By Nicky Sheridan, Senior VP, METAG, Software AG
Innovation and growth in companies mainly fall into two main categories: Not Invented Here and Innovation Happens Everywhere
Innovation happens even in places where tradition is highly treasured. The Middle East, for one, places a lot of weight on trust in its business dealings and has a unique way of managing its organizations. But the region has come to embrace innovation as well, with GCC countries ranked among the top innovating nations.
The recent Global Innovation Index 2013 published by Cornell University, INSEAD, the leading international business school, and the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization points to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait as leading the Middle East in overall innovation performance. This is reflective of how innovation has become a visible and crucial tool for Arab countries to pursue economic diversification, competitiveness, and global integration.
I am happy to say Software AG falls into the ‘Innovation happens Everywhere’ category and this is why we have been able to take the leadership position in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant. We are naturally very proud of this achievement, but we would not have got there ourselves.
A few years ago we realized that our messaging backbone that is at the heart of our integration offering just didn’t have the scalability and performance that would carry us forward for multiple years. It still worked (and still does work) great but it lacked some additional sophistication like active-active clustering to name just one feature. To solve this problem we acquired a company called MyChannels and have integrated this product as our core messaging component into the webMethods Integration offering. This integration work was hard, but it was the right thing to do and honestly we wouldn’t be where we are in the market and in the Gartner MQ without this work. It wasn’t enough to just buy a messaging product; we had to do the hard work of integrating it into our product so our customers could get a fully integrated product that “just works!”
Similarly we saw our customers asking for higher performance on larger and larger data sets (now everyone is talking about this category as big data) and we looked outside the company again for a technology leader that could bring in-memory technology into Software AG. We purchased a company called Terracotta to create the underpinnings of a new big data offering from Software AG. We have used this product extensively inside of webMethods creating increased performance and scalability across the suite. Here again it wasn’t enough to just acquire technology, we needed to acquire the right technology and the right teams that would work together to create an integrated suite that our customers can take advantage of.
We don’t just rely on outside innovation, we have created completely new products without any acquisitions – webMethods CloudSteams and webMethods Active Transfer are two examples where it was better for us to innovate inside the firewall and create products ourselves.
What sets us apart from the competition is that we have wonderful innovation happening inside the company and we are not constrained by the NIH (not invented here) syndrome. Our unique selling point still remains that we do all the hard integration work, with products that we build and that we acquire, allowing customers to have one product that works together and solves their needs.
We will continue to innovate both organically and inorganically with a strong focus on creating an integrated product that works and gets the customer to production faster. Especially for the benefit of unique markets such as the Middle East which demand continued and impactful innovations.