Here in the UK Spring has undoubtedly arrived, a time for fresh growth and new beginnings. It seems this also applies to company acquisitions and announcements. This time last year Flexera & ServiceNow both announced acquisitions in the SaaS Management space. This year, in the last week we’ve seen a former ITAM startup acquired for $350m, further tool acquisitions, and the announcement of a new ITOM (IT Operations Management) startup using AI to automate common IT Service Requests.
Solarwinds acquire SAManage
Solarwinds announced the acquisition of Israeli ITSM/ITAM company SAManage for $350m. Solarwinds’ core mission is focused on Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) so adding SAManage to the portfolio is an expansion into a new area. SAManage started out in the ITAM industry and quickly added ITSM capabilities to their product. It is these capabilities that they’ve focused on for the last few years, although they also consistently win awards for their ITAM product.
My view is that Solarwinds have acquired them in order to compete with ITSM leaders such as ServiceNow & Cherwell. It also provides a channel for automating and responding to IT Service Requests from users. Solarwinds’ core audience has until now been technical IT staff – Network Operations and Infrastructure – so this represents a significant move to being outward rather than inward-facing. As IT functions continue to directly manage less of their own infrastructure and pursue digital transformation projects this makes sense – they need to broaden their offering. It will be interesting to hear more on how they intend to integrate SAManage.
SoftwareOne acquire SAMSentry
SoftwareOne have been busy in the SAM acquisitions market, having recently picked up increased responsibility for Flexera’s operations in APAC. The acquisition of SAMSentry is smaller scale but they’re clearly in an acquisitive move across the board, having recently added Comparex. SAMSentry focuses on benchmarking ITAM operations and first-line audit defence and therefore dovetails nicely into SoftwareOne’s SAM Managed Services business.
Moveworks automates IT Service Requests with $30m investment
As our estates grow with the addition of new asset classes such as cloud and Internet-of-Things, the need for automation also grows. Gone are the days of an SME having around 5000 assets or users – a number that was just about possible to manage “hands-on”. Alongside this we’re also seeing a focus by IT departments on trying to improve employee experience and Moveworks are helping in this area with their product, a Helpdesk service bot. Their AI model, trained on 20 million real IT service requests/tickets, can autonomously action hardware and software requests. Out of the box they handle around 15% of daily tickets but with further training this ramps up to around 30%. They have some pretty big customers on board – Western Digital and Autodesk for example – and this is a new service area I’ll be interested in following. The potential to cut Helpdesk resource requirements by 30% whilst improving customer satisfaction is a win-win.
The ITAM takeaway
I feel that we’re starting to see the impact of digital transformation and automation in the ITAM industry. The elephant in the room here is ServiceNow, as Martin outlined in his recent article. From my discussions it’s clear that, particularly in the US market, ServiceNow have such an advantage from being the incumbent for ITSM in an organisation that they make it difficult for pure ITAM vendors to compete. At the same time, we have non-traditional ITAM vendors such as Qualys and Solarwinds entering the ITAM space. Anecdotally I’ve also heard that the SAM industry is increasingly on the radar of investors and financial analysts in recent weeks. Industry rarely stands still but I would expect further large announcements to come. Perhaps this is further evidence of ITAM in the ascendency – as part of a wider IT Operations Management capability. It’s certainly an interesting time to be an ITAM tool or service vendor.