"If you are a Lecorpio customer, one way or another you are probably going to have to go through...a long transition to a new IP management system.”
The recent news that Anaqua had bought Lecorpio has certainly been one of the biggest IP management surprises this summer.
Lecorpio and Anaqa have been competing against each other -- and IPfolio -- for several years.
The fact that one IP management software company is buying another very similar company has some unusual implications. Here’s our take on the deal’s implications for the IP management industryand for customers:
Consolidation in the IP management software category
This is Anaqua’s first acquisition of a company with a directly competing product, and it has already confirmed that sales and marketing activities will be combined for both brands, rather than operate independently.
It seems pretty clear that the rationale was to eliminate a competitor, acquire its customer base, then migrate a large percentage to Anaqua’s software product and service business.
This is going to create room at the top in those side by side assessments that drive customer selections of IP management software.
Larger companies usually pick at least three systems to evaluate, two of the main names in the market are now one. While IPfolio is usually in the mix there already, this may create some vacuum pull for another third player.
Questions over the future of Lecorpio as a product
What about the press release language and early media coverage indicating that Anaqua was committed to supporting both platforms?
If you’ve ever followed the outcomes of similar enterprise software category acquisitions, the fortunes of the acquired product usually rest with pricing and positioning.
If Lecorpio were an established SME or mid-market brand, it would probably make sense to retain both, but it isn’t. Lecorpio and Anaqua are very similar systems. They don’t truly serve separate needs, industries or functionality areas.
While Anaqua is usually more expensive, they both target large enterprise opportunities. Lecorpio, coming later, was modeled on Anaqua in many ways, and even intended to be the `better Anaqua.
A business case, therefore, for Lecorpio remaining as a standalone platform for very long isn’t obvious.
Questions over ongoing development of Lecorpio software
Similarly, its unclear why Anaqua would continue to apply resources to fix current issues with Lecorpio, develop new features or invest in the product roadmap. Particularly after the inevitable reduction in force that will likely fall on the Lecorpio more heavily. But all of these things -- fixes, builds, updates -- have to happen continually to keep software usable and relevant.
One area of concern would be the continued development of the country law rules used in the Lecorpio docketing module. Country law rules require constant work and updates pushed out to customers, there is high risk with out of date prosecution rules.
A product unsupported by engineering resources and a commitment to improvement is a platform that will progressively fall behind the competition and become a defacto legacy product.
Unfortunately, for the many companies using Lecorpio now this creates challenges over the long term.
Implications for companies currently deploying Lecorpio
Lecorpio (and Anaqua) deployments for large customers typically extend beyond a year. Companies in mid-deployment of Lecorpio now face a dilemma.
At the end of a lengthy and costly on-boarding process, they’re looking at going live in 2017 or 2018 with what will most likely become a legacy product in the next one or two years.
This doesn’t touch on any issues caused by inevitable personnel changes, such as whether the people managing the implementation process will remain in those roles.
And just in case anyone is in any doubt, you can't actually take two pieces of software and ```blend them together in some functional way. One software always goes legacy unless it serves a distinct, complementary and profitable segment of the market, and Lecorpio doesn't.
Lecorpio customers: transition to another system sooner or later
This is the one “take it to the bank” surety in this entire post-acquisition analysis. The following is from Anaqua CEO Bob Romeo:
“What we will set out to do is take a deep dive into each of our respective offerings and strengths, and then create something that doesn’t currently exist. So in the near term we will support both platforms, but over time we want to create a next generation product. We believe that the value proposition will be so great that there will be a natural migration of customers to that new platform.”
Whether its Anaqua's existing platform or this "new' third, platform mentioned above, there is one clear conclusion.
If you are a Lecorpio customer, one way or another you are probably going to have to go through -- and almost certainly pay for -- another long migration to a new IP management system.
That’s a quick analysis of the Lecorpio acquisition. And if you would like to take at look at the IPfolio IP management platform as an alternative, please let us know.