Interestingly, in many, if not all of our briefings, we ask technology vendors how much of their business is in the cloud and how much is on-premises. For some, the answer is 100% cloud, but you would be surprised how many planned to be cloud-only by 2022 but still have large (and in some cases growing) numbers of clients opting for or demanding on-premises deployments.
Cloud File Management
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.
That is a tough pill to swallow for many enterprise software companies, but Box appears to be committed to it. From a buyer’s standpoint, it makes the platform attractive and predictable in terms of cost. From Box’s perspective, it means a short-term hit but much stickier and longer-term relationships with its subscription base.
You can read more about the arcane world of file migration in our recent report, but though this Analyst Note focuses on Box Shuttle, the fact is we are seeing a surge of interest across the board in moving files to the cloud. And that shift opens up a wide range of new opportunities and challenges for firms to adapt, and to innovate in ways they could not do while keeping files on-premises.
This past week, Utah-based NetDocuments ownership switched from Clearlake Capital Group to private equity firm Warburg Pincus, reportedly, for reportedly, over $1B documents. It’s an exciting move for NetDocuments, whom we know pretty well, for several reasons. Firstly, such a large deal will surprise many in the industry as NetDocuments, as the saying goes, flies beneath the radar.