So, another niche and stand alone player in the PCM space has been acquired. IBM announced acquisition of Bowstreet. Bowstreet, a hot company during the dot com days survived the crash and became a reputed company in the portal based tools space. I recently participated in a webinar by Bowstreet and was simply amazed by the portlet factory’s capabilities in building and deploying portlets. It not only makes it easy to build portlets but also has a lot of pre-built portlets. However, it would be interesting to see how this acquisition turns out because of the following factors:
1. There is no doubt that by using Bowstreet portlet factory, huge amount of productivity gains are possible. However, it is difficult to convince this to customers who are outsourcing their portal development. They do not want to spend anything extra (Bowstreet licenses were not cheap!) and expect the outsourced partner to invest in this. So any savings due to productivity gains were offset by extra costs. The economics simply didn’t work out. However, with Bowsteet now part of Websphere portal, it would be interesting to see how IBM prices and bundles it.
2. Not only the clients but even the system integrators’ interests were not served. Using tools like Bowstreet reduces project duration, which is what decided the profits of a services company.
3. Using Bowstreet, one could also build portlets for portal servers other than IBM, especially Oracle. We’ll need to watch and wait to see if they continue this support.
4. IBM already had IDEs for building portlets. WSAD (and RAD after they merged Rational) and Bowsteet will have a lot of overlap and they’ll need to get the positioning right.