Money & Business

Two Top Tech Groups Play Up Strengths With Merger

By / May 6, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

CompTIA’s acquisition of TechAmerica combines two trade groups whose similarities—both focus on the information technology field—belie differences that could make them a perfect fit.

Some trade groups excel at lobbying; others know how to put on a great event. And sometimes, a merger can help highlight or even augment these differing strengths. That’s the idea behind CompTIA’s acquisition of TechAmerica, which gives the IT space a larger, combined voice.

The merger, representing the $3.6 trillion IT industry, is a blockbuster deal as far as trade group mergers go. And both sides bring something to the table worth keeping.

One Group, Two Roles

While they’re both technology related, the organizations have different focuses and strengths. The more IT-oriented CompTIA concentrates mainly on workforce and cybersecurity issues, while TechAmerica has more of a trade focus, with net neutrality among its biggest issues.

Likewise, CompTIA has traditionally been geared toward education and events, whereas TechAmerica’s strength has been in its lobbying shop—particularly regarding federal procurement issues. And while CompTIA has more members, TechAmerica has bigger names.

The merger will reflect these strengths. And though the combined organization will bear the larger CompTIA’s name, the TechAmerica brand won’t go away: The new group will continue to use it in lobbying.

“These are smart, logical, and strategic organizational shifts that will strongly benefit both TechAmerica’s and CompTIA’s members,” TechAmerica President and CEO Shawn Osborne said in a statement on the group’s website.

CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux also noted the two groups’ compatibility.

“Up until this point, we only represented the IT channel, and not as much the enterprise or public-sector side. This was a natural fit for us. There’s not a lot of overlapping programs or priorities,” he told the Washington Business Journal.

TechAmerica’s Contentious Period

The merger comes after about six months of uncertainty for TechAmerica, which had been embroiled in a lawsuit against one of its main competitors on Capitol Hill, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).

The case involved the departure of a handful of TechAmerica employees to ITI, which was building up its lobbying presence at the time.

The departures were challenging enough, but, according to The Washington Post, the situation turned litigious amid allegations that a number of the exiting employees took sensitive information about TechAmerica’s members with them, with the goal of persuading the members to join ITI.

The lawsuit was contentious and even raised questions about TechAmerica’s long-term future, but the two sides settled the case last month “without any admission of wrongdoing.”

TechAmerica said the settlement was in its members’ best interests, noting elsewhere that the merger was unrelated to the lawsuit.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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