Embarcadero acquires ERwin – more news

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When I blogged about Embarcadero’s acquisition of ERwin, the popular data modelling tool from CA Technologies, I promised to get some comments from Embarcadeo. Well, I’ve now talked to Steve Haney, VP of Marketing at Embarcadero, and what he says confirms my cautious optimism.

Basically, Embarcadero intends to keep both products (ER/Studio and ERwin) going in parallel, for now, with separate roadmaps; “steady as she goes”, according to Haney. Embarcadero has a strong Data Architecture culture but ERWin is, itself, a strong product with many users, and Embarcadero has a vision for bringing Data Architecture into the business mainstream. It has very strong enabling collaborative technology (Connect), to give the business access to useful Data Architecture and metadata assets, but this is a cultural issue as much as a technology one. Addition of the ERwin development team and users can only help (Haney specifically mentioned ERwin’s strong online User Community as an asset).

This certainly doesn’t sound like Embarcadero just bought customers. Haney described a strategy of going back to basics, breaking down silos and getting Data Architecture back into the role of a “first class player” in development of automated business systems. Makes sense to me; data is much less volatile than process and understanding data structures and semantics is fundamental to “good governance” of automated systems. The exciting opportunity is to get new business users of data architecture assets and to make sure that relationally structured data in databases and non-relational “Big Data” can both be exploited together, in the interests of better business outcomes.

Longer term, I could imagine benefits from merging the two products but I think keeping them both running in parallel certainly makes sense for now. Haney says that it’ll take 3 months or so after the acquisition completes to get a full grasp of its technical possibilities, as it isn’t possible to access the detailed intellectual property in ERwin until the acquisition completes (probably in Q2, 2014).

If this acquisition puts some new fire into Data Architecture and data modelling for the business, then I’m all in favour.