Acquisition will expand EA’s custom consulting capabilities

 

On March 21, 2016, Environics Analytics (EA) announced that it had acquired the Boire Filler Group, the Toronto-based data analytics company that specializes in predictive analytics, data management, business intelligence and customer-centric service for a wide range of clients including Hudson Bay Company, Nestle, CAA and Whirlpool. The acquisition will expand EA’s data and analytics services, particularly as they relate to custom consulting and data analytics program design.

Ten former Boire Filler staff members, including founders Richard Boire and Larry Filler, have joined the EA team. Boire is a nationally recognized expert in data mining and analytics and a regular Direct Marketing contributor with 30 years of experience. Filler brings over 25 years of experience in relationship and database marketing and particular expertise related to transforming data into insights that can be leveraged to drive more effective CRM results.

Responding to marketers’ changing needs

Jan Kestle, president and founder of EA, emphasizes that while there was a small degree of overlap between EA’s data services and modelling and those of the Boire Filler Group, the two companies never saw themselves as direct competitors and often collaborated.

“There were many points in time when we partnered and when the clients that Rich and Larry were working with would have our data or Rich and Larry would acquire our data to use in the work that they were doing,” Kestle expains. “Over the past few years we’d seen a phenomenon happening where customers were saying to us, ‘we like working with you and your data… but what we really need help with is getting our data together, integrating it, managing it and designing the analytics process.’”

In response EA had expanded their custom consulting services with a small dedicated team to help marketers gain a 360-degree view of the customer, but found that the demand for these services was far greater than their internal team could address. This gap has largely motivated EA’s recent string of acquisitions, including SM Research, Pivotal Contact and now the Boire Filler Group.

“The fact that we had customers who wanted us to help them with their data management was a big incentive to figure out how we could expand our resources there,” says Kestle. Instead of asking time- and resource-strapped marketers to juggle multiple service providers, it made more sense to offer these clients, many of whom were already working with both EA and the Boire Filler Group, an integrated service to help them acquire, cleanse, integrate and act on their data.

“This really allows us to offer our clients the optimal solution,” says Filler. “I really think that this is great for the marketplace.”

“[EA is] a little bigger but we’re both boutique agencies. We both specialize in diagnosing a business problem, understanding what the right tool is to answer the particular business question, helping clients use the data, helping them implement and measure their results. We’re very agile and hands-on. So culturally it was a great fit.”

In addition to expanding EA’s custom consulting capabilities, it is expected that the particular expertise of Boire, Filler and the rest of their team will help shape future data products and software from EA.

Sometimes bigger really is better

“The data environment analytics is evolving very quickly, and I believe that there is a need to bring more people to the table to look at problems, to look at data,” says Boire. “I think what’s exciting is that we are now part of a big team and we can start to be more forward thinking—the Internet of Things, telematics, it’s all data. It’s very exciting. What’s really exciting is its no longer just 12 of us; it’s 100+ and growing.”

When asked how this acquisition will change the profile of the types of clients EA serves, Kestle notes that while Boire and Filler do bring expertise in sectors that EA traditionally has not done much business, including risk management, contact centres and operations management, the primary motivation for the acquisition is closer partnerships with existing customers, with expanded products and services that better address their needs.

“When you’re able to provide more tools, solutions and scale to an enterprise or to a client, the ability to be a bigger and better partner and to do better things is really what this, from our standpoint, is all about,” agrees Filler. “It’s moving from a tactical model to really helping clients build their whole analytics strategy.”

“By joining with EA,” said Boire in a release, “we will be able to access EA’s incredible data and services and strengthen the analytics, modelling, consulting and data management expertise that we offer. I truly believe that by joining the talents and experience of our two companies, we’ve created a powerful organization that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

 

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Sarah O'Connor

Sarah O'Connor is the editor of Direct Marketing magazine.

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