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Microsoft to Acquire Sentillion

December 10, 2009 News 7 Comments


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.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Great acquisition by Microsoft. I wouldn’t go as far to say anything near a game changer but Sentillion read the tea leaves and released expreSSO, a more modular and cost-effective version of Vergence. Vergence moved to their “Clinical Workstation” product line. Microsoft has been recommending this all over the place for the last year and they signed a licensing agreement in June 2009.

    The place where this can become a game changer is with the possibilities of integration with Identity Lifecycle Manager, a set of enhanced “health care” Group Policy Objects enabled with the addition of expreSSO and Vergence, WMI tooling for monitoring via SCCM (Microsoft’s systems monitoring product) and the real killer – Master Data Management via native SQL Server 2008 capabilities with health care extensions (Think user, user contact, patient/portal user and contact, physician, payer, and location masterfile alignment). Microsoft, if you have interest, give me a call.

  2. Does anyone know if this was a strategic acquisition or a fire sale? In other words, did Microsoft pay a premium to get Sentillion. You never can tell from these press releases!

  3. Very good acquisition by Microsoft. As Neupert says – MS doesn’t want Amalga to be an EMR, but clinicians work in an environment where there is one to many systems that collectively make up their EMR. I have never been a big fan of CCOW between alot of differnt applications, especially to see combined data like allergies, or all results, etc. But this combination could be very effective.

    Amalga is terrific at combining data from healthcare silos. Where it breaks the normal workflow is that clinicians then have to go to another system to enter their orders, documentation, etc. If you make Amalga viewer the starting point to view the composite data, then use Sentillion to take the user to the data entry system (no login user context, no searching patient context, direct to the proper data entry screen) then the composite system will operate just like a single large EMR. This is a great way to let healthcare systems implement and operate in an EMR fashion without the forklift replacements of all their various systems to a single vendor.

  4. From a Sentillion point of view, it was simply an objective to cash in as the company was 10+ years old and VC invested.

    Executive Management staying on is a problem, I know some!

  5. Good move by MSFT and the largest acq that the HSG has made to date. Clearly, MSFT is putting up the fence posts around the traditional HIT/EMR vendors and I’m not even sure they see it, like deer in the headlights. With this acq., however, these vendors may begin to wake up and now the question is, how will they respond.

    As to the previous poster’s comment/ques: No, do not believe this was a fire sale. Sentillion has good tech under the hood. The opportunity to leverage MSFT clout to go intern’l was probably to good to pass up. And for MSFT, they now have even more customers (Sentillion’s customer base) to call upon.

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