In Q4 of 2021, Buchanan & Edwards – a provider of technology solutions and services to the federal government, intelligence, and defense communities – closed the acquisition of RenXTech. The addition of the cybersecurity and technology consulting company to Buchanan & Edwards was a truly transformational deal – adding to the company’s already impressive portfolio of solutions and capabilities and opening the door to opportunities and relationships with new government customers.
This incredibly strategic and beneficial acquisition has already paid dividends for Buchanan & Edwards. It was also named the “Deal of the Year (Under $50M)” at this year’s 20th Annual Corporate Growth Awards.
To learn more about Buchanan & Edwards and its acquisition of RenXTech, we recently sat down with Mohamed Elansary, the company’s Chief Growth Officer. During our conversation, we talked about the opportunities presented by government digital transformation initiatives, the reasons why the RenXTech acquisition was in strategy for Buchanan & Edwards, and the challenges and lessons learned from integrating the companies.
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers a bit about Buchanan & Edwards? What are the company’s core capabilities? What markets and organizations does the company service?
Mohamed Elansary: Founded in 1998, Buchanan & Edwards (BE) has delivered high-end solutions in support of some of the most critical national security missions within the federal government for nearly 25 years.
Initially, BE got its start as an 8(a) deploying Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for the Department of State. We have grown substantially since then, and as a mid-sized government contractor, we support the national security mission across the IC, DoD, and civilian communities, with a wide range of digital transformation IT services, full-spectrum cyber capabilities, intelligence operations, and data analytics and governance.
CGCS: The company has talked in the past about helping government agencies with cloud migrations and digital transformation initiatives. What common trends are driving digital transformation in the government? What are the government and military looking to accomplish with these initiatives?
Mohamed Elansary: Digital transformation in government is driven by the need to automate manual processes and by end users who are demanding applications similar to those they use at home. For example, we have used robotic process automation (RPA) technologies to automate manual tasks across multiple systems.
“Our civilian and Department of Defense (DoD) customers are…taking advantage of cloud capabilities like AI/ML, and also leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze large data sets generated by sensors that would otherwise take over a hundred analyst months to analyze.” -Mohamed Elansary
We develop custom designed user interfaces to support these systems which are optimized and streamlined for user satisfaction and functionality. Digital transformation is also a natural next step for our customers who have moved to the cloud.
We are modernizing applications so customers can maximize and leverage the capabilities of the cloud like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) while taking advantage of cloud scalability.
Our civilian and Department of Defense (DoD) customers are both looking to streamline processes for their end users so they can spend more time focusing on the mission and less time performing manual tasks. They’re taking advantage of cloud capabilities like AI/ML, and also leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze large data sets generated by sensors that would otherwise take over a hundred analyst months to analyze.
For example, we have customers that are using machine learning to support the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) research process. These technologies have allowed government to scale and keep up with the increasing amount of data generated in their agencies and it’s a critical service we’re proud to provide.
CGCS: 2021 was an incredible year for Buchanan & Edwards when it comes to large contract wins. The company announced contracts with the Department of Labor, DIA, and GAO. Can you tell our readers a bit about these contracts?
Mohamed Elansary: We are excited about our recent wins in several new accounts for BE. We are performing data center operations for the Department of Labor Job Corps (DOLJC) program, which is an extremely important and large program for DoL.
“We make it our job, first and foremost, to understand what our clients are trying to accomplish.” -Mohamed Elansary
The program helps eligible young people ages 16 through 24 complete their high school education, receive training for meaningful careers, and assists participants with obtaining employment. The DOLJC program encompasses everything from cloud and cyber security to software development and network engineering.
We’re also thrilled to add the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as a new key account. GAO initiated the New Blue project as an effort to publish web-based products in a way that increases automation in report development. BE is supporting GAO in fully implementing best practices within the New Blue system to include project monitoring and control, project planning, and requirements management processes.
CGCS: Why are agencies like these choosing to partner with Buchanan & Edwards?
Mohamed Elansary: As a mid-sized government contractor, we’re differentiating ourselves through a high-touch, value-added approach that focuses on understanding the mission, delivering quality, agility, and innovation. We embed ourselves in our clients’ culture, ensuring that we fully understand the specific mission within each agency that we’re supporting.
We make it our job, first and foremost, to understand what our clients are trying to accomplish. What are the challenges that they’re facing? What are the outcomes that they’re looking for? Once we understand that, we evolve our capabilities and tools accordingly.
This strategy has proven effective in driving growth, and we’ve been consistently approached by long-time customers to help them solve some very sensitive challenges that they encounter. Sometimes those requests even require us to leverage technologies that we perhaps didn’t have experience in, but they trust us to figure it out. This trust stems from our understanding of their mission and goals, as well as our proven ability to develop quality implementation and adoption processes.
We have the infrastructure and quality management system (QMS) of a much larger organization, and our current qualifications include Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 4 accreditations for development and services, Level 3 for Acquisitions, and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001, 20000, and 9001. This is a very unique combination of credentials, even for very large organizations to have.
At the leadership level, we put an emphasis on staying connected and visiting our clients regularly. By providing our customers with the agility, responsiveness, and executive accessibility of a much smaller business, we can remain flexible and accommodate changing requirements very quickly. It is a significant advantage that many larger companies just don’t have.
“We are one of the largest mid-sized companies delivering cyber, technical, analytical, and operational support to critical missions within the classified customer space.” -Mohamed Elansary
Lastly, we put a significant emphasis on innovation. It is a theme that is weaved throughout the fabric of our corporate culture, and we’ve even established an Innovation Hub (iHub), where team members can help to develop prototype projects, and surface new ideas. The iHub also provides employees with several avenues for professional development and career advancement
CGCS: In Q4 of last year, Buchanan & Edwards announced that it was acquiring RenXTech. Why was this acquisition in strategy for the company? How did this acquisition position the company for continued growth?
Mohamed Elansary: BE’s acquisition of RenXTech was not only tactical, but mission critical, and lined up strategically with our desire to continue to grow in the Intelligence Community (IC) while augmenting our IT capabilities.
We are now able to blend HUMINT, Cyber, and Tech Ops to advance customer operation against our adversaries and high priority targets. Our operational capabilities coupled with our background in report and collection management provides full spectrum operational support and impactful results.
By merging RenXTech with our other wholly owned subsidiary, the R2C, we have become a dominant player in the IC, nearly doubling our market share. We are one of the largest mid-sized companies delivering cyber, technical, analytical, and operational support to critical missions within the classified customer space.
With the expanded capabilities from RenXTech added to our arsenal, we are now offering complete mission support across the intelligence lifecycle and are combining intelligence operations and mission support with advanced IT and Cyber capabilities. In addition, we now offer full-spectrum cyber capabilities to include penetration testing, cyber threat hunting, tool development, digital forensics, vulnerability assessments, and network analytics.
“Our number one priority during the integration was employee retention, and because of our similarities, initial adoption and integration went smoothly, with most challenges we encountered being technical in nature.” -Mohamed Elansary
This is mission-focused work, not enterprise IT, and by combining RenXTech’s cyber operations experience with BE’s innovative and secure digital solutions, we can target growth in adjacent accounts within the IC and DoD agencies.
CGCS: Were there any challenges that the company faced during the integration of RenXTech?
Mohamed Elansary: Both BE and RenXTech were complementary and compatible companies that shared similar corporate cultures, business philosophies, and company values. Our number one priority during the integration was employee retention, and because of our similarities, initial adoption and integration went smoothly, with most challenges we encountered being technical in nature.
With a focus on retention, both BE and RenXTech leadership jointly led town halls to transparently discuss the acquisition. Through this approach, employees were able to see firsthand the strong relationship of trust and confidence that Dan Smith, former CEO of RenXTech, and Tara Davey, COO of BE, had built. This dynamic quickly instilled faith in the team and put to bed any concerns that employees may have initially had.
Additionally, on day one of the acquisition, we rolled out a significant amount of new and enhanced benefits across the entire organization which we promoted through a series of internal communication campaigns and informational presentations. This effort involved a significant amount of planning and coordination to execute and required months of support from multiple leaders within our corporate team.
CGCS: Were there any lessons learned or best practices identified from the RenXTech acquisition and integration that you can share with our readers?
Mohamed Elansary: We start every acquisition review by discussing strategy. We look beyond the financials, and really focus on if the acquisition fits within our culture and then dissect the “why”. Why would we acquire this company and how does it fit into our overall company strategy?
I encourage all of my colleagues in M&A to look at the non-financial aspects of a potential acquisition to gauge how well the companies will work together.
Compatibility is critical in order for both firms to operate and integrate successfully. They need to have shared values, similar corporate cultures, and business philosophies, otherwise it’s like forcing a square peg into a round hole – it just won’t work.
CGCS: It’s been more than nine months since the acquisition. How has acquiring RenXTech impacted Buchanan & Edwards’ business and potential for growth?
Mohamed Elansary: We developed our cross-pollination growth strategy, which focused on both accounts and capabilities, prior to closing. We’re now executing on that strategy and starting to see some benefits of the RenXTech acquisition.
We recently won a contract in DoD that would not have been possible without the combined capabilities of both BE and RenXTech. Working together, the potential for growth in both key and emerging accounts is very exciting and we’re already reaching new customers and agencies.