Progress Software Kicks It Up A Notch

May 18, 2011 No Comments

SOURCE:  The Virtual Circle

Progress Software has always been a little larger that it looked. Founded around 30 years ago, it was one of the early 4GL/database companies and one of the few that made a life for itself as software moved from mainframe/minicomputer deployments to the client server world and then to n-tier browser-based architectures. Progress Software both survived and thrived. This was achieved mainly  by virtue of good engineering and a dedication to the ISV market.

The Big Footprint

In  the 1990s Progress became the gorilla of the ISV market for ISVs building business applications. It has and still has many thousands of ISVs as customers, all of whom provide regular revenues to Progress. Down there in the SMB market the ISV is often the gate-keeper of  the small business IT budget. The SMBs may not have huge IT budgets, but the dominant ISV in an account will normally determine where that money goes. Given Progress’s business model, (run time license fees) those ISVs never passed huge sums on to Progress, but collectively they controlled a huge IT spend over which Progress had a good deal of influence. For that reason Progress has always been a little bigger than it looked.

As  that pre-millenium decade progressed, more and more ISVs emigrated from other failing 4GL vendors and moved to Progress and that migration continues even now. As far as we’re aware, the only other vendor with a bigger piece of the ISV market is Microsoft.

The Next Decade

Progress was always a platform company, in the sense that it provided a complete development platform – but that platform was targeted at the SMB market. In the past 10 years Progress has gradually changed direction and through a series of acquisitions, coupled with internal development projects, it has built what I think of as a “2 layer enterprise platform.”

In 2000 (over 10 years ago) they launched Sonic which actually defined the concept of an Enterprise Service Broker (ESB) – the idea being to have a software component that managed inter-program messaging throughout all or part of the corporate network.

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