A Marathon Not a Sprint: The Journey to Building an Industry Leader
In 2015, Acxiom spun off its IT division and rebranded with a new name: Ensono. Since then, our company has grown significantly and established a strong reputation for excellence. 2021 showcased that when we were acquired by KKR, a leading global investment firm; a significant milestone that opens up an exciting new chapter to invest in the continued growth of the company. But such moments in the life of a company do not arrive by chance. They are the product of years of planning, preparing the company with everything it needs for success. At Ensono we have built an organization with outstanding teams, associates and leadership, all delivering exceptional service to clients. Even with the unforeseen wrinkle of COVID-19, we navigated our way through the fog as well as any company could have hoped, and we are stronger than ever.
Ensono has always had a decade long growth strategy centered around becoming a leading managed service provider for medium and large enterprises. Long-term, we knew becoming an industry leader would require a huge amount of investment. Our early investors certainly played a critical role in helping us to establish our business and brand. But in the last few years, we have focused on building our leadership team and expanding our employee talent to prepare for something bigger.
Every step of the way, our number one priority has been our clients and our associates, forging long-lasting relationships that would carry through to the future. Dedicating time and effort to your stakeholders requires both clarity in the mission and effective communication throughout the journey we embarked on together. Keeping the wheels in motion to evolve the company was essential to hitting the benchmarks of our long-term vision.
Underpinning it all, our philosophy has been that not all great ideas could come from within, and we strived to maintain our curiosity and learn from others. We have steadily built up a thriving, collaborative environment between our clients and associates, but as we have advanced, we realized that to take the next step would require a trusted ally and partner that could support us in making our vision to become a global leader in hybrid IT a reality.
In private equity partnerships, the most important outcome is that the investor community aligns well with the business they are investing in. For us, that meant we approached the acquisition with a tried and tested process to find the perfect fit – an investor that valued our purpose and would be able to take us forward to where we needed to be.
KKR is a leading global investment company with experience and resources that go beyond just financial capital. KKR works to generate attractive investment returns, employing world-class talent and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. It also possesses a broad network of strategic partners and a deep ecosystem of unique capabilities that we can now access. These resources will be truly invaluable to us in navigating the developing technology landscape
Throughout the acquisition process we had to tackle the practicalities of managing everything virtually. Traditionally, an acquisition involves plenty of face-to-face meetings to sort out the deal. Yet in a year dominated by COVID-19, much of the process had to be moved online. For Ensono, we were able to smoothly adapt to this shift to virtual meetings, going that extra mile to communicate and build ties with the KKR team in a digital setting. The trust we built in these remote meetings will be essential as we work together in the years ahead.
A marathon, not a sprint
Reflecting on this moment for Ensono, many lessons spring to mind for other companies looking to build long-term, sustainable growth. Firstly, you must stay focused on driving the company forward. Be sure to not let the process drive you. It is certainly a marathon, not a sprint, so my best advice to other business leaders out there is to pace yourself. Spend time balancing the needs of investors, clients and other stakeholders. If this is done well, the rest will soon follow.
An eye to the future
Going forward, it’s important to never lose sight of our vision and our values. After being acquired, we must now focus on bringing in new ideas and continuing to innovate. Our direction of travel has always been to focus on our clients, helping them to harness the power of technology to transform their businesses and accelerate digital optimization, and creating an unparalleled environment for our associates. Although somewhat uncertain, the market opportunity has never been stronger. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and increased the need for service providers to simplify IT infrastructure management for enterprise clients on a global scale.
Obstacles that arise will be met with a strategy that has gotten us through one of the biggest challenges the world has ever seen. We are well positioned to succeed, and we plan to do just that.
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