Anyone interested in the world of NFP technology will have been interested to see the purchase of Convio by our good friends at Blackbaud. These are interesting times in the world of technology generally and it’s not always clear what to do next in more boring times, let alone when the whole world is being thrown up in the air.
On the surface the move look fairly logical but as hard as I try I can’t completely see the value and wonder whether it’s good thing generally for the sector. Keep in mind that debt has been used to fund the purchase so that means fundraising dollars will be going to service that debt + try and recoup the $275m paid. That’s not for me to judge but those banks are going to want that interest no matter what, just as the shareholders will want their ever-increasing returns or else.
Forgetting all of the business side of the deal it’s the technology that I can’t quite get. Both companies have purchased various companies to build their portfolio of services and the level of integration between some of those systems might not always be as great as it might look at the sales demo (so I’ve heard J). Now take two companies with completely different technology platforms and try and merge the two – all you’ve done is increase the complexity even further. It could take years to unpick.
And then there’s the platforms themselves – Blackbaud have invested heavily in Microsoft platforms, rebuilding their entire system – $50m was the last number I heard but it was a while ago so it could be a lot more by now. Should Enterprise CRM customers now be nervous?
Or should Convio’s customers be nervous?
Or are they just going to keep going with two platforms doing different things?
All the while the new breed of companies minus any of that baggage are popping up all over the place with an open view of things all looking to work together instead of shut out or block off the rest of the world. With the latest technologies like AWS, Heroku, Force.com etc people can build better, more scalable applications without all the headaches mentioned above.
I know which camp I’d rather be in…