Perfect Commerce: Reborn or Just Revived? Part 1

A couple of weeks back, I headed down to Virginia to spend a day with Hamp Wall and his colleagues at Perfect Commerce. For those who have not followed Perfect closely in the past couple of years, I believe the company represents one of the largest -- from a code-base perspective -- roll-ups in enterprise software history or at least B2B software history. Perfect today represents the combined software assets of, among others, Commerce One, eScout, Perfect Commerce, Pantellos, Stratton Warren Software, PurchasePro MaterialNet, CorMine and Bay Builder (and even more companies that Commerce One and others acquired along the way).

Perfect continues to support hundreds of customers, many of whom I run into from time-to-time and have been curious about my perception of what's happened since CorMine decided to swallow such a giant chunk of assets in a single deal. Starting today, I hope to share some of these thoughts in a series of posts on Perfect in the coming weeks. In the initial few posts, I'll share what I learned from talking to the Perfect team -- what the focus has been, how the integration has gone and where they are looking to go heading forward. In the final posts in the series, I'll share some thoughts on what customers are feeling about their experience working with Perfect. Let's begin.

I'll start with a little history. When CorMine acquired the assets to Commerce One and a number of other companies, it's clear they inherited a situation that was probably beyond what any reasonable person would bargain for. In its previous owners' hands, Perfect's legacy application customer support declined to a point where many companies -- especially Commerce One users, including some of whom I spoke to -- were considering defecting or did defect not because they did not believe in the underlying technology, but because the level of support and speed of fixing bugs and other issues did not meet with expectations. The new Perfect Commerce (CorMine) set out to change this and even though it took some time, the early results appear promising (I'll withhold final judgment on this until talking to customers).

For example, Perfect claims to have fixed more than 1000 bugs in the software. They currently support approximately 25 million lines of active code, have completed a three year backlog of enhancements and moved to an entirely new SAS 70 Type II certified datacenter (this is important because previously, Perfect's hosting was in the basement of UMB bank, yet Sandy Kemper, whose family controlled the bank, was no longer involved with the organization). In other words, Perfect was hosting applications in a facility which, while adequate, was never designed to host third-party applications. Rather, it was a bank's datacenter. Perfect has also started to reach out to new prospects and customers, building a new sales and customer support organization. They've also brought in new IT staff (40 FTEs at their Virginia headquarters) that has brought their total number of resources to around 150.

The last area I'll touch on in this initial post in the series is on solution support. Perfect currently supports multiple solutions across five Spend Management technology areas. These include: procurement, sourcing, catalog and product information management, and procurement services / strategic sourcing. In some of these areas, Perfect supports and develops on multiple legacy software platforms even though they are primarily selling only a single application toolset to new customers in each area today (such is the challenge of inheriting such a range of legacy applications and by extension, legacy customers). In the next post in this series, I'll begin to discuss in more detail the capabilities and features of the solutions within these five areas while also digging into how Perfect has addressed the challenge of providing customer support across a heterogeneous set of applications and development environments.

- Jason Busch

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  1. Kimberly Thouait:

    Would you happen to know who founded Perfect Commerce? I see lots of information that they acquired Commerce One etc, but I find no thing on their company’s history and ‘founding father’ (or mother?) 🙂

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