Mergers and acquisitions are no surprise in the software delivery tool space. Many large vendors are constantly on the hunt for third-party tools to bolster their portfolio of software delivery offerings. Some notable and recent mergers and acquisitions include:
- Micro Focus' acquisitions of Serena Software in 2016 and HP Enterprise’s software business segment in 2017
- CollabNet and VersionOne's merger in 2017
- CA Technologies’ acquisition of Rally in 2015 and then Broadcom's acquisition of CA Technologies in 2018
- Perforce's acquisition of Hansoft in 2017 and Perfecto in 2018
- Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub in 2018
In most cases, legacy users retain the use and support of their acquired tool. However, those users should have concerns about how long this vendor will maintain operational support and how the product roadmap will change with new business priorities.
While announcements are often timely, unprepared organizations may find themselves scrambling to find replacements or having to increase their operational costs significantly to maintain their tool through third-party firms.
Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub is particularly interesting given that this proprietary vendor stated that it is honoring its commitment to maintain GitHub’s core 'open-source philosophies. GitHub users will likely see significant Microsoft investments into the GitHub product, such as improving the integration of GitHub with other Microsoft development products and services (most particularly, Azure DevOps).
It is still early, and many organizations (including Microsoft’s competitors like Apple and Google) are waiting to see how Microsoft will handle GitHub so that they can decide whether it is safe to trust Microsoft with their code and data.
Mergers and acquisitions are always a risk in the software delivery tool space. Manage this risk by:
- Strengthening, standardizing, and documenting your software delivery practices and artifacts to ease the transition of tool vendors.
- Maintaining vendor communication and relationships and constantly monitoring product roadmaps.
- Creating a loosely coupled environment to ease the removal and implementation of tools.
Finally, never assume that your vendors will have all your needs accommodated within their toolset; be prepared to shift when needed.
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