IFS Ultimo Deal - IMage credit Pixabay\TumisuThis week IFS announced it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire Ultimo Software Solutions, a Dutch-based Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solution. Enterprise Times spoke to Nils van der Zijl, General Manager, IFS EAM Centre of Excellence, to find out more about the deal.

Willem-Jan Scholten, CEO of ULTIMO, commented: “I am proud that we have successfully established ULTIMO as a well-respected provider of Enterprise Asset Management software in our core industries. The market is ripe for disruption, and we have a lot more to achieve, so being part of the IFS family means we can capitalize on our joint ambitions even faster.

“Now, as part of the industry’s #1 provider of EAM software, we have found a company in IFS that shares our values and provides the backing we need to take what’s so special about ULTIMO – with our product, customers, people and partners – to the next level.”

What is Ultimo Software Solutions?

Nils van der Zijl, General Manager, IFS EAM Centre of Excellence
Nils van der Zijl, General Manager, IFS EAM Centre of Excellence

EAM is a solution that IFS understands well. It has its offering that is embedded with IFS Cloud but is suitable for large complex deployments. Van der Zijl explained further: “Traditionally, we’ve been focused on the enterprise space, companies over half a billion. That’s where the specificity, maturity and complexity of assets warrant the solutions we offer.

“When you’re looking at the Ultimo proposition, it’s very much focused on point solutions and the mid-market. There are some exceptions. It’s very much orientated around a point solution, without too much integration and too much complexity that provides a very quick time to value. That’s where the differentiation lies. This is not so much the technology that we’re acquiring; it’s really the markets that we are acquiring.”

Ultimo is mainly targeted at the mid-market, is quick to deploy, and was recognised for the first time by Gartner in 2021 for its EAM solution. It is also cloud-based on the same platform as IFS, Microsoft Azure. It had a successful 2021 with SaaS revenues increasing by 55%, and recurring revenue makes up 56% of its income, up 9% from 2020. Total income in 2021 was around  €24.4 million in revenue.

Neither party disclosed the terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022. It will be interesting to see whether IFS and its backer negotiate a deal that sees Glide Equity Management take a minority shareholding in IFS. This happened recently with Tasktop’s investors receiving shares in Planview rather than cash.

Not only is Ultimo a solid business, but it also has an impressive customer list of more than over 2,000 companies across 40 countries. They include Hutchinson Ports ECT Rotterdam, London Gatwick and BASF.

What are the plans

Van der Zijl confirmed that IFS has no intention of integrating the technology into IFS EAM. Instead, it will continue to stand alone as a solution and business unit. Ultimo has integrations to S/4HANA, Exact and Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions, which will continue. When asked about integration to IFS ERP, he replied:

“It’s too early in the (planning) stages. We’re literally now in the face of integration and looking at developing those plans.”

It would be remiss of IFS not to integrate Ultimo into the IFS cloud, especially the ERP solution. The question is whether Ultimo can leverage additional components of the IFS Cloud and which customers are most likely to purchase.

What about the existing ERP solutions? Will IFS/Ultimo continue supporting them?

“Absolutely. 100%? Business as usual. We are not going to make any drastic changes at all. This is really about taking something that’s has a very strong domestic footprint in kind of the Benelux and then a little bit in DACH and UK, and then widening that and creating a global player.”

This deal makes sense because of the global reach and expertise IFS already has in the EAM market. It will enable it to recommend a solution most appropriate to the company looking for EAM.

The future

What will success look like in 12-18 months?

Van der Zijd replied: “In 12 to 18 months, success would be that we integrate the Ultimo business within IFS without any disruption in terms of making sure that we keep the team strong, we keep them focused. We’re really looking at expanding and doing that skill transfer in terms of the people we’re going to hire in the Nordics, North America, and UKI. Leverage that to start replicating the success they have had in independence.”

What will happen to the leadership team and Willem-Jan Scholten?

“He will remain in the same role within the IFS business. He will be running the Ultimo business. Business as usual in the short term. In the next six months, we will be making plans and how to evolve that. I don’t see his position changing in the next 12 to 24 months.”

That evolution may see IFS create a separate business unit devoted to EAM. Roos has already done that for Service Management and Aerospace and Defence

Enterprise Times: What does this mean.

The is a strong play by IFS in the EAM market. It seems to be very comfortable with the Enterprise technology stack. Unlike Infor, which sold its enterprise EAM solution to Hexagon last year and subsequently acquired a smaller company that included an EAM solution for the mid-market, Lighthouse systems.

It is very early days for this deal, and whilst it is signed, there is much to work out. When Enterprise Times spoke to van der Zijl, he was on a train returning from a meeting with Ultimo. The opportunity for Ultimo is huge.

It gives it access to the wider EAM expertise in IFS. It also gains access to its Sri Lankan support operation and a wider global presence. For IFS, if they integrate the solution to its ERP platform, it can offer something that few other vendors can provide, a sophisticated yet simple to deploy EAM solution that delivers value quickly.



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