Back in 2019 after a short sabbatical, I knew what I was looking for in my next career move. I wanted to be involved with an organisation that had a very clear purpose and vision, one where I could contribute and feel I was making a difference. I also wanted to work for an innovative and forward-thinking company. When I first met with Enreach management they had a clear and ambitious idea of why the group exists, how they would transform the European marketplace for B2B communications and IT and what was required to achieve that.
I also immediately saw why Enreach would be a good fit for me personally: this is a company young in spirit that has retained its entrepreneurial culture while scaling up fast. The net result is that I joined Enreach as Head of M&A and since then have played a leading role in the group’s active acquisition and integration strategy.
Over the past three years we have added 15 companies and over 500 people, along with innovative new products and technologies. So this feels like a good point in time to look at why Enreach’s strategy has so far proved successful in fuelling the group’s European market growth and expansion to the benefit of our people, partners and customers. I have also been keen to share some of our experiences and an update on our rapid integration progress and key milestones achieved to date.
When I joined the group it had already integrated several acquisitions, including its own formation in 2018 through the combination of the well-established brands Voiceworks (based in The Netherlands and Germany), Swyx (now Enreach DE) and Centile (Enreach for Service Providers) by independent investment firm Waterland Private Equity.
Since then, Enreach has accelerated its transformational growth strategy with acquisitions playing a key role. Our M&A strategy to date has followed three dimensions: expanding the group’s reach in Europe through acquiring leading challengers in new markets, expansion of the product portfolio, and adding scale and capabilities to existing country markets.
With the help of acquisitions much has been achieved since the beginning of the Enreach story. We are now present in 15 European markets, have successfully added modern cloud-based contact centre and AI services to the group’s product portfolio and unlocked significant development power and synergies through the unification of the technology platforms acquired through acquisition.
So why has our acquisition strategy worked well so far? Enreach is very focused on its people, which follows through as a key pillar in our acquisition approach.
As well as having clear investment criteria and seeking new products that fit our vision and roadmap, we look for people and companies that will have a close cultural fit to Enreach, our purpose and values and ambitions. If there isn’t a good fit, it doesn’t matter how attractive other factors may be — such as financial performance, market position or technologies — the chances of longterm success are much lower.
We are very transparent with business owners about our vision and strategy. Many of our acquisitions have been owner-managed companies and it’s often a very personal decision about who they sell their company to, so they must fully buy into our story and trust our intentions.
This is important because to realise value from new companies joining the group, we need to collaborate closely well beyond the deal announcement. I think you can see the evidence of that working across the group today, where after several years the management of most of these businesses play an important role in the group and proactively contribute to achieving our collective goals and continue to be invested in its success
We are already well advanced in the integration of our acquisitions, although there is still significant scope to unlock further value in the future.
We are intensely focused on our defined plan of how each acquisition fits into our long-term goals. While that is not necessarily simple to execute and completing so many acquisitions naturally brings some complexity into any organisation in the short term, we are confident in our ambitions and committed to complete the transformation into one Enreach. That is achieved through a planned integration strategy.
For example, in Spain, Enreach originally acquired cloud contact centre specialist masvoz in 2019, simultaneously expanding the group’s presence to that market. Their contact centre technology is now closely integrated into our portfolio and our newly launched contact centre channels in the Netherlands and Germany show exciting progress. Our unified Enreach Contact solution is also successfully launched in the Spanish market.
Working closely with the local team we also acquired Spanish MVNO Telsome last year, to enable our full scope of integrated mobile services to be offered to customers. Both brands will together become Enreach in the next few months. Of course, integrating these acquisitions involves a lot of intense effort. There is a saying that the hard work starts after you close an acquisition, and in a lot of ways this is true. I rely heavily on the internal buy-in and efforts from my fellow Enreachers to make sure we all feel part of this growing community and effectively address the challenges along the way. This ultimately translates into our main priority which is to look after our customers and partners and ensure they reap the benefits of our growth.
The self-organisation philosophy we use at Enreach (Holacracy) is also a great advantage when it comes to integrating companies. As a truly agile organisation structure it allows us to quickly provide role clarity and transparency into our business for new joiners.
Enreach has a dedicated integrations unit who work closely with my team. Over the past few years we have smoothed the wheels so that from day one it is evident what is required for an acquired company to become a genuine part of Enreach.
We have a comprehensive set of processes, priority actions and immediate success factors to ensure that new additions start on the right foot.
Beyond this, we have already completed the rebranding of most acquisitions to Enreach which contributes to creating one, cohesive entity, both internally and externally. Applying the Enreach brand is not just a visual design exercise and naming conventions: it also reinforces our core values, helping to create and emphasise the group’s personality across different markets.
With Enreach focused on being a leader in Europe, maintaining a local presence is still essential through our offices, local language support, market experience and expertise. We then add to those ingredients the benefits of Enreach’s scale to innovate and roll out our unified products across different regions, to directly benefit both customers and partners. Our unified technology platform and OSS/BSS is now live in the majority of our markets and the remainder will follow this year.
It is also worth noting that there is a rich pool of innovative technology talent in Europe these days, giving organisations like ours access to some of the brightest brains and most innovative thinkers in the business. The market is also consolidating, with IT and communications also coming closer together; we knew that would happen and planned accordingly. There are some very interesting companies out there doing great things and it is an exciting time to be in this fastchanging industry. As well as bringing the existing group closer together we look forward to extending the Enreach family even further across 2022 and beyond.