Mark Kilner: Why outsourcing integration could be the key to success

Meet Mark Kilner of Perform Partners, a company that implements business change with clarity and control.

Head of Commercial, Mark has first-hand experience of all the problems that beset a business going through any form of change. He and his 40-strong team of transition experts work with business owners to understand where you are now and help you get to where you need to be.

Headquartered in Leeds, the independent specialist firm works with businesses across the UK and Ireland.

Bringing together disparate businesses and helping everyone succeed

Mark is a strong advocate of the PPT (people, process, and technology) framework. This popular transition framework works on the idea that people, process, and technology need to work in harmony for successful business operations or change management.

“As an independent broker of change, PPT is Perform Partners’ main USP,” Mark explains.

“We help companies manage transitions between their people, their processes, and technologies every day. And we are often more efficient at that than they may be on their own.

“The beauty of the PPT framework is that it’s bespoke to the customer’s need. Yet, at the same time, it’s also centred around a business’s capability and costs and their capacity to manage change while they’re continuing business as usual.

“Imagine the complexities of change as aeroplanes,” Mark says, “we act as air traffic controllers – positioned to protect reputations and reduce friction that can often occur through change, whether between people, processes, or technology.”

“Doing the right thing is far easier when you’re not emotionally attached”

“Because we put people at the very heart of change, we can help resolve conflict quickly.

“When conflict inevitably arises, we can neutralise it fast because we’re non-biased. We don’t come with a political agenda. And, crucially, our sole focus is on doing the right thing – which is far easier when you’re not emotionally attached.”

“Perform Partners bridge the gap between potential misalignment”

As a firm specialising in M&A, Perform Partners are bringing together business leaders and business owners. With each party used to running their own successful businesses, Mark and his team often have to tackle and defuse power struggles.

“It’s true,” Mark nods. “it’s a lot like tunnelling: when people are tunnelling, they often find their tunnels are misaligned and so must keep tunnelling but in collaboration with the other side. This is what Perform Partners are so good at.

“When it comes to people, it all begins with communication. While this may seem like a perfectly normal starting point, people often feel unsettled. Whether a company is a FTSE 100 or an SME, the struggles are the same and we’re well placed to come into organisations which have different cultures and ways of working.

“We get to understand the people involved, and their personalities. Many business owners are very headstrong. Sometimes, acquirers or the buyers might translate this to thinking they could cause trouble, getting in the way of progress.

“Whatever the personalities at play, Perform Partners make champions of people. We empower them with clear and concise communication, and we set the agenda early. This is vital as people need to be bought into this. We want to get away from it being done to them and for them to be part of the resolution to the next stage.

“As such, it’s important that we identify people we can work with, so we can smooth transitions and reduce conflict. And that’s all part of stakeholder engagement – which needs to be understood, not disregarded, and swept under the carpet.

“These differences are often reflected in the power and politics of change and, by acting as the broker to deliver the best outcomes, Perform Partners face into that and get people working together as the new world emerges.”

“We don’t have a political bias – we’re trying to get to the outcome in the most efficient way”

“Because we’re 100% independent, with no agenda, people can look to us and be reassured that there’s no conflict. This helps people to trust us and since we can expedite the process, we can reduce the time it might otherwise take and save on costs.

“If anyone has any challenges with their processes and their people, the transition probably isn’t moving along in the way they want. If so, the longer time frame means higher costs. In these cases, a business needs to be able to focus on its strengths – which is where we can add huge value.

“Ultimately, Perform Partners are a neutral party, who understand all the different personalities and who unite teams behind reaching one common goal.”

Perform Partners create a blueprint for every buyer they work with

“Once a buyer has spoken to us about where they’re heading, what their ambitions are, and what they’re looking to achieve, we form a blueprint for working with that firm, which we can re-use time and time again, with every subsequent acquisition.

“By working this way, costs start to go down as we work to front-load the first one. For companies looking to buy a business every month, we have a well-understood track to go down.

“This relies on great knowledge transfer – which is critical. We never want to overstay our welcome; we want to come, do the work and leave. But we want to make sure we’re leaving every business in the right place.

“If, during the process, we can upskill, empower, and give participants that knowledge, the next time we have a second or third engagement, the cost will come down because the people in their organisation have already benefited from that first engagement, and the learning they’ve taken from working with us.”

“Technology is only as good as the people using it”

These days, it’s all about the tech stack. So, how does Mark and his team at Perform Partners tackle tech and the importance of transitioning and integrating technology during business change?

“Technology is only as good as the people using it,” says Mark, “but it also needs to have a clear and obvious purpose and demonstrate value for money. Otherwise, there’s no point.

“In our experience, companies generally have a preference. Typically, people might be using Microsoft and Google for their everyday business operations and, this is often reflected in their ongoing decisions, as they adopt technology and bespoke systems within their operation.

“The challenge comes when blending business as people suddenly find that they must account for all this hidden technical debt, and the complexities of integration.

“Because of this, when it comes to technology, we work to make it more visible and understandable by creating a shared technical architectural picture – an easy-to-see chart that shows the transition from where they are now and where they want to be through a technical architectural picture.

“We work with organisations from Amazon Web Services to Google, to Microsoft. We don’t align ourselves to one particular organisation or type.

“We also have an extensive partner network and can support clients who want to build their own tech, whether that’s an app, different types of software or anything in between.”

What to expect when working with Perform Partners

“Perform Partners get close to people and create champions of change.

“First, we listen – we offer everyone a free introductory meeting so we can get to know each other and understand the challenges your business is facing. Then we offer strategic advice.

“By explaining the reasons behind decisions, we win hearts and minds. We help them see where the benefits truly lie and more importantly, what it means for them.”

Get in touch

To find out more about Perform Partners and how they could help your business make a smooth transition, email or call 0113 414 3328.

If you’d like to understand how Melo can support you in exiting your business, please email or call 0113 4656 111.

We’ll provide you with honest and comprehensive support throughout and help make the transition as smooth as possible.


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