Application vendor Extensity talks up firsts

Extensity is moving fast. Two months after opening for business, the applications company is to release its first product update and make its first purchase.

Midmarket financial applications vendor Extensity is moving fast. Barely two months after officially opening for business, the company previewed its first product update and provided the rationale for its first pending acquisition at its inaugural user conference taking place in Las Vegas through Friday.

Home to a mix of legacy and more recent financial and performance management software that were previously part of Geac Computer, Extensity is funded by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Extensity formally came into existence in March after Golden Gate concluded its US$1 billion acquisition of Geac, a company that grew by swallowing multiple applications players and living off product maintenance streams.

Extensity is keen to distance itself from the Geac approach to growth purely by acquisition, although purchasing other firms is a cornerstone of its overall strategy.

Ken Walters, chief executive officer and president of Extensity, said the company looks to spend around 18 percent of its annual revenue on research and development (R&D) and support efforts. "We've made a very strong commitment verbally and in writing to customers about new development," he added.

To emphasize that point, Extensity gave its conference attendees an early look at version 7.2 of its flagship financial performance management software MPC which is due to ship this summer.

MPC 7.2 will include improved planning functionality with Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet and better integration with general ledger accounts through the OpenLink Enterprise Web-based user interface. The software will also feature a new way of displaying and summarizing performance metrics via Web gauges.

Indicative of the ongoing consolidation among midmarket and enterprise applications players, Extensity announced plans late last month to make its first purchase by buying U.K. software firm Systems Union Group for just under US$400 million.

Subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, Extensity hopes to complete the acquisition by the end of July and is currently putting integration teams in place, Walters said.

If approved, the move will help kickstart Extensity's publicly stated ambition to generate US$1 billion in annual revenue within the next three years up from the current level of around US$325 million. Acquiring Systems Union will straight off boost Extensity's revenue to US$500 million and double its headcount to 2,300 staff, Walters said. The purchase will also provide Extensity, keen to make more of a splash in Asia-Pacific, with a US$40 million business in that region, he added.

In his previous role as head of another Golden Gate-funded company, business applications firm Infor Global Solutions, Walters oversaw 19 acquisitions. "I got to hone the strategy of bringing companies together," Walters said. "Do the purchase right and spend an inordinate amount of time integrating."

He sees little product overlap between Extensity's software and Systems Union's applications. "We're very, very complementary," Walters said. Systems Union's financial, business and performance management products should sit well alongside those from Extensity and the company will fill in a hole in its portfolio through the addition of Systems Union's Vision financial and operational reporting software, he added.

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