Primavera to Acquire Evolve, Expand Project Management Line



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Primavera Systems plans to acquire financially troubled Evolve Software, a pioneering services automation vendor. The deal will further extend Primavera's project portfolio management product line.

News Analysis


On 20 March 2003, Primavera announced an agreement to acquire the assets, customer licenses and contracts of Evolve for $10 million in cash plus $3 million in assumed liabilities. Primavera is a long-established vendor in the project portfolio market while Evolve has focused on software for automating service delivery. As part of the agreement, Evolve filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors after losing $25.6 million on $18.6 million in revenue during the past four quarters. Primavera expects to close the transaction in 2Q03.


In this decisive move for the company, Primavera will gain more than 50 customers, including the service arms of Novell and Sun Microsystems, as well as several thousand seats at EDS. Primavera's reputation for customer service and support will encourage these customers, and Gartner expects Primavera will keep most of Evolve's (diminished) support staff. However, Primavera will likely face challenges managing the product development and service organizations of California-based Evolve from its own headquarters in Philadelphia.

The merged Primavera/Evolve will offer a range of project portfolio management solutions for project- and service-oriented enterprises — from its P3e and PrimeContract products (for construction and engineering project management) to its TeamPlay product targeting project-intensive IS organizations. Despite TeamPlay's effective resource management — a key requirement for service-oriented enterprises — Primavera has had only limited success marketing it to professional service organizations and gained traction mainly in IS organizations with a significant application development project management focus, such as large financial institutions.

The acquisition of Evolve follows a series of others in the project portfolio management market. For example, Microsoft markets recently acquired Great Plains/Solomon, combined with MS Project Server (built in part from another acquired technology), as a solution for professional service organizations. Other examples of market convergence include Artemis International's acquisition of Opus360, Lawson Software's purchase of Account4 and Niku's purchase of ABT.

Prospective customers of Evolve and its professional services automation competitors that previously had balked over Evolve's financial and service/support weakness can now take a second look at its products. Evolve customers should expect that, in time, the Evolve product line will interface with Primavera's best-of-breed scheduling tool as it does now with Microsoft Project. Evolve has also developed a portfolio analysis tool to replace the ProSight product that it sold through an original equipment manufacturer agreement. In addition, elements of portfolio management and other Evolve functions will likely surface in TeamPlay. In the near term, however, Gartner expects that the more industry-specific features of the product line will deepen and that Primavera will build a differentiated sales force around each product.

Analytical Source: Matt Light, Gartner Research

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