What does the recent Micro Focus acquisition mean? A conversation with Cyrus Manouchehrian at Tricentis

Cyrus Manouchehrian, Director of Corporate Development at Tricentis, spent several years at Micro Focus, and weighs in on the impact of its acquisition. Cyrus provides solid historical context and advises on this opportunity to look further afield for your software testing needs. 


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Podcast transcription

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity and brevity.


Emma: Hello listeners, it’s your host Emma Peet. Today I’m with a fellow Tricentix, as we like to refer to ourselves, and that is Cyrus Manouchehrian, Director of Corporate Development at Tricentis.


Cyrus, you’ve been in the software space for around 15 years, and you’ve spent a lot of your time developing and managing products. Before landing here, you product-managed at Micro Focus for several years, and that’s no coincidence given our topic of conversation today: it’s a recent development that is impactful for the testing community, especially for those using their products. That is the acquisition of Micro Focus by OpenText, a Canadian-owned software company specializing in information management solutions.


Cyrus, what does the acquisition of Micro Focus mean to you and for the testing community at large?


Cyrus: I find the acquisition to be quite interesting, only in the sense that it doesn’t seem like some of the assets that are going from Micro Focus to OpenText make sense. As you know, Micro Focus has a pretty extensive portfolio of products. Tricentis primarily competes with the Application Delivery Management (ADM) portfolio, but they also have IT Operations, their security portfolio CyberRes, Application, Modernization, and Connectivity (AMC), which is really geared towards modernizing COBOL, Data Information Governance, and Vertigo. So, there’s a lot in their portfolio.


“In the context of Application Delivery Management (ADM), which is where Tricentis competes with—it doesn’t scream great to me personally. I’m still trying to understand how their ADM portfolio, which has a very rich legacy and history, is going to fit within OpenText.“


When the acquisition was completed several years ago with HPE Software, it was the seventh largest pure-play software company in the world. And ever since then, based on the quarterly reports, the numbers have unfortunately declined.


Once this acquisition is complete, I’m really interested to see what they decide to do with the ADM portfolio. For ADM, the big focus is really going to be around innovation, and then I think, more importantly, the value that they’re going to bring to their customers.


If you read some of the recent articles in the past couple of weeks around this acquisition, I have seen a lot of data around their Data and Information Governance portfolio, and then more interestingly, their Security portfolio as well. There seems to be a good mesh there with what they’re trying to do around digital transformation and cloud transformations.


I don’t want to speak entirely for the testing community, but Micro Focus has had assets that have a lot of historical significance. Like, the LoadRunner family Fortify under CyberRes, and of course, COBOL. And with those assets, some customers have been in it from the start to where it is today. I really think that those customers may actually start to reevaluate those solutions that they’re using today.


Emma: That’s a really good background on not only the acquisition, but Micro Focus, and what they offer. And to your point, it does remain to be seen how their portfolio will fit into that of OpenText.


As you mentioned, Micro Focus have acquired their testing tools from HPE, and that was just five years ago. And acquisitions do present a lot of innovation and opportunity, as well as uncertainty.


From a Micro Focus point of view, why do you think their products have changed hands so many times, in light of the HPE acquisition and more previously?


Cyrus: It’s good to have a little bit of historical context on this subject. So, Hewlett Packard, when it was just HP, spun-merged—I think it was in 2015 where they became two entities; HPI, like Hewlett Packard Inc, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. And that’s where the software assets that we’re talking about landed. And then, within less than two years, those same software assets got spun-merged with Micro Focus.


And interestingly enough, Micro Focus had done several acquisitions before this—this one I think was their largest one— with companies like Borland and Serena Software. So, when you think about all of that put together, they’d just created this large overlap of solutions that kind of adhered to the overall testing community, specifically, in our world.


“When this all came to fruition and everything closed, I think from a testing community perspective, the positioning and the messaging of the solutions wasn’t quite clear, it created a lot of confusion, and I really do think that it was a little bit of a shame that the assets got moved so many times.“


When you think about those assets, a lot of those long-time customers and users, they started way back in the Mercury Interactive days. And quite frankly, Mercury Interactive created the de facto standard; it really did set the paradigm of modern quality. That’s where everything started. When you thought of quality or anyone was thinking about quality assurance or testing, immediately, it was Mercury Interactive.


“When Mercury got acquired by HP in 2007, the integration stories—or the lack of integration—started to unravel. And with the ADM portfolio and IT Operations portfolio, no story ever got formulated very well.“


And then ever since, it’s gone through so many iterations of product messaging integrations, so it never quite skyrocketed or catapulted since I think even that 2007 period.


If you want my humble Cyrus opinion, I think that once the entire acquisition is completed, I think that there are going to be some portfolios that get divested from OpenText.


Emma: Thank you for that historical context. And to your point around the products being passed around quite significantly and not being able to find their feet, this does bring about uncertainty around the product itself, but also their terms of service and pricing all are subject to change. This does bring about opportunity to potentially look further afield for testing services.


Let’s say you are in the Micro Focus community now feeling a little uncertain, and you’re looking for alternative testing tools, what criteria should you be looking to fulfill?


Cyrus: Without a shadow of a doubt, I think that potential customers will start to evaluate vendors that are high in the Gartner Quadrant and Forrester Wave, where we’re quite biased here that Tricentis is a leader.


“People should really start looking at vendors that are growing, innovating, and have modern solutions with a SaaS-first mindset. Tricentis has been doing this over the years very well; impeccably. They’ve made many, many strategic acquisitions, like NeoLoad, in the performance engineering space, Tx3, and Testim, which are the more recent ones.“


Tricentis also has a very rich history, and with that history, they continue to innovate on their flagship solutions like Tosca and qTest. So, those are some pillars that I will be looking at, but I also believe that when the community starts to evaluate vendors outside of Micro Focus, they’re also going to look at how they’re going to provide value.


Emma: Thank you for that little insight into Tricentis, and how we’ve scaled in many ways, and one is certainly with the acquisitions we’ve made over the past couple of years.


In 10 words or less, what’s your best advice when migrating from a Micro Focus tool to another?


Cyrus: Define your needs and identify a vendor that will align with your future roadmap.


Emma: Perfect; developing for the future, not just for the present, and keeping up with the demands of DevOps whilst delivering quality at speed.


If you could change one thing in the application development world, what would it be?


Cyrus: It’s been a long time since I’ve done actual development, but the tech stack today for application development is ever evolving, and I think we have to appreciate the adoption of it.


There are many companies inside and outside of our space that are adopting these new technologies. It’s cool to talk about running Kubernetes on EKS or AKS and many of the different serverless options that are available to us. I think if there’s one thing to change; don’t forget about quality and the end-user experience.


Emma: Marvelous! A real customer-first approach.


To hear more about the Micro Focus acquisition and what it means, sign up for our upcoming webinar on October 4.

Check out the latest podcast episodes for more insights from thought leaders like Cyrus.