Industry Opinion: Why I'm Optimistic About Blackbaud's Acquisition of Convio
(Tuesday, Jan. 17) — This morning's announcement that Blackbaud has agreed to acquire Convio has certainly made the day more interesting. A surprise to me and most of my colleagues, clients and partners, the press release has inspired more Twitter, e-mail and phone activity than I can remember in quite a while. Nearly everyone has asked the same questions: What will it mean? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Clearly it will take a while to understand the implications of the announcement and much longer to observe how the acquisition and subsequent integration — strategic, operational and technological — unfolds. But I'll risk it and offer two initial thoughts:
- The acquisition represents a colossal reshaping of the nonprofit technology landscape.
- There's lots of reasons to be extremely optimistic about the result.
Why it's big
If you're reading this article, you probably already know why the move is huge. But allow me to recap for a moment, with apologies to product managers at both companies for vastly oversimplifying the systems involved. Blackbaud is the de facto nonprofit technology standard when it comes to back-end systems. Simply put, it's a Raiser's Edge world out there. But its cloud products haven't gained as much traction, and its offering is a mixture of various home-grown and acquired solutions, from eTapestry to Kintera to NetCommunity to Sphere.
Convio, on the other hand, has become the standard for Web-based CRM, particularly in the rapidly growing advocacy and peer-to-peer fundraising spaces. Its move to integrate with Salesforce through Convio Luminate has brought powerful for-profit tools barrelling into the nonprofit space. However, Convio doesn't have the breadth or depth in back-end databases, nor the long history or massive installed user base that Blackbaud offers.
So the first reason this news is big is that these are the two leading players in nonprofit technology, by a large margin.