It seems like mergers and acquisitions are becoming an almost daily occurrence, especially when it comes to the managed service provider business. Talk of an acquisition creates a real buzz in the marketplace. Your company’s name is in the news, people are talking, every day it seems like there’s something new. It’s also scary. If you’re with a smaller company, becoming part of a larger organization will change not just your day-to-day work life, but likely the trajectory of your career.
In all this excitement, worry, and everything in between, however, it’s important to remember the most important people that the merger or acquisition is affecting: your customers and potential customers. They trust you with their company’s critical data and other technology, so any change from the norm is going to bring about questions and at least a little fear.
In these cases, it’s important to highlight the ways that mergers and acquisitions can benefit customers. Laying out some of the exciting ways your services will actually improve from a deal is a great way to set current customers’ minds at ease, and to win new customers.
There are almost too many positives to enumerate when it comes to what customers can gain when one of their managed service providers is acquired by — or acquires — another firm. Here are three things we like to emphasize to make sure our customers are as excited about an acquisition as we are.
You will be dealing with the best people
Ask anyone working in tech human resources and they’ll tell you the same thing: it has never been more difficult to attract and retain top talent. It’s to the point where it can put a real crimp in the expansion plans of managed service providers. For clients, it can mean not receiving the level of support they’re used to, or the attention they require.
Larger organizations generally have more at their disposal in their battle to attract and keep the best employees. It starts with the basics: as a larger, more stable company, recruits know that if they sign on you’re still likely to be here in five or ten years. For tech employees, many of whom have experienced a startup failure or two, this stability is a selling point.
Taking it further, larger companies may have more resources to dedicate to education, training, and professional development. This not only lets them attract the best of the best, but it means that it’s more likely that someone at the company will have experience — or can get experience — with a particular customer’s specific technology issues.
We will be able to deliver more services to you
Clients have many, varied goals for IT departments. One has always been to expand their capabilities wherever possible, and whenever it makes sense. Just a couple years ago, tech like the IoT or blockchain was relatively new, now more and more customers are looking to investigate them. For customers looking for ways to expand their tech capabilities, dealing with a larger organization means that there’s a better chance you offer those capabilities — or will be able to in the future.
Related to this is being able to offer customers more software and hardware competencies. Smaller companies often have to focus on a few targeted technologies — for example, server products or networking tech — or manufacturers. Merging with other providers, ones with different competencies, gives you the capabilities to provide specific expertise in a wider range of products.
For example, customers running IBM legacy applications are finding that some providers have had to walk away from the business because they simply don’t have the resources to adequately support the infrastructure. To say this leaves customers high and dry would be an understatement. In fact, there’s opportunity to recapture business that may have been tough to support in the past. Larger, merged providers have more resources and can often accommodate customers of these legacy systems, when smaller providers can’t.
Another big benefit for potential customers is that mergers and acquisitions can strengthen a company’s resources in different locations. For example, in our case, adding KeyInfo and BlueChipTek gave us a much larger presence on the West Coast. For potential clients that are geographically diverse, you’re more likely to be able to provide the resources and services they need — or, at least, one of your related companies is.
You will have to deal with fewer vendors
Companies of all sizes are looking for ways to simplify their IT departments as a way to save money and put resources to the best use. Nevermind the fact that, as discussed above, the market for IT talent is particularly tight. These reasons are why many organizations choose to work with managed service providers in the first place.
Being able to get multiple services from one vendor, rather than dealing with a few, simplifies the equation that much more. Having one point of contact for support, one for billing, one for sales, and so on makes doing business that much easier for customers.
Then there’s the issue of trust. If a client trusted you to help them get their backup storage to the cloud, and the project was a success, it makes sense that the client would want you to help them with primary storage, disaster recovery, and other services, as well. As part of a larger company, there’s a greater likelihood that you can offer all those services, making your satisfied customer even happier.
A big takeaway from all these benefits should be efficiency. Not only do mergers and acquisitions make providers more efficient, they help make customers more efficient, as well. Dealing with fewer vendors is part of this efficiency, but it doesn’t end there. Being able to scale their business up, knowing their provider can handle the workloads, and not having to search for more capacity or services can help not only retain that business, but expand it.
There’s no way around it, mergers and acquisitions can be a scary proposition for all involved, but they can also be exciting. For customers, working with the larger company can offer benefits that weren’t possible with the smaller, non-merged provider. It’s critical, as a service provider, to keep open communications with customers and let them know exactly how their service can improve. The fact that the merger also gives you a leg up with potential customers, as well, should make those fears go away pretty quickly.
Senior Marketing Communications Manager
Key Information Systems