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OpenText Acquired Guidance Software to Add Forensic Security

OpenText, the Canadian enterprise information management vendor, announced that it has acquired Guidance Software, a forensic security and eDiscovery vendor, for about $222 million. As a result of the deal, Guidance Software will become a wholly owned subsidiary of OpenText. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

"Our board of directors has carefully evaluated the merger proposal by OpenText and believes it represents the best value reasonably attainable for our stockholders and will benefit our customers and employees,” said Patrick Dennis, Guidance president and CEO. “We believe this all-cash transaction offers our stockholders liquidity and certainty of value. Joining with OpenText is a new beginning for Guidance products, customers, and employees.”

What Will Guidance Bring to OpenText?

OpenText expects this acquisition to complement its Discovery portfolio of software and services that provide search, extraction, classification, review, and analysis of information, as well as broaden OpenText’s Information Security capabilities through the addition of digital investigation, forensic security, and endpoint solutions.

Cheryl McKinnon, an analyst with Forrester Research, told TechCrunch that Guidance also gives the company forensics tools, which are new to them. “It certainly adds, with some overlap, to their eDiscovery and file analytics portfolio (i.e., those tools to clean up network drives, detect sensitive text inside documents, etc.). But OpenText has never had anything focused more on the forensic side of the discovery business. — that is, more security, a deeper inspection of how information [has been] accessed, copied, etc. So that forensics side is net new for them,” McKinnon contended. In other words, in spite of some overlapping features, it is a complementary product thus the acquisition certainly has a value from the product standpoint.

To those who are not familiar with Forensic Technology & Discovery Services, it is a practice that provides a wide range of eDiscovery, data analytics and cyber breach investigation and response management capabilities, on a global basis. OpenText Discovery Suite is designed to bring discovery analytics to enterprise content, for fast access to key documents, contract terms, personnel with expertise, and critical early insights. Digital Forensics, on the other hand, involves the securing, documentation and analysis of digital evidence from electronic devices and networks that if required can be produced in Court. This concerns hard drives (from laptops, PCs, servers etc), mobile devices, fax and printing machines and network traffic – in short, all digitally-stored data.

With this explanation in mind, Guidance’s digital investigation software, EnCase Forensic, provides the following capabilities:

  • Acquiring data from the widest variety of devices, including over 25 types of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and GPS

  • Completing a comprehensive, forensically sound investigation

  • Producing extensive reports on findings while maintaining the evidence integrity

To understand what exactly it is, you can find a brief introduction of the product in the video embedded below:

 

In the enterprise content management industry, there is a common belief about OpenText’s post-acquisition strategy, it claims that OpenText does not have a history of substantial investments when it comes to acquired companies, as the vendor is milking the cash cow instead of evolving and innovating the product. Now I do not know if this will be the case for Guidance but it’s worth noting that the Pasadena, California-based company’s customer base includes 78 of the Fortune 100 companies. Regardless of OpenText’s post-acquisition plans for Guidance, a new customer base is certainly another good asset that Guidance is bringing to the table with this deal.

This acquisition is part of OpenText’s strategy to extend its portfolio into content management for industries, customer experience, and data discovery. With this strategy in mind, the vendor is building its AI platform to help enterprises orchestrate unstructured and semi-structured information in again those areas. In fact, at the OpenText Enterprise World 2017 event, OpenText CTO and CEO Mark Barrenechea explained immediate use cases of OpenText's new AI platform in verticals from human resources tasks like employee self-service, recruitment, and retention of fleet management, such as marketing personalization, inventory utilization, and vehicle maintenance.  Here are some examples on how its newly updated AI platform can unlock the potential of enterprise data:

  • Leverage Machine Learning to unlock the value of EIM data by analyzing customers, trading partners, employees, orders, invoices, cases, documents and other data managed in these systems.

  • Deliver value from AI faster and cost-effectively by deploying a cohesive platform with pre-integrated components to minimize the effort and expertise required to go live.

  • Democratize access to AI by empowering data scientists to create custom algorithms for use by business analysts and operational users.

  • Utilize an open-source, Apache Spark-based platform to automatically derive the most current and complete insights from Big Data and EIM Content to achieve optimal outcomes.

  • Augment applications automatically with fast, self-service analytics, empowering business users to delve deep into massive amounts of data and derive actionable insight.

The same concern about whether OpenText is making this move to poach Guidance’s mature customer base or to add a rich set of eDiscovery tools into its portfolio was raised about the acquisition of Documentum as well. To address this question, we previously reached out to OpenText CMO Adam Howatson, and he told CMS-Connected that the company will “continue to deliver active investment and active innovation across the entire ECD portfolio, full stop.” To banish the doubts coming from a somewhat distrusting user base, he also gave in-depth insight on the acquisition and the relationship between OpenText and the ECD portfolio as well as the current trends of the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market. You can view the full interview here.

My POV

Nearly 1 million new malware threats are released each day, and cyber criminals get unauthorized access to your site to steal sensitive data. In parallel to this trend, each year enterprises around the world are being victimized by fraud and theft of assets, embroiled in complex litigation or business disputes, and face accusations of financial mismanagement. What’s more, dealing with allegations of fraud, cyber-attacks, and countless other legal cases can preoccupy valuable corporate resources across legal jurisdictions. To tackle these issues promptly, organizations and their legal representatives may take advantage of the forensic aspect of the discovery business. For that reason, this acquisition will definitely bring forward a value to OpenText customers as the vendor will be able to broaden its Information Security capabilities through the addition of digital investigation, forensic security, and endpoint solutions.

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.