Adesso Systems announced a new chief executive officer Wednesday as part of its reinvention as a provider of intelligent synchronization-as-a-service to make it easier to develop mobile and distributed applications.
John Van Siclen, previously senior vice president of worldwide sales at support automation software vendor SupportSoft has joined Adesso as its new CEO. Prior to SupportSoft, Van Siclen was president and CEO of enterprise content management company Interwoven Inc.
John Landry has served as Adesso's interim CEO since January and will now focus his attentions on his other roles at the vendor as chairman and chief technology officer.
Adesso appealed to Van Siclen on several fronts. "It's the right idea at the right time with the right DNA behind it," he said, with many of Adesso's 25 staff having previously worked on the Lotus Notes groupware owned since 1995 by IBM Corp. Landry was the former CTO at Lotus.
Adesso released a limited beta of its AppsNOW development software last week and plans to make it generally available on July 11 to coincide with the start of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference due to take place in Boston. Developers can use the software to build and customize distributed and mobile applications.
At the heart of AppsNOW lies intelligent replication capabilities based on a distributed database so a developer can automatically synchronize data, files, design schemas and access rights between the users of an application and across a wide variety of devices including desktop and laptop computers, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and smartphones.
Landry claims no other company can provide the intelligent file synchronization that Adesso does.
"The only one who thought about doing this was Microsoft with WinFS," he said. The software giant has just revealed that it no longer plans to release the file system as a separate product but will bundle WinFS in the next release of its SQL Server database. "Microsoft would do well to buy us," Landry quipped. "We can do more with their software than they do."
Adesso also offers an online community, the AppsNOW Marketplace, where developers can engage in discussions with each other and sell the applications they've built using the company's technology. Adesso plans to fully launch the marketplace come July 11. "The idea is to develop a stable of integrators who know our products," Landry said.
Adesso is making AppsNOW available free for noncommercial use and will charge for corporate business usage. The strategy is to encourage developers on their weekends to experiment with the software to create personal applications with the hope that they like the experience and take it into their work environment.
The vendor has been around since 2000 and had previously focused on the enterprise software market. However, around the middle of last year, Landry said he realized that the market for enterprise software was drying up. Van Siclen said he came to the same conclusion while at SupportSoft that any software company with less than a US$1 billion in revenue was struggling to compete in the market. "The enterprise software business for small and midsize companies is dying faster than anyone has predicted," he added.
Adesso now wants to hone in on providing technology for "the long tail" of the software market, Landry said, the vast number of highly specific applications built by individual or small teams of developers for use in niche markets.
The vendor is currently working on rebuilding its business development and sales operations in the wake of its changed focus, he added, and that will be Van Siclen's initial focus as CEO.