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Is an Enterprise GRC Market Split Underway?

by French Caldwell  |  September 30, 2010  |  Comments Off

So what are content services giants Wolters Kluwer and Thomson Reuters doing in the EGRC platform market? Both now have consolidated most of their GRC-related software and content services into distinct business units, and both are busily making acquisitions in the GRC space. Recently TR acquired a banking content services provider, Complinet, and WK acquired banking compliance and risk management vendor FRS Global. These acquisitions fill competitive gaps against each other, Complinet against WK’s Policy and Procedures product, and FRS Global against TR’s Kondor. It would appear that the two vendors are engaged in a tit-for-tat running battle around GRC as a promising market for content services. As an analyst I’m always on the lookout for some other explanation — surely they can’t both have the exact same strategy — but alas, it is what it is.

Which raises once again a question John Hagerty and I asked in the first take on the IBM-OpenPages acquisition. Is the market splitting? Here on one side are TR and WK, using EGRC as essentially a knowledge management platform to deliver their content services to GRC professionals, and on the other hand you have IBM, SAS, Oracle, SAP and some of the smaller best-of-breed vendors like BWise, Cura and Strategic Thought trying to deliver both a platform and risk analytics to GRC professionals. And in the middle you have several vendors who have neither an analytics nor a content services focus, but who deliver a good platform for managing GRC programs.

The GRC platform strategy depends upon multiple buyers within a company agreeing to use a common platform.  In that regard, it would seem that buyers who want better content services and those that need better analytical tools would look for vendors that offer both — the note that Dan Miklovic and I wrote on this topic, Combine Content and Workflow to Optimize a GRC Platform, a few months ago comes to mind.  Notably TR and WK have left their primary analytics tools outside their GRC business divisions, so they appear to have consciously decided not to compete with the BI vendors who are in the GRC market on that basis.  Notably LexisNexis does not really have a strong GRC platform play at the moment, leaving them open as a potential partner for those EGRC platform  vendors who are pursuing an analytics strategy but who also would want to pursue a content services strategy.  Or maybe LexisNexis would acquire — stay tuned.

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