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Merger Mondays, Takeover Tuesdays

Jan 17, 2018

We’ve seen this movie before - a software company pursues rapid growth by buying up competitor solutions, but fails to integrate them properly. Since we’ve seen the movie, we all know how it ends… 

One of the most important lessons in the TEM industry in recent years is that adding platform after platform doesn’t work. The results are:

  • A conglomeration of software platforms under the same brand name
  • Mixed priorities commonly focused on growth rather than client satisfaction
  • Disgruntled and uneducated staff

Just 2 weeks into 2018 and we're watching the same movie again: A TEM provider has added  extra platforms to its portfolio.

To save you the full runtime, here’s what happens:

Act 1

The provider seems to be doing Merger Mondays and Takeover Tuesdays and you’re losing track of the press releases coming in with promises of “scale”, “global presence” and the deliciously vague “deliver increased value”

Clients receive little if any assurances that your current platform will continue to exist, or the provider will try to buy time by claiming "the new, shiny, universal platform is in development, and will solve all your problems if you just wait a little longer."

There's inevitably going to be a few redundancies as the new organization finds different employees now performing the same role. Often, there's a frequent turnover of Customer Success Managers/Customer Relationship Managers who don't like the culture of the company post-merger. You lose the relationship you had with contacts at the company, and the replacements don't understand your problems and priorities.

Act 2

The provider acknowledges that they will eventually need to get every customer on the same platform. However, this must be done without disrupting the service of those still using the old systems, for which the upgrades and new features have been shelved. All focus turns to creating the new universal megaplatform. In the meantime, those customers still using legacy systems will have to sit tight. Trying to support and integrate multiple systems becomes a considerable distraction, impacting on their ability to move forward with new functionality. 

If the provider has bought out a supplier in another country to offer improved coverage to customers, this creates further complications. The provider's "Global Service" is made up of many different national solutions they've acquired, which don’t integrate properly with each other and struggle to deal with different laws, practices, currencies and languages.

Because multiple companies have been combined into one, the development, support and implementation teams aren’t familiar with all the platforms. You start to see more churn from your customer relationship managers as they become frustrated with the level of service they are able to provide to customers

For  prospective buyers, or customers looking to expand the scope of their TEM,  questions must be asked:

  • Is the product I see on the website or demo the one I’m going to get?
  • Is the feedback I hear from industry analysts and current customers actually about the product and service I’m going to buy?
  • If I want to deploy globally, will I get the same solution in every country?

Act 3

Your solution’s software platform is starting to look a little dated, and there’s little news on any overhaul. You’ve spoken to other customers who seem to have a vastly different service and product with the same provider. Just when you think you've got your pre-call small talk figured out with your new CRM/CSM, they leave or are assigned to another client.

Surely things can only get better?

What's this? Another press release?

"We’ve bought another company, which will improve scale, global presence and deliver increased value".

So do you watch the disappointing reboot, or look for a new storyline altogether?

MDSL offers a stable, settled alternative with a true client-fixated approach that enables us to solve problems according to your specific priorities. We have experience in providing quick and painless migrations, as noted by industry analyst AOTMP in a recent whitepaper.

Have further questions?  We're ready when you are.

Written by Joel Sadler