Pure and chased

Purisma has been acquired by Dun & Bradstreet, the business information company that provide, amongst other things, assessment of credit risk of companies and company statistics. On the face of it this is a somewhat peculiar acquisition, since D&B is not a pure provider of enterprise software solutions in the way that, say Oracle, is. However D&B did have its own data quality offering (clearly data quality is a big issue for an information supplier) and Pursima’s customer hub technology is certainly complementary to this data quality offering. It seems possible that D&B has bought Purisma primarily for its own internal purposes, and at this point it is unclear whether Purisma will even continue to be sold as a product in its current form. Rather ironically, Purisma had a product offering allowing integration of D&B into its CDI application. I guess that will come in handy now.

Purisma does not publish public financial data, so it is tricky to tell whether how good or bad the price paid of USD 48 million for the company was. I believe that Purisma had less than 50 employees and I would speculate that its revenues were in the USD 15-20M range. In general it is known that stand-alone CDI and PIM players have been struggling somewhat in the market. This is part due to a gradual dawning on customers that master data management is a broader topic than just “customer” or “product”, a long term theme of this blog. When customers ask “ah, but what about other kinds of master data” (asset, location, employee etc) then specialist CDI and PIM vendors do not have good answers, however good their offerings in their particular domains are. Even IBM has done an about turn on this topic recently, laying out a roadmap for a single MDM Server that will eventually bring together its menagerie of acquired technologies into a platform that will handle multiple master data domains consistently. For this reason I suspect that D&B did not pay over the odds for Purisma.

D&B has had phases in the past of buying software companies, and then moving away from this business e.g. those with long memories will recall the 4GL Nomad, which it sold off after some years. The press release that is tucked away on the Purisma web site today is not giving anything away. If press releases played poker, this one would be a tough player. Purisma customers need to seek guidance from D&B about its future intentions, and consider their alternatives.