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Meta4 Company Viability Review

Although Meta4 were brought under the founder’s France-based Groupe Adonix in 2003, they were excluded from Adonix’s acquisition by Sage in 2005 (together with Italian ERP provider, Formula). While this may have driven something of wedge between Meta4 and its erstwhile parent company – including its ability to integrate products into Groupe Adonix's ERP solution – Meta4 executives remained confident in the company’s viability. According to Meta4's Xavier Daguzan, "The focus of our group is clearly given to HR solutions and [now] we have significant resources to develop ourselves".

The numbers would seem to endorse that confidence, with Meta4 declaring steady growth figures even during a time of economic downturn (a downturn, it should be noted that has hit the Spanish economy particularly hard). Indeed, at the height of the crisis, Meta4’s 2009 figures were 13% over 2008 with annual revenues of 47.3M euros (very approximately $35.5M). To a large extent, this growth has been due more to Meta4's business process outsourcing strategy (which posted an incredible 103% growth – 11% of the company's total revenue – in the same period) than to its activity as a software vendor, but it serves as a sign of corporate vitality nevertheless.

On the other hand, another perception may be that Meta4 has in some ways failed to capitalize on its original promise with periods of both growth and stagnation during its history. On its launch in the early 90s, many industry analysts identified Meta4 as an innovation leader with its then-novel object-oriented architecture. Unfortunately, a lack of recognition of talent management as a critical growth area in the HR software arena robbed the company of both analysts plaudits and its shortlisted status for many potential customers.

To return, however, to Meta4’s present status, with over 1,300 clients across 100 countries, Meta4 is managing payroll and HR for 18M+ employees (which, the company claims, makes it one of the top three worldwide providers of Human Resources software). Furthermore, recent offerings show increased promise and a definite return to its hallmark innovation. The very architecture that set Meta4 apart before is now supporting creative solutions and at the same time, the company’s global capabilities and activities are getting good press. Heavy investment in research and development features strongly in the current strategy and Meta4 clearly intend to stay ahead of the technology curve and Gartner research indicates that this strategy is underpinned financially, citing that the company, "is profitable, has good liquidity and is cash flow positive."

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