Datavantage Acquires CommercialWare for $13.2 Million
February 6, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
A company called Datavantage, a name that most iSeries shops probably have not heard of, last week got into the OS/400 platform when it acquired CommercialWare, a well-known specialist in OS/400-based cross-channel retailing software.
CommercialWare is based in Natick, Massachusetts, and was founded three decades ago by Donald Askin, the primary author of the OASIS catalog management system that was developed in 1979 for the System/34 and subsequently for the System/38, System/36, and AS/400. In 1995, CommercialWare developed a more modern, RPG-based catalog management system, which it called Mozart, using the old Synon fourth generation language development tool, and the software has been updated considerably and renamed twice in the past decade. CommercialWare’s CWDirect OS/400-based multi-channel merchandizing system and its Windows-based CWStore point of sale software were just enhanced in December 2005 with gift card functionality, through a module called CWValueCard.
Datavantage, which is based in Cleveland, Ohio, is itself a subsidiary of Micros Systems, a publicly traded software company that specializes in the retail and hospitality industries. Micros Systems booked $597 million in sales in its fiscal 2005 ended June 30, and brought a smidgen more than 10 percent of that to the bottom line. The company has a market capitalization of $1.8 billion, and to say that CommercialWare is a tiny piece of Micros Systems is an understatement. CommercialWare and Datavantage already had 400 customers in common, so Micros has a pretty good idea how to integrate the solutions it acquired to the ones that it already owned. CommercialWare will operate as a division of Datavantage, and CommercialWare’s senior vice president of research and development, Jane Cannon, has been appointed as chief operating officer of that division.
The CommercialWare acquisition does not include a subsidiary called OrderMotion, which has been spun out as a separate company and which has just hired founder Askin as its chief executive officer. OrderMotion has created a Web-based order management and customer relationship management software suite for small and medium direct retailers. OrderMotion is not sold as a package, but as a service, and it is written in Microsoft‘s .NET languages and protocols. OrderMotion was acquired by CommercialWare in December 2003, and the company says that last year, its retail customer cranked some $330 million in orders through the OrderMotion service.