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Technology / AI and automation


Progress Software Corp says the acquisition of Apptivity Corp last summer (CI No 3,194) will start making a significant contribution to its revenues later this year. The Bedford, Massachusetts company has outlined its strategy for the coming year, the most significant point being the combination of its 4GL environment with the acquired Java environment, which will make a Corba-based development environment, enabling users to mix and match their applications. The company is under the impression that it has got ahead of the game on this front, and if all goes to plan it will be able to significantly increase the business it does with its 23,000 business application partners, as well as directly with its own customers. Progress started life in 1981 with a goal of empowering business application developers with a database orientated offering, which came in the form of its flagship product, Progress, a 4GL development environment, and the Progress database. Progress has just turned in record sales for the year to November 30 that saw revenue hit $188.3m (CI No 3,316). Around 70% of that revenue was generated via its application partners, who buy the Progress offering and develop packaged applications that are sold off the shelf. In this area, Progress competes with the likes of Baan Co NV, SAP AG and PeopleSoft Inc. But Progress hopes it is ahead of the game with the combining of its environment, in a move that it says will future proof its products. Jennifer Bergantino, vice president of marketing and strategic planning said: Our application partners can now start to build their front ends in Java and have them running with a back end built in 4GL. Bergantino believes the company has got in ahead of the game with Java, and although she cannot put a time on when it will become mainstream, she says Progress will be ready. Progress is of the opinion that Java is hard to use and hard to write, but claims the Progress offering will simplify the implementation of Java. Progress currently employs 1,100 staff at offices across the world, with 500 working out of the company’s headquarters in Bedford. When Progress acquired Apptivity there were 13 staff, but Progress has assigned over 100 staff internally to work for the newly created business unit in Newark, California. The plan is to grow the company from now on, but Bergantino will not divulge specifics.

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