Sunday, June 26, 2005

Grow or sell? Deltek hires former PeopleSoft CFO

Kevin Parker, PeopleSoft's CFO and co-CEO in the final days, has taken the top job at Deltek. Deltek is a firm of about $120M in annual revenues, compared to over $2B for PeopleSoft. In other words, Parker going from being the big toad in a big pond to big toad in a small pond. So why did he take the job?

First, some history. Founded in 1983, Deltek has been around for a long, long time. It started as a supplier of accounting systems to the Federal government. It has evolved over the past 20-plus years to become a niche vendor of project-based ERP systems, primarily to the architectural, engineering, and construction industries and government contractors.

I spoke with Deltek recently on behalf of a client in the aerospace industry. Although I found that Deltek had strong project management functionality, it lacked integrated product data management (PDM) integration and the field service/repair features that this client required. In other words, for many prospects, it is still not a complete solution.

In Deltek's press release, Parker noted that Deltek had 20% growth in software license sales last year. I'm not impressed. At $120M in annual revenue, Deltek is either suddenly on a strong growth spurt or it was coming off a disastrous 2003. Because Deltek is a privately held company, it's hard to tell. I would suggest that if Parker wants to increase sales he might look at partnering or acquiring solutions to fill those gaps in PDM and after-market service.

On the other hand, maybe Parker is being brought in to prepare Deltek for eventual sale. Deltek is a specialist in project management, which as I pointed out recently is a sector that has been the target of acquisition interest for major players. Deltek is 75% owned by private equity firm New Mountain Partners, and the family of founder Donald deLaski and the management team own the rest. Competitors in the project management space, such as Niku, which was bought recently by Computer Associates, have commanded good valuations. I find it hard to believe that Deltek's shareholders didn't notice.

Related posts
IT governance is hot as CA acquires Niku
Oracle takes control of PeopleSoft

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