Call it the circle of life. Early this morning, Legal IT Professionals reported that the leadership of iManage has completed a buyout of the complete iManage brand, products, and services from Hewlett-Packard (HP). Original co-founder Neil Araujo, who has stayed with the iManage product through the acquisitions by Interwoven, Autonomy, and finally HP, is now CEO of iManage Inc. Fellow co-founder Rafiq Mohammadi rejoins the band as Chief Scientist. Other leadership, sales, support, and account executives are also coming to the new company.
IDOL will still be included with WorkSite Indexer, and iManage says they are able to retain the hosting and infrastructure of the HP data centers for the WorkSite in the Cloud offering.
So what does this all mean? Well, as with every big shift in the legal technology industry, only time will tell. However, I am already seeing more optimism about this spin-off than we’ve seen about previous acquisitions by large companies such as HP and OpenText. I think there’s an aura of relief delivered in the words blasted on the new iManage.com website. In a partner webinar this morning, there was a sense of nostalgia, suggesting that the sunny days are here again. Industry leaders are also expressing positive reactions to the news, and some believe that iManage’s competitors may have had their hopes dashed.
Keith Lipman, himself a former Director of Legal Solutions at iManage and now president of Prosperoware, tweeted:
iManage an independent company again. Congrats to the @imanageinc team. Sorry to those who had dreams of converting their customers
— Keith Lipman (@keithlipman) July 21, 2015
Even other vendors seem happy. Workshare tweeted:
@imanageinc Congratulations on the completion of the deal!
— Workshare (@Workshare) July 21, 2015
Back in 2011, when HP acquired Autonomy, I wrote the following: “I do wonder though if this will make iManage customers feel smaller, as they are now under an even larger umbrella.”
I think that ended up being true. We heard it from our clients, and we felt it ourselves as partners. HP WorkSite was a small speck of the overall HP business, and it seemed that a lot of the HP bureaucracy had restricted the WorkSite sales, support, and account teams. The quality of the first level technical support suffered. I cringed whenever we, as partners, had to join a webinar on an “HP Virtual Room.” It was an ugly, clunky web conference utility that seemed to have no audio control. We couldn’t join in via computer audio, and we had to dial in separately via a phone and then mute ourselves. When I asked someone at HP WorkSite why they were using that instead of a WebEx or GoToMeeting, he said, “Don’t get me started. We have to.” I think that conversation was a microcosm of what HP did to the iManage brand.
I look forward to the renewed focus expressed by Neil Araujo, and the exciting things to come as iManage comes full circle and goes back to its roots. As we head towards ILTACON next month, I’m sure we’ll see more announcements and industry reaction to this big shift in the legal DMS landscape.