NNIT has evolved quite dramatically over the years, from a small independent IT consultancy born out of Novo Nordisk to a publicly listed company and now an international group of companies in its own right. This article is the second in a series looking at the individual NNIT Group Companies – what they do and how they add value to NNIT’s purpose and aspiration of making a mark in business and society, bringing digital transformation to life.
Valiance Partners was acquired by NNIT in 2018 and was The NNIT Group’s first international bolt-on acquisition and the first acquisition to boost the company focus on global life sciences. NNIT is a recognised and robust partner for IT for life sciences, especially within quality management, regulatory affairs, clinical, and production IT.
With Valiance as part of the Group, NNIT can also offer specialised services for large data migration projects, often associated with M&A activity when moving from one technology platform to another or migrating data from an old to a new upgraded version.
Valiance is an expert in critical data migrations within the life sciences industry. Tom Witmer, head of Valiance Business Development, said: ‘If it doesn’t involve complexity, risk, and a significant compliance aspect, we probably don’t get involved.’
From data validation to data migration
Valiance was founded in the US, in 2003, by partners Richard Higger, David Katzoff and Nagesh Sarma. Initially, the three of them were involved in data validation consulting work, which evolved into data validation in connection with big data migration projects.
As consultants, they found that most migration issues arose when systems were going live, significantly delaying the new platform’s successful launch. So, they realised it would be very useful to develop software to automate testing instead of the sample-based, manual testing that was the standard but cumbersome, error-prone and time-consuming practice at the time.
Soon, the data validation part of their business mainly was abandoned, as the Valiance team decided to concentrate their efforts and services within migration and migration testing. Eventually, the trademark products TRUarchive and TRUconsole were developed to support the entire data migration process.
Typical projects include data migration to and from clinical, regulatory and quality systems such as Veeva Vault, Sparta Systems’ TrackWise, OpenText Documentum and LiveLink, Microsoft SharePoint, Argus, ARISg, MasterControl, and QUMAS, to mention a few.
‘Our Veeva partnership started in 2012, and Veeva Vault is taking off, so we’re doing a lot of Veeva migration projects because we were the first partner to do migrations for them – and the first to become a Veeva Premier Partner for their clinical, regulatory and quality systems,’ Tom Witmer elaborates and adds: ‘We’re so busy, we’re just flying, and we’re expanding both our business and workplace at a rapid pace.’
An interesting first meeting with NNIT
When the Valiance Partners first met with NNIT in late 2017, Valiance was still a small-ish business with over 50 employees. Today, Valiance employs 135 people and is hiring.
Valiance caught NNIT’s eye when they were starting to intensify their work with Veeva both in the US and Europe, and NNIT was contemplating branching out to include data migration. Talks were initiated via LinkedIn, and soon a meeting was set up in the US.
NNIT’s former CEO Per Kogut and M&A responsible Rasmus Nelund wanted to Valiance in the US. ‘We weren’t sure what to expect or what they wanted to talk to us about; it wasn’t super concrete. But it was a good visit, and we got to know each other quite well during that first day. We got on well, laughed a lot and generally found that we enjoyed each other’s company. But it wasn’t until March 2018 that we started to talk acquisition seriously. It was a long process for us. As a small company, we were used to executing ideas much faster,’ Tom Witmer explains.
NNIT’s Rasmus Nelund weighs in on the process: ‘We need to ensure that in addition to a strong business match, it’s also a cultural match. If we’re not successful in the long run, the union is not successful, so we’re happy to take our time.’
On 9th October 2018, NNIT and Valiance could finally announce that they had agreed on a deal to make Valiance part of the NNIT Group, thereby boosting both companies’ capabilities and opportunities to deliver IT services to the international life sciences industry.
Realising and accelerating synergies
Leading up to the acquisition, NNIT and Valiance had already started to collaborate on a number of projects, allowing them to test the relationship. For NNIT, the attraction was fast-track access to the fast-growing Veeva solutions market and the US market in general. For Valiance, the attraction was greater access to the European markets and NNIT’s strong track record within regulatory management, other technology platforms, and the customers in NNIT’s portfolio.
Valiance co-Founder Dave Katzoff explains: ‘Before the acquisition, Valiance recognised that we needed to offer more business-oriented services to enhance our technical migrations and remain competitive with larger integrators. The NNIT opportunity was intriguing, as it provided an option to build upon an existing company rather than attempting to build those capabilities from scratch.’
Co-Founder Nagesh Sarma finishes: ‘Our geographical footprints together with our particular strengths within the data migration and strategic consulting areas have proven to be a winning combination and one that’s gaining more and more traction.’
‘Going forward, I think, we’re looking at an even brighter future together, I do. We’re expanding our services and deepening our expertise within regulatory services and the Veeva Powerhouse offering. And we can introduce each other to some very big customers. We work well together, and we increasingly find that we think in terms of The NNIT Group before, during and after marketing and sales efforts.’