Owning the Content Lifecycle: Adobe Acquiring Day Software

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Jul 29, 2010

Yesterday, Adobe announced its public tender offer to acquire Switzerland-based Day Software for $240 Million ($USD), which is expected to close by the end of 2010. Day Software develops and sells content technologies, including CRX, a Java-based enterprise-level content repository, as well as CQ5, which can be utilized for Web Content Management, Digital Asset Management, and social collaboration. The move is an interesting, although not necessarily surprising one by Adobe, a company that has been fairly aggressive with strategic acquisitions over the past few years. Its recent acquisitions of Web analytics firm Omniture and online business platform Business Catalyst have underscored Adobe’s pursuit of moving beyond developing tools to create content, as well as its increased focus on digital content. The Day Software acquisition pushes Adobe further in these directions and brings up a number of considerations.

There is no doubt that Day Software’s products will become more integrated with Adobe’s Creative Suite products at some point in the (near) future. Day has a number of high-profile brands that use its solutions to drive their Web properties and manage digital media. Integration with Adobe’s existing products will be a benefit to those customers that likely use the Creative Suite on a regular basis. Nevertheless, one has to wonder what will happen to Adobe’s existing technology partnerships with a sizable number of DAM solutions on the market, including Xinet, ADAM Software, North Plains, and MediaBeacon. The nature of these partnerships range from support for rendering native Adobe files (e.g., *.indd, *.ai, *.psd) all the way to direct integrations into asset repositories from Creative Suite applications. With the acquisition of Day Software, Adobe now puts itself in the position of being a partner as well as a competitor. For those DAM vendors, they will likely have no choice but to live with this scenario to keep adequately supporting their clients’ needs while having to compete against Adobe, as well. To be clear, it is not likely that Adobe will forgo these partnerships. Still, Adobe could put partners in a tough position by extending more capabilities and integration into Day’s platform than is available through existing agreements with third-party vendors.

One compelling piece that could be expanded to the creative content side of Adobe is Day’s Social Collaboration product. Social Collaboration extends the capabilities of Day’s content management solutions through wikis, blogs, calendars, and moderation workflows, enabling new ways to collaborate. Extending these collaborative abilities to the creative design process (perhaps directly in the Creative Suite) could provide a great deal of value to users, especially those working in large, multi-site teams. Additionally, aforementioned acquisitions also present compelling integration opportunities. Omniture-powered Online Marketing Suite could add advanced Web analytics with CQ5 WCM, and Business Catalyst (which has its own content management system) could transition to CQ5, as well.

Interestingly enough, Day Software has been partnered with HP Exstream since 2008, which bundles CRX and the CQ5 workflow engine with Dialogue Live to create and manage interactive enterprise documents. This package enables Dialogue Live users to connect to a number of other ECM systems, including FileNet, Documentum, and SharePoint. HP Exstream also utilizes Adobe’s Flex technology for its browser-based Remote Collaboration module, which may present additional integration opportunity in the future.

Ultimately, through its acquisition of Day Software, Adobe continues to broaden its scope of capabilities by owning more of the content lifecycle with its suite of products. First: creation with its various creative applications; then distribution with PostScript & PDF; and now management with Day Software. In pursuing to own the entirety of the content lifecycle and to provide a seamless experience for customers, it’s possible that Adobe will make similar moves in the future to fill any remaining gaps in its offering. It is worth watching to see how it unfolds; I know I’ll be keeping track.

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