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SDL Drops Another CMS Shoe
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on January 21, 2008  in the following blogs: Technology, Market Data
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Nearly nine months after SDL bought Tridion for its web content management technology, the U.K. company invested in -- but did not buy outright -- Trisoft. This Belgian firm develops content management solutions for technical communications. SDL did not make a public announcement of the investment, but Trisoft did alert its customers who naturally alerted us. Trisoft will remain a separate company with its own sales force, and SDL will refer customers with tech doc needs to the Belgians.

Like Tridion's product, Trisoft's InfoShare (b. 2001) characterizes a standards-based, XML-centric content management product. Its marketing is fully 100% buzzword compliant, mentioning DITA, XML authoring, easy assembly, single sourcing, personalization, integrated workflow, globalization, and a multilingual environment including translation management. Trisoft says that it targets automotive, industrial machinery, equipment manufacturing, and electronics, among others -- these sectors all require large amounts of corporate publishing. Its customers include Atlas Copco, DAF Trucks, and Nokia.

Trisoft shares customers with SDL, one of the pre-nuptial requirements for most successful couplings. Other partners include Telelingua (a competitor to SDL for language services and translation workflow software) and XMetal (authoring and content collaboration tools). When quizzed about integration with the rest of its technology stack, SDL told us about opportunities for its AuthorAssistant tool in the near term and an XML-based repository for the longer term to meld content and workflows from Trisoft, Tridion, and SDL translation memory, management, and terminology solutions.

With this investment, SDL gains more credibility for its claim of supporting global information management. The Tridion acquisition pulled SDL into mainstream website development, while Trisoft gains access to the bread-and-butter business of technical manuals and user guides. Assuming that the repository-level, XML-driven integration happens, companies will be better able to manage end-to-end content creation and distribution. If that happens, SDL will deepen its global information management positioning to compete with mainstream CMS suppliers, some of whom it partners with today.

One last thing: SDL seems to be following a pattern in its acquisition and investment strategy -- Trados, Tridion, and Trisoft. Hmm, what other language-related companies begin with "Tr"?


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Keywords: Mergers and acquisitions, Technology strategy, Translation technologies

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