BonCode Works with Pension Company to Support Acquisition Due Diligence

by | Apr 11, 2022

B O N C O D E   C A S E

Exec Summary

This pension company had used off-the-shelf pension administration systems in the past, but to differentiate and scale, it wanted to develop its own technology IP. That strategy included the acquisition of a pension administration software company. BonCode was hired to answer a straightforward question: “Are we about to buy a bag of snakes?” Our analysis not only answered that question but helped the company decide between two alternative acquisitions. Then, we validated that our software quality concerns had been resolved before the acquisition completed.

“BonCode provided the independent expertise we needed to de-risk our acquisition. With evidence-based, objective, and transparent analysis, we selected the right acquisition with much more confidence.”

Software Development Director

2 Acquisiton targets

BonCode was engaged to evaluate two alternative software acquisitions.

4 Weeks Static Code Analysis

Detailed analysis with click-through report
delivered in four weeks.

1 Week Quality Assurance

Before closing, we validated quality
improvements.

The Problem

How Do You Know What’s Hidden Under the Hood?

Following years of acquisitions and growth, this unnamed1 pension company needed to change its IT strategy. The company had relied on off-the-shelf packages and SaaS products in the past. They suffered from a lack of differentiation, disjointed and overlapping systems, and a high cost and slow speed of customer onboarding.

To break free from these constraints and radically improve the customer experience, the company decided to develop its own pension administration suite. Ownership of its intellectual property was a crucial part of this strategy.

To fast-track development, the company identified two possible pension administration software companies to acquire. But because the company was yet to hire a software development team, it lacked the expertise needed to evaluate the software quality in detail.

“We could evaluate the functionality, but our concern was the underlying architecture and code,” the software development director said. “We needed to look under the hood to understand the quality of software engineering.”

Questions that the company needed to answer included:

  • Would the software be easy to maintain and enhance?
  • What different languages, frameworks, and third-party components were involved?
  • Would the software scale and perform well for larger numbers of users and customers?

In summary, as the software development director puts it, “We wanted to know that we weren’t buying a bag of snakes.”

The company came to BonCode on the recommendation of another of its software suppliers. “We also talked to top management consultancies, but they put us off by trying to enlarge the scope,” says the software development director. “We chose BonCode for its expertise and reputation, and we liked their plain-speaking approach. Plus, they were able to meet our deadlines and budget.”

Moreover, BonCode provided the independence needed, as potential acquisition targets wouldn’t gladly provide their source code to a potential acquirer.

Why Choose Boncode?

Expert

Software quality experts offering automated source code analysis.

Independent

Provide fixed-scope pricing free from outside influence.

Factual

Evidence-based, objective, and transparent software quality analysis.

The solution

Measuring Software Quality with Objectivity

BonCode’s services spanned three delivery phases:

  1. Acquisition Target One—a four-week assignment in which we used the BonCat platform to provide automated static code analysis. We delivered a summary report and interactive dashboard, which enabled the customer to drill down from key findings to underlying details. Although our investigation found the core system to be well designed, we flagged that the front-end used outdated active server pages technology, which we recommended should be replaced with a loosely coupled front-end integrated via REST APIs.
  2. Acquisition Target Two—a similar four-week assignment happened later once a second acquisition target was identified. Our report flagged numerous concerns regarding the architecture and code variability, which would have been more challenging to support. The pension company rejected this acquisition target, and the company progressed negotiations to acquire target one.
  3. Quality Improvement Review—shortly before the acquisition closed, we performed a one-week quality improvement review to ensure that our recommended quality improvements had been appropriately implemented. This included the complete front-end modernization.

“BonCode worked transparently and courteously with our acquisition targets, sharing their factual findings for discussion,” says the software development director.

The Results

From Code Analysis to Improvement Roadmap

On the surface, Target two—the larger company—had seemed the likelier acquisition. However, BonCode’s code analysis revealed many concerns, including numerous development languages that the pension company didn’t want to support.

“There would have been a higher cost of ownership for the second target,” explains the software development director. “BonCode revealed these issues for us in a way that we could not have done alone. BonCode delivered exactly what we needed.”

Meanwhile, the findings regarding target one served as a software improvement roadmap. By the time the acquisition went through, the pension company had a better product, with an improved architecture that would be easier and less costly to maintain.

Asked for the most significant benefit of working with BonCode, the software development director said, “BonCode played the role of a neutral, independent expert, providing the due diligence expertise we needed for a strategic software acquisition.”

1 Due to contractual implications for our client’s existing software providers, the pension company cannot currently be identified.

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