Analyst Coverage: David Norfolk
Uniface B.V. has a long history, over several decades, since its initial inception in the Netherlands as a high productivity 4GL by Inside Automation. It became Uniface B.V., back in the 20th century. It was then acquired by Michigan-based Compuware Corp in 1994, but product development continued in Amsterdam and it has recently been sold again, in 2014, to Marlin Equity Partners. It is now Uniface B.V. once again, a privately-funded Dutch company. It has always prided itself on supporting its existing customers using older versions of its products whilst modernising its product range as technology evolves and this company ethos has been maintained throughout its changes of ownership. It claims, in 2014, to have some 250 partners and 1600 customers.
Uniface was the first Compuware product set up as an independent Compuware business unit by Aad van Schetsen when he was Senior Vice President and Managing Director at Compuware. It became a growing and profitable business operation in its own right, even before the Marlin acquisition. Van Schetsen remains as President & General Manager of Uniface. He worked for Compuware in a variety of sales and management roles from 1992. Prior to Compuware, van Schetsen worked in multiple roles for the Canadian software company Cognos. He holds a software engineering degree from Technical University Delft and lives in the Netherlands.
Jim Byrnes was the first CEO of the new Uniface and maintained Uniface’s welcome customer focus; as he said: “More than anything, I care about our customers’ success and the relationships we’ve built with them. Only when our customers are successful are we successful”.
The current management team includes most of the people from the old Compuware days; see here for an up-to-date list. Adrian Gosbell, for example, continues with Uniface as Vice President Product Management & Marketing. Originally from the U.K., he has been living in Australia and the Netherlands and has been working with Uniface, both for customers and Compuware, since 1992.
Maarten van Leer remains with the company as Vice President Technology and has worked for Uniface since joining as a software engineer in 1985. He has overseen the modernisation of Uniface’s development environment with the ‘software factory’ approach and introduction of Agile practice.
Uniface has been developing a strong partner ecosystem over its life and this is still active as PartnersUnited. It realises that about half of its customers are VARs who need to keep their offerings looking up-to-date, in order to remain competitive, but who don’t want to break their tried-and-tested business logic while doing so. Uniface, with its strong separation of business and presentation logic, is well-placed to support this.