November 27, 2015
Lawyers and legal search and content processing systems do words. The analytics part of life, based on my limited experience of watching attorneys do mathy stuff, is not these folks’ core competency. Words. Oh, and billing. I can’t overlook billing.
I read “Now It’s Official: Lexis Nexis Acquires Lex Machina.” This is good news for the stakeholders of Lex Machina. Reed Elsevier certainly expects Lex Machina’s business processes to deliver an avalanche of high margin revenue. One can only raise prices so far before the old chestnut from Economics 101 kicks in: Price elasticity. Once something is too expensive, the customers kick the habit, find an alternative, or innovate in remarkable ways.
According to the write up:
LexisNexis today announced the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based Lex Machina, creators of the award-winning Legal Analytics platform that helps law firms and companies excel in the business and practice of law.
So what does legal analytics do? Here’s the official explanation, which is in, gentle reader, words:
- A look into the near future. The integration of Lex Machina Legal Analytics with the deep collection of LexisNexis content and technology will unleash the creation of new, innovative solutions to help predict the results of legal strategies for all areas of the law.
- Industry narrative. The acquisition is a prominent and fresh example of how a major player in legal technology and publishing is investing in analytics capabilities.
I don’t exactly know what Lex Machina delivers. The company’s Web page states:
We mine litigation data, revealing insights never before available about judges, lawyers, parties, and patents, culled from millions of pages of IP litigation information. We call these insights Legal Analytics, because analytics involves the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. Our customers use to win in the highly competitive business and practice of law. Corporate counsel use Lex Machina to select and manage outside counsel, increase IP value and income, protect company assets, and compare performance with competitors. Law firm attorneys and their staff use Lex Machina to pitch and land new clients, win IP lawsuits, close transactions, and prosecute new patents.
I think I understand. Lex Machina applies the systems and methods used for decades by companies like BAE Systems (Detica/ NetReveal) and similar firms to provide tools which identify important items. (BAE was one of Autonomy’s early customers back in the late 1990s.) Algorithms, not humans reading documents in banker boxes, find the good stuff. Costs go down because software is less expensive than real legal eagles. Partners can review outputs and even visualizations. Revolutionary.
November 3, 2015
I read “Horror Show: Worst Mergers and Acquisitions in Tech History.” I like these categorical affirmatives. You know. All men are mortal, etc.
The write up identifies some MBA plays that jumped the tracks. The list of flops include:
- Caldera and SCO (a Unix mash up)
- Palm and HP (a number of other players too)
- Oracle and Sun Micro (yep, commodity hardware will go nowhere)
- America Online and Time Warner (still amazing after all those years)
- HP and Compaq (yikes, HP again)
- Northern Telecom and Bay Networks (clever Canadians)
- Microsoft and Danger (how is that mobile phone business working out, Microsoft?)
- Borland and Ashton Tate (a gem)
- Novell and Unix (Utah antics)
- MySpace and News Corp. (real journalism in action)
- Google and Motorola (ah, the good old days of informed reasoning)
- Zynga and OMGPOP (bankers love this type of deal)
- HP and Autonomy (yikes, again).
- Facebook and Instagram (planning is us)
- Apple and Lala (the beat goes on)
- Cisco and Linksys (dear, old Cisco)
- Nokia and Microsoft (how is that mobile phone business working out, Microsoft?)
These 17 mini cases are interesting to me because one company makes the list three times. HP and Palm, HP and Compaq, and HP and Autonomy.
Some of these other case examples are spectacular; for example, the Google Motorola tie up.
But for a single company to make the list three times says quite a bit about the management teams at HP over the years of these deals.
Stellar achievement, HP. And a tip of the hat to the analyst who seems to have recycled an MBA study group project for the article.
Stephen E Arnold, November 3, 2015
November 2, 2015
I love it when management wizards makes comments about management—at other companies. Navigate to “HP Enterprise’s Whitman Pans Dell’s EMC Purchase over Debt.” When you read this comment from HP’s top dog, keep in mind that HP bought DEC and Compaq and flubbed the revenue. Then HP bought Autonomy and wrote off $8 billion of the purchase price.
But, the reality is that we are two years ahead of the game and it will be difficult for others to catch up. First, let me give a little context. To pay back the interest on the $50 billion of debt that the new combined company will have on their balance sheet, Dell will need to pay roughly $2.5 billion a year in interest alone. That’s $2.5 billion that they will allocate away from R&D and other business critical activities, which will keep them from better serving their customers.
In case HP has forgotten, Amazon seems to be doing okay in the cloud market. What is the cost of the Autonomy acquisition? Hmm.
Stephen E Arnold, November 2, 2015
October 28, 2015
The article on PR Newswire titled RAVN Systems Releases its Enterprise Search Indexing Platform, RAVN Pipeline, to Ingest Enterprise Content Into ElasticSearch unpacks the decision to improve the ElasticSearch platform by supplying the indexing platform of the RAVN Pipeline. RAVN Systems is a UK company with expertise in processing unstructured data founded by consultants and developers. Their stated goal is to discover new lands in the world of information technology. The article states,
“RAVN Pipeline delivers a platform approach to all your Extraction, Transformation and Load (ETL) needs. A wide variety of source repositories including, but not limited to, File systems, e-mail systems, DMS platforms, CRM systems and hosted platforms can be connected while maintaining document level security when indexing the content into Elasticsearch. Also, compressed archives and other complex data types are supported out of the box, with the ability to retain nested hierarchical structures.”
The added indexing ability is very important, especially for users trying to index from from or into cloud-based repositories. Even a single instance of any type of data can be indexed with the Pipeline, which also enriches data during indexing with auto-tagging and classifications. The article also promises that non-specialists (by which I assume they mean people) will be able to use the new systems due to their being GUI driven and intuitive.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 28, 2015
October 22, 2015
Enterprise search offers customizable solutions for organizations to locate and organize their data. Most of the time organizations purchase a search solution is to become more efficient, comply with procedures for quality compliance, and or to further their business development. The latter usually revolves around sales operation planning, program research, customer service, contracts, and tech sales collateral.
Life sciences companies are but one of the few that can benefit from enterprise search solutions. Genentech recently deployed the Google Search Application to improve the three areas listed above. Perficient explains the benefits of enterprise search for a life science company in the video, “Why Life Sciences Leader Genentech Adopted Google Enterprise Search.”
“‘…we explore why life sciences leader Genentech executed Google Search Appliance. “No company is or should ever be static. You have to evolve,’ said CEO Ian Clark.”
Perficient helps companies like Genentech by customizing a search solution by evaluating the company and identifying the areas where it can be improved the most. They host workshops to evaluate where people in different areas must stop to search for information before returning to the task. From the workshops, Perficient can create a business prototype to take their existing business process and improve upon it. Perficient follows this procedure when it deploys enterprise search in new companies.
The video only explains a short version of the process Perficient deployed at Genentech to improve their business operations with search. A full webinar was posted on their Web site: “Google Search For Life Sciences Companies.”
October 14, 2015
The article titled HP Didn’t Actually Fire All the Employees It Threatened to Cut on Business Insider details the management teachings from Hewlett Packard. To summarize, HP recently delivered an ultimatum to several hundred employees that they had to shift off HP’s payroll and become contract workers for significantly lower pay with HP’s partner Ciber. If they refused, they would be let go. Except that the employees mutinied and complained, resulting in HP negotiating for higher salaries from Ciber as well as holding on to a few employees who refused the deal. The article states,
“On top of that, HP is also shipping most of the jobs in this business unit offshore. Whitman wants 60% of the Enterprise Services division jobs to be in low-cost areas of the world, compared to less than 40% today. Employees in this unit fully expect HP to line up more take-it-or-leave it contract jobs, they tell us, so we’ll see how HP handles the next one if it does materialize.”
This is all in the midst of HP’s massive layoffs of over 80,000 employees, 51,000 of whom have already been let go. Morale must be under the building. The non-negotiable ultimatum strategy did not seem to work, and at any rate is bad business, especially when coupled with it being overturned later in a handful of instances.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 14, 2015
October 13, 2015
“HP Enterprise’s Whitman Pans Dell’s EMC Purchase over Debt” reproduced a memorandum allegedly written by Hewlett Packard’s big dog. I highlighted one passage as a keeper. Here it is:
…this [Dell paying $67 billion for EMC] is a good thing for Hewlett Packard Enterprise and an opportunity for us to seize the moment. This is validation for the strategy that we have laid out and I am not surprised that others would try to emulate it.
Yes, HP’s strategy is something that Dell is emulating. The flaw in Dell’s “validation” is that it did not purchase a search and retrieval company. Now the Dell plan is one that may work out. On the other hand, it may work out only for those involved in the financial and legal activities.
How many other companies will be emulating HP’s strategies? Show of hands, please. Anyone?
Stephen E Arnold, October 13, 2015
October 11, 2015
Ah, Hewlett Packard. A source of interesting news is the company. I read “Judge Rejects HP Settlement of Shareholders’ Suit over Aruba Merger.” I think it is my perception at work. When I think about HP, the word that comes to mind is litigation. The Autonomy dust up is difficult for me to block. Years ago, I think there were some Board of Directors’ pranks and then there was the thrill of the Digital Equipment acquisition. Ah, AltaVista. More memories.
In this article I learned:
The lawsuit stemmed from H-P’s $2.7 billion purchase of Aruba Networks. It was brought on behalf of Aruba shareholders, but Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster said the proposed settlement offered them little of value. The agreement called for H-P to disclose additional information about the sale process and pay the plaintiffs’ lawyers a fee of $387,500. Such so-called disclosure-only settlements, in which the only money paid goes to lawyers who bring the suits, are now the norm in the litigation that follows nearly every corporate merger.
I think the idea is that not much productive comes from these deals. HP now has an opportunity to embiggen opportunities for various legal eagles.
HP and its acquisition methods appear to be where the action is at company these days. What about technology? What about Autonomy’s DRE and IDOL systems? I don’t hear too much.
Stephen E Arnold, October 11, 2015
October 8, 2015
What has Paul Doscher been up to? We used to follow him when he was a senior executive over at LucidWorks, but he has changed companies and is now riding on clouds. PRWeb published the press release “Restlet Appoints Paul Doscher As New CEO To Accelerate Deployment Of Most Comprehensive Cloud-Based API Platform.” Doscher is the brand new president, CEO, and board member at Restlet, leading creators of deployed APIs framework. Along with LucidWorks, Doscher held executive roles at VMware, Oracle, Exalead, and BusinessObjects.
Restlet hot its start as an open source project by Jerome Louvel. Doscher will be replacing Louvel as the CEO and is quite pleased about handing over the reins to his successor:
“ ‘I’m extremely pleased that we have someone with Paul’s experience to grow Restlet’s leadership position in API platforms,’ said Louvel. ‘Restlet has the most complete API cloud platform in the industry and our ease of use makes it the best choice for businesses of any size to publish and consume data and services as APIs. Paul will help Restlet to scale so we can help more businesses use APIs to handle the exploding number of devices, applications and use cases that need to be supported in today’s digital economy.’ ”
Doscher wants to break down the barriers for cloud adoption and take it to the next level. His first task as the new CEO will be implementing the API testing tools vendor DHC and using it to enhance Restlet’s API Platform.
Restlet is ecstatic to have Doscher on board and Louvel is probably heading off to a happy retirement.
October 2, 2015
As the weekend hurtles toward me, it is time for another chapter of the HP Autonomy saga to become available. I read “The Ex-CEO of the Company HP Disastrously Bought for $11 Billion Is Now Suing HP for $150 Million.”
I assume the information is accurate. As I understand Michael Lynch’s effort to sue HP for money. Also, Autonomy’s CEO may want HP professionals to stop trashing Michael Lynch.
Readers of this blog know that I am skeptical of HP’s handling of the Autonomy matter. Yep, before hitting the beach of the lake filled with mine drainage, I actually did some work for the DRE/IDOL inventor. The experience was pretty positive, organized, and professional.
Why did HP which paid $11 billion for Autonomy find the deal unappetizing?
Spending $11 billion for a company and then wanting the money back may work when complaining about the food at the Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky, burger joint.
Those rural Kentucky treats cost $3.50. Overpriced? You bet. But people choose to go to the restaurant. People choose what to order.
But Autonomy is not a hamburger and the idea that seller, like the dive down the hollow, will a refund may not apply to a multi billion dollar rump roast.
I learned this about Michael Lynch’s legal move:
Lynch and team also maintain that “Autonomy was the victim of political infighting within HP” and that at one point, according to emails, HP’s head of human resources gave him a toy shield “in order to fend off all the attacks.”
Another point I noticed is this professional and well intentioned comment from the article:
An HP spokesperson told us: “Mike Lynch’s lawsuit is a laughable and desperate attempt to divert attention from the $5 billion lawsuit HP has filed and the ongoing criminal investigation. HP anxiously looks forward to the day Lynch and Hussain will be forced to answer for their actions in court.”
But the write up contained this statement attributed to Michael Lynch. This is a great description of MBAs and wizards who disagree among themselves:
Evidence shows that at the time of the acquisition, HP was in chaos. Before going ahead with the acquisition they discussed firing their CEO. They then tried to abort the deal after closing, ultimately did fire the CEO, and generally fought amongst themselves like cats in a sack, causing Autonomy to disintegrate.
Apt. Cats in a sack. The HP senior managers warrant a question: Alley cats or jungle cats?
Stephen E Arnold, October 2, 2015