TRM in the Age of Consolidation: A Survival Guide

What do you do when your treasury technology platform is acquired?

Was the treasury technology provider you committed to for a multi-year deal acquired by a larger provider, perhaps one you’ve never dealt with? Welcome to the Age of Consolidation. As the treasury technology landscape continues to narrow, you may be left wondering what happened to your vendor relationship. Have you heard from your technology partner recently? If not, don’t rush to judgement; your contacts may be fighting for their jobs. But there are things that you need to fight for, too. 

Get on the radar

The first thing that you need to do is get on the radar. Your existing relationship manager at the newly acquired provider may or may not be as attentive as you need. But their new boss at the acquiring company will want to know if there are any fires to put out. Push on anyone and everyone you can to get a meeting scheduled to discuss the relationship. This meeting should include stakeholders from the old and new companies and will have several components: 

1. Business Use-Case – Typically the acquiring company will want to fully understand how you use the system that is now in their portfolio. Be prepared to lay it all out for them. Don’t just describe the modules that you use or the buttons that you push. Give them your detailed perspective on the value proposition of the system and why it works well with your internal processes. Remember that, for good or ill, you are being categorized by the new company so don’t turn the use-case discussion into a griping session. There will be plenty of time for that later. For now, get on their radar as a valued customer. 

2. Discussion of Migration – Brace yourself for a high-level pitch to migrate to the legacy product(s) of the acquiring company. The folks you are speaking to are required to make that pitch. Remain interested and non-committal and you will stay on their radar. Declaring your undying loyalty to the acquired product might be sincere, but it could get you kicked off the radar. 

3. The Renewal – The top priority for your new counterparts is to secure your subscription renewal. If the time frame for renewal is long, expect some high-level relationship building. If you are lucky enough to have a renewal within 1-3 months, you have some leverage. Use that leverage wisely. 

Understand the product strategy

The next thing to fight for is an understanding of your new provider’s long-term product strategy. This is where the renewal comes into play. Once the use-case discussion is complete, schedule a follow up discussion to explore their strategy and ask any questions. If you prefer to work with long-term partners, then understand the long-term product strategy of both the product you are currently using, and the product they are asking you to migrate to.

Some good questions to incorporate into your discussion would be:

  • Where do you see the most growth in the future? What market? Which products?
  • What is the long-term strategy for the legacy system? For the acquired system? 
  • What is the parent company’s “Exit Strategy”? (Could another acquisition or disruption be on the horizon)

Assess the “people factor”

In the meantime, try to get a read on how the acquired employees are faring. Your contacts at the company might be able to provide insight. A dearth of previously familiar contacts will also provide an insight. Employee turnover doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a bad position, but it does signal that full support and investment in the acquired product may be curtailed in favor of a push to migrate end-users to the new platform. Regarding the product strategy, this might be the time to explore what will happen to the holdouts who refuse to migrate. Will they make an offer you can’t refuse? Or will they simply sunset the product you are utilizing. In either case, lead time is key so that you can make the appropriate plans.

Forging a path forward

Once you have a handle on the product strategy and a sense of the team that will be in place to serve your needs, you can make informed decisions about how to move forward. For example, if you are comfortable with the product strategy but sense there won’t be an experienced team to support your migration to the new platform, you can assemble an internal team to facilitate that process. Conversely, if you don’t trust the product strategy, can’t get the ear of management, and sense a swift exodus of talent, it might be time to choose a new partner. Take the time to assess the situation, review your alternatives and take a step-by-step approach. Proceeding according to a plan and weighing your options makes the Age of Consolidation easier to navigate. 

ChathamDirect is a groundbreaking Treasury Risk Management and hedge accounting platform that supports foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity hedging programs. ChathamDirect, provides a clear view of your entire hedging program, including cash flow forecasts, balance sheet exposures and hedge requests—all securely available on a leading SaasS platform. ChathamDirect is backed by Chatham Financial, an employee-owned, independent market leader with a global team of capital markets experts, risk management advisors, CPAs, lawyers, quantitative analysts, and technology developers who serve more than 2,000 clients annually.

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