Flowers and plants seen through a rainy window.

Examining CSAM’s Buy, Integrate & Build Model

CSAM has built a solid platform for continued growth in the Nordic and European specialised eHealth solutions market with an active mergers and acquisition (M&A) strategy that focuses on niche software ownership and geographical expansion.

The company’s unique strength lies in its ability to not only identify and acquire the right businesses but to effectively buy, integrate and build new business in the eHealth market. This buy, integrate and build (BIB) model is CSAM’s key to value creation, honed over multiple successful acquisitions and integrations.

CSAM buys companies that have a winning combination of customers with recurring revenue streams, products where the company owns the code, and employees with high speciality care competence.

– After an acquisition, CSAM differentiates itself by fully integrating the business into one CSAM organisation, regardless of formal company structure, said Leif Egil Buen, CSAM’s Chief Operations Officer (COO). – We build CSAM as a single enterprise, not a series of stand-alone businesses, offering a broad range of niche eHealth solutions across markets and customers.

Over the past four years, CSAM has successfully integrated seven businesses that expanded or strengthened its product offerings in key domains or markets. During this time, the company has built a unique and effective capability to buy, integrate and build new business, with a robust operating model, structured communications process, and a strong reputation as a desirable acquirer.

 One Company Operating Model
CSAM operates as one company, wholly and quickly integrating newly acquired businesses into the organisation. The company’s operating model is set-up to enable the integration of new companies systematically as part of its daily operations.

Julie Rysstad and Leif-Egil Buen
Julie Rysstad, HR Advisor & Leif-Egil Buen, COO

– Competence is one of three key dimensions CSAM looks for when acquiring new businesses, so there is a dedicated focus on ensuring employees from acquired companies quickly feel like a part of CSAM, said Buen. – Part of the way we achieve this is by immediately transferring old reporting lines into CSAM’s one company structure, where everyone reports to their local Managing Director.

Next, CSAM implements its Common Management System within the first three months following an acquisition. The company utilises industrial lifecycle management for developing and updating its certified software products and project scale-up with its development and QA capacity in the Philippines.

The new business also gains access to CSAM’s shared service functions such as accounting, support, and IT, and company-wide operations including sales, project management, development, delivery and customer support.

– CSAM uses commonly defined key processes and process owners to ensure routine ways of working across the company, said Buen. – Our flat, matrixed organisation allows us to minimise overhead while simultaneously increasing agility.

Integrating newly acquired businesses into the one company model allows CSAM to optimise structured revenue, realise add-on sales opportunities, leverage the benefits of their scale, and export solutions to new markets and customers.

Structured Communications Process
A core part of CSAM’s buy, integrate and build capability is the company’s comprehensive and insight-driven communications process that manages information flow during all stages of an acquisition and integration.

– Effective communications during the M&A process is key to building trust with employees, ensuring business continuity, and forging success for the organisation, said Jennifer Goode, Communications Director at CSAM. – Communications works collaboratively with senior leaders and the integration team, ensuring alignment and support at every milestone.

First, a core narrative is created, and a standard communications cascade is followed to ensure all stakeholders – including employees, customers, investors, vendors and other partners – receive clear and timely information that highlights the strategic value of the acquisition.

Once the deal is signed, multiple communications go live to announce the pending acquisition, including internal communications and a press release.

– Setting the narrative early on during an acquisition is key to ensuring a smooth transition during the integration phase, said Goode.

After the initial announcement, there is an ongoing flow of communications over weeks or months to ensure external stakeholders are informed of changes that may affect them, such as new office locations. Simultaneously, internal communications ensure new employees receive the information they need, such as corporate policies, HR documents, and access to internal news channels.

– We also begin work immediately to integrate CSAM’s brand standards and digital marketing initiatives, which includes migrating website content to and taking ownership of social media profiles, said Goode. – CSAM’s one organisation strategy applies not just to our operational structure, but importantly, to our corporate brand as well.

Strong Reputation as an Acquirer
CSAM’s expertise in buying, integrating and building new business in eHealth has landed the company a reputation as a desirable buyer for specialised software companies looking to sell.

In Q1 of this year, CSAM acquired Arcid, a Norwegian eHealth company focussed on information flow in the teleradiology domain. Kåre-Bjørn Kongsnes, founder and former owner of Arcid, recalls his decision to sell the company to CSAM.

– For the past three or four year years, I had been looking for partners or new owners for Arcid, said Kongsnes. – When I met with CSAM’s Management Team, I was immediately impressed by their humour, company culture, focus on quality and their understanding of the market; I was confident that they were the right fit for Arcid.

Kåre-Bjørn Kongsnes outside the Oslo opera house.
Kåre-Bjørn Kongsnes, former owner of Arcid AS

– When it came to the integration, CSAM had a structured, parallel process for managing the transfer of shares between owners while simultaneously focusing on integrating Arcid’s people, competence and products into their organisation, said Kongsnes.

– From my perspective, this is a win-win transaction, said Kongsnes. – Arcid’s products, customers and competence are a value-add for CSAM’s business and in turn, CSAM’s solutions, markets and customer base present a huge opportunity for the Arcid business. It is a fantastic opportunity for new business development with CSAM as the full owner.

A Model for Long-Term Growth
CSAM’s M&A strategy is based on a clear value creation logic, replicated multiples times over the past half-decade. Through its buy, integrate and build model, the company has built a strategic and competitive advantage as the only niche software consolidator in the Nordic market.

CSAM will continue to use this successful model for further consolidation in the Nordics and selected European countries in the future. The Management Team is already pursuing several short- and long-term negotiations with potential partners.

– CSAM has a solid history of strategic acquisitions that have provided us the opportunity to expand or strengthen our portfolio of niche software solutions and enter new markets, said Buen. – But the key to CSAM’s success lies in our unique capacity to effectively integrate the businesses in a way that enables long-term, sustainable growth.