The summer has not been vacation season for Syncsort when it comes to acquisitions. Within the past week, it has announced a technology acquisition of a small mainframe data integration partner, and yesterday, announced intent to buy the data enrichment business of a large public company that is pulling back from the software tools business.
The headline is Syncsort’s proposed $700 million cash acquisition of Pitney Bowes’ Software solutions business, which is expected to close before the end of the year. For Pitney Bowes, the choice was to double down on its core shipping, mailing and related financial services businesses, while for Syncsort, the acquisition extends its Connect integration portfolio with new data enrichment and analytic tools.
Specifically, they will include Pitney Bowes’ products that are designed to help piece together a single view of the customer through location analytics, geographic data enrichment, and customer engagement tools. Syncsort previously broke into the market for data quality and data enrichment with the Trillium deal nearly three years ago. Trillium provided automated data quality tools, and like the Pitney Bowes portfolio, has capabilities in address correction (Trillium itself came out of Harte-Hanks, which is a marketing services company).
While we believe that there is likely to be some product overlap in data enrichment there, Pitney-Bowes location intelligence capabilities puts Syncsort squarely into the customer analytics business with capabilities to, not only enrich the data with location-related information (e.g., postal code, demographics), but also to aggregate insights based on locale that could then be applied to make on-the-ground operational decisions. The Customer Information Management and Customer Engagement tools will in turn put Syncsort into the Customer 360 analytics business. These are new, solutions-oriented businesses that go beyond Syncsort’s operational niche.
Closer to home, Syncsort announced last week the acquisition of SQData, which will plug into its Connect data integration portfolio. The 10-person privately-held company, founded in the early 2000s, specialized in mainframe data connectivity. While Syncsort already had support for connecting to VSAM and Db2/z (mainframe) data, SQData brings expertise with connecting to IMS, and converting the Cobol Copy Books to metadata that can be fed to more modern file systems. The companies were hardly strangers, given Syncsort’s mainframe roots, and the facts that they shared a number of customers and already developed integrations with Syncsort’s data replication tools.
With Syncsort having recently added real-time change-data-capture (CDC) capabilities, the goal with the SQData is to extend the real-time CDC capabilities to all major mainframe sources. That would be coupled with the ability to integrate with Kafka and land in modern storage formats such as Parquet or JSON. And in fact there may be some legs to the notion of building direct connectivity from mainframes to big data or NoSQL database targets, skipping the SQL generation, as we discovered a few months back with a MongoDB customer. Which leads us to another startling conclusion: Wouldn’t MongoDB make a logical target for Syncsort’s mainframe data integration customers?