Editor’s Note: While IQ traditionally does not include articles about Insigniam specifically, we wanted to share some insight and perspective with you regarding our recent acquisition by Elixirr, based on questions we received from our readers and Insigniam clients. We promise not to break this rule in the future. Thank you.

Embarking on a merger or acquisition (M&A) marks a critical juncture for any organization aspiring to elevate itself to the next growth stage. Yet, the realm is not for the faint of heart. According to a report by The Harvard Business Review, between 70% to 90% fail. To succeed, every step of the M&A process demands careful consideration and meticulous planning, especially when determining the opportune moment for such an endeavor.

Case in point, in December 2023, Insigniam announced the finalization of our acquisition by Elixirr, one of the UK’s fastest-growing management consultancies, as listed by the Financial Times’ FT1000.1 Thusly, the experience provided us tremendous, first-hand insight into the intricacies of selecting a compatible acquisition partner and navigating unforeseen challenges when two world’s become one.

While IQ has traditionally been a medium to elevate the transformational results achieved by our clients and industry leaders, we thought it prudent to share our experience with those of you considering similar strategic moves. For us, the acquisition by Elixirr was critical and essential for Insigniam’s future—both in terms of new capabilities, we can now bring to market and by enhancing the core services that our clients have trusted us to deliver for over 35 years.

Three decades ago, we could see that the evolving landscape in the business world would require enterprises to focus on transformation and disruption.  Today, leaders are more concerned about chiseling rock-solid alignment between corporate culture and enterprise strategy, which have become table stakes for breakthroughs and transformations.

Additionally, the tech-fueled explosion of data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning has upended the conversation about what is possible for our clients, as well as how these technologies stand to elevate our work across a variety of verticals and channels.

At Insigniam, our purpose is that we exist to serve. This means that we must serve the fulfillment and success of our client’s concerns and commitments. For us, the writing was on the wall: if we were to grow and flourish in the next era of business, our capabilities would also have to evolve as well.

To accomplish this, we faced a choice: we could create new capabilities in house or we could align ourselves with an established, respected partner with vast expertise in areas that complement our core services; one who not only understands Insigniam’s unique value proposition but also how a foundation of shared beliefs and cultures could cause ‘the tide to rise’ for both organizations. This was how our decision to seek an acquisition partnership with Elixirr began to unfold.

Know Thyself

One critical aspect that determines the success of a merger or acquisition is an air-tight alignment of cultural synergies, which forms the bedrock of a solid partnership.

Before identifying what pieces of the puzzle would elevate Insigniam to the next level, we first had to turn our focus inward on ourselves to understand what makes us truly unique—both in terms of how we view our firm internally and how we are perceived in the market.

As pioneers in the field of organizational transformation, we began shepherding large-scale enterprise transformations long before the term was even a household name. In those days, we were often met with quizzical looks from executives when describing how we could compel their people to think newly and act differently to achieve results they could only dream of.

Yet, to deliver this reality to our clients, we also needed a firm that could provide an unrivaled customer experience. As the firm’s co-founding partners, we worked hard to build a culture that truly allows for the best in people to show up. Granted, everybody says that, right? Fortunately, we have the metrics to back it up.

For instance, our industry-leading Net Promoter Score® of 66—with 85% of clients reporting that Insigniam provides more value than any other consulting firm—is not only indicative of our unparalleled reputation for catalyzing breakthrough results and speed to transformation, but also of our corporate culture, which enables this high degree of client success.2 Additionally, in our internal 2023 culture survey, our employee rating for overall satisfaction was 100%, and we’ve been certified as a Great Place to Work® for seven years in a row.

We achieved this level of employee engagement by serving as a true meritocracy in a gray world; our people know when they’re performing and when they’re not, based on open and transparent lines of communication across every aspect of our business. Interestingly, and perhaps most uniquely in the consulting realm, many of our people have been with us for decades—something that only comes from doing meaningful work in an inspiring environment.

And while none of this was necessarily new information for us, it did help us understand our unique strength and value proposition: our ability to catalyze inspired human performance, both within our client’s organizations and within our own—a requisite for the breakthroughs, innovations, and transformations our clients rely on us to unlock in their organizations.

In recent years it became evident to us that technology and data are the core mediums of business moving forward, and it was an area of specific focus as we searched for the ideal acquisition partner.

Elixirr, known for their proven capabilities across the disciplines of artificial intelligence (AI), digital transformation, data and technology, and innovation, impressed us by their impressive growth and ability to deliver results for clients across many of the same industries we’ve been working within for decades.

However, if our search criteria ended at this point, the effectiveness of an acquisition would have been at risk. And yet, this is where many mergers and acquisitions go awry—they focus only on enhancing portfolios and bolstering profits and dismiss people as all but a passing concern. For us, the ideal partner needed to be a cultural fit as well. Otherwise, as our experience has taught us, everything else would be for naught.

Securing the Right Partner

Like courting a potential spouse, selecting the ideal partner to elevate your business is a careful consideration of multiple factors. Yet, for us, none was greater than the need for robust cultural alignment since it underpins and is rooted in every aspect of our work.

What immediately impressed us about Elixirr were the similarities between our cultures; both of which share a commitment to extraordinary performance and authenticity. As our clients will tell you, there isn’t much pretense at Insigniam and we immediately noticed those similarities within Elixirr, where there is a real sense of passion for the work they do.

Also within Elixirr is a deeply embedded sense of entrepreneurialism, which affords people the ability to create, own, and take on leadership beyond what their job title is. Every employee, from entry-level analysts to the most seasoned principals, is a true owner at Elixirr, by way of a variety of equity participation programs—which includes offering share options and an employee share purchase plan (ESPP) that gives employees the option to invest a percentage of their salary to purchase shares, which are 100% matched by Elixirr.

To us, this entrepreneurialism was a signal that Elixirr, like Insigniam, places an enormous premium on the human factor. It’s our view that everything in business comes down to human beings, and key outcomes like innovation are driven by teamwork. Like us, Elixirr believes that the most exceptional results come from putting great minds together to collaborate and design solutions that transform our clients’ businesses.

Elevating Capabilities

At Insigniam, much of our client work is rooted in questions such as, “How do you elevate the performance of every person in an organization to elevate the performance of the organization itself?,” and “How do I get my people to think differently about the marketplace, or break out of their patterns of behavior to produce a whole new set of results?”

Based on three decades of working in these areas, we know we have the answers to those questions. Yet, if we take our knowledge about how to unlock inspired performance and apply it to a new set of criteria, such as, “How do you elevate the performance of every person in an organization through the use of emerging technologies and deep insights collected from a variety of new geographies?” We have the opportunity to answer those questions on a grander scale, thereby helping our clients create industrial magic on a completely new level.

Elixirr’s core competencies in data strategy, AI, and machine learning (ML) afford Insigniam a foundation to support our clients throughout their digital transformation—from end-to-end—whether they seek to streamline repetitive workflows, scale manual processes, analyze and organize data, identify and remedy data gaps, identify risk areas, and improve data accessibility across systems, thereby optimizing the customer experience. Insigniam is better able to holistically embed these capabilities into every decision, interaction, and process our clients make in order to unlock real business value.

In addition to our enhanced data competencies, our digital optimization capabilities can now help clients assess the full spectrum of digital services, ensuring they reach their intended audiences, customers, and key constituencies to get the best return on their investment.

Together, our enhanced data and digital integrations will enable our clients to utilize unique strategies and solutions to potentially generate new revenue. Yet, while new revenue streams may be music to many client’s ears, the true magic isn’t in the technology and the data.

For an enterprise, the real magic comes from marrying technology with data strategy and the art of being human. In order to serve our clients, we know we must be able to provide all parts of that equation.  By applying our human-centric approach into the world of data, AI, and ML, we can help clients create new futures for themselves and their enterprises—the perfect combination of technology and the best of what it means to be human.

Welcome to Our Next Era

As we begin the next chapter in our journey, we are filled with a profound sense of optimism and purpose. This milestone represents not just a strategic transaction, but a pivotal moment in our quest to redefine the boundaries of excellence in the world of business.

For our clients, this acquisition signifies a new chapter of possibilities and opportunities. We firmly believe that infusing Insigniam’s legacy of transformation with Elixirr’s cutting-edge capabilities in data strategy, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will herald a new era of innovation and growth. Excitingly, it means we can offer our clients an enhanced, comprehensive suite of solutions tailored to their evolving needs.

But beyond the realm of technology and strategy lies the true essence of our value proposition: a relentless commitment to human-centric leadership and empowerment. Our clients are not just beneficiaries of our services; they are partners in a journey toward lasting success and fulfillment. With Insigniam, powered by Elixirr, by their side, they gain more than just expertise—they gain trusted advisors and allies dedicated to their prosperity and well-being.

Moreover, our shared values of authenticity, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit serve as the cornerstone of our partnership, ensuring that every interaction is imbued with integrity, empathy, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. It means our clients can trust us not just to deliver results, but to do so with transparency and a deep understanding of their unique challenges and aspirations.

As we embark on this new chapter together, we are confident that the synergies created by our union will propel our clients to push the boundaries of what’s possible, unlocking new opportunities, and charting new paths toward lasting success and prosperity.

1As listed by the Financial Times FT1000.
2Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., NICE Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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