Merger Bright with Promise and Vision – Will it Deliver?

As Dassault agrees to acquire Apriso, I hope they can deliver on the vision.

As Dassault agrees to acquire Apriso, I hope they can deliver on the vision.

Is consolidation a blessing or a curse? Is becoming part of larger organization a better place to be or not? As another Manufacturing Execution System/Operations Management (MES/MOM) provider is being acquired by a larger company, I ask these questions. Dassault Systemes has agreed to acquire Apriso and since they are both clients I know them both well. I think they are both innovative companies that have broken the molds in their respective industries, meeting with great success as a result.

The promise is great.

The vision is strong and clear – close the loop in the product lifecycle and in the experience that a company can get with their enterprise-wide innovation software. This is not a market first, as Siemens PLM blazed that trail. However, Dassault has also already made a foray into the plant floor market space with the Delmia acquisition of Intercim. Apriso is a bigger prize, as it has become the prominent player in the MES/MOM market for success with enterprise-wide, multiple-plant-simultaneously rollouts.

Kudos to everyone involved for creating the joint value proposition and illuminating a vision. Also for finding a good match in terms of character, vision, and market focus. Both know how to put themselves in the industry frame to solve problems for specific issues, and that’s how companies buy.

Yet I have some nagging concern.Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many acquisitions of smaller software companies out to do the right thing for customers who lose their way as part of a larger company. Heaven knows I’ve seen many of those over 30 years!

Maybe it’s just because I’m starting to lose faith in the public company model. It seems to me that public companies inherently measure the wrong things, are forced into short-term thinking, and get too much of their direction from outside. I’m learning that meaning comes when the fire comes from inside, and most public companies are run from a spreadsheet mentality, not from a passion for the people.  I know people will find this assessment appalling on my part.

This may be the worst possible context in which do it. Bernard Charles, the Dassault CEO, is a truly inspiring visionary. He seems sincere in his desire to change the world for the better.  Dassault has been doing a great job with acquisitions and for their customers, and I expect they will continue to do so.

Perhaps they will break the public company mold and work more for shifting the experiences of the customers than the money of the shareholders. I sincerely hope so, as the business model must change. We must come back to delivering value to customers, business partners, and employees. Back to, as Dassault would say, creating great experiences where people can flourish.

I sincerely hope that Dassault – with is new-found strength in MES/MOM, does exactly that. I’ll be watching to see how well they can deliver on the promise of this acquisition and their vision.


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