Paragraphs highlighted in blue can be verbally communicated to the interviewee.
Paragraphs highlighted in orange indicate hints for you on how to guide the interviewee through the case.
PHASE 1 - INITIAL FRAMEWORK
A good candidate will understand that we need to 1) Get the standalone value of the company and 2) Get the added value from integration/synergies.
A good structure would be as follows:
Ensuring that we are in a large, high growth market with not-too fierce competition and good margins.
Determining if Roma is performing well in the market, has a strong product, loyal customers, and is likely to continue to do well. We’d want to understand if margins are good, growth is strong, and fundamentally try to understand cash flows to get an NPV.
We need to figure out what products from our Tech company could be incorporated into Roma’s tool (i.e. videoconferencing, chat, cloud services, etc.) We also need to determine how Roma’s tool can be brought into the Tech company’s ecosystem (for example, being added to Microsoft Azure). A dollar estimate here would be valuable.
Presumably, we’re well versed in post-merger integrations (Amazon w/ Whole Foods, Microsoft w/ Skype + LinkedIn, Facebook w/ Instagram + Whatsapp). However, we need to make sure we can successfully integrate Roma both culturally and technically. What database integration, web service calls, etc. etc. would be needed?
PHASE 2 - MARKET
The candidate should, naturally, proceed with the biggest question: Is this a market we even want to be involved in?
If needed, prompt/hint that this is the first area to look at.
You are able to provide the following information verbally (ideally, let them ask):
- Market growth is healthy at 20% and market value is in the tens of billions.
- There are approximately 15 players, but 3 clear leaders
- Both leaders are more capitalized, and one was recently purchased by a competing Tech firm
- Margins are healthy, but no company is currently profitable
- A great candidate will note that this is likely due to money spent on growing
A good candidate will recognize that, on the surface, this is an attractive market, though with some causes for concern.
PHASE 3 - ROMA
The candidate should then recognize that the next order of business is to evaluate the company itself.
Here, regardless of what they do, you need to prompt them and ask what key information they would like about the market.
You may provide the following information (a good candidate will ask)
- Market share: 25% (the 2 other leaders also have 25%)
- Historic growth: 5% above the market growth (the candidate should remark on this positive metric)
- Profit: Negative
- If prompted, explain that a large amount of $ is spent on R&D to improve the product as well as expansion of the sales pipeline
- Product competitiveness:
- Roma is consistently ranked as the #1 iBPMS provider by the most respected ranking institution (Gartner)
- Product split:
- 50% of revenues are SaaS
- 50% of revenues are professional services
- Prompt the candidate to think about which product has higher margins. They should recognize that SaaS sales are far more lucrative and identify this as a possible improvement point for the company
- 50% margins for SaaS
- 10% margins for professional services
Ultimately, the candidate should realize that this is a strong company, and that its situation could be optimized/leveraged by a well-capitalized Tech company.
PHASE 4 - SYNERGIES
At this point in the case, the candidate’s brainstorming abilities as well as real-world IT knowledge are to be truly tested.
Prompt them to talk through how our Tech company could leverage the Roma iBPMS platform.
It is critical that the candidate is both structured in thinking and provides specific examples that makes sense from an IT perspective. Some possibilities include the following:
Product Bundling – We can incorporate Roma’s iBPMS into our B2B IT suite offering. E.g. another “app” in Amazon Cloud or Microsoft Azure, that users can access.
Functionality Integration – Our Tech company’s chat tool (Teams, Slack, etc.) AND videoconferencing tool (Skype, Zoom, etc.) can be fully integrated into Roma’s solution. This enables employees to not just get “stuck” in processes and tasks, but ping each other seamlessly within the iBPMS tool.
Data Analytics - Sell-On Opportunities – Our Tech company can leverage their analytics capabilities and tools (Tableau, PowerBI, etc.) to enhance the Roma product. With all processes come data. As such, “radiation” or “sell-on” opportunities abound to create charts, reports, predictive analytics, etc. as complementary / supporting features of the IT system.
Internal Cost Reduction – We can leverage Roma’s platform/tool to build out own in-house systems. Leveraging Roma’s expertise and top professional services staff, we can streamline and integrate our internal processes so as to be more efficient. Being a large tech company we likely have 100s if not 1000s of individual applications and tools – leveraging iBPMS to integrate these could reduce costs significantly.
Cloud – As a large US Tech company, we likely have a cloud offering. We can leverage this to bring Roma’s offering (and customers) onto the Cloud, further adding to the value proposition.
Here, the candidate should recognize that there is huge potential with this acquisition. They should note any of the above (and additional) ways in which integration can add value.
PHASE 5 - TECHNICAL INTEGRATION CHALLENGES/RISKS
If time remains, prompt the candidate to think through whether the technical challenges can be overcome.
There is no right answer, however, generally the candidate should note that:
1) It would be very technically challenging to bring these integrations to life (such is the nature of joining separately designed systems)
BUT 2) We as a tech firm have vast experience with successfully identifying and executing on optimal tech integrations (e.g. FB with Instagram + WhatsApp)
This case is flexible in the “right” answer. Ultimately the candidate needs to demonstrate structured thinking, sound judgement, and technical expertise.
The general recommendation should be that this Tech firm acquires Roma. This is because Roma is a strong company with a valuable product in a large, growing market that has huge potential for future profits. While there are risks to successful integration and significant threat to competition, we – as a major US tech company – have been here before and know how to best leverage our extensive expertise, experience, and capital to optimize acquisitions.