Technology Talk

Acquiring a new business?

Why your software partner is a major asset in any new business deal…

4 minute read

Over the last few weeks, the market has seen several new business acquisitions taking place. From our perspective it’s great to see that the insurance industry is remaining so buoyant, despite the challenges we have all faced over the last 12-18 months.

As a software partner, we have supported many of our customers when a new acquisition is about to take place. Over the years some of these deals have been complex, some have needed to be delivered in a very short timeframe and some have simply been plain sailing. But it’s fair to say that from every acquisition we’ve supported, we’ve grown as a partner and learnt a thing or two along the way.
 
Technology is a major part of any business acquisition because it encompasses a multitude of assets. From transferring email addresses through to changing applications or even relocating large amounts, terabytes even, of customer data, it all needs to be handled securely and with the utmost of care. To add to this, connectivity must remain 100% stable to ensure that the end consumer is unaffected by any new changes.
 
As such, drawing up the ‘To Do’ list from a technology aspect for a new business acquisition may seem like an endless task. But there is one important aspect that sometimes is only given a small amount of consideration, the broking software platform or quite simply, the software house.

Preparation, communication, and collaboration

It may seem like a straightforward operation to move from one platform to another. But we can hand on heart say, this isn’t like switching utilities provider – far from it! One of the major roles of a software partner is to ensure that during any business acquisition the new business (or brand) moves over securely and seamlessly with no downtime.
 
This is where preparation comes into play.
 
Preparation and engaging with a software partner from the outset are tasks that will dramatically improve the outcome of an acquisition. If there is a clear upfront understanding on what software needs to be transitioned and what items are needed for business continuity purposes, then it helps provide a clear plan of action.
 
Establishing an early dialogue with a software partner is a key factor too. By collaborating and communicating ahead of and throughout any acquisition, challenges can be tackled head on, and the project will keep moving at a realistic pace. From our own experience, to gain maximum benefit we like to situate ourselves alongside our customers’ development teams, so it feels, from the outset, that we are one united team.

Maintaining EDI integrity

Any tech migration will require numerous considerations, but one item worth investigating upfront is how the EDI will move over. Will it retain its integrity? Which partners should you engage with? If those factors are not thought through, then it could have an impact on the EDI and potentially destroy value.

A successful transition means the EDI and its integrity remain intact. Sometimes this may not always be possible but more often than not, if the switchover takes place with a well thought out plan and the engagement is already in place with the right third-party partners (insurers, premium finance, enrichment, aggregators etc.), then the outcome is a smooth EDI transition.

Consider your digital customer journey

With digital purchasing journeys accelerating at a pace, this adds another dimension to be factored into a migration project. Digital distribution is 24/7, therefore any transition needs to be seamless. By researching, planning, and liaising with your software partner from the outset, any online journeys in the acquired business can remain protected and customer loyalty retained.

Proof is in the pudding!

Right Choice’s recent acquisition of Fresh brands: Autosaint, Ladybird and First Van, and specialist bike broker, Bennetts, presented a new challenge. While acquisition negotiations were underway during April, at Open GI we were already working behind the scenes.

Simon Badley, CEO at Open GI, said: “A migration of this size is always a good challenge, it requires precision and importantly, a fluid two-way communication. In just three weeks we transitioned the new brands, all the books of business, the entire digital and data architecture over to Right Choice. Every single aspect of data was migrated from one system to another, which resulted in zero downtime and over 20,000 insurance policies seamlessly and securely moved.”

Open GI supports the entire Right Choice portfolio for all its broker technology. The partnership has been in place for the last 14 years.

Mike Joseph, CEO at Right Choice, commented: “The excellent communication from Open GI has meant that throughout the entire project it felt like we had an extension to our own development team – going above and beyond our expectations. The result for us has meant that our entire brand family is now supported by a connected solution and led by Open GI.”