Unisys buys Unify Square, boosting enterprise collaboration

collaboration, unisys, COVID-19

Global IT solution provider Unisys Thursday unveiled the acquisition of Unify Square, a provider of experience management technology for secure collaboration and communications platforms.

With the acquisition, valued at US$152.5 million, Unisys will get a big boost in its enterprise-focused end-user business, said Leon Gilbert, senior vice president and general manager of the Blue Bell, Pa.-based company’s Digital Workplace Services business unit.

Unisys’ Digital Workplace Services business unit is a US$600 million business focused on the enterprise collaboration market and provides services to help customers roll out such platforms as Zoom and Microsoft Teams or migrate between platforms such as from Skype to Teams, Gilbert told CRN.

Unify Square brings Unisys greater breadth and depth in the market, Gilbert said.

“They are specialists,” he said. “Unisys has the skills. But this is a massive market. The total addressable market is about US$15 billion and is expected to grow to US$27 billion by 2026 [according to Acumen Research and Consulting]. This growth is primarily from COVID-19. Companies in 2019 and 2020 had been using Skype, Zoom and Teams, but with COVID, suddenly everyone was working from home. So these tools became critical. COVID accelerated that very much. And as employees migrate back to the office, businesses will have to contend with hybrid environments.”

Unify Square has experience in migration, as well as a SaaS tool called PowerSuite that looks at user problems and diagnoses them for the IT department, Gilbert said.

“Companies today are looking for user experience,” he said. “Users expect Teams and Zoom to work. Unify Square technology and services can address issues and ensure the talent of today and tomorrow get the kind of great user experience they get in the consumer world.”

For Unisys, Unify Square provides an opportunity to move up the value chain, Gilbert said.

“We’re no longer just bringing a subscription or a license,” he said. “We’re adding our own services on top. This gives us another entry to the market and move up the value chain.”

For Unisys, the decision to purchase Unify Square instead of building the technology was a question of how quickly it wanted to expand its collaboration business, Gilbert said.

“This market is very immature,” he said. “We’re getting in early. There are a few other companies in this space, but they’re not the same. And Unify Square has a very high-end client list. We expect to expand our business in the U.S. and internationally.”

Unify Square licenses its technology to other solution providers, and Unisys could have gone the licensing route as well, Gilbert said.

“But this is such a growth area, we don’t want to be a me-too provider,” he said. “This is us leading the market.”

It is also an opportunity to work with non-Unisys customers as well, Gilbert said.

“We’ll continue to license the technology, including to competitors,” he said. “We didn’t buy this just to own it. So if a competitor does a deal, we’re still there on the back end.”

It has been about 10 years since Unisys made an acquisition. However, with the sale of Unisys’ federal business to SAIC, another global solution provider, and the subsequent paydown of its pension debt, acquisitions are once again on the table, Gilbert said.

“That gave us the ability to make this acquisition,” he said. “We’ll make other strategic acquisitions where it makes sense. But we’ll also build or partner to bring in new capabilities.”

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