That was one of the questions raised after my blog item commenting on the OFT’s full text of their decision to refer Capita’s acquisition of IBS to the Competition Commission.
Yes – I was the Director responsible for Civica’s Revenues & Benefits products (for a short time) and yes, in my defence, my main business recommendation on what to do with the R&B developments was not accepted by the Board. But no - I’m not about to reveal confidential information about my previous employer.
All I will say is that, immediately after acquiring responsibility for the products I met with (amongst others) two authorities that used the same Civica R&B products on the same day. One loved the product, the other didn’t. The one that loved the product spent little more than the annual maintenance fee with Civica, the other entered into projects worth £100k’s – showing just how unpredictable customers can be.
I gave up responsibility for the R&B products some two years ago and I don’t know how they have progressed since my departure - other than the OFT’s comment that it found that “third party responses did raise serious questions in relation to Civica's position in the market, highlighting its limited intentions with regard to competing for new work and perceived shortcomings in the quality of the product on offer which would require significant investment.”
So, I can but recommend that you talk to Civica’s existing customers (more than one) to find out about the products.
However Civica, like Anite with Pericles, lacks the market share and apparently the reputation to succeed in pure R&B applications – witness the lack of new sales activity identified in the recent OFT reports. In the Local Government market the saying goes that “good news travel slowly, whilst bad news travel like wildfire”. Both are/were in the same boat.
But should Capita be forced to divest IBS, I would guess that Civica could potentially be in pole position to pick it up, were a trade sale route followed. With Comino’s successful workflow and document management applications in R&B departments, a Civica/IBS R&B offering would be serious competition for Capita and Northgate – perhaps another reason why Capita will fight to retain IBS (and if not, to ensure it doesn’t fall into Civica’s hands)?