The BIG data modeling ERwin news is not so new

By now you have probably heard the big news. CA Technologies has divested itself of ERwin. I received the news late yesterday afternoon via an email from a CA Technologies friend. I was shocked to say the least. I spoke to several ERwin modeling users throughout the evening. Dazed, surprised and shocked were common words in emails, tweets and phone conversations. Let’s take a trip back in time to give some perspective to what happened yesterday.

I was a happy content Logic Works ERwin user in 1998 when Platinum Technology acquired Logic Works. My employer had moved to ERwin 3 years prior. Our fledgling local ERwin user community was dazed, shocked and surprised. Platinum Technology was a data focused software company that needed a modeling tool to compliment their database tools. ERwin fit those needs and had signs of growing under Platinum.

In early 1999, Computer Associates acquired Platinum Technology. Again, there was the common thread of a software vendor with a suite of database tools that was missing a data modeling tool to compliment and complete this suite. The user community was dazed, shocked and surprised after only a year under the Platinum wing with signs of good things starting to happen.

ERwin users were not in love with Computer Associates, now CA Technologies, over the early years of this modeling shotgun marriage. There was a lot of mistrust given CA’s history of acquisitions for the sake of profiting from maintenance fees and eliminating their competition through hostile takeovers. ERwin fared well under CA while other Platinum tools have pretty much withered away. In recent years, CA has really stepped forward with a slew of long anticipated enhancements and new features.

Here we are again in 2014 dazed, shocked and surprised. It is all somewhat familiar. Embarcadero has a full suite of data oriented tools. It does have ER Studio, ERwin’s primary competition in the data modeling space. That adds a new previously unexplored twist to the story. CA Technologies never had strong focus on data modeling and the data world. They are an infrastructure software vendor and spend much of their effort strengthening and growing that business. ERwin was their red headed stepchild.

What does this acquisition mean to ERwin users? That is yet to be seen. I can make some obvious assumptions. Embarcadero did not buy ERwin to lose money. They did not buy ERwin to lessen their market share. They would like to entice ERwin users to embrace their other data tools. They want ERwin users to stay ERwin users (or become ER Studio users) since they like those maintenance dollars.

As ERwin users, we need to stand as a community and advocate what is best for us as data modelers. The future of ERwin or a possible ERwin-ER Studio merged product will be driven by its acceptance in the data modeling community. You see, ERwin users will be influential in where the data modeling market goes. Our satisfaction or dissatisfaction has an impact on the Embarcadero bottom line. We can go or we can stay.

It’s a rewind to 1998 and 1999. ERwin users will be flooded by correspondence from CA Technologies and Embarcadero. We will see a product roadmap develop in the coming years. Will it all be what we want? Probably not, there is bound to be some give and take. I am certain that a strong data modeling tool will emerge from this BIG data modeling moment in time.

Stay tuned for the real news after you recover from being dazed, shocked, and surprised.

Tom Bilcze

I am presenting at Enterprise Data World 2014 in Austin , Texas.  I hope that you will join me in my session: And Other Duties As Assigned – Embracing New Roles to Grow in Your Enterprise. #EDW14

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One Comment
  1. Hi Tom,
    I just discovered this blog and want to say thanks for this historical perspective.
    I’m new in data administration’s world, so keep writing that i’ll be watching.
    my company uses SAP/Sybase PowerDesigner.

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