So You’ve Had an Acquisition. What’s Next?
How to evaluate software for a newly combined team.
The service sectors are experiencing a high volume of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). On Robert Perry’s website, no less than 27 announced acquisitions in the global security industry are reported to date. This list doesn’t include small sellers and regional company acquisitions not announced via a press release.
A similar story is told in the cleaning industry. Even as the industry continues to face labor market and supply chain challenges, the industry is viewed largely as recession-resilient. M&A activity is expected to continue a growth pattern.
But what happens after an acquisition? Merging together operations, cultures and processes is easier said than done. Still, it offers a lot of opportunity to evaluate each company’s tech stack and figure out what works best based on new company goals, new visions and new budget allowances — not to mention what system can scale to accommodate your growing workforce.
TEAM Software has been there, just like you. In 2021, we were excited to announce our acquisition by WorkWave. For us, it has meant the opportunity to provide value-driven innovation to the industries we support by adding even more backing to enhance our product offerings. Behind the scenes, the acquisition has given us an opportunity to evaluate the way we’re developing and supporting our products and services. We’ve been able to pick and choose what’s best for our larger company, and explore all-new solutions along the way.
Here’s our advice on how to evaluate software, plus consolidating and moving forward in the right way.
Step one: Perform a gap analysis.
Think about how many software solutions you have running across your newly-combined companies. How are you handling HR and benefits administration, versus time and attendance? How are you proving service delivery to your clients? What areas are still manual, or tackled by pencil and paper?
Take an internal tour of your company. Talk to each department, your employees in the field and your stakeholders in the back office. What are the things they’re spending the most time on? Are there roadblocks creating bottlenecks in service delivery?
During this step, it’s likely you’ll uncover redundancies in systems that do the similar thing. In this case, assess strengths and weaknesses in order to identify the best overall solution for the new organization.
Once you really grasp an all-encompassing list of wants, needs and already-haves, you can really start filling the gaps.
Step two: Demo different solutions.
After you have a solid understanding of what solutions you have, look into solutions that can fill in your identified gaps. In a best-case-scenario, this is also the point of the process where you begin to think about software consolidation.
Look for all-in-one software solutions. Depending on your company size following an M&A, you may be in a position to benefit from an enterprise resource planning solution (ERP), which connects every part of your core business functionalities.
Then, start demo-ing. Product demonstrations, or demos, usually happen in a series of steps, with each demo going more and more in-depth and tailored to your unique business needs.
The great news is that most demos begin in a no-risk, no-sell, exploratory setting. Typically the first call you have with a software developer is an introduction, which is more about you than the product itself.
This is where you can present the findings of your gap analysis, talk about what solutions you’re currently using, and what things you want to change. If your company and the software provider think there is potential value in a partnership, that’s where you can start drawing in different stakeholders, taking a good look at the software features and functionalities, and looking through competitor case studies and educational information.
Step three: Compare and contrast software solution value.
Once you know what options are available to you, make a pros and cons list. Ask for feedback from the stakeholders you’ve involved so far, and send recordings of demos to key stakeholders.
It’s really important to involve people from different parts of your organization in this process. Everyone’s priorities are different. A feature someone might think of as unnecessary could be a must-have to someone else. You don’t want to get all the way through a software implementation before realizing the solution can’t actually do what the organization needs it to.
Remember, it’s okay to ask more questions of the software provider during this part of the process.
Some common areas to evaluate include price, accessibility, feature performance, reporting insights and support options available to you after implementation.
Step four: Talk to your peers.
We cannot stress this step enough. Take advantage of industry association memberships to ask your peers what software they use. What do they love about it? What do they wish it could do differently?
Your peers in the industry have first-hand experience that shouldn’t be ignored. Visit software review websites. Scroll through social media groups and forums. Attend conferences and speak to users in real-time.
Collect your findings and incorporate them into your pros and cons list.
Step five: Think long-term.
By this point, your company will likely have a good idea of which software solution you want to implement.
Before you sign any contracts, we recommend doing one last thing: ask the software provider where they see the future of this product in the next year. What about the next five years? Ten?
As mergers and acquisitions occur in the cleaning and security industries, they’re also happening with software providers. Not all of them will continue to support every product on the market, even if it is actively being sold now. This is especially true if the merged/acquired company offers similar products within the same vertical as the acquiring company. It’s inevitable some products will see an end-of-life as a result.
As an aside, TEAM Software’s product offerings remain essential in the marketplace. Read about how our product line is growing.
Ask about product support, enhancement and release schedules, and product roadmaps. Factor in the stability of the product before you go through the work of implementation.