I had a chance recently to dig a little deeper into the recent acquisition of Purisma by Dun & Bradstreet. The way that this news leaked out was a case study in how not to do software PR. The news came out in an investor briefing by D&B, and there were no clues as to whether D&B was even going to continue selling the Purisma technology, or just use it for internal purposes. After all, D&B has daunting master data issues. 150 million companies are tracked, one and a half million updates a day made to the company information it sells: plenty of data management implications there. So what did this mean to Purisma customers and prospects? No clues were offered.
Having now spoken to Bob Hagenau, who was VP of products and co-founder of Purisma, the smoke has cleared a little. Purisma will be retained as a stand-alone business unit, with its own enterprise sales force. The Purisma technology will continued to be sold in its present form, though it is too early to say what the technology roadmap will look like; I am going to take a wild stab in the dark and say bet that further integration with D&B data will feature. Clearly the D&B name brings many benefits: a parent with deep pockets, a customer base that is essentially all large corporations and so a potentially wonderful leads channel. However the botched news release shows the dark side of a large parent in an different core industry: falling foul of the corporate bureaucracy, in this case the corporate press office.
Hopefully, as the acquisition beds down, Purisma will learn how to work the D&B corporate systems and avoid future press gaffes, while taking advantage of the undoubted resources that D&B can bring to bear.