Microsoft will announce later today that it will acquire Sentillion, Inc. of Andover, MA. Terms of the acquisition were not announced. The transaction is expected to close in early 2010.
Privately held Sentillion, founded in 1998, sells patented solutions for single sign-on, context management, and identity management. It has over 1,000 hospital customers and over 500,000 users. It was named by KLAS as the #1 healthcare SSO vendor in its December 2008 report.
I interviewed Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, and Robert Seliger, CEO and co-founder of Sentillion, about the acquisition on Wednesday.
Neupert says clinician users of Microsoft’s Amalga Unified Intelligence System, live in 115 hospitals, will benefit from Sentillion’s SSO and context management technologies. “Our goal is not to be an EMR,” Neupert said. “When we provide data and they want to take action on it, we want to make it easy for them.”
The companies signed an agreement this past June to incorporate Sentillion’s SSO and context management in Amalga UIS. The announcement quoted a Microsoft spokesperson as saying, “… for clinicians and others to readily adopt and get the maximum value out of a new platform like Amalga UIS, it needs to become an inherent part of the clinical workflows that drive the patient care delivery process. Our collaboration with Sentillion is designed to achieve that level of integration.”
I asked Neupert why Microsoft wants to acquire Sentillion rather than just continue the licensing arrangement. He said Microsoft can use Sentillion’s domain expertise in context sharing to create more solutions, particularly those that allow customers to continue with their best-of-breed strategies. “We want people to understand that best-of-breed is a reasonable path for them to pursue,” Neupert said.
“Our goal is not to just sell Microsoft products,” he said. “Our goal is to help create new innovation in the health ecosystem. What we are trying to enable is workflows that cross organizational boundaries.”
I asked him if there are important aspects of the announcement that might go unnoticed. “This shows that Microsoft is continuing to invest, the Health Solutions Group in particular, to make health an important vertical inside the company, making a series of thoughtful steps in acquiring domain knowledge and technology and people to make that investment practical,” Neupert replied.
I asked Seliger why he’s selling Sentillion now. “We are a healthy company, profitable, and growing … the next step is a perfect outcome. You take our business legacy and commitments to customers and preserve that, but also take it to new levels, new countries, new venues that we wouldn’t get to as quickly on our own … To build an entire organization with P&L behind it that says Microsoft is unprecedented. It’s a fabulous home for Sentillion.”
Seliger says the Sentillion management team will stay on. The company will be operated as a wholly owned Microsoft subsidiary from its Andover office, with Seliger reporting to Neupert.