Technology -> Applications
By: Roger Whitehead, Associate Analyst - Collaboration, Bloor Research
Published: 3rd August 2005
Copyright Bloor Research © 2005
Verity has for years been one of the giants of the enterprise-wide search market. In its last financial year, its worldwide turnover was just over 42 million; more than double that of its nearest specialist competitor (Autonomy). According to Spencer Young, the company's UK General Manager, Verity has over 11,500 customers, representing at least three-quarters of its chosen market. It has been consistently profitable, too, over the last seven years.
Despite this success, the company is looking to reinvent itself. At the moment, it is the largest fish in the small pool represented by enterprise-wide search. About 70 per cent of its income comes from existing customers. Its ambition is to become a medium-sized but rapidly growing fish in a much larger pool, with new business making a greater contribution.
What that new body of water will be called is unclear at this stage. Young sees it as embracing people and processes as well as content, combining these three constituents to help people make smarter decisions.
To boost its offerings for this market, Verity bought Cardiff Software in March last year and Dralasoft the following December. Cardiff was known mainly for its electronic forms and document capture software. Its product names persist in the Verity catalogue and include Teleform, LiquidCapture and LiquidOffice. Dralasoft's workflow software now appears as LiquidBPM.
Integrating these process products with its search software has produced what Verity feels is a unique approach to business process management. For example, a process might be designed to find out at a particular stage who else is working on that process (or a related or similar process). This gives the user greater insight and contextual knowledge on which to base any decision made at that point. Linking the search results with those from Verity's business activity monitoring software (LiquidBPM Manager) gives an even deeper picture.
Naturally, the BPM software also allows that user to vary the process in the light of what he or she discovers. As Young describes it, the user is now in a car not a tram. To continue the analogy, that car has a mobile telephone and a GPS system and gets traffic forecasts over its radio, so the driver is fully informed.
As well as expanding its technical offerings, Verity is rethinking the way it markets and supports them. Starting in Britain, and at Spencer Young's instigation, it is organizing itself around five vertical markets. These are:
The aim is to improve customer understanding within sales and support teams. As part of this verticalization, the company is looking for repeatable solutions that it can offer other companies within each market sector. Young hopes that this alignment will filter up to the company's American-based development department, influencing product design. After that, the next phase will be to do more on the human aspects, the 'people' part of the new competitive pool.
How well and how quickly Verity embraces this new model is not foreseeable but it seems a direction worth following. There is plenty for it to learn about the new ways of thinking and working that this will entail. It will inevitably face stiff opposition from existing workflow and BPM suppliers.
Anthony Bettencourt, the company's president and chief executive officer, agrees with this vision and has started making senior marketing appointments for vertical markets in the USA. Verity's transformational progress will be worth watching.
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