Team

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M&A Roundup Dec 2021

This will be the last of the year of these notes, but what a year it has been! From a macro perspective, this year has seen over $1,200 B in M&A activity; yes, I said $1,200 B, almost double 2020 and three times 2019’s spend. At a slightly more granular level, we should note that investors have seen a massive increase in tech investment in previously ignored regions. For example, in Latin America, VCs spent nearly $15B, compared to just $4.4B in 2019, and you can see a trend in plain sight. For all the real-world horror of the pandemic from both an individual and global perspective, the fact is that the COVID virus has accelerated mass digitization in almost every area of business. Be that to support remote working, remote healthcare, or remote banking. It’s not hyperbole to say that this past year has been revolutionary from a tech perspective, and its impact on the industry will reverberate for many years to come.

Our Enterprise Information and Automation Management sub-sector has also been busy this year. Still, I suspect the next 2 to 5 years will be even more active, accompanied by a changing of the guard. What I mean by that is that many well-established, aka legacy vendors, will be walloped. Goliaths like Google & Microsoft are moving into the enterprise mainstream, and a veritable army of innovative startups is thriving. Out with the old, in with the new. Not that the old will necessarily go away, rather their strength will diminish over time as new blood comes in to transform the sector. At Deep Analysis, we are excited about the changes coming and the opportunities for both enterprises and vendors alike. So much to look forward to in the coming year and beyond.

The year-end is always a time to closeout deals, and this year is no exception. Below is a list (though not comprehensive) of some that have caught our eye recently:

EFSS vendor FileCloud secured a $30m round of investment from Savant Growth
Governance vendor Gimmal also secured a new round of funding from Rubicon Technology Partners
Governance firm Workiva acquired AuditNet
Tableau acquired NLP vendor Narrative Science
Component Content Management vendor Orbis Technologies acquired Innovasys
ProTitle USA acquired document prep company DocSolution
MarkLogic acquired veteran search vendor Smartlogic

But the eye-catching deal of the year-end has to be Oracle’s eye-popping acquisitions of medical records company Cerner for $28.3B, the biggest deal Oracle has ever closed, and that’s saying something. Oracle has stated that it expects Cerner to deliver substantial additional revenue for years to come, and we don’t doubt that. If medical records were of value before COVID, they are now priceless. But if medical records alone are of immense value, imagine what a transformation of the medical industry through increased automation, document processing, and AI-driven analysis will be worth? Its unpalatable and a concept few outside of the US can grasp. Still, the management of US medical records is in desperate need of a digital transformation, one that will take many years to undertake but maybe finally on the cusp of happening.

The “cusp of change” could be our theme for 2022 as a whole. For all the talk of Digital Transformation, there has been little to see beyond upgrades and a few new bells and whistles. The last true era of Transformation was the late 90’s with the introduction of both the internet (birth of SaaS) and the massive rollout of heavyweight, high-cost ERP systems. But if the sudden disruption and enforced discretion of the workforce have taught us anything, it’s that we need to rethink, reimagine and reinvent the way we work. The technology from AI to Blockchain is ready and waiting to go, but it was always required a massive leap of faith or a hard push for many enterprises to change; many are now prepared, whether they like it or not, to make that jump.

Deep Analysis Reports

2021 Deep Analysis Pick of the Pops

analyst notes we published at Deep Analysis in 2021? There are 89 in total! As the writers of this research, we have our personal favorites, but we thought it would be fun to just pull the numbers and see what were your favorites – remember our research is open source so anyone can access it from anywhere. That said  I would never have guessed the following would have been the most popular reports of 2021 in a million years 🙂

The grunt work of Digital Transformation just got easier

TWAIN Direct’s ultimate goal is connecting devices directly to the software app, completely removing the PC from the middle. That’s really important to the new wave of cloud developers; it abstracts the proprietary hardware layer and replaces all the other confusing scanner connectors. Plus it’s free to any developer.

Microsoft Ignite: a good old fashioned product conference for the new age

Ignite was a vast digital event befitting of the newly-crowned world’s most valuable public company, with a dizzying array of product announcements rolled out around the main theme of making hybrid work the new normal. Here are some very brief highlights…

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Hoisted on its own (AI) petard – Zillow’s bad week

Does the Zillow algorithm fail have larger meaning for AI? Some tech pundits have used this story to rail against the blind adoption of AI by businesses or to preach against the sins of replacing human wisdom with AI bots. After reading a few posts, you’d be forgiven for thinking this could be the beginning of the end for evil AI. At Deep Analysis, we thoroughly disagree with the fearmongers and naysayers.

Deep Learning for Documents

Reframing Deep Learning

Move over, machine learning, here come the deep learning algorithms. We predict that deep learning models will disrupt the status quo of document classification over the next 12 – 24 months, as customers discover that they can train an AI classifier with as few as five samples and deploy it in a matter of hours. Without the need for Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or IBM, and without the traditional massive compute costs and data sets associated with Deep Learning to date. Time will tell if we are right or not, but change is on the horizon.

anyclip funding

AnyClip raises $47M for video intelligence – Our Thoughts

We’ve been talking about multimedia data capture in ECM and BPM for at least 20 years. Recent advancements in computing power and deep learning, leveraged by innovative companies like AnyClip and Veritone, are finally moving into the information management mainstream. We expect to see this take off over the next 2-3 years. 

abbyy marlin

Marlin Equity Partners & Abbyy – Our Thoughts

Today there was important news in the Cognitive Capture market. ABBYY, a privately-held company, announced an investment from Marlin Equity Partners, which will make Marlin the largest shareholder. Terms of the investment were not revealed. Marlin is a global private equity firm that acquires businesses across diverse industries and has built a significant portfolio of software companies.