Joining the Board of Basis Technologies
I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day. James Joyce.
A bit of reminiscing
I have been involved in the world of SAP in some form or other for about 25 years. While I don’t currently work with SAP as a client, my connections and relationships into the organisation and its ecosystem remain robust and extensive. I talk with SAP customers, partners and competitors almost every day. While my business is focused on HRTECH, understanding the broader enterprise software market is important to me. While at Gartner I was the lead analyst on SAP, so I became deeply aware of the all the challenges of Enterprise Support, executive shuffles, the early days of HANA and so on. I have attended more SAP Sapphires than I have weddings.
When I left SAP and set up Otter Advisory in late 2018, I realised, largely through the advice of Mike Ettling, that the combination of my Gartner, SAP, and product experience would be helpful for investors in technology companies. I’ve since developed a healthy flow of work in due diligence with leading growth and private equity firms. Over the past few years I’ve taken several courses in Finance and a Corporate Governance and I’ve become a non-executive director for two companies.
One of my first due diligence projects was to look at a payroll company called Immedis for Scottish Equity Partners (SEP). After I did the DD work, I did further advisory with Immedis, and then SEP and Immedis asked me to be an NED on the board. I’m really enjoying this and learning lots. Immedis is doing very well. More details here.
Several months ago, Keith from SEP asked me to have a look at a company in the SAP world that they were considering investing in. The company is Basis Technologies. Together with a former SAP colleague, we performed a deep analysis of the products and business. SEP recently announced the investment in the business.
In the late 90s, I worked at SAP UK, and Martin Metcalf was MD for part of the time I was there. He is the CEO of Basis Technologies. I’d not spoken to Martin for well over a decade, but we have many colleagues and contacts in common, sadly, the most meaningful one is no longer with us. Many years ago Les Hayman and I became friends, and he provided wise counsel to me, more of which I should have followed. When Les died, I realised how much I had learnt from him. I think of him often. It turns out that Les was a mentor for Martin too.
The Basis Technologies Board
SEP and Basis have asked me to come on the board of Basis Technologies as a non-executive director. Also joining the board is Uwe Bohnhorst, the former COO of Itelligence and NTT Executive. Uwe brings a wealth of SI experience to the board, and an immense, unrivalled knowledge of the German market. I’ve already learnt lots from him, thanks John Appleby, for the intro.
The last decade has seen a transformation in how software is operated. The processes and tooling for DevOps is a place of innovation and significant investment, just look at tools such as Data Dog, Splunk, Pager Duty and so on. If you want to learn more, make sure you read Redmonk research.
Basis Technologies helps organisations running SAP apply modern DevOps practices to their SAP stack. The migration of SAP customers from R/3, ERP; ECC, Business Suite and so on, to S/4 HANA creates more opportunity for organisations to modernise how they run SAP. SAP itself, hyperscalers and SIs will require partners that provide specialised tooling such as Basis Technologies.
I’m looking forward to working with board at Basis Technologies. Thanks to Keith and Martin for their trust, and a very special thank you to Les.
I advise leading and emerging HRTECH vendors and their investors, guiding them to build better products and be more successful.