Precisely (company)

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IndustryData Management
FounderDuane Whitlow and Stan Rintel
Key people
Josh Rogers (CEO)
Revenue$600 million (2020)[1]
Number of employees
2,000 (2019, 2021)[2][3]

Precisely, rebranded from Syncsort Incorporated in May 2020, originally founded as Whitlow Computer Systems, is a software company specializing in big data, high speed sorting products, ETL (extract, transform, load), data integration, data quality, data enrichment, and location intelligence offerings, for IBM i, Hadoop, Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, and mainframe computer systems.[4] Its original, eponymously named product, SyncSort, was the dominant sort program for IBM mainframe computers during much of the 1970s and 1980s.[5]




In 1968, Duane Whitlow and Stan Rintel started Whitlow Computer Systems to develop software for mainframe computers.[6] The result was a business with a niche product portfolio based on high-speed data sorting.[7]

According to Whitlow, the company's original task was to develop an airlines reservations system for Control Data.[6] In the course of that work, the founders encountered timing charts for IBM's existing sort utility, and thought they could build a sort that was much faster. Sales improved after then-startup Computerworld published a front page story about the Syncsort product. That story resulted in openings in Europe, and the company was one of the first to sell an independent software product in Europe.[6]

Syncsort presentation folder, from the mid-1980s

The Syncsort product started to sell well in the United States as well.[6] In the IBM mainframe era, many commercial applications revolved around sequential file processing, where master files, often kept on tape storage, were sorted in various orders before being input to application code. In such batch job environments, the sort utility was frequently invoked, and the utility's performance had a significant impact on overall throughput.[8] Syncsort was drop-in replaceable for the IBM sort utility, without having to change JCL statements or application code, and thus was easy to switch to.[9] For some customers, Syncsort was their first non-IBM software purchase.[6]

The company was located in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.[9] The primary market for Syncsort was for IBM mainframes running OS/VS1 or MVS operating systems.[5] There were also Syncsort products for two other common IBM mainframe operating environments, those being DOS[10] and VM/CMS.[11]

Whitlow Computer Systems renamed itself to Syncsort, Inc. around 1981. (At some point the product name was stylized as SyncSort, with the second 'S' capitalized, while the company name retained a regular spelling.[5]) By then, Syncsort had a dominant position in the IBM mainframe world. A survey done by IDC during 1983 of IBM customers running OS/VS1 or MVS revealed that 75 percent of them were using SyncSort, as compared to 18 percent who were using the IBM-provided sort utility and 7 percent who were using other sort programs.[5]

Syncsort also offered the Syback product, for backup/restore functionality.[12]

Advertising for Syncsort was done in-house until 1986.[13]


In the 1990s, the company expanded into client/server environments with a Unix-based sort utility and a backup product. In 2004, Syncsort introduced DMExpress, which added extract, transform and load (ETL) integration capabilities, metadata management and improved job management.

In April 2008, Insight Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Georgian Partners, Goldman Sachs and other investors bought a majority interest in Syncsort Incorporated.[14] In 2013 Syncsort recruited former CA and IBMer Lonne Jaffe as CEO.[15][16] Also in 2013, Syncsort acquired Circle Computer Group,[17] whose product DL/2 facilitates migration of mainframe data, especially from IBM IMS instances to IBM's DB2 under z/OS.[18][19] In October 2013, Syncsort sold its data protection business to an investor group led by Bedford Venture Partners and Windcrest Partners. The spun off data protection business is now called Catalogic Software.[20]

In 2015 Syncsort acquired William Data Systems, a network monitoring and security software company, and Clearlake Capital Group acquired Syncsort;[21] Syncsort President Josh Rogers was appointed CEO.[22] In 2017 Centerbridge Partners acquired Syncsort along with Vision Solutions; the two companies combined into one.[23]

In 2019 Syncsort acquired the software and data business of Pitney Bowes in a $700 million transaction backed by affiliates of Centerbridge Partners, L.P. and Clearlake Capital Group, L.P.[24][25] This expanded Syncsort's global presence.[2]

Precisely: 2020s[edit]

In May 2020, Syncsort rebranded itself as Precisely.[26][27][28] In March 2021, Clearlake Capital Group, in affiliation with TA Associates re-acquired Precisely in a deal worth $3.5 billion, which it had sold four years before to Centerbridge Partners. Centerbridge Partners retained a minority stake.[29][30][31]

The company headquarters soon relocated to Burlington, Massachusetts.[3]


Product Type Description Platforms Introduced
Syncsort MFX Utility High speed data sort, join, copy. CPU offload to zIIP engines z/OS 1971[32]
Connect Data integration Integrate data seamlessly from legacy systems into next-gen cloud and data platforms including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Azure Synapse Analytics, Cloudera, Databricks, Snowflake, Hadoop, Apache Kafka, Apache Spark Windows, Unix, Linux 2004
Ironstream Utility IBM i and z/OS forwarder to Splunk, ServiceNow, Micro Focus, Microsoft SCOM, Elastic and Kafka z/OS, IBM i 2014
Syncsort Network Management Monitoring Network and security monitoring z/OS, Linux, Windows 2015, through acquisition
Trillium Data quality Data cleansing & standardization, customer 360, scalable for big data Windows, Linux, z/OS 2016
Assure Security IBM i security Compliance monitoring, access control, data privacy & encryption, and security risk assessment IBM i, Windows 2019
Spectrum Data Management Complete data management suite, data quality, integration, profiling and monitoring Windows, Linux 2019, through acquisition
EngageOne Customer Communication Management Various elements like personalized, interactive video, a chatbot, document composition and post composition Windows, Linux, z/OS 2019, through acquisition


  1. ^ Cooper, Laura (March 2, 2021). "Data-Integrity Company Precisely Gains New Majority Owners in $3.5 Billion Deal". The Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ a b "Syncsort Completes Acquisition of the Pitney Bowes Software and Data Business". December 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Perez, Miranda (June 15, 2021). "Data quality company Precisely buys Winshuttle, plans 'aggressive' hiring". BostInno.
  4. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, "Company Overview for Syncsort Incorporated," retrieved 2014-01-14.
  5. ^ a b c d "Seventh Annual Survey of Sort Programs Used in IBM OS, OS/VS, and MVS Environments". International Data Corporation, An IDC Market Research Report, January 1, 1984.
  6. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Luanne, "Oral History of Duane Whitlow", Computer History Museum, Interviewed by Luanne Johnson, recorded 1998-05-08, retrieved 2014-01-14.
  7. ^ N. R. Kleinfield (June 28, 1978). "Technology: Software Patent Issue is Murky". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Daniel D. McCracken, A Simplified Guide to Structured COBOL Programming (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1976), p. 145.
  9. ^ a b "SyncSort OS Release 2.5 Technical Specifications". Syncsort Inc., SI-0100-2, 1984.
  10. ^ "SyncSort DOS Release 1.6 Technical Specifications". Syncsort Inc., SI-0200-2, 1984.
  11. ^ "SyncSort CMS Release 5.2 Technical Specifications". Syncsort Inc., SI-0400-1 RN-1, 1984.
  12. ^ "Syback Release 1.4 Technical Specifications". Syncsort Inc., SI-0600-1, 1984.
  13. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (November 20, 1986). "ADVERTISING; Biederman to Handle Syncsort and Cadillac". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Datanami, "Syncsort Expands Executive Management Team for Data Integration Business", 2013-07-01, retrieved 2014-01-20.
  15. ^ Datanami, "Syncsort Expands Executive Management Team for Data Integration Business," 2013-07-01, retrieved 2013-10-30.
  16. ^ Adam Bryant (July 24, 2014). "Lonne Jaffe, Chief Executive of Syncsort, on the Importance of Setting Priorities". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Williams, Alex. "Syncsort Acquires Circle Computer Group As Companies Struggle To Get Data Off Ancient Mainframes." Techcrunch, 2013-09-30, retrieved 2014-01-14.
  18. ^ Yost, Denny. "z/Product Profile:DL/2 From Circle Computer Group," Enterprise Systems Media, 2011-02-17, retrieved 2014-01-14.
  19. ^ Nicole, Kristen. "Breaking Analysis: Syncsort’s New Acquisition Primes Partners for Real-Time Big Data," Silicon Angle, 2013-09-30, retrieved 2014-01-14.
  20. ^ Denne, Scott. "Big Data Success Stories: Syncsort," Wall Street Journal blog, 2012-03-20, retrieved 2014-01-20.
  21. ^ "Clearlake Capital to Acquire Big Data Software Provider Syncsort - MarketWatch". Archived from the original on October 14, 2015.
  22. ^ Gallant, John (January 11, 2016). "Q&A: Why Syncsort introduced the mainframe to Hadoop". InfoWorld. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "Centerbridge to Acquire Clearlake-Backed Enterprise Software Providers Syncsort and Vision Solutions". July 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Bartley, Paige (August 27, 2019), Syncsort fortifies data management portfolio with Pitney Bowes' Software Solutions Pickup, 451 Research
  25. ^ "Syncsort Acquires Pitney Bowes' Software Solutions Business to Create a Leading Data Management Platform". August 26, 2019.
  26. ^ Woodie, Alex (May 20, 2020). "Precisely CEO Discusses the Rebrand from Syncsort". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  27. ^ "Syncsort rebrands itself as Precisely". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  28. ^ Woodie, Alex (June 2020). "What's Behind Syncsort's Rebranding as Precisely". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  29. ^ "Clearlake and TA Associates to acquire Precisely". March 3, 2021.
  30. ^ Woodie, Alex (March 8, 2021). "Clearlake Re-Acquires Precisely In $3.5 Billion Deal". itjungle. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "Clearlake and TA Associates to Acquire Data Integrity Software Leader Precisely". precisely. precisely. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  32. ^ Yost, Denny. "z/Product Profile:DL/2 From Circle Computer Group," Enterprise Systems Media, 2011-02-17, retrieved 2014-01-20.

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