As Rudyard Kipling said, "if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs. ... Yours is the earth and everything thats in it." In present-day terms, "everything" may not be a wise investment. But "something" is what a force of nature named Andrew "Flip" Filipowski is busy building out of the debris of the economic recess—er, situation—we find ourselves in.
The former CEO of Platinum Technology, which was sold to Computer Associates in 1999, has been a living contradiction this year. While companies are folding their tents, laying off workers and posting losses, Filipowski and his latest venture, Divine, are buying up technology and service companies as if its mark-down day at Wal-Mart.
The latest acquisition is Open Market, the e-commerce storefront software vendor cum knowledge/document management software vendor, for a mere $59 million stock transaction. Open Markets technology will round out an already robust lineup of information management software and services.
Since April, Divine has made seven other acquisitions, by my count, including Fracta Networks, for content management; Intira, for outsourced infrastructure services; RoweCom, for purchasing and managing print and e-content knowledge resources; and OpinionWare, for interacting with customers. Also snatched up were pieces of consulting upstart MarchFirst and portal software developer SageMaker.
Filipowski made Platinum powerful by making software that made software work with other software. Now the game is making data and knowledge work together, particularly all the knowledge that seeps into and leaks out of a company on a daily basis—not to mention the potential revenue stream that knowledge represents.
Im still dubious of anything that calls itself a knowledge management solution because all companies are different. To tap into your data and turn it into knowledge, you need nimble, adaptable solutions, carried forth by implementation and hosting services. In that case, then Filipowski may be turning a potential hell into a heaven for IT managers.