I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who work for Concur, including their CEO, Steve Singh. Many of them have suddenly become very wealthy. To all of you, I say congratulations and well done! But what does the sale of this tech giant in our industry mean for all others in our ecosystem of buyers and suppliers?
In case you hadn’t heard or were on vacation last week, SAP, the Germany headquartered global technology giant, announced their acquisition of Concur. The magnitude of the sale, their largest acquisition to date, cannot be underestimated or ignored. For our industry, this is truly a game changer. Let’s look at the dynamics. Concur is one of the leading providers of integrated travel and expense management solutions with an impressive clientele list. Concur, on the other hand, is known for their innovation, drive to become more ubiquitous, clever business strategies, and talented leadership. Steve Singh is one of the smartest men that I have ever met and been privileged to know. His company directly reflects his character. SAP, on the other hand, is known to be more conservative and slow moving. It relies on safe and predictable strategies, it is risk adverse, and consensus-driven in making decisions. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense that they would want Concur’s clientele.
According to what I’ve read, SAP will retain Concur as a separate entity within the company. However, this acquisition begs a few questions: Will they attempt to “SAP-ize” the existing Concur culture? Will Concur talent leave for greener pastures and new opportunities? Will this large investment and clientele pay off? Clients have the option to cancel their agreements and find a new supplier, especially if they sense that the innovative culture of their current supplier is changing or will change in the future. Time will tell if this expensive acquisition will work and pay off for SAP.
As a person who has friends and has dealt professionally with both SAP in Waldorf, Germany and Concur in Belleview, Washington, I can see how the road ahead will be challenging. However, if successful, the combination of both giants will be historic. Having recently gone through a much smaller acquisition of ACTIVE Network by Vista Equity, and a subsequent merger with Vista’s Lanyon, from my own perspective, success is wholly contingent upon the willingness of all sides to come together and focus on the newly combined entity. I wish both companies the best of success in coming together and transforming the industry with their combined strengths and talented leaders.
To read more about the acquisition, please click here.
Kevin Iwamoto, GLP & GTP
Vice President of Industry Strategy