When TEAM Software became the latest prize in a buying spree by New Jersey-based WorkWave in September, the assumption by many was it signaled the end of one of the most underrated corporate success stories in the city’s recent history.
To the contrary, say executives on both sides of the deal, TEAM Software may be primed for the biggest strides yet in its remarkable history. And why? Because, as CEO David Giannetto noted, WorkWave knows when to leave well enough alone.
“There’s a difference between how we’ll operate and the legal structure,” Giannetto said. “Legally, they are completely part of WorkWave and fully owned. But WorkWave is really a family-of-brands concept.
“TEAM Software has some great things they’re doing and we don’t want to derail them. At the same time, there’s some really great synergies here and if we step back and look at what things will be like three years from now, we can together create something that just doesn’t exist in the market today. So, we have a really big view of what we’re trying to do as a new, larger company.”
TEAM Software shares similar sentiments.
“Employees on both sides of this are feeling excitement, I would say, without a doubt,” said John Leiferman, CEO of TEAM Software. “The WorkWave folks have been through more change more quickly than ours have, but we were employee-owned, we sold to private equity in 2018 and we bought six companies ourselves. So, there’s been a lot of change over here, too. Despite that, our employees are overwhelmingly positive about the opportunity to work together with WorkWave.”
If ever there was a case for protecting the golden goose, it’s TEAM Software, which produces company management software products specifically for the cleaning, janitorial, security and facilities management service industries. In 33 years, the firm has grown into an international market leader, maintaining offices in the United Kingdom and Australia, and employing 275 worldwide.
Between this reach and WorkWave’s resources, Leiferman said the deal makes sense for both parties. He’s also excited about how the Lincoln firm has already been welcomed to the strategic table.
“The dynamic has been fantastic,” he said. “I look at WorkWave and I
see us. We’re exactly the same — product-led, innovation-led, customers are most important, take care of your employees. You put two companies together that are passionate about the same things and it creates a real one plus one equals four.
“Do we have to figure some things out? Of course we do. You can’t invest in everything. But you want to invest in the things that make sense, that provide the right opportunities for us to grow and then feed that to development to go get it done.”
Flurry of acquisitions
WorkWave has had a busy 2021, acquiring Michigan-based Real Green and its subsidiary Coalmarch (serving lawn, landscaping and pest control) in June and Utah-based Slingshot (serving call centers) in May. Counting TEAM Software, the new WorkWave will employ more than 1,000 and boast annual revenues in the realm of $250 million. Moreover, the new firm moves forward with name recognition and client loyalty to the respective brands intact.
“We tried to move into these other verticals over the years and we couldn’t create mass,” Giannetto said. “The truth is, you have TEAM Software over there that is really good at what they do. If they tried to go into pest control they would struggle, and if we tried to go into lawn and landscape we’d struggle, because Real Green was dominant there.
“Our belief is, you can’t just buy market share and think you can run it. You have to go get great teams of people who understand those industries and the customers in it and bring them together. That’s why when we merged the companies, even though it’s an acquisition, we looked at combining to create real value, not cutting to create more value on paper.”
The TEAM Software merger was completed at the end of September and attention now turns to integrating all of the new players. Top of mind is getting the teams to row together to increase market share and implement best practices, especially as the pandemic continues to reshape operations.
“We had our best quarter in the third quarter of 2020, in the midst of COVID,” Leiferman said. “It took some time, and there have been some ups and downs. It went to our reputation that you didn’t have to explain who TEAM Software was. You just had to say our solution was ready for them.
“You’ve still got to connect person-to-person at some point but today, it’s remote. I’d say from my point of view, sales is really no different than R&D — it happens wherever you happen to be. The best people can succeed whether they’re in an office or not.”
800-500-4499 (TEAM SOFTWARE); 866-794-1658 (WORKWAVE) • 407 S. 27TH AVE., OMAHA 68131 • TEAMSOFTWARE.COM; WORKWAVE.COM
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