Quest sees major solution, channel synergies with erwin acquisition

While both Quest and erwin have hybrid sales models, erwin’s channel has been more successful at driving new business, something that Quest is eager to emulate as it expands its channel business beyond fulfilment.

Heath Thompson, president and general manager of Quest’s ISM business unit

Quest Software has acquired erwin, a data modeling pioneer which has broadened its portfolio over the years to include data governance and business processing modelling as well. Erwin will be integrated into Quest’s Information Systems and Management [ISM] business unit where it will be positioned with Quest’s existing product sets. Terms of the acquisition, from private equity firm, Parallax Capital Partners, were not disclosed.

Erwin is a long-standing and well-known player in the industry. The original data modelling product actually dates from 1993, when it was developed by Logic Works. Logic Works was acquired in 1998 by Platinum Software, which in turn was acquired in 1999 by Computer Associates. With that latter transaction, erwin [then branded ERwin, an acronym combining Entity Relationship with Windows] would spend many years, along with the Arcserve data protection offering, as a primarily channel-focused component of a much larger company that was considerably stronger on the direct side.

Erwin was eventually spun out in 2016, with the sale to Parallax, and Adam Famularo, who had run channel sales at Computer Associates for many years, was appointed its CEO.

“Under Adam, data intelligence became the core of their strategy,” said Heath Thompson, president and general manager of Quest’s ISM business unit. “They noted that while 10-15 years ago, the IT world was still mainly about relational databases, which had gatekeepers for the rest of the business, during the last 5-6 years, with the rise of DevOps culture, the Database Administrator job has blown up and spread across a number of different functions. That has led to what is called the Democratization of Data, which is really the distribution of data, which enabled Line of Business people who need tools to access it to determine what is there. The strategy that erwin and Adam have followed was building a data intelligence product to parallel that change from Database Administrators to DevOps. Data intelligence and creating metadata catalogue around data governance has become their key business.”

Thompson stressed that the erwin data intelligence business has not displaced data modelling, but rather works in conjunction with it.

“What it does is build on the foundation of the data modelling, which I think is still very relevant today,” he stated. “You need to have a model of the underlying data to understand how to take it to new platforms. Their data intelligence capability sits on top of their data modelling, and it really builds on the story.” The erwin Data Intelligence Suite, the erwin Data Modeler, which is now focused on Big Data application development, and the erwin Evolve Suite for business process modelling and compliance now make up the erwin business.

Thompson also emphasized that these capabilities integrate very well with what Quest does, complementing their solutions and filling in some gaps.

“The ISM business unit is focused on systems that touch critical data, like Toad and Foglight, data replication, data protection and KACE systems management,” he said. “The key in all of them is critical data. We are really focusing on enterprise data management as a key theme for the business unit as a whole. Data is no longer just about IT, but about the business users as well, and that move to democratization of data has characterized erwin as a company.”

The data intelligence capability is something that Quest has not had previously.

“The data intelligence piece is a completely net new piece for us,” Thompson noted. “That’s one of the key elements of our strategy where we needed to fill in capabilities – the whole business intelligence side. Data modelling itself is the only area of overlap in the portfolio, with Toad Data Modeller, but erwin is still the gold standard.”

There are also strong synergies with the Toad portfolio.

“Erwin has had a lot of commonality with Toad over the years,” Thompson said. “We were selling to the same customers. Toad Data Point, which is a data preparation tool, is a nice complement to the data intelligence of erwin, and so there is a nice co-sell opportunity there.”

Thompson pointed out other logical synergies with erwin as well.

“Attaching Foglight, our product for monitoring and managing operations, to monitor business processes, is a clear synergy. With our data protection portfolio, there will be an opportunity now to not just back things up, but to extract metadata out of it as well. There could be some other interesting synergies with the data intelligence offering. We will also look at partners to do some things with it, and further M&As to do some more things.”

Quest will also be able to significantly expand the erwin business geographically.

“Quest has a global reach,” he said. “Erwin has been strong in North America, and  less strong elsewhere. We can take erwin through both direct and channel in EMEA, LatAm and APJ to increase their business.”

Quest also intends to leverage the erwin channel, which will be part of what Thompson has emphasized will be a stronger and more consistent channel presence within a hybrid model than has been the case with Quest in the past.

“Adam is a channel guy and erwin has a very strong channel business,” he said. “We will leverage our channel for them, and leverage their channels for selling Quest products. The channel has been important for fulfilment for us, but there has not been a lot of channel-led business. Erwin is the inverse of that, although they are also a hybrid model, with a very strong sales team and Alliance partnerships with big SIs and with Microsoft, for whom it is important because the data intelligence product has become a toolset for the shift to the cloud. We  intend to leverage those relationships, especially on the alliances and SI side.”

The immediate road map will be what erwin already had on the drawing board.

“Erwin has a robust plan, and we will let them execute that, while starting to explore portfolio synergies,” Thompson said.

Famularo will also be staying with Quest, for a while at least, rather than immediately parlaying his success at erwin into another CEO job.

“Adam is committed to the success of erwin in quest and will be around for the near-term future at least. Their entire leadership team is committed to that.”