Former Novell exec's firm supports Suse Linux, rebrands

Former Novell exec's firm supports Suse Linux, rebrands

StreamServe helmed by the former second-in-command at Novell, announced its software now supports Novell's Suse Linux.

StreamServe, helmed by the former second-in-command at Novell, has announced its software now supports Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9. The move is part of StreamServe's revamping of its image put in place since the Novell executive joined the company in April and a way to garner more business, particularly in Europe.

Over recent months, StreamServe has rebranded its software from a business communications management application to a new term -- enterprise document presentment (EDP).

"It's a better explanation of what we do," Chris Stone, president and chief executive officer of StreamServe, said in a phone interview Tuesday. "Think of us as the last mile of ERP and CRM. We're the presentment guys, converting data to a readable form."

Stone was previously vice chairman in the office of the chief executive officer at Novell, leaving the company in November 2004 after driving the vendor's embrace of open-source software including its acquisition of German Linux distribution company SuSE Linux AG in late 2003.

StreamServe's EDP software enables customers to take information generated by enterprise applications from the likes of SAP AG and Oracle Corp. in any format and present it on any device in a readable online or print form, primarily in relation to generating invoices.

EDP can save customers substantial time and money, according to Stone, since they no longer have to write code to facilitate data presentation and can also save on paper costs by putting their information online. StreamServe cites the example of Skanska AB. The Swedish global construction services firm estimates it's saved handling time of its Oracle documents by 50 percent using StreamServe's EDP software.

"Oracle, IBM, EMC with Documentum are beginning to realize that the presentment piece is missing from their applications," Stone said. He describes StreamServe's software as what Microsoft has promised with its business integration software BizTalk Server. "We're like BizTalk on steroids," he said. "We can print, e-mail, fax in any format from any format, the dream Microsoft had with BizTalk."

StreamServe's EDP software already runs on Windows, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and Red Hat Linux, Stone said. "Personally, I always felt Suse was the best technically of the Linux distributions," he said. "Customers tend to use it in an enterprise fashion." He also sees Suse as the dominant enterprise Linux in Europe. Stone expects StreamServe to support localized versions of Linux, particularly in Asia.

For Novell, having StreamServe run on Suse is part of the company's strategy to "build a platform with the critical business applications customers are asking for," according to Ed Anderson, vice president of global product marketing for Novell's Linux and platform services group. "We have been using StreamServe's software internally for some time," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

In its rebranding endeavors, StreamServe is also changing its tag line from "Communicate. Clearly." to "How does your company present itself?" according to Stone. The company's EDP software can also help in personalizing and branding invoices so that when a customer receives a bill it looks like it originated from the company the individual has been doing business with, he added.

At present, StreamServe garners 80 per cent of its revenue from Europe. The company was founded in 1995 in Sweden, but now has its headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts. Stone would like to move the revenue mix to a 60 percent from Europe, 40 percent from the U.S. over time, he said. StreamServe is currently taking on more sales staff in the U.S. and placing more focus on verticals markets including the financial and retail segments. The company has more than 4,200 customers including Bayer, Circuit City Stores, Coca-Cola Enterprises and DaimlerChrysler Bank.

Stone sees StreamServe growing in two ways, by attracting new customers and by expanding its presence within existing customers where the company's software is typically used within a single division. StreamServe is looking at beefing up its business in Asia-Pacific, according to Stone, by signing up resellers. One of the company's largest customers is China Light & Power, a deal won by its Singapore agent. The Mainland utility has 2.1 million customers and generates billions of invoices, according to StreamServe, in a variety of languages and formats including Braille.

As for what it's like running StreamServe as opposed to being number two at Novell? "I'm having fun," Stone said. "I'm getting my arms around a small, growing company. It's fun to watch it grow."

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