More BPM Acquisitions in 2011

Scott Francis
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Analysts were predicting more consolidation in 2011, and it looks like the late-year acquisitions are happening again. First, doc capture specialist Kofax has acquired Singularity, a BPM and case management provider.  Kofax has been part of many a BPM project, whether they realize it or not, as the doc capture element.  Almost every BPM project needs that transition from “physical world” to “electronic bits” or “process world” – and document capture is a common entry point. Neil Ward-Dutton, of MWD, comments:
In a call first thing today, Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish highlighted that he expected the acquisition to double the size of the company’s addressable market – in large part through the expansion of sales coverage and effort for Singularity’s products, which Singularity itself had largely confined to the UK.
In other words, Kofax expects to expand the reach of Singularity, as well as of their product set itself.  Interesting, to me, was that Singularity’s revenue mix was 50% services, and that Kofax intends to adjust that downward.  Good news for Singularity partners or services experts. Meanwhile, in another corner of the BPM world, Progress has acquired Corticon, a pure-play rules management (BRM) vendor:
Progress is pitching Corticon as a crucial ingredient as it continues to develop its RPM story, and this makes sense. Progress’ Savvion BPM technology already had a fair business rules capability (BizRules) as an integrated component, but my view is that Corticon’s technology is more widely-applicable, as well as being widely acknowledged for a very strong ease-of-use story, enabled by its heavily model-driven and graphical approach to rule specification. Its open stance towards rule management repositories will also serve it well, as Progress seeks to blend Corticon’s tools into broader capability mixes.
In a previous life, we used Corticon for rules for a while.  We didn’t find it particularly compelling and ended up writing our own, similarly non-compelling rules solution.  More often than not, customers would use ILOG or Fair Isaac or Drools. But it has been several years now, and no doubt Corticon has made some progress in that time (pun intended!) on their rules capabilities. The conclusions I’m drawing from these acquisitions: 1.  BPM and Rules are a natural combination.  BPM seems to be the value driver, as it is the rules vendors getting gobbled up. 2.  BPM and Content Management or Document Management combinations are also happening.  But the major BPM vendors have (largely) already purchased Doc Management or Content Management solutions… So the remaining players in these spaces are forced to go pick off the weaker BPM vendors instead (OpenText acquired two of them, Lexmark acquired Pallas Athena, and now Kofax is in on the act). 3.  There’s still a lot of shakeout to occur in the market – and execution at a detailed level for each vendor is really going to matter.  At this point it isn’t all marketing fluff – real differences in product are apparent.  But the target keeps moving.  A well-integrated solution that is coherent to the end-user is going to win the day.  
  • Interesting point by Dave Brakoniecki on valuation:
    http://blog.brakoniecki.com/bpm-valuation-metric-kofax-singularity
    “Singularity went for 3x revenues but interestingly their revenue mix was heavily weighted towards services (over 50% was service revenue compared to under 20% license revenue).

    At that mix, they might be arguably be valued more like a consultancy with some IP than a product business.”

    Hm. probably consulting revenue was valued around 1x revenue.  So purchase price was 3x, valuation of consulting was likely around .5x.  And therefore, the remaining 50% of the business was valued at about 5x (5 * .5x = 2.5x).

    Consulting revenue might have been valued higher, but probably not as high as 3x.