Adaptive Insights announced that they have a reached an agreement to be acquired by Workday. The deal is expected to close in October of this year. Let’s take a look at what this means for the companies involved, their customers and prospects, and the performance management industry in general.
The price that Workday is paying of $ 1.55 billion is one of the highest ever for a performance management vendor. It is a significant multiple of Adaptive Insights’ trailing 12 -month revenues of $ 114 million. This valuation is both indicative of the growing importance of performance management solutions (which was also confirmed by our 2018 BPM Pulse Survey) and the strategic importance of this acquisition to Workday to strengthen their product portfolio.
Adaptive Insights (for Finance) has been one of the more successful standalone performance management products with almost 4,000 customers worldwide. Just this past year they introduced a product aimed at sales planning: Adaptive Insights for Sales, and launched their Elastic Hypercube technology to better handle the volumes of data and complexities in larger companies. They had recently filed for an IPO. It is clear why they were a prime target for a vendor looking for an established, robust planning solution to acquire.
Why was Workday looking for a new planning solution? They recognized a while ago that performance management was a key missing ingredient from their financial and human capital management solutions. So, they did what many others have done – built their own. However, just like SAP, Oracle, and IBM before them, they realized their homegrown solution was years behind the market leading solutions and would take significant time and money to catch up. While they partnered with several of the stand alone performance management vendors, their vision of an all-in-one business management solution was not coming to fruition.
With Adaptive Insights looking to raise capital through an IPO the timing was right for Workday to swoop in and acquire an ideal solution for the planning needs of their customers. There is redundancy and overlap with the existing Workday Planning solution, but they have a strategy to address that. The existing solution will be focused on the HR/human capital management side of the equation and Adaptive Insights will play to its strength in financial management. The current Workday sales force will introduce the Adaptive Insights product set into up market opportunities. The current Adaptive Insights sales force will focus on the rest of the market. The Workday and Adaptive Insights products will be “‘integrated” over time at a UI/common look and feel level, meta data, data, and security levels.
At this early stage there are many things that are not clear. Will Workday focus its efforts on selling Adaptive Insights to its existing customers and to new accounts that are looking to purchase their full suite, or will they also actively compete in the open market for standalone planning deals? I would guess it would be the former, but we just don’t know. With Workday’s historic focus on the large/enterprise market where will the midmarket fit into their overall strategy going forward? Only time will tell.
For now, there are some clear winners: Workday – for filling an important gap in their offerings with a well-regarded solution, Adaptive Insights – for becoming part of a larger organization with greater resources at its disposal and a mostly complementary product set, as well as achieving an impressive valuation, Workday customers – for having a robust new performance management solution available to them, although they need to keep an eye on integration status, Adaptive Insights competitors – for the potential to take advantage of this period of change and uncertainty, and the performance management industry in general for confirmation of its growing importance and value. In addition, we’re confident that Adaptive Insights customers will be well taken care of, based on our direct experience with Adaptive since its launch 15 years ago, and confirmed by their consistent high marks in our annual BPM Pulse customer satisfaction survey.