Syncsort’s Pitney Bowes Deal: All About Good, Clean Data
December 11, 2019 Alex Woodie
Syncsort completed its $700 million acquisition of Pitney Bowes’ software and data business last week, just in time to get a piece of the end-of-year IT spending extravaganza. As Syncsort CEO Josh Rogers sees it, the deal will bring a host of benefits to existing Syncsort customers, particularly as it relates to feeding next-gen analytics systems with good, clean data.
The Pitney Bowes deal brings Syncsort new solutions that it can sell to business intelligence and data analytics organizations, including data quality, data cleansing, data matching, and data discovery tools. It also brings master data management (MDM) capabilities to Syncsort, as well as third-party demographic data and location analytics software.
Syncsort already had offerings in the data quality and data matching space, thanks to its 2016 acquisition of Trillium. But the other data tools, as well as the MDM and location analytics capabilities, will help to differentiate Syncsort’s offerings, Rogers tells IT Jungle in an interview.
“When you look at the capabilities that we have in the data integration space and our ability to combine those with the capabilities that Pitney Bowes has and the data quality location intelligence and data enrichment space,” Rogers says, “I think we can create some really interesting innovation that attacks specific use cases that are relevant to our customer.”
The Pitney Bowes tools will go far in helping Syncsort customers enrich and govern data as it flows through the data integration plumbing that Syncsort already had, such as Syncsort Connect and Syncsort Ironstream products that are designed to move data from IBM host systems into next-gen analytics systems like Hadoop, Splunk, and cloud-based analytics repositories from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
This gives Syncsort another part of the whole solution to sell, and entices customers to stick with Syncsort when putting together their new analytics systems.
“A large majority of those customers are trying to leverage the data that gets produced in the IBM i platform for additional analysis,” Rogers says. “That data is generally getting moved oftentimes off platform to some sort of data warehouse, data lake, etc. And at some point they need to be able to run that data through data quality routine and clean it up and append additional context so they can drive the insight they want.”
As the volume of data continues to increase, data quality is emerging as a critical component of successful analytics operations. The Pitney Bowes acquisition solidifies Syncsort’s position in this market, and Rogers sees a few different trends coalescing in how customers are going to address the quality challenge.
“One is, I think there’s an opportunity to make sure you can run the more traditional data discovery and data quality routines in these next-gen environments that your building,” he says. “Can you run this in Snowflake? Can you run them in Cloudera? Can you run these in MongoDB? And can you run them natively?”
The second trend is the realization that business experts have to be engaged to assist with the data quality process. “So how you engage business users with data? That generally manifests itself as a data governance program at enterprises,” he says.
Lastly, companies will set up systems to automate as much of the data quality process as possible. “Customer will start to look at how do I do a better job of understanding the types of data issues, that I see, and then dynamically building rules that help solve that issue as it comes up again and leveraging machine learning to automate that process.”
Pitney Bowes is also a large provider of third-party data, providing clean and standardized data on the names of companies, their addresses, and other information necessarily for doing many types of big data analytics. Amazon Web Services, for instances, recently launched its Data Exchange, and Pitney Bowes is considered one of the “anchor tenants.”
“I think it’s a really powerful differentiator,” Rogers says of the third-party data service. “I think the ability to get both the software and the data from one provider, to achieve this vision of high-quality data that you can trust, is tremendously simplifying for an enterprise.”
The Pitney Bowes’ data and software business that Syncsort just bought generated revenues of about $320 million last year. Combined with Syncsort’s existing data integration and data quality business (but excluding its IBM i high availability and security business), the deal puts Syncsort in an elite group of data management providers.
“When you look at all the data management companies out there, including BI vendors and database vendors,” Rogers says, “and you stack up the number of companies above $500 million, it’s not that long of a list.”