Inside Klass Software’s acquisition of PPM 2000.

Dec. 18, 2014
Company’s new CEO discusses his short and long-term goals for PPM moving forward

Last week, Klass Capital acquired incident management software provider PPM 2000. As a result of the transaction, Will Anderson, CEO of Klass Software, is now the CEO of PPM, while former co-CEOs Elaine O’Sullivan and Brian McIlravey will continue with the company as president and executive vice president respectively. The company will continue to operate as PPM, and their head office will remain in Edmonton, Canada.

According to Anderson, PPM was a great fit for the company as they were looking for a firm that generated between $5 million and $15 million annually in revenue and also had a great deal of industry expertise.

“When looking for software investments, we are pretty confident in our ability to change businesses to have them execute better. We are very comfortable with technology and if someone doesn’t have the greatest technology, we are pretty comfortable writing new technology. The one thing you can’t replace in a software business is knowledge of the underlying customer problem,” explained Anderson. “PPM was really exciting to us because they had a lot of that – very, very deep customer experience – both as customers and as suppliers. And then it was really nice that they also had very good technology, so it was especially attractive to us because we don’t have to go and start redoing things.”

In addition to PPM, Anderson said Klass has a small, but significant investment in TrackTik, which offers a software platform that helps guard services providers manage their workforce more efficiently. Klass also has investments, ranging from five to 10 percent up to 40 percent, in a handful of other software companies, but PPM is their first outright acquisition. With Klass’ financial backing, Anderson believes they can provide PPM with the resources they need to thrive in the marketplace.

“The hypothesis that we are working under and that we are working to prove or disprove… is that there is some need for consolidation around the security space,” added Anderson. “One of the things we noted is that these systems are still very much point solutions – PPM had one of the more extensive solutions – but as an insider looking in, it was strange to us that someone would have to go and buy a PSIM, as well as an incident (management) system and then some of the other pieces that you put around them. That looked kind of hard to us and so we thought there is a play to be made to partner, build or acquire business to bring it all together.”

While PPM wouldn’t build its own mass notification system, for example, Anderson said that in cases where systems are more tightly integrated, Klass would look at developing them in-house or acquiring another company that could. 

“We’re giving them the capital to go and build, buy and partner to assemble a complete solution for our customers. As an owner operated company, PPM would have historically been limited by what they could invest and those limits are now off; they can invest if they can show a business case,” said Anderson. 

Anderson, who has worked in a variety of vertical markets around the world, believes that he brings an understanding to PPM of what “good” looks like from his wide swath of experience in the software industry. “Having a background in strategy and being able to assemble a pretty solid board here, we do have a bit broader vision for where this can go, maybe a bit more ambition,” he said. “I feel pretty comfortable that we can get to be one of the best software companies, certainly the best in the industry, and our goal is to be among the best software companies in the world.”

In the near term, Anderson said that they will work to identify gaps in PPM’s current offering that fall a bit short of being best-in-class, but overall, he believes that the company currently executes as well or better than anyone else that’s a competitor to them in the industry.

“I just want to take the bar up a notch. For a year, I really want to focus on execution,” Anderson said. “One other thing I want to change in having spoken with some customers is just having a bit more transparency with customers, and get them more engaged in the development process. I believe very strongly in customer-lead development. I think we have a part to play in it and that’s important because we have a broader vision for things, but customers can really tell us what works and doesn’t work on the ground.”    

Further down the road, Anderson said that they will examine where they may need to partner, build or buy and that over the next year, the industry will see PPM develop more “modules” that make sense for them and their customers.

“That may be via a partnership and they are working on several. You will absolutely see us announce some partnerships, but it may also be an acquisition or something we build. We will be coming out with product faster, it is just a matter of how that product is going to come,” said Anderson. “Long term, we definitely want to be the all-in-one shop for physical security. Broader than that, we have to figure out, is there a logical link between physical security and cyber security or brand protection, which are areas we touch now. If you just talk about general incident management or broad compliance, which systems make sense to link together? That’s where we are trying to go, we’re trying to be a partner across the risk management element of an enterprise.”

Anderson also pointed out that Klass Capital didn’t buy PPM with the intent to turn around and sell it for a quick profit, but rather they plan to be a part of the security industry moving forward.

“People will see investment companies like ours buy things and then switch them up, trade them, sell them or that sort of thing,” Anderson said. “Klass Software, the business that we setup to do this acquisition, was setup with a very different mandate and mindset. Our vision when the investors and I came together was about how long we want to do this, and what we agreed to and committed to each other was that we’re doing this for at least 10 years, if not longer. We want to build long-term value and a great business.”  

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.