Looking back at TSH Academy 2022

On 25 and 26 October 25 2022 TSH organized for the first time a TSH Academy for the management teams of the MSP and IT companies that are part of TSH. We asked writer Michel de Groot to join us and share his vision on our approach and the Academy. Below is his report.

The information packed two-day programme focused on mutual sharing of knowledge and experiences, and for the attendees to get further acquainted with other TSH colleagues and TSH thinking. I was invited by the organization to write a number of articles. In this first article I share the highlights of the 2022 TSH Academy. Stay tuned for a full series of articles on the masterclasses and other interesting topics in the next few weeks!

The strategy of TSH

CEO Joris Dierick kicked off the TSH Academy. After welcoming all attendees he set the stage and expectations for what was to come: an update on the strategy of the company, information sharing between the TSH companies and ample room for networking and building of interpersonal relationships. What I experienced during the event is that these strong relationships between the people and companies of TSH are one of the strategic pillars of the success of the company.

Diverse and valuable agenda

"We also learned about the positioning and brand of TSH, and the way it relates to the brands of the individual companies."
After Joris’ opening, day 1 was filled with interesting masterclasses on topics like finance, value creation and business case building. There also was a very interesting panel discussion on a ‘growth mindset’ and an interactive session about what is needed to create a successful support organization. We also learned about the positioning and brand of TSH, and the way it relates to the brands of the individual companies. After a wrap up there was an informal evening programme.​​​​​​​
Day 2 again brought new insights: masterclasses on mergers & acquisitions and strategic thinking, a panel discussion on how to successfully manage projects and a session on how to drive ROI in operations. A guest speaker from the TSH supervisory board gave an interesting strategic insight from an investor perspective on how to grow and develop IT companies. In the afternoon, the attendees split up in smaller breakout sessions to work with, and learn from the Management Drives programme.

Creating exponential value - in a unique way

As a holding company, TSH creates value by buying companies, helping them professionalize further and use the cash flow to buy new companies again. There are other companies with a comparable ‘buy and build’ model active in the IT market, but the way TSH engages with MSP’s is pretty unique in my opinion.
As TSH says on their website: “We don’t invest, but we participate in a company.” That starts with not rolling out a single brand name; all companies that are part of TSH keep their own brand name and identity. They don’t enforce a companywide corporate culture, other than their common strive for customer satisfaction, innovation and performance. The companies work together were possible, and travel solo where needed. Bottom line: TSH is able to improve the strength of the collective while maintaining each companies’ individual identity. What also really makes a difference is that the entrepreneur usually stays on board when TSH acquires a company.

Bright minds think alike

As the tagline of the TSH logo says: bright minds think alike. And that’s not just marketing talk. What really surprised me – since that’s far from obvious in a company which is built on acquisitions – is that all TSH companies cooperate where possible, and work alone alone when it is more effective for them. Intelligence, experiences and best practices are shared without holding back. This is not enforced in a top down way, but is really part of the DNA of TSH. During the Academy, the information was never presented like ‘this is how you should do it’. Instead the undertone was ‘this is what we have done and learned within our company, if you think it fits your business too – feel free to adopt it.’

Leadership Development: turning personal potential into performance

Within TSH every individual can develop her- of himself as a person and professional. During the Academy, training and boardroom coaching company United Talent hosted a number sessions to jointly work with Management Drives. Management Drives offers a communal language based on six ‘colours’ to address behaviour and utilise the strength of the team and each individual. This helps create high performing teams that display the required behaviour in every situation.

Experiences from a TSH company

During a coffee moment I talked to Hendri van Norden, Director of Sales and Marketing at ICT Concept. I asked him how it is like to be acquired by, and become part of TSH. ICT Concept is a hosting and IT services company with a focus on the legal market and was acquired almost two years ago. Hendri told me that joining TSH has really been an accelerator for his company and team. They also adopted the best practices from one of the so called TSH ‘playbooks’ on value based pricing and he said: “It has been a large operation to implement this, but has worked out very successfully thanks to a very good preparation.”
Other benefits I heard from MSP’s that have joined TSH included the sharing of knowledge, efficiency improvements and the fact one business can compare its way of working and performance with another business – without being seen as a competitor.

Looking back

I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs and directors of IT companies in my daily work and I feel I have experienced something special during these two days. There is a very clear vision on the future of the company, and a solid strategy to get there. The DNA of the people who are working at TSH is to keep improving themselves and their companies. They are not only chasing ambitions but really executing on things to achieving them. And there is a joint ambition to move forward and improve where possible – for the employees, for the company, and for its customers.