Iona on course and moving closer to open source

24 Aug 2006

Iona Technologies is claiming progress in all areas of its business and said its work in open source software will begin to translate into revenue from next year.

Speaking ahead of the company’s AGM in Dublin yesterday, Iona CEO Peter Zotto said Iona had achieved 120pc growth in its Artix product line last year and 119pc in the first two quarters of 2006. For the second year in a row, Iona has been profitable, he added. “It’s also the first year since 2001 where we’ve had year-over-year licence revenue growth,” Zotto said.

For much of the past two years Iona has been making its cost structure more efficient and to illustrate that, Zotto pointed out that Iona has employed 350 people for the past 10 quarters.

“The three signposts we measure our business by are the stability of the CORBA customer base and revenue stream; Artix market momentum and sales plan and industry support for Iona’s strategy and products,” he said.

Zotto acknowledged that luck had played a part in that Iona now finds itself playing in two growing technology markets, namely the movement to service oriented architecture (SOA) and the emergence of open source as a software development model.

“Part of what Iona has is good fortune – it has a unique vision into some markets and trends in the market that will generate market potential greater than the CORBA market,” said Zotto. “The poster child for SOA in Europe is Credit Suisse, which is an Iona customer.” He added that the early adopters of open source are mainly in the four vertical markets where Iona has most of its customers: telecoms, financial, government and manufacturing/distribution.

“Iona, two years after transforming itself, is at the forefront of two of the major trends of our industry,” he summed up. Some 25pc of Iona’s research and development investment is in open source and the company will begin a marketing push around its services, under the Celtix brand, later this year, with a view to starting a revenue stream from it in 2007.

Zotto said he anticipated that the revenue mix for Iona next year would roughly break down into 55pc from Corba, 40pc from Artix and around 5pc from open source. Contrasting that with Iona’s previous circumstances, he said: “Last year we had one line of business. If you go back 24 months, Corba was losing 10pc plus per year. Now it’s throwing off operating margins of 47pc. We have a triple-digit growing line of business in Artix and a part of the business (open source) that we’ve already invested a lot in.”

“We got the question two years ago: ‘Are you going to be around?’ We don’t get that any more.”

By John Kennedy