So by now, you have heard the news about the Omniture acquisition by Adobe. Some out there have pinged me for my thoughts on the matter. Since my blog is reserved for education vs. opinion, I am inclined not to comment much on the matter, but given the magnitude of the transaction, I thought I might provide a few random thoughts…Since football season is starting, I will do my Peter King impression with “10 Things I Think.”
10 Things I Think About the Acquisition
- I think that Omniture has some great products and even better people. I wish them the best and hope that this acquisition doesn’t impact them in a negative way.
- I think that the two companies are a strange match. I understand the potential synergies and know that both companies will do their best to portray the acquisition as having a synergistic effect, but I am a bit skeptical. When you spend years preaching about optimizing websites and conversion, I don’t see how that jives with a company that makes design related products. Sure you can track Flash components and Flash microsites better, but you could do that without the need to acquire the company that does the tracking.
- I think acquisitions are hard and fail more often than they succeed. Integrating two companies is simply hard work. Many years ago, I was a Lotus Notes expert. Lotus had a thriving e-mail and collaboration tool. People like me ran consultancies around their products. Then IBM bought them and the product died. If you are still using Lotus Notes today, you are one of the few (and maybe proud?). Lotus Notes became an after-thought to IBM as it was a small part of their overall business. I fear that the same thing could happen to Omniture at Adobe.
- I think that Omniture acquired too many companies too fast and this may have led to a loss of focus. The Omniture leadership team often spoke about the goal of becoming a company that generated a billion dollars in revenue/year. I think that all of the companies that Omniture bought and the difficulties in integrating them together may have made it more difficult for the company to achieve its goal. I think they had the right vision of creating a cohesive online marketing suite (minus the sorely needed e-mail provider acquisition), but I think a more methodical approach and more up-front integration plans could have made a world of difference.
- I think a good question to ask is why Omniture chose to sell now? While they are getting a decent premium, I am sure they could have stayed independent for a while and continued to grow the company. Did the management team feel they had taken it as far as they could? Did they find the prospects of future growth too daunting?
- I think that Google Analytics played a silent, but big part in this transaction (the elephant in the room!). I also think that the long term winners of this deal could be Unica and/or Eloqua.
- I think that Adobe should focus on three of Omniture products: SiteCatalyst, Test&Target (formerly Offermatica) and Insight (formerly Visual Sciences). Without trying to offend anyone, I think these three products are the most valuable and unique to Omniture. If I were in charge, I would focus all Omniture development resources on those products…
- I think that five years from now, there is a chance that we may all be viewing websites and display ads that are much more Flash-intensive and interactive and that there will be people running those sites/ads using Omniture data and targeting to get more and more of our money! Those people will look back on this date as the day that things changed for the better. If Google Analytics can drive more advertising revenue for AdWords, maybe Omniture Analytics can drive more product revenue for Adobe…
- I think that Adobe would be wise to keep Omniture as a standalone brand since it is very well known in the web analytics space (not to mention that I would have to change my Twitter Name!). I don’t care if they want to cross-sell products, but the last thing Omniture customers need right now is rebranding, bundling, new contract/payment terms, etc… (unless they want to go down the free model which I would be supportive of!). Trim the fat, re-focus the company on a few core products, retain the good folks and I think they will see a profitable subsidiary.
- I think that Adobe could do the following to help Omniture customers and be seen as heroes:
- Use their size and $$$ to find a way to make SiteCatalyst servers more robust, reliable and speedy
- Find a way to simplify Omniture products so they are on par with newer analytics tools like GA (there is a cool product named Flash with which they could build a state-of-the-art SiteCatalyst interface!)
- Deliver on the product-to-product integrations for which Omniture customers have been anxiously waiting
- Find a way to provide more Omniture resources to help customers through Support and/or Account Management (and give Ben a raise!)
I wish both companies the best and hope to continue to be an advocate and champion of the Omniture products…