Hyland Acquires Learning Machine, Dives into Blockchain
by Jim Lundy
Hyland Software, developer of enterprise content management (ECM) suite OnBase, has just acquired Learning Machine, an innovative technology company advancing creative blockchain-based solutions to digital credentialing issues. With this acquisition, Hyland is poised to foray into the growing market for blockchain-anchored solutions to classical business problems. In particular, these technologies promise to bring dramatic changes to the world of ECM and digital rights management (DRM). In this blog, we consider what is at stake in this acquisition, offering some predictions about the place of blockchain innovation in tomorrow’s enterprise management strategy.
Blockchain’s Place in Emerging Markets
While demand has been low and the market is young, this move prepares Hyland well for the future. We feel many firms may want to do a pilot project because of this deal. Firms trust Hyland and their reputation positions them well to branch out into new markets and take advantage of gaps in the product ecosystem.
According to a recent IBM article, the market surrounding blockchain for DRM is still small, though it is projected to grow. Currently, many of the applications involve authenticating media purchases to stop piracy. Hyland’s venture into the sector promises to shake things up, bringing with it a broader set of applications. As an immature, still-developing market, Hyland is well situated to take advantage of blockchain solutions at this point in time.
A New Way to Do Rights Management
Digital rights management software has promised for a long time to securely validate ownership and access, however, these promises have often fallen short. Legacy DRM technology is vulnerable to circumvention by key generators and other forms of software ‘cracking.’
Blockchains rely on secure hash identifications to separate unique data. By verifying the authenticity of distributed ledgers through peer-to-peer networks, blockchain can help confirm the validity of critical documents and records.
A blockchain solution could be used to securely validate individual rights to data or other services. As a cryptographically stable, scalable solution, blockchain is well-positioned to address the emerging needs surrounding digital rights management.
One of the use cases mentioned by Hyland is transcripts and diplomas. In the wake of a dramatic college admission scandal, the need for secure validation practices in higher education has never been greater. Blockchain also has longterm appeal, promising to help protect rights in the world of art, entertainment, and more.
ECM Is Shifting: Hyland Makes an Innovative Move
The acquisition of Learning Machine comes on the heels of CFO Chris Hyland’s retirement announcement. These transitions may herald a shift in the structure of the ECM market. As the developers of content management products begin to adopt solutions like blockchain, effective security and authentication techniques will soon become an industry standard.
As fraud techniques grow increasingly sophisticated, firms will find themselves wanting better and better verification solutions. Hyland proposes that its acquisition of Learning Machine will provide critical support for digital credentialing systems. The way that the existing infrastructure of DRM and ECM will adapt to these innovations remains to be seen, but Hyland has a promising product.
We are excited to see how Hyland’s new acquisition impacts the development of their software suites and affects the landscape of digital credentialing, digital rights management, and enterprise content management writ large. Blockchain is a promising innovation that presents the potential to shake up existing markets. For more information on the transformative potential of this tech, check out Aragon’s survey of the blockchain wars, or read our research note about blockchain’s place in digital transaction management.