Midlevel erp software developers SSA Global Inc. and Lawson Software Inc. are both on the acquisition hunt to line up more complete product offerings that can compete in some areas with top-tier competitors.
SSA Global has been grabbing companies that add market share or a customer base. The Chicago-based vendor of enterprise resource planning applications has already acquired three this year, including Baan Co. It expects to close on its purchase of EXE Technologies Inc. next month.
In this way, SSA has grown from $140 million in annual revenue to a projected $645 million in less than three years.
The goal of SSA now is to take the best-of-breed functionality from various acquisitions and merge them to create a single ERP offering. For example, the company will release its SSA Financials suite in the middle of next year; it will be a compilation of both its own and acquired financial products, officials said.
The company plans to pursue two product lines. The first will be centered on process industries, focused on IBMs iSeries server platform. The other will target discrete manufacturing, automotive and high tech, with applications based on the Unix platform.
The lines will eventually come together as SSA develops more in Java, according to officials.
ITT Industries Inc. is using multiple ERP platforms that fall under the SSA umbrella, and it hopes to work side by side with SSA as the vendor develops its product integration strategy.
"We want to have a say in language, currencies and system functionality, as well as interoperability with some of their core systems that we own," said Mark Goetze, director of enterprise applications at ITT, in White Plains, N.Y. "We started the process [at SSAs user conference]. Thats the beauty of dealing with a tier-two player. With SAP [AG] or Oracle [Corp.], we might not have as much of a say in their development efforts."
Meanwhile, Lawson, of St. Paul, Minn., is on a bit of a shopping spree. The company, which acquired Apexion Technologies Inc. and Closedloop Solutions Inc. late last month to boost its health care vertical and budgeting software offerings, is working on an acquisition strategy that will help it better compete with big companies.