Why Workday disrupted Adaptive Insights’ IPO to take it over: CEOs

Private software-as-a-service company Adaptive Insights was ready to go public, traveling around the country promoting its upcoming initial public offering to its stakeholders.

Then cloud giant Workday came along, and $1.5 billion later, Adaptive Insights became a Workday subsidiary.

Adaptive Insights CEO Tom Bogan, who has called Workday co-founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri a friend for over a decade, told CNBC on Tuesday that Workday’s rapid takeover came down to one thing: compatibility.

“I think the key was the alignment of cultures of the two companies,” Bogan told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in a joint interview with Bhusri. “Very customer-centric, very employee-centric, and with the working relationship Aneel and I had, there was a lot of trust, which was required to do a deal in a very short time frame.”

Adaptive Insights, which focuses on cloud-based planning, collaboration and analytics, will add some $5 billion to Workday’s market opportunity, not to mention its 4,000 customers and suite of offerings, Bhusri told Cramer.

“We had this vision for enterprise applications that starts with planning, moves to execution, [then] moves to analysis,” the Workday chief said. “That’s how a business works: you come up with a plan, you execute against that plan, you analyze the results and you do it all over again. We had tried to do planning on our own, but came to the conclusion that we were several years behind companies like Adaptive and needed to be in that market today.”

That led to the quick deal-making that allowed Workday to complete its biggest-ever acquisition and become “the first and only company that can deliver planning, execution and analysis as one unified platform,” Bhusri said.

An additional advantage for Workday, which provides companies, universities and other organizations with financial and human resources management software solutions, is that it and its newest subsidiary are entirely focused on the cloud, the CEO continued.

“We’re both born in the cloud, which gives you a huge advantage — no legacy baggage. Born in the cloud, modern technology, happy customers and I think that, together with the employee-centered cultures, I like our chances” against longer-lived software providers like Oracle, Bhusri added.

Shares of Workday struggled amid marketwide weakness on Tuesday, closing down 0.72 percent at $128.78. The company’s most recent earnings report in early September topped estimates.

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