Advanced Computer Software acquires Compass for £14.5m as it looks to expand education offerings

By Sooraj Shah
03 Feb 2014 View Comments

Healthcare, business management and learning software provider Advanced Computer Software Group has expanded further into the education sector with its £14.5m acquisition of Compass Computer Consultants.

The acquisition follows on from Advanced's purchase of Serco Learning for £7.25m in December 2012, and the company's managing director, Dean Dickinson, told Computing that the deal will enable the company to target colleges and universities with its existing finance and procurement solutions.

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"Compass has a student record system in about 80 per cent of the colleges in the UK, and we've been selling our finance and procurement solutions to 25 of these colleges and realised that Compass had a very good and scalable solution so we approached them about partnering together and that led to us [acquiring it]. As we offer finance, HR, procurement and business analytics, we can go out to Compass' 350 college clients and offer them further services as well as the G-Cloud framework which we are on," he said.

Compass provides a record management and CRM solution, and will be incorporated into Advanced's business solutions division, meaning that the firm provides solutions to over 2,000 educational institutions globally, it said.

Its previous educational acquisition, Serco Learning, provides record management to primary and secondary schools but did not cater for colleges and universities like Compass, which Advanced wanted to target.

"Serco did not have the bandwidth for investment to expand into universities, they were considering it but there were constraints in terms of the size of their development teams. We can now offer their solution that opportunity as part of a larger group," he said.

He said that Advanced will look to cross-sell a further 25 of its finance solutions to Compass' customers in the next 12 months as it looks to fight off its competition.

"Tribal, Capita and Civica are competitors but [Compass'] solution is a modern .NET solution so is very competitive in this marketplace," said Dickinson.

He added that there had been no challenges with integration of the Serco business with Advanced, and that he cannot envisage any issues with the integration of Compass.

Compass' staff will remain based in Cheshire, but Dickinson said that having sold the firm, the company's founders will now retire.

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