Gérard Dahan Ariba Corcentric, Ivalua SynerTrade
October 4, 2021

SynerTrade is back

By Patrick Chabannes

A few days ago SynerTrade, and its parent company, Econocom, announced the arrival of its new Managing Director, the well-known Gérard Dahan. The rumour had been brewing for several weeks among procurement IS market insiders. The erratic policy of the software vendor, between massive investments and the declared intention to resell, the waltz of managers and the defection of employees, required at least a strong and clear takeover by a man of the art. Gérard Dahan is the kairos of SynerTrade. let have a look on this momentum.

A kairós called Gérard Dahan

I can hear the strong minds doubting the success of the man who created the international brand of a small software vendor from Orsay named Ivalua. I can imagine the smiles on the faces of those in the know, who see this as nothing more than a smoke screen to better conceal the original intention: to sell SynerTrade at the best price. Can I prove them wrong? Did I not think so myself before investigating further? Everything would suggest so if various elements, collected during this investigation, did not disturb the easy reasoning.

Clues to a turnaround plan

Complexity of the M & A. Understanding the stakes for an acquirer

Why in 2012 did SAP buy Ariba for $4.5 billion? What did it do with it? SAP bought a recurring revenue (ARR) and cloud business. But it took several years for the Mannheim-based software vendor to develop a real product and sales policy. Similarly, although Econocom, with a turnover of 2.6 billion, is a leader in digital transformation in the field of services and infrastructure, the publishing of business applications is far from its competence. It is safe to assume that the appointment of Laurent Roudil as CEO in January 2020 has reshuffled the deck and that SynerTrade’s potential has been re-evaluated in the light of the multiples practised in the digital business and the proven growth of digital procurement.

Investments to come

There is no doubt in my mind that Gérard Dahan’s arrival is part of an overall plan for at least three years, including strong financial investment, with the appointment of a Chief Marketing Officer and a Chief Product Officer in the short term, followed by an operational plan for clients, the market, partners and analysts. Without such a plan, there was no need to go looking for such a profile, which had many other uses inside and outside the procurement IS.

A strengthened communications department

The arrival in July 2021 of David Molins at the head of the group’s communication department is a third indication. As an OTIS executive shared with me last week, David Molins is well known in his profession and has managed to bring the OTIS/UTC group to maturity. Let’s bet that Gérard Dahan will be able to use this skill on behalf of SynerTrade and the procurement function.

A strong CTO, Renaud Chatelier

The return of Renaud Chatelier to his role as CTO is anything but anecdotal. Renaud has mastered the software vendor’s technical architectures, has the confidence of the development teams and has proven expertise in the Source to Pay business.

Many skills still out there

It is true that Synertrade has had to suffer from the loss of skills such as Anne and Nicolas. But there is a solid base with Grégoire, Mohssin, Pascal, Charlotte, Bertrand and many others who will be able to welcome and train the future.

What is SynerTrade’s strategy? What financial investments?

A three axis strategy seems to be emerging:

  • Create a community of customers to develop the solution in line with the changes and expectations of the procurement function,
  • Develop a clear product strategy integrating new technologies to serve customers
  • Communicating through company and product communication, but also through communication at the service of the Procurement Function.

The article in the Lettre des Achats entitled SynerTrade: a new boss named Gérard Dahan is a must read.
In it, François-Charles Rebeix details the challenges of this appointment with particular acuity.

You will find the English translation after the French version :


Lectori salutem, Patrick