Ring the acquisition klaxon: US-based human resources software Workday has acquired the forecasting and budgeting specialist Adaptive Insights for a cool $1.55bn.
Adaptive Insights was all set to go public after filing for a NASDAQ listing last year, but at the 11th hour Workday swooped in to broaden its product portfolio.
“Through acquiring Adaptive Insights, we’ll accelerate our financial planning technology roadmap by two-to-three years and deliver new and advanced modelling capabilities to our customers,” said Workday’s CEO Aneel Bhusri in a statement to investors.
Bhusri clarified that Adaptive Insights will continue as a standalone company. But the Adaptive Insights business cloud would deliver new, advanced modelling capabilities to Workday customers. Bhusri also noted that Adaptive Insights would now be able to draw on Workday’s extensive army of enterprise sales reps.
Putting aside any thought of that huge chunk of cash, Adaptive Insights founder Rob Hull said, “Workday’s core applications for finance and HR are perfect complements to our business planning cloud solutions.”
While the acquisition came out of left field for some market observers, signs of Workday’s thinking emerged in an AccountingWEB interview last year with Workday VP of financial product strategy in EMEA, Tim Wakeford.
Wakeford, a longtime CFO, spoke about the power of aligning resource planning with hard financial numbers. “If I can line up my entire business by department and know the revenue they generated and the direct cost of generating that revenue, I can quickly point out the weak and strong parts of the business,” he said.
The acquisition of Adaptive Insights brings the tools closer to hand to deliver that kind of analysis. Alongside Workday’s other two acquisitions this year - the machine learning firm Rallyteam in June and deep learning firm SkipFlag in January - Workday looks to be moving towards a more comprehensive enterprise planning strategy.
Reacting to the news, Michael Ford, the CEO of the forecasting software Castaway, said the acquisition “is really heartening” for a business like Castaway, as it shows they’re heading in the right direction.
“Where some parts of the accounting workflow are pretty much saturated with products, good planning software is an area that’s really untapped," said Ford.
“The CFO of today has a very different planning toolset available today than even five years ago, and the next five years promises even more rapid change. The challenge will be to develop agile organisations that can adapt effectively to the new insights and opportunities.”
About Francois Badenhorst
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