Going Outside for Acquisitions

All markets are hot right now but security in particular is cooking.  Acquisitions and funding are the hot topics at this year’s RSA conference.  On Monday, I attended a panel with CTO or CIOs from HP, Cisco, Bluecoat and EMC/RSA.  The Cisco representative made the comment that even with his staff and resources, sometimes the company has to go outside for innovation.  The other panelists agreed.  In fact, they all have the same strategy; pay cash, keep the team on board, try to preserve the culture of innovation in their acquisition targets.  Also, because the market is hot, they can pay more.  The EMC representative said “when we bought RSA people complained that we paid a high price.  Now looking back everyone agrees it was a bargain.  In a rising market we can pay more.

Later in the evening I had dinner with the CTO of a $50 million revenue software company.  I told him about the comments I had heard earlier in the day.  He nodded.  “We are a lot smaller.  We have our development down to a science. Every project is documented and managed.  We are the NFL of development teams.  We are like the Seahawks.  But the more organized and predictable we get, the less we innovate.”  His solution?  Their highest growth product came from outside, and they will continue to go outside for acquisitions.

Posted by , on 25 February 2014
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