Washington, DC-based solution provider New Signature has continued its expansion north of the border, announcing it has acquired Toronto-based imason, a well known Microsoft partner focused on application development.
The deal comes less than six months after New Signature made big waves in the Canadian channel with its purchase of another Toronto-based solution provider, CMS Consulting and its Infrastructure Guardian business. New Signature, which has been named Microsoft’s U.S. partner of the year two years running, has set an aggressive course for expansion, including a very significant acquisition strategy for a solution provider organization. In this case, the purchase expands New Signature’s application development capabilities, said Jeff Tench, CEO of New Signature.
“Our plan is to strengthen our ability not just to help our customers in their journey to the cloud and migrating customers to a modern business architecture, but to expand their capabilities by building real applications on top of that,” Tench said. “[imason brings] an extremely strong capability on top of SharePoint, on top of CRM, and on top of mobile platforms. It’s a natural fit strategically.”
The deal was made somewhat easier by the existing connection between imason and New Signature Canada, the former CMS, which dates back to a more than decade-long connection between imason chief Jeff Dunmall and CMS boss Brian Bourne. As imason joins CMS under the New Signature Canada brand and umbrella, it will also ease the integration of the two businesses, Dunmall said.
“We’ve got that track record, so we don’t have to spend that time learning how to work together,” Dunmall said.
Tench said that having an “inside” connection like the one between Bourne and Dunmall made it easier to make the deal from New Signature’s perspective as well, especially since he said one of the key elements for which the company looks in a potential acquisition is cultural fit.
“Having an existing relationship with imason through Brian and his team helps vet a lot of that,” Tench said.
Dunmall said the deal makes sense for imason because in an increasingly cloud world, doing applications alone isn’t enough — having an infrastructure play is becoming all the more important to companies focused on app dev.
“It’s hard to build on a platform that doesn’t exist. That had become more and more constraining to us,” Dunmall said. “When you put what New Signature does, creating the platform, and what we do together, it becomes much more of a complete solution for our customers, and makes it much more easier for me to go to market.”
The expanded reach possible through New Signature — which now as operations in Toronto and in 25 U.S. states — also helps imason deal with another challenge Dunmall had seen to growth, the challenge of finding development talent while constrained to looking primarily in the Toronto market. With New Signature’s broader reach, Dunmall said his company will have a “vastly increased” talent pool from which to draw.
With two acquisitions in less than six months, New Signature has certainly made a name for itself in the Canadian channel community in a big way. And Tench said that while there are no plans currently in the works, there’s “definitely opportunity to add more.” The company is actively searching for talent to expand both its technical bench and its geographical reach, part of a bid to become the largest Microsoft partner in North America that can cover the entire Microsoft stack.
“We see a rising tide when it comes to cloud, and Microsoft is going to win a disproportionate share of the stack in which it participates, which is the biggest stack in the industry,” Tench predicted. “Combine that rising tide with scalable professional and managed services partner that can cover the whole gamut of what Microsoft offers, and you’ve got a very powerful trifecta. It’s about having a strategic discussion with customers about the journey to the cloud, it’s about deploying that cloud, and it’s about building on top of it. With this acquisition, we add a very important ingredient to that overall strategy.”