Autonomy announced today that it plans to acquire CA Technologies’ Information Governance business. The deal, expected to close in Q3, focuses on archiving, records management, and eDiscovery. Given overlaps in the vendors' offerings, I see this as a somewhat surprising move and suggest that customers keep a close watch on how this plays out. 

With this purchase, the major offerings that Autonomy picks up are CA Records Manager (which stems from CA’s 2006 acquisition of MDY Group International) and CA Message Manager (which comes from CA’s 2005 acquistion of iLumin). In 2009, I evaluated records management offerings and rated CA Records Manager as a leader in this category. Forrester clients can access the June 23, 2009, “The Forrester Wave™: Records Management, Q2 2009” report for further details.

From its prior acquisitions of Interwoven in 2009 and Meridio in 2007, Autonomy has two existing records management applications. Largely leveraging its 2007 purchase of ZANTAZ, Autonomy also currently markets several message archiving solutions including Digital Safe (cloud-based archiving solution), Enterprise Archive Solution (on-premise archiving software), Arcpliance (on-premise archiving appliance), and more. After it completes the acquisition of CA Technologies’ Information Governance business, Autonomy will have three distinct offerings for records management and over four for message archiving.

Choice is good, but that’s a lot. Especially given the different technology heritgages of these disparate applications, current and prospective customers should be cautious. In its announcement, Autonomy stated that it is committed to continuing the support and enhancement of CA Records Manager and CA Message Manager as per product plans. Also, as it has done with other acquisitions, Autonomy plans to put its Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) engine underneath the acquired applications from CA Technologies. As Autonomy digests this purchase, customers should carefully consider which of the range of offerings might be a best fit for them, get written commitments for product development plans, and closely monitor Autonomy’s execution on integrating the acquired offerings.

In my initial impression, two other items are especially noteworthy about this purchase:

  • This deal is different from other major recent acquisitions in the broader market for archiving, records management, and eDiscovery. For example, EMC’s 2009 purchase of Kazeon added support for identification, collection, and other eDisovery applications, helping to round out the vendor’s portfolio. Comparably, Iron Mountain’s 2010 acquistion of Mimosa Systems provided new on-premise archiving capabilities. In both of these examples, the acquiring firm picked up significant new functionality that helped fill gaps in its archiving and legal risk mitigation solution set. Given the overlap in offerings from Autonomy and CA Technologies’ Information Governance business, that’s not the case here.
  • CA Technologies’ Information Governance employees will augment Autonomy’s existing personnel with appropriate expertise. Executing successful legal risk mitigation programs is tough. Across the board, most organizations lack eDiscovery confidence and report low levels of satisfaction with legacy message archiving and records management deployments. For example, in Forrester’s Q1 2010 Global Message Archiving Online Survey, only 21% reported that they were “very satisfied” with with their current message archiving solutions. Message archiving stakeholders with on-premise products express a lot of different frustrations, and while picking the “right” technology solution is clearly important, a lot of challenges stem from people and process considerations such as establishing retention management and legal hold policies. Approximately 100 CA Technologies’ Information Governance employees will transition to Autonomy upon completion of the purchase. Cultural considerations, organizational alignments, and other factors may result in some bumps, but ultimately, I suspect the expertise (IT, legal, compliance, etc.) that this team brings will go a long way in helping best meet broader enterprise needs for legal risk mitigation.

I’m interested in learning about your thoughts on this acquisition. Particularly for customers considering or using related offerings from Autonomy or CA Technologies, how do you expect that this deal will affect your plans? I look forward to your comments here or drop me a note at