Enterprise Apps

CDC Aims to Leverage Microsoft CRM’s Momentum With c360 Buy

CDC Software is adding another CRM software vendor to its portfolio of acquisitions that will expand its product line and widen its distribution channel.

On Thursday, the company announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase c360, a provider of CRM add-on products, industry-specific applications, and development tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Based in Atlanta, c360 is privately held and sells its products through a network of over 450 authorized partners.

The c360 acquisition will plug a hole in the company’s CRM product line, which is based on the Pivotal acquisition, Eric Musser, chief technology officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy for CDC Software, told CRM Buyer.

“We realized that we were missing a complete market segment in the CRM space — one in which Microsoft is doing quite well,” he noted.

Complementary Categories

Microsoft CRM is geared largely for customers in the SMB space — a rapidly growing constituency for this software category. Pivotal, for its part, is more suited to the middle-to-upper market, and focuses on the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and home building industries.

c360’s industry-specific applications are complementary to those CDC already offers, Musser added. For instance, they include a popular high-tech vertical, he noted.

Riding Microsoft’s Coattails

There is momentum behind Microsoft CRM, Musser said, which is translating into larger accounts for partners such as c360.

“We want to take advantage of that,” he remarked.

c360 will remain a Microsoft ISV (independent software vendor), operating as a stand-alone company, with its management remaining in place.

Other CDC acquisitions include Ross Enterprise Resource Planning; JRG, an on-demand supply chain solution; and Horizon Companies, a services outsourcer.

Not Right for Everybody

Missing from that list is Onyx, which fiercely resisted being acquired by the Hong Kong-based firm in January. CDC made another attempt, also rebuffed, in March.

c360 does not appear to have the same qualms as Onyx did.

“By joining CDC Software, we will have access to the financial resources to take advantage of today’s tremendous market opportunities, increase our product research and development efforts, and grow aggressively as a Microsoft ISV worldwide,” said John Gravely, co-founder and chairman for c360, who will remain with the company post-acquisition.

At the same time that it renewed its effort to acquire Onyx, CDC also announced it had formed a new company to manage the various enterprise applications already gathered under its umbrella — as well as future acquisitions.

CDC plans to focus on CRM first, then on extended enterprise applications for the process manufacturing markets, followed by value-added business services to complement these areas.

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