Acquiring BOARD International – What We Want Nordic Capital to Know

Feb 14, 2019

A few high-profile acquisitions in the business intelligence software space have made the news recently. OneStream Software is being acquired by private equity firm KKR, and BOARD International is being acquired by Nordic Capital. Since I used to work for BOARD and still use it regularly, the news got us thinking about BOARD’s potential and the changes we would like to see moving forward.

First of all, we hope BOARD’s concept and product features don’t change. The BOARD corporate performance management platform has over 200,000 users all over the world, so they must be doing something right. BOARD combines business intelligence (BI), corporate performance management (CPM), and predictive analytics in an all-in-one dashboard. G7 uses BOARD to help businesses interact with their data in a powerful, yet user-friendly way.

We love BOARD because it brings together everything companies need for fast, well-informed planning, modeling, forecasting, and analysis. Users are empowered to make changes without depending on a team of IT consultants. The software is so intuitive, users don’t need any programming knowledge to customize it. If they can drag-and-drop, they can run BOARD reports!

There is always room for improvement, though. If we were advising Nordic Capital regarding the future of BOARD, we would make the following suggestions.

1. Improve the QA and product development process.
Let’s not sugarcoat this: the software is buggy. When you’ve done as many implementations as G7 has, it is obvious that BOARD does not have a robust quality assurance process. They need to fix all the bugs and improve the existing features before they consider another big release.

2. Recognize the differences between the European and the US markets and make changes to appeal to American business leaders.
BOARD International was founded in Switzerland in 1994, and while the company has expanded since, it remains rather Euro-centric. The market in the United States is very aggressive, and the users here tend to be more advanced and less patient than their European counterparts. BOARD should change its sales and support strategies to better fit the US market.One example is their customer support. OneStream, which is a fraction of BOARD’s size, was acquired for >$1B and Board was bought for around $500M. Yes, OneStream has a good software product too, but their stand-out feature is their customer service. They have earned the much-coveted “100% Customer Satisfaction” rating as measured by Gartner Research. That Excellent customer service can create real value in the U.S.

3. Improve the partner programs, especially for smaller partners.
BOARD’s clients include some of the largest corporations in the world, including Coca-Cola, so it’s not much of a surprise that the current partner programs seem targeted to the big fish. We would like to see more support for the smaller partners doing great work with BOARD.

4. Have more women in leadership roles.
We hope that Nordic Capital will promote and recruit more women for management and leadership roles. As a woman-led business, G7 is especially interested in seeing more women at the top of the ladder, and we feel that BOARD could do more in this area. The marketplace is shifting quickly, and the perspectives of professional women are more vital than ever.

We are excited to see what the future holds for BOARD and Nordic Capital, and we hope they take this chance to strike off in some new bold directions!