Analyst Coverage: David Norfolk, Philip Howard and Fran Howarth
ASG Technologies was founded in 1986 by Arthur L. Allen (the name derives from Allen Systems Group) and is privately funded. Its ethos seems to be around having enterprising employees who love building software and it claims that its culture is about “helping our customers address their most prominent business problems so they can compete amid ever-changing market dynamics” (taken from its website).
Allen stepped down as its President at the end of 2014 and ASG Software Solutions filed for Chapter 11 in February 2015, because, although making money, it couldn’t service its debt. It emerged from this in only 2 months; with new private-equity owners and restructured debt. It is now owned by funds managed by or affiliated with KKR Credit Advisors (US) LLC, an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P: Franklin Square Capital Partners; Blackstone’s credit arm, GSO Capital Partners LP; Ellis Lake Master Fund L.P.; Cetus Capital, LLC, Stone Lion Portfolio L.P.; and some other leading institutional investors. Brad Colman of GSO Capital Partners LP, and Michelle Hour of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co join the board; but most of the existing senior management team (under John DiDonato, President, who oversaw ASG’s restructuring) continue to serve the company. It claims that it was able to fully honour all commitments to its customers, suppliers and employees, and to operate as usual while in Chapter 11.
It has over 60 offices worldwide; claims $250 million annual revenue and says that over 70% of the Fortune 500 companies use ASG software to help them optimise their investment in IT. To Bloor, optimising investment in IT is a fundamental aspect of good IT governance. ASG Software Solutions has an impressive customer list, including American Express, Coca-Cola, Daimler, General Electric, HSBC, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Merrill Lynch, Procter & Gamble, Sony, Verizon, and Wells Fargo.
ASG Software Solutions has a sophisticated big data story, supporting the trend towards using this for (and remembering that Big Data is more about the utilisation of data from all possible sources than it is about sheer data volumes). This is based on over 25 years experience in metadata and content management – which means that it has the governance and management capabilities needed to support reliable ‘actionable insights’ derived from Big Data. It also sells IT optimisation and end-to-end systems management tools; and now supports (with its CloudFactory, hosted or on-premise), cloud solutions for data centre automation, delivery of IT-as-a-Service and so on. It is one of the few companies that can manage IT seamlessly across mainframe and distributed platforms.
To Bloor, ASG Software Solutions seems to be one of those companies (like IBM and CA Technologies, for instance) that really does understand the IT needs of the Enterprise, based on long and deep experience. Being privately owned may allow it to concentrate more on its customers and their needs rather than on the vagaries of the stock market. There is a concomitant risk, for a private company, that its leadership loses touch with market trends, but ASG Software Solutions, with its enthusiasm for cloud (and its support for business values including business acceleration, workforce productivity, knowledge utilisation, compliance assurance, and optimisation of resources) seems to be managing this risk well.