Integrator Connection: Growth through Acquisition

SDI looks to triple its size as part of an aggressive expansion plan


Gupta himself worked for ESD in electrical systems engineering and information technology. He saw the pending big move to digital and IP for the security industry. “The business is more than hanging cameras,” he says. “It’s helping customers with workflow and how to manage their security environment.”

That environment becomes more dynamic every month. He actively avoided the conundrum some companies face in deciding whether to be a product provider or a true systems integrator. “A company has to go beyond construction to IT, managing change, managing the process,” Gupta says. “We are not a product provider. We feel a need to be the best integrator offering IT management, consulting and change management.”

 

Making the Merger

To help ensure a smooth and structured approach to the acquisition process, SDI put together a dedicated integration team that is responsible for implementing the company’s oft-tested integration plan. In advance of the close, the team identifies how best to combine personnel, functions and departments, along with a prioritized timeline for these areas once the acquisition was officially completed, Gupta explains.

Merging company cultures is not a one-way street and not an instant fix. Upon close of the acquisition, SDI immediately presents as much information as possible to all legacy and new employees as part of its system to move forward with important action items and fully integrate the two companies. The process has its roots back in June 2012 when SDI closed a private investment with private equity firm LLR Partners to fund the firm’s growth through acquisitions and expansion into commercial markets. That growth continues on the fast track.

“We don’t expect everything to happen overnight, but the key is to bring together the best of both worlds from the two companies, establishing universal practices and meshing the teams together,” Gupta says. “We are doing things ranging from establishing uniformity of HR policies and benefits to implementing sales best practices.”

 

What SDI Wants in a Partner

Gupta looks for partners with risk-mitigating technology delivery methodologies and SMEs in planning large-scale projects, specializing in areas like cut-overs, large data migrations, system/vendor transitions, etc. “Critical environment needs are different from typical organizations — from their broad range of highly complex legacy/hybrid/digital systems, to their elevated performance requirements, such as uptime, response time and high-capacity,” Gupta says, noting that SDI’s solutions are specifically geared for these environments.

Another key for a partner is having a single-source of technology accountability. “SDI acts as a cohesive leader to get to the final deliverable — we don’t walk away when it’s a product or other vendor’s problem,” Gupta says.

He sees SDI as a client advocate that delivers tailored solutions, shunning the cookie cutter one-size-fits-all product approach. “SDI provides a management consulting philosophy about addressing the client’s problems at the most detailed level,” he says. He expects his people to “hone in to the problem, pivot on the details and no stock answers.”

SDI doesn’t shy from the challenge if client needs extend beyond product standards. “We have the technical depth to go down to the code level and configure apps/hardware to meet a client’s specific needs,” Gupta says proudly. The company relies on its access to a robust vendor network to get the job done.

Of course, SDI is not the only security firm on an aggressive growth and acquisition path. What if someone were to pursue an acquisition of SDI? “We have an objective to build the company to a certain size,” Gupta says. “This would not be the right time.”

Meanwhile, SDI continues to strive to leverage its expertise in critical infrastructure environments and their unique requirements. Gupta points to their exceptional past and current performance in long-term service programs, offering technical capabilities of a global systems integrator within an agile, responsive partner.

SDI is proud to be vendor independent. Lastly, Gupta says they never would backfill with a “B Team” — that simply would not be in keeping with the company culture. “Our client’s best interests are our only interests,” Gupta says.