Data Quality/Data Profiling Partnership Results in Buyout

Acquisition could be a winner for all involved

Late last year, data-profiling pioneer Evoke Software Corp. partnered with data quality specialist Similarity Systems to deliver a “universal” offering that addressed both data profiling and data quality.

As it turns out, that “partnership” was a prelude to much more substantive cooperation between the two companies. Last week, Similarity Systems acquired Evoke from parent company CSI International in a deal that some analysts say looks to be a winner for all involved.

“Evoke should help Similarity Systems increase its presence outside of Ireland and the UK, especially in the U.S.,” says Rob Lerner, a senior analyst for application infrastructure with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., who notes that of Evoke's more than 100 customers, 70 percent are U.S.-based. “[D]eveloping a position in the U.S. market is a strategic imperative for Similarity Systems, and Evoke, with its customers and brand recognition, should help the company in this regard.”

Evoke’s customers include several blue chip names, such as Boeing, MetLife, GM, SBC, and Verizon, among others.

The combination is dictated in large part by the ongoing convergence of data profiling and data quality, which is what prompted the two companies to partner in the first place. In the past, Lerner had pronounced Similarity Systems’ ATHANOR data-quality offering a good fit for Evoke’s technology.

This time around, Lerner says, Evoke is still a good fit for Similarity Systems—and vice-versa—on the technology front. But Similarity Systems also brings some much-needed direction to the table, Lerner argues. “With respect to Evoke, the company has lacked a strong strategic direction for some years, and the merger with Similarity Systems should change this, given the importance of data profiling to the data quality market,” he writes.

Needless to say, says Lerner, the two companies will benefit from already having notched a partnership, which after nine months has resulted in some degree of integration between the product lines and sales forces.

However, the acquisition isn’t a complete slam dunk, says Lerner. “[T]he companies didn’t disclose some of the details of the acquisition, such as the cost and what, if any, liabilities that Evoke brings to the table,” he writes.

What’s more, this isn’t the first time Evoke has changed hands. The data profiling pioneer was originally acquired by CSI, after all, and this second acquisition could further confuse—and potentially alienate—some existing customers. “Some customers are also bound to be concerned about the long-term stability of Evoke and could begin shopping for another data profiling solution, one perhaps already integrated into a data quality solution set,” he notes.

Similarity Systems itself is new to the acquisition game, which could complicate things even more. [T]here will doubtless be some management distraction while the company starts assembling the pieces, which could negatively impact both the integration of the acquisition and the company’s ability to pursue business as normal,” he concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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