Prior to Gartner as an end user I watched the rise of companies like Precise software (I was a customer), and Optier. I’m not going to rehash all of the interesting twists of Precise you can read them here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precise_Software the company was once worth well over $500m with some superb technology. With a successful $140m IPO in 2000, they were a high flyer. Through the changes of being bought twice after the IPO the business execution and leadership began to suffer. This was something they did not recover from, eventually resulting in a fire sale of the technology, where it was picked up for pennies on the dollar by Idera last year. We have high hopes Idera can rebuild the Precise technology and meld it with CopperEgg to create a compelling APM solution (of course SaaS and on premise).
Similarly Optier, another great technology innovator in APM, pioneered the use of advanced analytics in the space, didn’t suffer from vision or technology. The issues were once again the leadership outside of the technical parts of the organization. Having raised well over $100m in the last 9 years the company never kept pace with the changes in the market. Optier has finally closed their doors as of yesterday, really sad to see that the transformation from on premise heavy enterprise software to SaaS was not happening fast enough to fix the cash situation. Hopefully someone will acquire some of these great assets and possibly see the transformation through.
I’m starting to see yet another story follow in this similar path, but nothing I can write about yet… We shall see.
It’s certainly been an interesting 3 years at Gartner covering the APM space. Upon joining the company there was some innovation happening and the rise of two of the most well regarded and asked about companies in the APM space. Both AppDynamics and New Relic have been major disruptors in terms of making APM easy, inexpensive, and effective. Regardless of the depth and technical expertise of the companies (which they both clearly do have) it was about the delivery model and execution from a sales, marketing (which matters quite a bit), and senior management vision perspective. These two companies are both young, but the experience and leadership speaks for itself. Both having valuations well over $2b, and a path towards IPO, when they should they need the funding, they are the new generation of APM companies pushing the envelope.
I’m not discounting the technology and size of Compuware, they are going through a pretty drastic transformation themselves, and truly focusing on APM as a core business. Fixing some of the prior mistakes on the business side has been a journey for them, but there is no question on the vision and technology. Expect some disruptive capabilities from Compuware, they are not in follow mode, while many if not all other APM companies are.
There are few other companies in the space truly leading and innovating, but many are trying to change and catch up. The question is with the rate of innovation and change, can anyone actually accomplish that, especially with the level of growth and capital commanded by the leaders in the market.
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