I think we’re often jaded by horror stories of friends or relatives in other industries going through a merger or acquisition. People immediately hear the word “merger” or “acquisition” and instantly think the worst. I’ve heard it myself; “Everything changed, customers left, potlucks cancelled, casual Friday’s abolished, then we lost our jobs.” In my experience, this isn’t the case. Maybe those horror stories are from industries where the acquiring company wanted market share, tech, or assets, but in the managed security space customers and employees are the assets.
This month Nuspire announced a merger with Denver-based MSSP, GBprotect and four years ago, Nuspire merged with another MSSP, Security Confidence based out of Cincinnati. In both of those mergers, we’ve experienced nothing but positive feedback and benefits for everyone involved. M&A in the cybersecurity space is becoming more common and resulting in more benefits and less layoffs.
Deeper Dive into Current Processes
Every merger has required us to be extra careful about changes for every employee and customer, and the outcomes from those changes. We needed to take time to understand what was in the best interest of the customers and employees. What we found was that these mergers have allowed us to step back and really dive into our processes, ask why we do things and what we can do better. This provided us the opportunity to make welcomed changes that we may not have otherwise thought of. We added new processes, integrated better technologies and leveraged new experiences to better serve our customers.
All About the People
In every M&A activity that I’ve been involved in, our CEO has been very clear “we are not going to lose employees or customers. They are the reason for the merger.” That really has been the driver. There was an article in MSSP alert talking about our recent GBprotect/Nuspire merger that put it best “M&A activity among MSSPs has accelerated amid the growing cyber threat landscape, the continuing talent shortage and the need for companies to invest more in automated cyber systems.” Good security people are hard to find, and top security talent wants to use leading edge technology. M&A activities in the MSSP space bring these two elements together, solving both problems. In GBprotect, we found some of the smartest people in the security industry. And for GBprotect, they found leading security technologies, global customers and new challenges to tackle in Nuspire.
Better Results for the Customer
A huge part of the M&A process is letting customers know that you’re going through this process. Customers are often times skeptical of mergers and acquisitions, no matter how you phrase it “nothing is going to change” or “everything will change for the better.” However, both statements are true, and ultimately benefit the customer. In the last two mergers I’ve gone through customers haven’t left because of the change, in most cases they’ve made a bigger investment into our organization. Once they realized they were going to continue to get the same level of support, they were willing to take a chance on the new capabilities, technologies, or features that the new half of the organization brought to the equation. In retrospect, a better statement is “your support levels and satisfaction isn’t going to change, but our capabilities will.”
I’ve spent a lot of time this month talking about what a merger means and the benefits it provides to both our customers and employees. Overall, my experiences with mergers have been that the changes are for the better, and mostly well received. Second, the merger is really all about the people. Finally, customers really do benefit from these new people, processes and overall changes. They receive a higher level of service and expanded capabilities. At Nuspire, I’m excited to see how this merger allows employees to grow, customers to capitalize on new capabilities, and how bringing two disparate companies together result in changes that are beyond the sum of their parts.