Today saw the Netherlands-based Unit4 business software group publish its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2012. Its core business is focused on ERP and related financial tools, but its software portfolio also includes the UK-based Business Collaborator SaaS construction document collaboration and workflow business which ceased to exist as a separate unit just over a year ago (post; BC is now a toolset offered through Unit4collaboration).
In challenging European market conditions, Unit4 grew revenues 5.4% with profits up 3%, while the earnings from SaaS and subscription models are becoming an increasingly important contributor to group revenues, growing 31% during 2012; its SaaS and subscriptions generated €57.0m, or about 12% of total group revenues (€469.8m). It says a trend towards SaaS is now “clearly evident” and “increasing numbers of potential customers are considering moving to the cloud, including for full ERP suites.” And industry watchers suggest “Unit4 is becoming a persistent irritant to the likes of SAP and Oracle in the UK public sector.”
This will make interesting reading to executives at Viewpoint, a US construction ERP vendor, which recently made its first European acquisition, buying SaaS construction collaboration business 4Projects earlier this month (post), and talking about eventually offering integration between the two products, which would make its AEC-specific ERP platform available to 4Projects customers and others in Europe.
Given that it was a relatively small operation alongside the big Unit4 corporate offerings, there was no overt reference to the collaboration business in the results announcement nor in the segment of the analysts briefing that I listened to online (I noticed that in the Netherlands ‘big four’ accountancy firm PWC signed an additional contract for UNIT4 DocumentManager in 2012 – but I am not sure if this is the same technology).
I am hoping to get an update on the BC business’s progress when I attend the Unit4 user conference in Birmingham next month. According to the website, this event will also feature an exclusive preview of the latest edition (v6.1) of Business Collaborator with key features including a public API, QR code integration, enhanced usability, richer desktop integration, and a streamlined global dashboard.