Many companies make acquisitions to diversify into new markets. Others do it to acquire revenues and customer bases. Workday has been consistent in the last few years to acquire analytical capabilities and talent especially in its back office focus areas – finance and HR.
So, its announcement today to acquire Adaptive Insights (and Rallyteam last week) does not surprise me. It follows the trajectory of its acquiring Platfora, Gridcraft, Identified and others to keep strengthening its analytical portfolio. It has also played footsy with Anaplan, Tidemark and others along the way.
Now you could ask why so many analytical tools? For as long as I have been in the industry, there has been a “holy grail” search for the ultimate “report writer”. But we have always had matrix reports a la spreadsheets, transaction reports, balance reports, queries and cubes of all sorts. In recent years we have seen an explosion in data, master data management, visualization tools, now using data to train machines. The journey continues. And nobody – not Oracle, not Microsoft, not SAP has come up with that unicorn of a single fountain of intelligence.
The price for Adaptive (which had recently filed to go IPO) at $ 1.55 billion is steep. Personally, I have been clamoring for Workday to invest more in verticalizing. After seeing SAP’s industry plans at SapphireNow last week, I am even more convinced Workday should invest more there. For now, Workday is doubling down on its back office focus. And continuing on the analytical holy grail.