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Mortice Kern Systems Goes Vertical (Sky, that is)

Written By: M. Reed
Published On: September 14 2000

Mortice Kern Systems Goes Vertical (Sky, that is)
M. Reed - September 14, 2000

Event Summary

Mortice Kern Systems (MKS), long known for their expertise in porting UNIX environments (for instance, a Korn Shell (KSH) script or a CGI script) to native Windows NT and Windows 2000, and supporting the full POSIX.2 specification, has expanded into the world of e-business. They have created a new wholly owned subsidiary called Vertical Sky, which is marketing a product called the Vertical Sky Evolution Management Solution. The vendor believes that it will "provide integrated management of code and content in an e-business". MKS believes that they are the first vendor to enter this space, and that the "new generation of e-business is much more transactional, with many more integrated systems".

According to Randall Howard, MKS chairman and CEO, "Both new and existing customers recognize MKS. The revenue growth of our e-business product line has increased from virtually nothing to the majority of our business and continues to grow and accelerate."

The importance of this effort involves the increasing level of integration between back-end systems and e-commerce front-ends, which is becoming crucial to brick-and-mortar companies attempting to transition to the web or at least leverage it.

MKS recently acquired DataFocus and the SDM Division of Silvon Software to accelerate product development in the software change management arena. Their current customers include Priceline.com, Sentry Insurance, Royal Bank of Canada, and Case Corporation.

Market Impact

Another vendor re-brands itself as an "e-commerce enabler". It seems to TEC that virtually all software vendors are claiming to be in the e-commerce space, and customers should be careful to investigate whether it is a marketing ploy or actual software development.

Mr. Howard believes that the growth in software management products will be as high as $1.6 billion dollars by the year 2003, even though it is considered a mature market. They estimate growth at 24% per year. The move into web content management with Vertical Sky is due to the fact that they expect that market to grow at 83% per year, and match the $1.6 billion number by 2003 also.

Mr. Howard also stated that "In three years I would like to see Vertical Sky as a leading vendor in this new world of e-business management solutions. When that market is literally measured in the billions of dollars, I would like to see Vertical Sky have annual revenues in excess of $250 million by that point."

MKS has a strong presence in the market due to their MKS Toolkit (basically UNIX on Windows NT), and has a strong reputation and awareness among system administrators. If their sales and marketing plan is robust, they should be able to make strong inroads with companies trying to switch from "brick and mortar" to B2B and B2C e-commerce.

User Recommendations

Companies evaluating software configuration management solutions should include MKS on the short list. Other companies/products to consider would be Computer Associates Endevor (for the mainframe environment), IBM WebSphere Studio, Merant PVCS, and Microsoft Visual SourceSafe (for a purely Windows environment). There are many other products in this market, and TEC will issue a market note on all of the players in the near future.

 
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