Self-service process automation tools, such as Quick Base, Zoho Creator, VINYL and Kintone, have matured in the last 2-4 years and are gaining wide acceptance in the small-to-mid-market space. These tools enable business users to automate simple day-to-day tasks with DIY configuration. They increase customer stickiness by lowering the cost of process improvements and eliminating reliance on technology staff for custom development. This, in turn, creates recurring revenues and makes the software vendor well-suited to partner with private equity investors.
The vendors who will likely have a competitive advantage are the ones whose software applies automated business rules to multiple data sources and matches available supply to demand, based on configurable parameters, such as geography, skills, resources, etc.
Private equity portfolio companies have a better chance than others at offering reasonably priced products as they can invest in gaining early customers and cross selling add-on features at a later stage.
Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, helmed by Robert Smith is going big into the coding for non-techies space. They just acquired a $1 billion majority stake in Quick Base, a software company that provides people with no coding experience the tools to build internal software platforms.