Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cape Clear-out

I just caught up with the month-old news that Irish ESB/SOA vendor Cape Clear has been bought by WorkDay, a supplier of ERP SaaS.

Of course, SaaS needs integration, and Cape Clear CEO Annrai O'Toole promises that they will be providing the necessary Integration-on-Demand - but it seems like one of the leading independent commercial vendors has now been marginalised.

Ronan Bradley, former CEO of PolarLake (also Irish - one of our partners at SpiritSoft, and later a client of mine) also worries where the ESB market is going.

Is this a general problem in the middleware market, or is it just 'cos they is Irish? Are small vendors being caught between the rock of large vendors and the hard place of open source? Or is this (as Steve Craggs suggests in a comment on Ronan's post) simply a result of Cape Clear's own hubris?

1 comment:

RonanBradley said...

Hi Nigel,

I don't think it is because they were Irish (I know you were joking). I think that the middleware market has changed hugely over the last 10 years and it makes it much harder for start-ups (I think SOA had some additional issues which I covered in my first post):

- Open Source (even if never selected) damps down the price of middleware.

- There are less end-users in banking (which was a favourite vertical for middleware start-ups as you know) due to never ending mergers. This reduces the number of the potential targets for start-ups. The remaining banks are bigger and tend to be more conservative about introducing technology from small companies.

The combination is a killer.

As to whether Cape Clear suffered from hubris - I certainly wouldn't want to comment. However, if you look at http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/news.nv?storyid=single6840, you will see that Annrai was claiming nearly $20m in revenue in 2006 - clearly things had changed pretty dramatically by 2008.

Ronan