A little over a year ago, Easi decided to get a foothold in Strategy Execution Management (SEM) with the acquisition of 2 companies: DInsights and PIT Business. Its goal? To steer and assist companies with the implementation and optimization of their strategy by analyzing their data and strategic KPIs. Ludovic Michaux (Managing Partner at Easi) and Mathieu Pignon (ex-CEO of PIT Business and Team Leader at Easi) revisit their collaboration and reveal some of their objectives for the upcoming years.
Getting into data was an obvious choice
For Ludovic Michaux, Managing Partner at Easi, data extraction, processing and analysis has always played an important role for the company, particularly with the accounting and financial management software, Adfinity. It was critical for Easi to delve deeper into the subject by professionalizing supply and implementation methods.
“Today, data is everywhere but remains greatly under-used, and making it speak to its fair value is a daunting challenge. We had a duty to take further interest in this topic and bring what we’d started 18 years earlier to its logical conclusion. For this reason, we decided to give it a go in 2018, by establishing a team from scratch, driven by the topic. We quickly felt that the project could work. We henceforth wanted to accelerate growth through the acquisition of a specialized structure in the field," explains Ludovic Michaux.
It all began with a LinkedIn message
The acquisition of the company PIT Business by Easi, is in fact rooted in a simple LinkedIn message sent by Mathieu Pignon to Jean-François Herremans and Thomas Van Eeckhout (both Easi CEOs).
“At the end of 2019, I'm looking to boost sales of our Spoom software. I then picked up my sales baton and knocked on several doors, namely via a LinkedIn message sent to Thomas and Jean-François. They were the ones who put me in touch with Ludovic,” explains Mathieu Pignon. “At the time, I saw Easi as a simple client or partner.”
The vibe felt right from the start between Mathieu and Ludovic. It incidentally took very little time for them to highlight the common values that exist between both companies.
“From my very first meeting with Mathieu, I immediately felt that there were many common values. I was also impressed by the PIT team’s skills and the efficiency of their Spoom software,” explains Ludovic Michaux.
Mathieu Pignon (left) and Ludovic Michaux (right)
Ludovic quickly informed Mathieu of Easi’s willingness to acquire PIT Business in order to prepare the ground for Easi’s market entry into Strategy Execution Management (SEM). “At first, I was a little surprised, because I wasn’t particularly into sales, but I didn't want to miss this golden opportunity,” says Mathieu.
On September 30, 2020, Easi signed the acquisition of PIT Business.
Don't even talk to us about “body shopping”
While many companies have specialized in data analysis, business intelligence (BI), etc., it is necessary to recognize that Easi’s methodology differs drastically from that of its competitors.
“It's our Data4Decisions methodology that makes us stand out in the marketplace. We never go to see a client with a blank page and ask them what they expect from us. We rely on over 10 years of experience to work together and establish an appropriate strategy. Only then do we choose the right tool to intelligently target the data to exploit,” explain Ludovic and Mathieu.
Moreover, unlike most of its competitors in the field, Easi’s approach forms part of a “turnkey” project for its customers.
“Many of our competitors practice what we call “body shopping”. They offer their clients one or several experts in Qlik Sense, SQL, BI, etc., whilst leaving other elements such as project management or architecture up to the customer,” explains Mathieu.
“At Easi, we carry out high-value-added projects in a pragmatic way with our sights set on excellence. We handle everything for our customers: from project management to architecture, etc. When they use our services, our customers can decide to leave everything up to us,” Ludovic adds.
Did you achieve the goals you had in mind at the beginning of the adventure?
“I had 4 goals when I entered the data and SEM market. The first was to set up a stable team in 2 countries, Belgium and Luxembourg. The second was to offer our customers a complementary product to our Adfinity management software to increase added value. Third, to play an important role in the Belgian data market. Finally, to create growth around a subject at the heart of our customers’ concerns. Now I can say with great pride that the project is living up to its promises and that we are ready to enter the early stages of significant growth,” Ludovic says.
“As far as I am concerned, I don't for an instant regret the resale of PIT Business to Easi. While a few of my colleagues have left us along the way, I am pleased to see that the majority of the team has fully integrated into this new structure. And I'm happy to see that we're taking the time to help our Spoom solution gradually reach maturity," continues Mathieu.
“Today, our comprehensive offering is ready and already well-proven. We have the full capacity to carry out small or large projects with a staff of 20. We have everything to conquer a market that is very much in demand of this type of service,” Ludovic adds.
"Easi has changed my life"
“I rolled a die by sending this LinkedIn message to Thomas and Jean-François, and I was very lucky. Today I can say that Easi has changed my life,” explains Mathieu.
“For me this acquisition has also been synonymous with incredible human adventure. It allowed us to welcome 9 new colleagues in one go and save a lot of time. If we had had to build all this expertise from scratch, it would have taken us much longer,” Ludovic adds.
Become a key partner in Benelux within 5 years
Today, the Data4Decisions business line has a workforce of 20 people or so. The goal is to reach 60 people by 2025: 30 people in Wallonia, 20 in Flanders and 10 in Luxembourg.
“I'm confident that Spoom will take off in the coming months. Spoom will become similar to Waze. That is to say, a tool that can tell us the most effective way to reach our strategic goal as quickly as possible,” says Mathieu.
“Our goal with Spoom and our Data4Decisions methodology is to become a key data partner in Benelux. As of now, all lights are set to green for us to make it,” Ludovic concludes.