As many of you know, Datacastle acquired EVault Endpoint Protection from Seagate earlier this year. Integrating an acquisition is difficult and can often fail to meet stakeholders’ expectations. Our management team has good, hard-won experience from previous successful acquisitions. We are now a couple of months into the integration of the business into Datacastle and thought we would share a few observations.
The Cloud is an Operations Enabler
Datacastle needed to bring petabytes of precious customer and partner backup data under Datacastle’s direct management. The data was located in multiple jurisdictions all over the world. Fortunately, most of that data was in Microsoft Azure. By being in a large public cloud with a global footprint like Microsoft Azure, it made the process of transfer much easier than it would have been otherwise. We have heard horror stories of other companies trying to move large amounts of backup storage physically with assets potentially getting lost or damaged in the process. As our competitors know all to well, data stored in “private clouds” makes such data center transfers difficult or filled with additional risk. Managing petabytes of data in large, enterprise-class public clouds provides all stakeholders better operational flexibility and assurances.
Welcome Customers and Partners with High Information Onboarding Processes
Partners and customers don’t like the unknown. When a vendor relationship changes, it is critical to treat each customer and partner as if they are a brand new customer or partner, even if they have been using the product/service for years. Customer and partner communications, education, and expectation setting is critical. Don’t assume you understand the customer/partner motivations and what they value most about the product/service. It is the responsibility of the acquirer to go the extra mile to get the relationship off on the right foot. We have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the positive response from customers and partners so far. We will continue to work hard to establish expectations and exceed those expectations. By aggressively communicating with customers and partners, it also level-sets their knowledge and expectations from the product/service. For example, many customers and partners needed to be brought up to speed about the strengths of Datacastle RED and what sets us apart. Our most recent report that included Gartner research enabled customers and partners to quickly understand the benefits of best in class performance, resilience, and storage efficiency.
Assume it Takes Longer than Planned
While the legal and financial transaction side of an acquisition can happen quite quickly, the operational, people/organizational, and back office changes can take a while to work out the kinks. For example, while the service operations cut over very quickly for us because of the public cloud other aspects have taken longer than desired. When acquiring customers and partners from all over the world, new preferences for payments, reporting, and face to face interactions can take a little longer to accommodate. You have to prepare your employees that there is a bow wave of activity to work through before you get back to “normal” operations. Putting in the time and effort up front will save resources later and increase the likelihood of customer satisfaction.
The smoothness of the EVault Endpoint Protection integration thus far has exceeded our expectations. We have found the partners and customers to be truly amazing. We know there is still work ahead for us to be fully through the process. We appreciate the patience and commitment of our employees, customers, and partners as we take the business and our relationships to a higher level.