Recently, K1 Investment Management announced that they had purchased Actiance, a global expert in communications archiving, compliance, and analytics systems. K1’s plan is to merge this company with Smarsh another brand known for their exceptional e-discovery, risk management, and compliance skills.
The goal behind the merger is to create a combined company that can serve up an end-to-end solution for managing the regulatory concerns of the year ahead, for more than 6,500 financial service firms, as well as countless other sectors. As specialists within the financial industry, the joined Smarsh and Actiance company will support the top 15 global banks, alongside many other organisations in regulated industries, and government agencies.
As the Unified Communications world becomes more concerned with things like privacy and security approaching 2018, this new merger could offer a range of fantastic solutions to brands in search of peace of mind and stability. We spoke to the CEO and President of Actiance, Kailash Ambwani and Steve Marsh, CEO of Smarsh to get their thoughts on the announcement.
How Will the Merger Serve the UC World?
While Actiance and Smarsh might specialise in strategies for the financial vertical, their combined business will also be serving anyone who might be impacted by upcoming regulations like MiFID II and GDPR. As Kailash told me: “When K1 Investment Management purchased our company, they did so with the aim to create an end-to-end platform that can be used by the largest group of customers anywhere, in various industries. Combined with Smarsh, we’ll be able to offer the most robust solution around for end-to-end compliance in communication.”
It’s safe to say that we’ve seen an age of rapid development and change in the UC world – driven not just by new technologies like collaboration platforms, AI, and IoT, but also in the way that companies respond to those new developments with privacy and security strategies. The combined Smarsh/Actiance brand should help organisations to stay ahead of the ever-evolving compliance standards in the industry, with deployment options on the cloud, on-premises, and in hybrid environments that are designed to capture and archive information.
For the two companies involved, the merger means that businesses around the world will now have more choice over the kinds of UC strategies they can introduce to their teams.
“A lot of brands have had to restrict the use of certain platforms in the past because they simply can’t make them compliant,” said Marsh. “Because we can work with the broadest range of electronic communication options, all the way from social media, to encrypted chat, voice communications, and instant messaging, we believe that this consolidation will make more options a reality for our customers. With our help, deployment options can be more flexible, without forcing companies to compromise on compliance.”
How Are You Positioned to Stay Competitive in This Changing Market?
While the unified communications environment has seen the delivery of countless new opportunities in the form of technology developments like AI, VR, IoT and more, the development of these strategies means that there’s a lot more to keep up with when it comes to compliance. By focusing on a broad range of “electronic communications”, the combined Smarsh and Actiance brands could ensure that businesses continue to have access to next-level solutions for record management and compliance, regardless of which trends come next.
“Our use case is in ‘electronic communications’, and as both companies come together, we’ll have more opportunities to expand and innovate. Our platform already features APIs that allow third-parties to come in and develop new technology, and our combined companies will allow us to continue building our portfolio and increasing our resources for UC vendors, partners, and customers focused on compliance.”
Right now, the interconnected teams will be looking at investing more in the capabilities of their products, and R&D developments, as well as implementing more flexibility in deployment options for customers and expanding their joint channel partner program across Europe. As a combined unit, Smarsh and Actiance are working to help companies across all industries capture, store, and assess more than 100 content types. That means that we’re not just looking at call recording capabilities, but the option to pinpoint dangerous content in everything from instant messaging to social media.
“By developing an end-to-end solution with next-level archiving, capture, and surveillance solution, both Smarsh and Actiance are in a great position to start supporting the changing needs of regulated organisations around the world. As the marketplace expands, we’ll be continuing to improve our capabilities, to ensure we can offer customers the resources and services they need.”
Do You See Any Opportunities and Challenges in the Future?
During my conversation with Kailash and Steve, I could feel their excitement for the upcoming merger, and I was keen to find out how he felt that the two combined brands could respond to arising challenges and opportunities in the future of UC. He told me that both companies are aware of the disruptive environment that unified communications has been moving through in the last year.
“I think that the proliferation of different channels into the communication space isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. There’s the rise of video, the onset of new things like VR from Cisco, and even augmented reality on the horizon. Every day, we seem to hear about some new communication strategy for businesses. The key focus for us is being able to manage and monitor these new technologies as they emerge.”
With everything from AI, to IoT to worry about when it comes to getting on top of compliance, Smarsh and Actiance are offering much-needed confidence and security to their customers.
“The market is going through a period of digital transformation, legacy vendors are looking for new opportunities in the cloud, and businesses everywhere are searching for new answers to bigger and better productivity. Coming into the market with our next-gen technology has given us a serious leg up for the current environment. With Smarsh by our side, we’re perfectly positioned to tackle the challenges that UC customers face with compliance.”