Dell absorbs development startup ManyWho into its Boomi business


A few days after a top Silicon Valley venture fund backed Skuid Inc., a startup that lets companies develop custom software without any programming, the stakes in the code-free development segment are rising once again.

It’s the result of Dell Technologies Inc. joining the fray on Thursday through the acquisition of four-year-old application specialist ManyWho Inc. The deal was carried out by the company’s Boomi division, one of the few software units that it decided to keep after merging with EMC Corp. last year. The rest were offloaded to various investment firms and, in the case of its former document archiving division, sold to data management provider OpenText Corp. for $1.6 billion.

Boomi offers a platform that enables companies to create automated procedures for handling complex tasks that involve multiple applications. According to the acquisition announcement, bringing ManyWho into the mix will provide the ability to make assets managed by the division’s software more accessible for users.

The key to the plan is ManyWho’s namesake software workbench. The tool provides a drag-and-drop interface that enables business users to quickly build so-called workflow applications, lightweight programs designed to automate specific tasks. A salesperson, for instance, could employ ManyWho to create a web-based registration portal for customers and automatically sync inputted information to their team’s database through Boomi.

The acquisition will likely end up pitting Boomi against Skuid, which enables workers to create much more than just simple workflow applications but targets the same kind of use cases. Boomi head Chris McNabb told CRN that his division will try to stand out from the pack by stepping up engineering, marketing and sales efforts around ManyWho.

The push will among other see the division promote the software to its hundreds of partners around the world. McNabb believes that ManyWho has the potential to emerge as a major asset on this front. Resellers could incorporate the tool into their portfolios to put forth a better rounded value proposition, while consulting partners can use it to create customized solutions for clients.

Most of ManyWho’s employees are set to join Boomi as part of the acquisition. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the fact that the startup has raised only about $1.3 million in funding from investors suggests the price tag was relatively small.

Image: ManyWho