OpSource Acquisition Aimed at Accelerating Dimension Data's Global Cloud Strategy
Dimension Data’s acquisition of OpSource marks the end of an era and illustrates how the Cloud Computing competitive landscape is expanding to encompass every type of tech vendor and service provider.
Although it is only a fraction of the size and has only a fraction of the brand equity of Salesforce.com, OpSource has had a disproportionate impact on the growth of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market and broader Cloud movement.
The company’s CEO, Treb Ryan, has been a tireless evangelist for the business value of SaaS and now the Cloud. He and his staff have invested heavily in educating and facilitating the industry’s growth through an endless stream of webcasts and whitepapers, and founding the industry’s most important annual gathering, the SaaS Summit, now known as “All About the Cloud” and managed by the SIIA.
Rather than simply offer a set of hosting services, OpSource put together the first federated SaaS enablement model and associated ecosystem to help established independent software vendors (ISVs) and start-ups migrate to a SaaS delivery capability. It also acquired one of the pioneers in the SaaS billing and provisioning business, LeCayla Systems.
Despite all of its work to promote SaaS, the company struggled to make a living in this segment of the market because there is only a finite number of aspiring SaaS vendors that could appreciate and afford its services. It was given new life when it broadened its attention on the infinite opportunities in the rapidly expanding Cloud Computing market. It also won a strategic investment and established an alliance with NTT which appeared to have the inside track for an eventual acquisition.
It has long been speculated that Opsource was an acquisitioin candidate for larger service providers, including Verizon and AT&T. IBM, HP and Dell were also considered potential acquirers. This speculation gained even greater intensity with the recent acquisitions of Terremark, Savvis, NaviSite and other Cloud/hosting companies.
Dimension Data is a global value-added reseller and services company that probably wasn’t on many people’s radar screen as a potential acquirer. It has ascended from the price sensitive hardware sales business by offering a widening array of managed services. It recognizes that it now must extend those services to the Cloud level. It will be interesting to see how far and fast OpSource will move them in this direction.
OpSource will retain its brand and become the centerpiece of Dimension Data’s broader Cloud portfolio of products and services. Retaining OpSource’s executive team will be essential to optimizing its value because few companies are as dependent on the brand equity of their executives as OpSource.
However, OpSource also began promoting its ‘secret sauce’ recently. It is a Cloud orchestration software suite which accelerates the deployment of Cloud services by traditional service providers and relative start-ups. This solution was recently at the heart of a new alliance with VCE, the joint venture of VMware, Cisco Systems and EMC.
Dimension Data is a key reseller of VCE solutions and integrator of VMware, Cisco and EMC products. So, it will probably try to leverage OpSource’s Cloud enablement functionality to not only support its own Cloud services, but as an additional asset to support its service provider customers.
Regardless of OpSource’s future direction, everyone in the SaaS and Cloud Computing industry owes Treb Ryan and his team considerable thanks for their significant work in building this exciting and rewarding marketplace. Knowing how hard surviving this type of acquisition can be, I wish them well and am hoping for the best from this transaction.