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Focused Acquisitions for Fluence and Syntellis

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

While big acquisitions get all the attention, sometimes it’s the focused ones that add the most value for customers and prospects. This type of acquisition allows a vendor to further build on a unique strength, or close a gap in their offering. As a plus they usually come with minimal product overlap and business disruption. Two recently announced acquisitions exemplify this approach.

Fluence Technologies Acquires Sturnis365

Fluence Technologies has announced their acquisition of Sturnis365. Fluence is a fast growing leader in financial consolidation and reporting. They started with a robust consolidation and close product built by the same architects behind many of the well-known names in consolidation software.  Fluence then developed their own account reconciliation solution, acquired XLCubed last year for enhanced financial reporting capabilities, and now with Sturnis365 have added collaborative disclosure management and narrative reporting to the mix. In just a few short years, thanks to targeted acquisitions coupled with strategic in-house development, the breadth of their offering in this key area of performance management now equals or exceeds that of their competitors. Learn more about Fluence here.

Syntellis Performance Solutions Acquires Stratasan

With their just announced Stratasan acquisition, Syntellis Performance Solutions is building on a key differentiator – industry specific data analytics. Syntellis, through its Axiom Software suite, offers rich budgeting, planning, and reporting functionality coupled with extensive content for the banking, healthcare, and higher education markets. While other vendors have recently started to adopt a verticalized approach to the performance management market, Syntellis is way ahead of them when it comes to targeted data and analytics. Two years ago (while part of Kaufman Hall) they acquired Change Healthcare’s Connected Analytics which provides a range of data solutions for healthcare organizations and a set of tools that can be expanded to other industries. Syntellis has also delivered their own Syntellis IQ solution which is essentially a data science engine that collects market data from financial and operational source systems across more than 1,000 sites and applies AI/machine learning to deliver predictive and prescriptive insights to customers.  Stratasan focuses on strategic planners in healthcare organizations and delivers market intelligence coupled with advanced analytics to enable hospitals to understand where they fit in their marketplace and identify opportunities to better serve their patients and profitably grow their business. This latest acquisition further extends Syntellis’ lead in healthcare planning coupled with data and analytics capabilities. Learn more about Syntellis here.

Vendor Selection Advisory Services for FP&A Groups and Controllers

As the performance management vendor landscape continues to rapidly evolve with acquisitions, new entrants, and product line extensions it is more important than ever to leverage an expert when selecting your own budgeting, planning, consolidation, reporting and analytics solutions.  Learn about our offerings here.

Anaplan to be Acquired for $10.7 Billion by Thoma Bravo

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

Thoma Bravo has announced its planned acquisition of Anaplan for $10.7 billion. Anaplan’s revenues for its most recent fiscal year were $592.2 million with a GAAP operating loss of $200.7 million. Those numbers show how impressive this valuation is. I believe this is the largest acquisition ever in the performance management space (see other recent investments in the space here). The investment of course factors in the huge potential for Anaplan as it continues its successful growth path in the hot performance management space.

Details

With this deal Anaplan will once again become a private company. Why would they choose to do this? The money of course, but there are other reasons. The stock market is brutal, regulatory reporting is painful and time consuming (which is one reason you should buy a performance management consolidation and reporting solution), and the pressure of having to achieve quarterly targets forces compromises to be made. So, not too surprising.

Anaplan is a leader, particularly in the rapidly growing operational planning (or extended planning and analysis) segment. It does have some strong competitors though. While SAP and Oracle are often cited as their chief competitors, you’re just as likely to see OneStream Software or Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Tagetik going head to head with Anaplan in deals, and getting their fair share of wins. While OneStream and CCH Tagetik were initially focused primarily on financial planning, consolidation, and reporting, over time they have added impressive capabilities focused on operational planning. Their combined financial and operational strengths give them an edge over Anaplan in financial planning-led deals that also include operational components.

Thoma Bravo is not new to this space. They are an investor in another performance management vendor, Syntellis Performance Solutions. Syntellis, with their Axiom product, combines financial and operational planning with comparative benchmark analytics. They focus almost exclusively on three verticals: banking and credit unions, higher education, and healthcare, with specialized content for each. While there is certainly overlap with Anaplan’s capabilities, we don’t often see them competing in the same deals. Thoma Bravo also owns Qlik, which several performance management vendors have partnered with for analytics.

Our Assessment

A rapidly growing vendor, a knowledgeable investor, a hot market. Seems like a recipe for success to us.

Further Reading: Hg Acquires Majority Stake in Prophix, Host Analytics to be Acquired by Vector Capital, Longview Acquired by insightsoftware, Adaptive Insights to be Acquired by Workday, Wolters Kluwer Acquires Tagetik

Fluence Technologies Acquires XLCubed

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

It’s another exciting week in the performance management world. The space itself is hot, but the financial consolidation segment is on fire.

Fluence, a top-rated North American consolidation and close vendor for the midmarket, has announced the acquisition of European-based XLCubed, a specialist in financial reporting and analysis leveraging Excel. As one of the newer vendors in the consolidation market, but already a key player, Fluence was looking to accelerate its development roadmap and increase its global footprint. This acquisition helps them achieve both goals.

Details

Fluence gains many new customers, an office in the U.K., and an Excel-centric enterprise class financial reporting, analysis, and dashboard solution designed for Finance self-sufficiency, to complement its Excel-centric consolidation and close solution. XLCubed offers many leading edge capabilities that companies are either looking for today, or will be looking for shortly, such as IBCS compliant reporting templates and models, web-based instant and interactive report distribution to any user on any device, governed real-time access to multiple data sources in addition to Fluence including SAP HANA, Oracle Essbase, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM TM1, and  Microsoft Power BI. The combined products will deliver a comprehensive and unified Finance-owned consolidation, close and reporting solution for the midmarket and upper midmarket.

Our Assessment

This combination is a no-brainer. What’s consolidation without comprehensive financial reporting, and vice versa?

Fluence and its customers:

  • Fluence picks up a European office, expert staff, a global partner network, and over 700 additional customers
  • Fluence should be able to sell their consolidation solution to a sizeable number of those new customers
  • Fluence now is also able to offer a standalone solution for financial, management, and operational reporting that can lead to consolidation and close sales down the road
  • Existing Fluence customers gain dramatically enhanced reporting capabilities at least 18 months ahead of schedule (if Fluence had developed it themselves)

XLCubed and its customers:

  • XLCubed joins a rapidly growing organization that offers a complementary solution, and the combined companies can reach a greater market than either could alone
  • XLCubed customers will continue to see their products enhanced
  • XLCubed customers gain access to a feature rich Excel-centric consolidation solution to complement their Excel-centric financial reporting product

Midmarket/Upper Midmarket Buyers of Performance Management solutions:

  • By broadening its product set and global presence, along with an increased customer count, Fluence becomes an even more formidable competitor

This is where we usually talk about downsides, but there are no obvious ones. There is minimal product overlap. The common Excel-centric approach will make integration easier.  The industry veterans at the helm of Fluence have been involved in many mergers and acquisitions over the years so I have every confidence that they will avoid most of the typical merger pitfalls. We believe this is a good combination for all concerned.

We know its difficult to stay on top of everything that is happening in performance management. It’s important though, to make sure you have the most current information as you embark on your next project. We can help. If you would like to discuss midmarket planning and consolidation solutions, or anything else performance management related, you can reach us here.

Further Reading: Prophix Acquires Sigma Conso, Two New and Noteworthy Vendors, 10 Key Requirements for Next Level Financial Consolidation, Leveraging Financial Consolidation to Manage Through Uncertainty

Prophix Acquires Sigma Conso

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

Prophix, a leading North American  budgeting and planning CPM vendor focused on the midmarket, has announced its acquisition of Sigma Conso, a European CPM vendor focused on consolidation and close. While most CPM (performance management) projects are driven by the need for budgeting and planning, demand has been steadily rising for robust financial consolidation and close capabilities. In the midmarket in particular the options for a complete CPM solution that includes budgeting, planning, reporting and true consolidation have been somewhat limited. Consolidation is one of those things that every vendor claims to do, but most only offer a very basic version of the necessary functionality.

Details

The acquisition will bring Prophix several hundred new customers, offices throughout Europe and Asia, and a consolidation suite that includes consolidation and reporting, intercompany reconciliation software,  an IFRS16 (lease accounting) module, and a disclosure management platform powered by Iris Carbon. Equally important is the addition of Sigma Conso’s expert staff to the Prophix team. There will be no job losses related to this acquisition. Although not publicly disclosed, it has been speculated that Prophix paid US$100 million plus for Sigma Conso.

Our Assessment

We believe this is a big win for all concerned, with limited downside.

Prophix and its customers:

  • Prophix becomes a global enterprise with a comprehensive and competitive CPM suite for the midmarket/upper midmarket, and the ability to pursue deals that may not have been a possibility in the past
  • Prophix will have the opportunity to upsell their budgeting and planning solution to Sigma Conso customers
  • Prophix customers gain access to a consolidation solution that can handle more complexity and larger use cases than their current Prophix consolidation solution

Sigma Conso and its customers:

  • Sigma Conso and its staff become part of a larger organization and will see their flagship product expand into the North American market
  • Sigma Conso customers will now be part of a larger global user community and also  see additional investment and support for their consolidation products
  • Sigma Conso customers will have the option to take advantage of Prophix’s budgeting and planning solution

Midmarket/Upper Midmarket Buyers of Performance Management solutions:

  • Prophix will become another viable option for those looking for robust consolidation coupled with company-wide planning

The (limited) downside:

  • It will take a while to integrate the products and we don’t expect to see data integration until some time in Q1 2022
  • Sigma Conso currently sells a budgeting and planning solution (“powered by” Unit4 FP&A) and there will need to be a well thought out plan to manage customers of this product and their expectations, and of course eventually entice them to move to the equivalent Prophix solution
  • Prophix has never done an acquisition before and we all know there will be many challenges both expected and unexpected, hopefully since the companies appear to have similar cultures and are both customer centric this will go more smoothly than some mergers I personally have been part of in the past

The  Updated Vendor Landscape for Midmarket Budgeting, Planning, Reporting and  Robust Consolidation Solutions

Midmarket/Upper Midmarket Focused:

  • Prophix – a new competitor in this segment with the addition of Sigma Conso’s consolidation capabilities
  • Fluence – combines enterprise class functionality with ease of use and is integrated with Vena for budgeting and planning
  • Planful – the former Host Analytics has always had a very capable midmarket consolidation solution coupled with easy to use planning

There are also solutions targeting the larger company market that have seen success in the midmarket: OneStream Software and Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Tagetik are two of the best.

The performance management market continues to grow and evolve. We’ll continue to stay on top of it and keep you informed with everything you need to know for your own project. If you would like to discuss midmarket planning and consolidation solutions, or anything else performance management related, you can reach us here.

Further Reading: Fluence Acquires XLCubed, Hg Acquires Majority Stake in Prophix, 10 Key Requirements for Next Level Financial Consolidation, Leveraging Financial Consolidation to Manage Through Uncertainty