Conga, Apttus, and the Future of Content Automation
by Jim Lundy
The race to automate content is on, and late last week, two major providers decided to merge. On May 7th, San Mateo-based Apttus agreed to buy Denver-based Conga for an estimated $715 million. Conga is known for its success in document generation and digital transaction management. Apttus is known for its quote-to-cash and contract lifecycle management (CLM). This blog analyzes the rationale for the deal.
Analysis: Why Merge Now?
The competition in large enterprises for content automation and contract lifecycle management is getting fiercer. By combining forces, Conga and Apttus will have a larger sales force and a combined product family that will help them take on others in this market, including DocuSign, Adobe, and more.
Apttus is owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, and it is clear that it wants a bigger piece of the overall digital transaction management and CLM markets.
With Apttus, the New Conga Elevates CLM
To us, keeping the Conga brand and dumping Apttus is a clear sign of the growing momentum that Conga has had in the market. The Conga Salesforce integration is one of the number one brands in the Salesforce AppExchange. While Conga contract management offerings were relatively lightweight, with Apttus, it now has a much stronger story. This positions the combined entity to compete well in the digital transaction management market.
Conga vs. DocuSign
Compared to its arch-rival DocuSign, which is still new in CLM (DocuSign bought SpringCM in 2018), we would give the new combined Conga entity more strength in CLM, but for pure e-signature, Conga is still relatively new.
Conga vs. Nintex
Nintex is a leader in workflow and content automation, and it resells Adobe Sign. Nintex has focused more on robotic process automation and not as much on contract lifecycle management. However, since the goal is to automate content processes, this puts Nintex and Conga on a collision course. Nintex has the added benefit of being very well-known in the Microsoft partner ecosystem.
What Is Next for the New Conga?
Apttus CEO Frank Holland will lead the combined entity. While the Conga CEO Matthew Schiltz will be part of the board of directors, we do expect most of the Conga staff to stay in place due to the strategic nature of the Conga platform. Other details have yet to be announced since the deal is still fresh.
The Demand for Content Automation
There is no doubt that enterprises understand that they need to automate their content and their data. While most of the focus has been on data processes, content automation remains one of the biggest impacts on a business. We expect to see more M&A activity, such as the recent announcement last week of Namirial being taken private.
For enterprises, the new Conga is more powerful and has more capabilities, which puts it on the short-list for both CLM and overall content automation. We expect more content analytics and CLM firms to be in play as private equity firms see the market opportunity and want to get in the game.