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Transformation in M&A - Empowering Seamless Integration

Managing technology integration

 
Introduction 

VIA Travel, a business travel company based in northern Europe, was acquired by Egencia in 2012. VIA Travel provided travel management services for businesses, offering solutions tailored to the unique needs of corporate clients. Karumba Consulting managed the technology integration of VIA into its sister company. The enlarged group would expand Expedia’s business travel reach into the Nordic region while giving VIA Travel’s clients access to a broader network of services and a sophisticated, more scalable business travel platform. 


The challenge:
In 2012, Egencia acquired VIA Travel, a Nordic travel group comprising distinct travel companies in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and headquartered in Oslo, Norway. VIA Travel's IT platforms, infrastructure, and productivity applications were very different and driven by other business approaches, blocking both parties from leveraging the benefits of the acquisition. To realise the advantages, we had to unify and efficiently operate, streamline technology stacks, expand the customer support capabilities, and establish a scalable, robust infrastructure that could decrease operational expenses.
 

Navigating cultural variances:

The two companies, Egencia and VIA, had distinct cultures, operating practices, and technological approaches. Egencia, a world-leading platform provider, streamlined workflows for travel bookings and incorporated sophisticated travel approval and billing workflows. Through systematic learning, it also offered personalised features, like remembering seat preferences. On the other hand, VIA, while less technically advanced, thrived on local relationships and showed a people-centric focus.   

The integration process unfolded on two fronts—aligning Egencia's capabilities and bridging cultural gaps. Shifting from a 9-5 to a 24-7 operation without sacrificing personal connections posed a challenge. Some smaller offices closed, but centralisation ensured continued service delivery.  

Cultural disparities required thoughtful planning, as evident during overlapping country closures (from June through August). Balancing technology advancements from the bottom up —migrating data centres, replacing networks, booking platforms, desktop systems, telephony and CTI platforms—demanded extensive training for client services and a high level of care and change management.   

Frequent inter-office travel became crucial to managing progress, promoting benefits, and maintaining buy-in. Stakeholder management involved keeping around 30 offices updated, addressing concerns, and fostering a unified approach post-integration. 

 
The solution:

Karumba was responsible for developing and implementing extensive technical and operational integration strategies. Working closely with Expedia and VIA's technical teams, Karumba facilitated the alignment of diverse areas, including data centres, networks, desktop systems, IVR, and telephony. Additionally, Karumba assisted in transitioning VIA's technical teams, offering adept project management, technical subject matter expertise, and operational support.  

  

Beyond technical expertise, Karumba nurtured strong stakeholder relations, comprehensively understood business cycles and critical operational processes, and meticulously built a robust business case for integration. Karumba established a Project Management Office (PMO) to ensure consistent reporting, managed stakeholder communications, and facilitated technical integration planning workshops. Developing playbooks, resourcing plans, and handling the decommissioning process for redundant equipment formed critical elements of their strategy.

 

The results:

The outcomes for Egencia were extensive and transformative. We:  

  • Leveraged scalability from Expedia for enhanced growth opportunities.  

  • Reduced and simplified the technology footprint, leading to substantial operational savings.  

  • Streamlined agent processes, enabling more efficient customer support around the clock.  

  • Improved availability and reduced infrastructure costs through shared resources.  

  • Offered global career prospects for VIA staff, fostering growth opportunities.  

  • Enhanced user support and consistency in operations and customer experiences.  

  • Improved meeting the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and enhanced customer support.  

  • Enabled adoption of innovations and removed authentication barriers.  

  • Increased flexibility in resource placement and reliance on higher-quality technology support. 

Shawn Griffin, (Was) Head of IT and Security at Egencia (Now) Chief Information Security Officer at Siemens Digital Industries Software: 

"Simon (at Karumba) is a highly respected leader and exceptional program manager. Specifically, Simon is an experienced project manager with subject matter expertise in building relationships and providing detail-oriented action plans that are driven to successful execution. Simon communicates clearly and effectively at all levels. His personality is very professional with a brilliant sense of humor that keeps the team engaged and motivated throughout the entire program." 

Conclusion

Karumba took a deep dive into the tech and operational puzzle, working closely with Expedia and VIA's tech teams. Karumba was there, guiding VIA's tech teams through the change, offering project management skills, technical knowledge, and practical support.

 

As you navigate your challenges and transformations, consider how Karumba's expertise and bespoke solutions can help you achieve your business objectives. Contact us to explore how our strategies can empower your organisation's success. 

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