David Kim, MD of the Americas for Innovations Software Technology briefed me recently on the Bosch acquisition of the company. Innovations Software Technology was founded in 1997 and had grown to about 120 employees by September when it was acquired by the Bosch group.
Bosch is a $63B company (61% automotive, 13 %industrial, 26% consumer and building) with products in everything from car parts to appliances and tools. Like many German companies Bosch is focused on export (75% of its revenue comes from outside Germany), committed to R&D (about 7-8% of sales) and is privately owned with 92% of the share capital held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation.
Since the acquisition Innovations has grown to 200+ employees with the extra staff coming from a mix of new hires and Bosch transfers. They are adding offices in Palo Alto and Singapore to their current German and Chicago locations. Bosch’s stated direction is to create a new independent software company as part of the group based around the core acquired with Innovations Software Technology. Innovations Software Technolgy has a long history of developing embedded applications – their software runs in trains, the German mail sorting machines and cell phones – and Innovations was always split between custom development and their BRMS-based business. Clearly both strands of history were interesting to someone like Bosch as more and more pieces of machinery are becoming “smarter” in today’s environment.
Details of the target markets/product mix for this new company are not yet public but Innovations’ BRMS Visual Rules will apparently remain at the core and they will continue to sell both their packaged industry solutions and their newer Dynamic Application Framework. With the support of the Bosch group, Innovations now offers broader worldwide support with new offices, more stability and, so far at least, no change in business focus.
We did not have time for a full update on Visual Rules – soon perhaps – but it now consists of the long standing Modeler product, a repository (Team Server) and an execution server for Decision Services. The dynamic application framework is built on top of this as are the industry solutions.
Overall David presented the acquisition as a positive for Innovations and made the point that it had not needed to be acquired – it was profitable and self-funded – and that it had turned down other offers. Hopefully he is correct and we will see a strong new player in the decisioning space. With all the change going on in the market there is clearly an opportunity for some well-funded and managed pureplays.