Arcad Positions for Growth in Change Management
Published: May 8, 2007
by Alex Woodie
For many European software companies, the United States can be a difficult market to crack. In addition to differences in customs and language, the whole buying process in the U.S. is different than it is in Europe. For years, the French developer Arcad Software has tried to break into the lucrative U.S. market. Now, with the latest launch of the Arcad suite and an expansion of its office in New Hampshire, Arcad is gearing up for a sustained push into the U.S.
Arcad Software sells a unique mix of programmer utilities for the System i platform. At the heart of the suite is its Open Repository, which stores source code and meta data about the applications. Connecting to this repository (which supports Unix, Linux, and Windows in addition to i5/OS) are three utilities, including Skipper, which provides change management and application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities; Observer, a cross-reference tool; and Qualifier, a collection of testing tools built specifically for System i. Arcad also sells a browser-based help desk application, called Customer, that plugs into each of these areas.
Over the last few years, as governments around the world have clamped down on the management of the computer systems that hold corporate data, companies that sell ALM tools, such as Arcad, have done well. While these software companies haven't changed their tune--which is start managing your source code intelligently today, and you will be repaid tenfold down the road--they have been fortunate enough to be in the right place when new regulations started mandating stricter internal controls. On a parallel note, the company's cross-reference and "application mining" capabilities position the company well for the move away from monolithic applications to a service oriented architecture (SOA).
Arcad has benefited from the new regulatory environment, primarily in Europe. The company, which has headquarters in Paris, was founded 15 years ago on a contract paid by the European Space Agency. Since then, the company has grown its annual revenues to approximately $4.5 million in 2006--a 26 percent increase from 2005--and today it is the 200th largest software publisher in France, the company claims. With about 300 customers (mostly iSeries shops) in Europe, the company is well-known on the continent.
But in the U.S., where Arcad has about two dozen customers, the company is less well-known. That is about to change, said Phillipe Magne, Arcad's chairman and chief executive, during a meeting in Arcad's booth at the COMMON expo in Anaheim, California, last week. "Our future is here," Magne said.
Today, Arcad is hiring people to staff its new office in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Arcad set root in New Hampshire in 2003, when the company hired Marty Kilgallen, a former SoftLanding Systems employee who lives in Nashua, New Hampshire. More recently, Arcad has hired a number of former SoftLanding employees, who were let go or quit following the acquisition of SoftLanding by Unicom Systems, and now Arcad is planning to move its U.S. headquarters to Peterborough, which is where SoftLanding is based.
Several people have expressed disappointment in the way Unicom has handled the SoftLanding acquisition, and it seems that the market may be ready for a new player to anchor the North American change management business, along with Aldon and MKS, the two other established providers of change management software. "The market really needs a third strong vendor," said one insider, who wished to remain anonymous.
Arcad is positioning itself--through new hires and continued development--to be the third member of the Big 3 of change management. With the addition of the former SoftLanding workers, Arcad now employs 10 people in the U.S. The company is keeping a mostly direct sales model, and hopes to double its U.S. customer base over the next year. If it succeeds, it will likely reach its goal of growing revenues by 35 percent in 2007.
To that end, Arcad announced version 8.06 of its suite of tools at the COMMON conference last week. With this release, Arcad has integrated its tools with the Eclipse development environment. This means that System i developers can now access all of Arcad's tools, including Skipper, Observer, Qualifier, and Customer, as plug-ins directly from the WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSc) workspace. "Developers will be able to access this . . . functionality entirely from within WDSc," Magne says.
Arcad also unveiled a free 5250 plug-in for Eclipse. Now, instead of moving back and forth between the WDSc workbench and a separate emulator, users can open a 5250 session to test new code without leaving Eclipse. "This flexibility is especially useful for ILE developers," Magne says.
The Arcad suite is available as an integrated bundle or as separate modules. Pricing for the repository begins at $6,000 for i5/OS. For more information, visit www.arcadsoftware.com.
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