M&A

Inside one company's strategy to transform its offerings

For over a decade, BRMi has worked with customers to figure out what they need, but it was not until this week that the company stepped up its game to help customers build what they need as well.

With the company’s acquisition of ClearSoft, BRMi has added agile application development skills that executives said will make the company a single source for customers navigating a digital transformation, including migration to the cloud.

ClearSoft has experience in cloud transformation, cloud technologies, Amazon Web Services and other areas that complement what BRMi was already doing.

The acquisition was the result of a desire to transform BRMi and raise the level of service it can offer customers.

Since its inception in 2004, BRMi has helped customers define what they need. From the get go, BRMi founder and CEO Mike Battle focused on defining the lines of business across the federal government.

What Battle found is that organizations struggle with change and adoption, that individuals needed to be able to visualize what change means so that they can effectively plan for it. And they need to feel comfortable with the change in order to build trust.

“I saw that as an opportunity to start a firm that was focused specifically around helping organizations execute change,” Battle said.

One of his earlier projects was working as a subcontractor to SAIC, which had been tapped to develop the first enterprise architecture at the newly formed Homeland Security Department.

That’s where Battle got his footing for BRMi. “It built a real clear understanding of how do you get these very different cultures, different organizations that were smashed together, to begin to see themselves, begin to talk out of the same lexicon, and be able to see how they might work well together to accomplish a goal,” he said.

Along with the experience came professional relationships at the top level of the agency.

From that point on, BRMi grew organically across DHS as well at other civilian and intelligence agencies.

Originally an IT services and management consulting firm, BRMi began to realize over time that it needed to move in a different direction and change its portfolio of offerings, Battle said.

“We realized we needed to change, we needed to evolve and broaden that capability, so we made a conscious decision to create a lens that said how do we get to the capability of more execution, of being able to build,” he said.

At that point, BRMi was great at helping its customers define what it was they needed, but the company wanted to go further and help build what they need as well.

Battle set up an initiative called Pivotal to help the company pivot from where it was to where it wanted to be.

Pivotal did three things for BRMi, Battle said: It helped the company develop proprietary methodology of what the company does, it evolved its services catalog, and it defined what its growth strategy needed to be.

The third element was all about “what we needed to do both organically and inorganically to ensure we have the capabilities to deliver on the strategy,” Battle said, “and that lens said we need to acquire, from an inorganic standpoint, deeper application development capabilities that were very focused on agile and cloud transformation.”

That’s where ClearSoft came in.

BRMi first heard about ClearSoft through the McLean Group, who was representing the company.

ClearSoft will operate at first as a wholly owned subsidiary, but over time, BRMi plans on integrating it more completely into the overall business.  “We’re integrating the back office right now, but over time, we’re going to be working much more closely with them because as an organization, we have a tremendous amount of synergy in the customer space,” Battle said.

Going forward, BRMi intends to leverage ClearSoft to capitalize on the strides the company has made in visual analytics, which Battle said helps define much more effectively what it is his customers need to build.

"We’re changing the nature of the kind of work that organizations have done in terms of management consulting, we’re getting away from the paper-driven, the Powerpoint-driven exercises that makes it difficult for our customers to make clear decisions," Battle said.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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