Benefits of the Egnyte data portal:
- Intuitive: Easy to use, even for IT laypeople
- Cost-effective: One unified data room instead of paying for many
- Secure: Protected personal and proprietary info with granular access permissions
“Partnering with Egnyte, we helped Sila build a secure portal that is now the primary engine for running their acquisition services. It’s a huge win for everyone involved.”
Chief Information Officer • Network Coverage
Sila Services, a mid-sized HVAC, plumbing, and electrical company, has a strong record of attracting high-value capital investments to elevate their business. After the private equity firm Dubin Clark acquired the company in 2019, Sila boosted its valuation through the acquisition of several additional companies.
Engaging in mergers and acquisitions at this level requires a tremendous amount of due diligence involving extensive review of documentation, from legal, to environmental, to HR. Guided by their managed services provider, Network Coverage, Sila leveraged Egnyte to develop an easy, cost-effective, and secure workflow for the exchange of acquisition data.
Challenge: Inefficient Data Exchange Imperils Acquisition
Steve Zimmerman worked as Chief Information Officer for several platform companies owned by Dubin Clark until the acquisition of Sila Services, at which point he was put in charge of IT at Sila as CIO. With experience both in IT and private equity, he knows how critical – and challenging – the due diligence process is ahead of an acquisition.
“We’ve purchased 21 companies. In each case, we had to review their IT platform, payroll info, financial statements, and myriad other documents spread across Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks, you name it,” Zimmerman explains. “When we first began making these acquisitions, we had to pay to access this information through a secure data room provided by a third party. Doing this for each acquisition would have been cost-prohibitive.
To bypass the third-party data rooms, the team tried using VPNs to connect each acquired company’s file server and directory to Sila’s Citrix instance. But this created headaches of its own: “To adjust access permissions to a document, we’d have to go through cumbersome, time-consuming manual processes like writing a Group Policy Object,” says Dustin Krauss, Director of Service Operations at Network Coverage.
This permissions issue was critical. “There’s a lot of scrutiny around security during acquisitions,” Zimmerman explains. “We’re dealing, potentially, with people’s personal health and financial information. Plus, companies typically want to be discreet about their ongoing acquisition activity.”
Solution: Build a Secure Portal for Exchanging Data in Egnyte
The Sila Services and Network Coverage teams evaluated Egnyte’s content management system, conducted a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, and concluded that Egnyte was ideal for facilitating communication in M&A situations. “Several of our clients already used Egnyte,” Krauss says. “So I’d seen how effective it is for file sharing and collaboration.”
Zimmerman struck a similar note regarding Network Coverage: “Dubin Clark had had successful experiences with Network Coverage at several of our subsidiaries. I knew I could trust their IT recommendations at Sila.”
Sila set up Egnyte as a secure, centralized, cloud-based data portal where the variety of stakeholders in an acquisition can quickly upload and review all the information. “The portal served as the go-to place for parent companies and subsidiaries, as well as attorneys and auditors, to load and review documents,” says Zimmerman.
The team programmed the Egnyte system to send real-time email notifications to internal and external stakeholders each time someone uploaded a relevant document for review. This allowed everyone to stay apprised of developments during the acquisition. As Zimmerman explains: “Our partners want to see progress. An acquisition can take months to complete, and these alerts help move the review process along. If, say, a document indicates a company carries high insurance costs and thus calls the acquisition into question, we want that document to be seen sooner than later.”
After uploading the data, Sila leveraged Egnyte’s granular access permissions functionality to keep that data secure and ensure that only the proper stakeholders can access it. As Zimmerman explains: “I can give someone access to a particular document, but limit that access to a specific folder or set of folders within a data room, rather than an all-or-nothing situation.” This allowed Sila to further engage in M&A activity while maintaining the proper guardrails around sensitive personal and proprietary information.
All the while, the Egnyte platform has offered an intuitive user experience – a major benefit for less tech-savvy users. “Once we built the portal, all we had to do was send out invitations to people we wanted to give access to,” says Zimmerman. “And Egnyte makes it easy for individuals of all IT skill levels to upload all sorts of data.”
“With Egnyte, we were able to store all our data safely within a single set of repositories in the Egnyte environment, instead of some information existing on one server, some on another, and some in the cloud.”
Chief Information Officer, Sila
Benefits: The IT Workflow Necessary for Successful Acquisitions
Egnyte has empowered Sila to ensure that all of their information is well-organized and secure, which is critical for successful M&A. “Parent companies want to know where all of the information is stored, whether it’s secure, and how it’s broken down,” says Zimmerman. “With Egnyte, we were able to store all our data safely within a single set of repositories in the Egnyte environment, instead of some information existing on one server, some on another, and some in the cloud.”
“When companies get acquired and then acquire others, they need to integrate as fast as humanly possible,” adds Eric Tomah, Chief Information Officer at Network Coverage. “Leveraging Egnyte’s SaaS-based platform has made the integration effectively seamless for Sila.”
Zimmerman places Network Coverage at the heart of Sila’s IT success story: “Our IT environment across a number of acquired companies, as well as our IT corporate platform, is managed by Network Coverage, and we would not have partnered with them if we weren’t certain they could get the job done. As we expand across multiple geographies, Network Coverage supports that expansion seamlessly.”
Since implementing Egnyte, Sila’s use of the Egnyte platform has grown to cover virtually their entire portfolio. “Thousands of individuals have received invitations to load documentation into the Egnyte portal and have never faced difficulties in doing so,” says Zimmerman. “The data is encrypted, secure, and has never been compromised.”
Tomah looks back on how far the team has come: “The secure portal we helped Sila build with Egnyte is now the primary engine running their acquisition services. It’s a huge win for everyone involved.”