Customers will win from buyout says Pivotal head

Expect faster and perhaps cheaper rollouts from CRM specialist Pivotal and a few more staff on the ground following its buyout by a US venture capital company.

Last week the customer management software company announced that it was to be bought for an estimated $US48 million by Oak Investment Partners, which looks after $US4.2 billion of investments in 300-odd companies.

Pivotal claims nearly 100 customers in Australasia, and the takeover has ramifications – good ones, says Pivotal’s Australasian head, Helen Robinson – for the company and its customers.

Robinson, a company vice-president, says the buyout was accepted because the company needed financial backing to keep growing, particularly in North America. Pivotal, according to the balance sheets on its website, was making net losses in the millions each year. Robinson says the company was financially coming right, but there was also a market perception that Pivotal needed more funding.

Pivotal, the company and product, will be merged with Talisma, another Oak investment which provides customer service and support products. The new company will keep the Pivotal name. Pivotal is already close to Microsoft, but Talisma is a keen developer of .Net applications. Talisma has services and R&D facilities in India, and Pivotal will take advantage of those to lower the costs of deployment. The company will continue to use its five local certified partners. Robinson expects Pivotal to add to its people on the ground in this region.

Robinson predicts the number of large software vendors will continue to shrink. The PeopleSoft-JDE deal is only the tip of the iceberg; expect “more and more and more” consolidation, she says.

As for the future, Robinson expects the newly flush Pivotal to buy niche players and incorporate their technology. A much bigger Pivotal, whose stock was traded on the Nasdaq and Toronto stock exchanges, may again go public some years down the track, she says.

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