When your company gets acquired for $8.3 billion by a 43-year-old German multinational software kingpin, a lot can change to culture and process.
But for Bellevue-based travel expense company Concur Technologies, it’s been business as usual — for the most part, at least.
Concur CEO Steve Singh and President Elena Donio spoke at the GeekWire Summit on Friday in Seattle about how the $8.3 billion acquisition by SAP that closed last year affected Concur’s employees and how it now conducts business.
Donio said that from a day-to-day perspective, about 80 percent of time is spent working on Concur-related problems and helping Concur customers — “goodness,” she described it.
“The other 20 percent is focused on tactics integration and things that maybe weren’t on our plate a year ago that may not be as much fun,” Donio said. “That’s a good ratio.”
Donio also said that the two companies are “meeting each other in the middle,” with Concur “infecting SAP with real cloud DNA” and SAP providing investment to help Concur work on projects it otherwise couldn’t do before.
Singh, who helped start Concur more than two decades ago, admitted that he would have liked to run the company forever. But more importantly, he said that given how Concur was a public company with shareholders, he and his executive team simply couldn’t turn down what SAP offered.
“When someone says, I’ll pay you 10.3 times of revenue [that you generate] next year, if you say no to that, it’s just about you,” Singh said, adding that he has not had one moment of regret since the acquisition.
When asked about those who criticize SAP for using and selling old legacy technology, Singh said that “legacies aren’t always bad.”
“A vast majority of tech companies with a market cap of more than $20 billion have been around for a long time — and there’s a reason why they are in that position,” Singh said. “They are really good at what they do. It’s just hard to change when you do $20 billion in revenue.”
Donio noted that Concur, which plans to stay “super committed to the Seattle area,” has been able to adapt some of SAP’s technology “that make us better.”
“There’s a whole bunch of stuff that we’re now growing into that we get to gain from SAP,” she said. “It’s about accepting that stuff and at the same time, pushing really hard on our belief system.”
As far as the culture at Concur, which has been able to keep several long-time employees, it seems not much has changed from an environment described as “transparent, truth telling, innovative, disruptive, and not being satisfied with the status quo.”
“It’s just being yourself,” Singh said. “A company is nothing more than individuals. It’s the relationship between human beings that exists there — that’s it. Concur was about 5,000 people when SAP bought it. I can’t say I know all 5,000 people, but I knew a lot of them. And we knew enough about what was important to each person and why they were there.
“You bond. You share not only values, but you’re very clear about where you want to go and how you measure success. It’s not about the product; it’s about what you achieve together.”
Update: Here’s the full video of the session.