Precise emerges as independent transaction performance management company

* Precise Software is relaunching itself with the spirit and passion of a start-up

Application performance management companies rarely survive for any length of time on their own in the wild. (Compare Web Site Application and Performance Management products)

The more innovative the technology, the more likely one of the big four management vendors -- or one of the several vendors vying for a top spot in the management kingdom-- acquires the nimble newcomer and incorporates the technology into broader product suites. Precise Software, a company that emerged in the 1990s only to land under a couple of different parent companies the following decade, this week will relaunch itself as one of the few start-ups with some 1,500 customers worldwide.

"We are a new company that started in March with the spirit and passion of a start-up, but with an established, proven technology that young companies are still fighting in the weeds to develop for themselves," says Mark Kremer, CEO at Precise and previously a general partner with Benchmark Capital. Kremer also held positions at Oracle, Verity, Motorola and Teradyne.

The company, which filed for IPO in 2001, built its business around application performance management technology, the likes of which big management vendors such as CA (Wily Technology) and HP (Mercury Interactive) acquired. Following its initial acquisition, Precise didn't find itself under the umbrella of a management vendor -- at least not to start. In 2003, Veritas purchased Precise for about $537 million.

Two years later Precise found a new home when Symantec, a vendor with very public management aspirations (the company also acquired Altiris), acquired Veritas for about $13.5 billion. And earlier this year, Symantec quietly dropped its Precise business, which was picked up private equity firm Vector Capital with help from Greylock Partners. The company today stands on its own and is located in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Members of the executive management team say the company's many years of experience will help it compete with the CAs and HPs of the management market and also keep fresher faces such as OpTier out of customer accounts. Precise Transaction Performance Management technology goes beyond application management to deep dive transaction management that is reported within the context of the business. 

The technology does more than monitor the infrastructure for potential slowdowns, the company says, it also offers potential remedies to known or common problems with packaged applications. The software, which uses agents distributed on managed infrastructure components, also spots degradations and helps IT managers prioritize which problems to take on first.

"We don't just alert to the problem. We provide resolutions and help with problem prevention," says Zohar Gilad, Precise executive vice president, who previously held executive positions at Mercury at which he created and led the company's application performance management business.

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