When you find what you’re good at, double-down on it. That’s the message from Perforce, a company that’s well known for its source-code management system, also called Perforce.
The company, reaching the milestone of its 15th birthday, faced a decision: What to do next? The company had been investing in and improving its SCM software for years, but it wanted to find a vision, find a next step in growing the company’s offering beyond adding features in each incremental release.
Perforce’s executives toyed with the notion of trying to expand into the full range of application life-cycle management software—developing requirements management tools, for example. But that didn’t seem to fit their technological strengths, or fill a real need in the market. Instead, the company has chosen a new direction: becoming a version-management company.
Along with a new modern logo and a tagline that says, “Version Everything,” the company’s founder and president, Chris Seiwald, laid everything out in a keynote address at the 2011 Perforce User Conference, held earlier this summer.
What does that mean? It means a new Web-content management system, Chronicle, expected soon. It means new tools for working offline, called Sandbox, due to go into beta this September. It means enhanced functions for streams—that is, containers for branching and merging. It means new back-end systems to support very widely distributed version control, including cloud-based hosted services. And it means a new developer and administrator ecosystem that brings Perforce’s customers together using social media.
Perforce sees itself expanding beyond its traditional developer audience (and focused on source code and related media files, artifacts and blobs) into entire new markets. It’s a big transition for the company, but as it builds on its SCM foundations, I feel optimistic about the direction Perforce is taking.
Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Read his blog at ztrek.blogspot.com.