CA Technologies acquires Grid-Tools

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Hot on the heels of last month’s acquisition of Rally Software, CA Technologies has now announced that it is acquiring Grid-Tools along with its test data management and test case design solution, which includes Datamaker, Fast Data Masker and Agile Designer. Not surprisingly, the focus going forward is on building upon Grid-Tools’ market position, and integrating its test data management and test case design capabilities with CA Technologies’ broader Application Delivery portfolio. However, there are other potential synergies.

For example, one can also see that Grid-Tools’ data masking capabilities might complement CA’s data protection and more general security portfolio, especially if the company were to extend this from static data masking by adding dynamic capabilities for production data. Similarly, one can see potential synergies with CA ERwin Modeling. Something over a year ago, CA announced that it would be selling CA ERwin, its data modelling product, to Embarcadero but this was blocked last November by the US authorities for being anti-competitive. Not surprisingly, there was something of a short hiatus prior to the recent release of CA ERwin Modeling r9.6 (which extends the product’s data governance capabilities) and a broader portfolio of offerings that integrate with CA ERwin Modeling would help to reinvigorate the product. In this context it is notable that CA resells Silwood Technology’s Safyr within the CA ERwin Modeling solution set – it is known as CA ERwin Safyr Option – while Grid-Tools is also a partner of Silwood.

More generally, this acquisition should be good for the adoption of Grid-Tools’ technology and products: it now has the backing of a major corporation and, as a result, it will have a much broader reach and should be able to gain access to new markets. The theoretical danger is that Grid-Tools’ technology gets pigeonholed as just test data management or just agile development or just for supporting DevOps in mainframe environments (the support for mainframe environments is one of Grid-Tools’ differentiators) I am pleased that CA has stated that the company sees Grid-Tools as a key addition to both its DevOps and Continuous Delivery solutions.

In addition, CA is a rather amorphous organisation. To be fair, it has worked hard on its corporate messaging but it still has something of a legacy reputation to overcome. Moreover, although it has a wealth of products, a number of which are market leading, what it does isn’t usually sexy. It may be really important but it’s not front of mind, there’s no HANA or Watson for example, and the company doesn’t leap out at you as a player in the Internet of Things or in big data, even if it has aspirations in those areas. So there is also the danger of falling into obscurity.

The problem with acquisitions in general is that you never know until much later whether it was successful or not. In the initial euphoria of the announcement everything looks rosy but things don’t always work out that way. Moreover, “successful” may mean one thing to an acquirer and something else completely to a user. The former wants to increase its revenues and profits but this may be focused on just test data management or just some other aspect of the product, as discussed above; but the latter wants the product he uses (whatever it is) to be developed and extended to serve his needs going forward. Thus “successful” for the buyer may not be “successful” for the user. My immediate reaction is that this will be good for both Grid-Tools and CA but there are no guarantees: there never are.

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