Aptean Works to Gain an Edge


Aptean Works to Gain an Edge

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  July 24, 2014

I recently got a chance to attend Aptean Edge, an event in Las Vegas at which Aptean welcomed its customers and shared its product and strategy stories.

For those of you who are not familiar with Aptean, the company provides a variety of enterprise software solutions in such areas as analytics and business intelligence, CRM, and ERP. The company was formed a couple years ago when its current owner, Vista Equity Partners, bought CDC Software (News - Alert) and Consona, and brought their offerings together under the new name Aptean.

CEO Paul Ilse, formerly CFO of RedPrairie Corp., where he successfully headed up the company’s mergers and acquisition effort, joined Aptean in March of 2013. In his Aptean Edge keynote speech, Ilse said that last year when he was new to the company, some customers may have wondered if Aptean was even a viable company. But today and going forward, he assured the audience, Aptean is the kind of partner customers can count on.

“We have the right team to drive this company forward,” he said. “Aptean is here to stay and grow with you.”

In 2014, Ilse said, Aptean’s three goals for the year are:

* to increase its solutions value via new investments in its product portfolio, including making them easier to deploy and integrate, and accessible via any kind of device.

* to strengthen its industry commitment, which refers to the company’s existing and continuing effort to deliver industry-specific solutions addressing the needs of various business verticals. This year, 75 percent of the features Aptean introduces will be industry-specific, and 81 percent of Aptean’s team has expertise in the verticals the company serves.

* to expand its partnerships with customers, with other companies in the business software ecosystem, and via acquisition where it makes sense.

During an interview with CUSTOMER magazine, Ilse said while CDC and Consona (News - Alert) both sold individual products, he is positioning Aptean to build a reputation for offering a great set of products and being a solutions provider.

Aptean delivers a broad set of products, which includes a collection of CRM solutions called Pivotal, Onyx, and Saratoga. Pivotal, explained Matt Keenan, Aptean’s vice president of CRM product management, is targeted at marketing, sales and services units at mid-market and enterprise-class organizations. Meanwhile, he said, Onyx and Saratoga address the SMB and lower end of the mid market.

Pivotal, the name of the company CDC bought about a decade ago, was a market-leading brand, with strong growth and big wins, in the area of CRM in the market before Salesforce arrived on the scene, Keenan told CUSTOMER magazine. During his presentation in Las Vegas, Keenan thanked Aptean’s Pivotal customers for sticking it out during what he referred to as a turbulent time for Pivotal. He explained to CUSTOMER that CDC had financial troubles and ultimately filed bankruptcy, and there were a couple years during which serious investment in Pivotal came to a halt.

“We kept the lights on” but didn’t advance the product to address customers’ interests, he said.

However, Aptean is now dedicated to investing in research and development, doing acquisitions, and forming partnerships to make sure Pivotal and its other products meet and exceed customer requirements, said Ilse.

Evidence of new investment includes Aptean’s new mobile first strategy, through which the company is leveraging HTML5 technology to deliver a consistent experience to customers whether they’re accessing the company’s solutions via the desktop, smartphone, or tablet.

Ilse declined to provide details about in which areas we might expect acquisitions by Aptean. But the company in May at Aptean Edge announced an important new partnership and related product, called Aptean Analytics.

That partnership is with Qlik, through which Aptean will leverage QlikView to power its Aptean Analytics–Business Intelligence dashboards and analytics solutions. The QlikView Business Discovery platform from Qlik, a leader in the analytics and business intelligence space, gives organizations quick and easy access to data, so they can find answers to specific questions, and use that information to drive better decision making for their businesses. That makes data more accessible and useful than it is when it’s presented in the more traditional way via static reports. Tools like QlikView that enable business leaders to get answers to specific questions and drill down into data from multiple angles can be transformative in helping businesses fine-tune how they operate and identify opportunities, according to Aptean and many other sources.

The initial Aptean products leveraging the QlikView-powered analytic dashboards target the electronic and medical devices, financial services, food and beverage, metals, retail, and software industries. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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