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Precisely acquisition sets the stage for data integrity market consolidation

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Precisely, provider of a range of tools for integrating and enhancing data, this week revealed it is being acquired by Clearlake and TA Associates as part of an effort to build out a data integrity platform for digital business transformation initiatives.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed, but industry reports placed it at $3.5 billion. Centerbridge Partners, the current majority shareholder in Precisely, will continue to retain a minority equity stake.

Precisely was formed as Syncsort acquired the software and data business of Pitney Bowes at the end of the last year. Ironically, in 2017 Clearlake sold Syncsort, along with Vision Solutions, a provider of data protection software for IBM platforms, to Centerbridge Partners. Prior to that, Synscort acquired Trillium Software, a provider of data quality tools, in 2016.

The Pitney Bowes deal expanded the scope of Precisely’s offerings to include data enrichment capabilities, such as location services. Previously, Syncsort had been focused mainly on data integration tasks involving legacy IT platforms. Following the closing of that deal, the range of capabilities Precisely could provide transformed instantly, CEO Josh Rogers said.

Today Precisely is double the size of Syncsort, with about $600 million in annual revenue, he added.

Once the deal involving Clearlake and TA Associates closes, Rogers said Precisely will continue looking for other potential mergers and acquisitions.

As Precisely increases the scope of its portfolio, it will naturally find itself competing to varying degrees with larger rivals, ranging from integration platform providers such as Informatica and Talend to data management platform providers such as IBM and Oracle. Precisely will remain primarily focused on data integrity, while continuing to rely on partners such as Collibra to provide customers with complementary data management tools, Rogers said.

In general, there’s a lot more focus on data integrity because senior-level executives want to have more confidence in the business decisions they are making based on the data residing in their applications, Rogers noted. The success of any digital business transformation is dependent on the quality of the data used to drive those processes, Rogers said. “Data is the fuel for digital transformation,” he added.

At the same time, organizations are investing in AI applications that require access to massive amounts of data that needs to be highly accurate, Rogers said. Otherwise, the processes organizations are looking to automate will not be reliable enough to implement.

Rogers said there is a definite trend toward democratization of access to data in the longer term. IT teams will still play a major role when it comes to managing data, but there will continue to be a lot more focus on enabling end users to self-service their own data needs without requiring any direct intervention on the part of an internal IT team.

Regardless of how data integrity is achieved and maintained, it’s apparent data management and quality issues that have often been ignored for years are coming to the fore. Business executives are under more pressure than ever to make business decisions faster, and in many cases, entire interactions with customers might be automated based on the data an organization has collected. However, if that data is unreliable, the outcome will not only be suboptimal for the business, it will also likely result in a decrease in overall customer satisfaction.

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