering will open doors to big accounts.

Vignette paid US$32 million for loss making Epicentric. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of December, 2002. Epicentric and Vignette share customers, including Daimler Chrysler, J P Morgan Chase and Motorola and thus offering an integrated total solution makes sense for both parties. Ovum describe the deal as "indicative of the trend for the convergence of functionality across the content management, portals and collaboration markets".

Ovum predicts that Vignette will go on a spending spree in 2003. It recently announced that over the next nine months the content management application will give birth to new functions such as document management, e-marketing, collaboration and portals. Vignette is believed, by Ovum, to have $300 million in cash and equivalents for acquisitions. The Epicentric portal will be integrated as part of these extra functions and available in the second quarter of 2003.

Ovum believes the portals market is struggling, although IBM, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle all report successful large scale implementations. These successes are, according to Ovum as a result of the portals being added to large scale implementations already being carried out by the likes of IBM and SAP to existing customers. This, they say will be the largest hurdle that Vignette has to cross.

"The acquisition of Epicentric by Vignette might well broaden the company's product line, but faced with increasingly stiff competition, what will the move really achieve?" While the acquisition will certainly boost the attractiveness of its existing content management products by expanding its scope significantly, it's going to have difficulty convincing the world that its solutions will stand up against those of the IT industry gorillas," said Chris Harris-Jones the principal analyst at Ovum. Ovum is a British based market analyst with operations in Australia.

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