Hyland Software specialises to survive

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. A common tactic of companies that have found themselves rubbing shoulders with SharePoint is to partner the Microsoft platform while adding functionality that caters for vertical markets.

Hyland Software is a case in point. The company’s mid-market ECM suite, OnBase, has been embraced by healthcare companies, financial institutions and insurance companies – firms in industries that place compliance at a premium. “Compliance has really been a trend [driving ECM] since Enron,” notes Hyland’s director of international sales, Nicole Buehler.

While Hyland sits between smaller niche players that specialise in these industries and larger ’catch-all’ solutions, the company’s $265 million (£134.4 million) acquisition by a private equity firm in July last year appears to have given it some breathing space and time to differentiate more.

Rather than taking on SharePoint directly, Hyland is leveraging its position as a Microsoft partner by ’value-adding’ SharePoint, whose ease of use combined with OnBase’s specialised functionality is a competitive combination, says Buehler.

Hyland is also offering a software-as-a-service version of OnBase. Though Buehler says this has been successful in the US, it is not being adopted so much in the EU because of nervousness surrounding privacy acts, and data storage and access issues.

However, Gartner describes Hyland’s continued viability as “a concern”, citing “market dynamics, the impact of Microsoft SharePoint for basic content management, and increasing competition from Oracle for enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration”.

Hyland could also be in jeopardy as large vendors add functionality in its specialist areas. For instance, Microsoft has shown steady interest in the healthcare arena.

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