FEATURE28 April 2022

Kyle Ferguson, Forsta: ‘The insights industry is in great demand’

Features M&A People Trends

Kyle Ferguson, chief executive at Forsta, talks to Liam Kay about his company’s acquisition by Press Ganey and his hopes for the future.

Kyle Ferguson

What will the acquisition of Forsta by Press Ganey mean for the future of the company?
Press Ganey is providing Forsta with the resources to further invest in people and technology at an accelerated pace, which means significant investment into product innovation.

It’s important to note that although we are joining Press Ganey, Forsta is still very much Forsta. I am continuing to lead Forsta as chief executive, and we will maintain the Forsta brand, and serve customers in market research, customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Press Ganey is eagerly and quickly investing in Forsta’s growth for the good of the combined organisation.

What are the expected benefits for both sides?
In addition to the notable investment into our technology and product innovation, Forsta is also gaining scale, particularly in the US, and access to new growth opportunities.

In acquiring Forsta, Press Ganey has instantly expanded its global footprint across our international operations, diversified its client portfolio beyond healthcare, and added a well-developed CX, EX and market research technology platform alongside its patient experience (PX) and additional healthcare offerings.

As a combined global company, we now have expertise and technology across healthcare, market research, and CX and EX. I’m very excited for the future of this combined organisation.

How will staff numbers and the branding of Forsta be affected longer-term?
Because the offerings of our two companies are largely complementary, and not overlapping, most employees from Press Ganey and Forsta will continue to operate just as they did prior to the deal. We’ve also created some new roles to foster coordination between the two legacy organisations, and we’re looking forward to providing new career advancement opportunities to Forsta employees who have an interest in healthcare. We’re continuing to hire for a number of roles, particularly in software engineering, across teams and markets.

As I mentioned earlier, Forsta is continuing to go to market with our Forsta brand – which we announced to the market one year ago. Pat Ryan, chief executive at Press Ganey, and his leadership team are all very impressed with the offering we have created through the combination of Confirmit, FocusVision and Dapresy, and they want to see us continue to build on that.

How will the Forsta team fit into Press Ganey?
My leadership team and I will continue to oversee Forsta, with reporting lines into the Press Ganey leadership team. Many of us met each other early in the discussions about Forsta potentially joining Press Ganey, and our great chemistry across the teams was one of the reasons that both parties were eager to pursue a deal.

Part of the reason this acquisition makes so much sense is the fact that Press Ganey and Forsta have similar ethos and purpose-driven cultures. At Forsta, we advocate for understanding the full ‘human experience’, rather than relying on any one data point or insights approach. Press Ganey improves experiences for people throughout the healthcare ecosystem, including patients, consumers and healthcare workers.

What are your priorities for the future, post-acquisition?
My two main priorities are the same as they were prior to the acquisition: to grow Forsta, and to make it a great place to work.

On the first point, the additional investment from Press Ganey will enable us to further innovate, integrate and enhance our Forsta technology platform at a much faster pace. My team and I are working towards a 13% increase in year-over-year revenues for 2022 across all of our customers’ industries, including retail, financial services, consumer goods and more.

It is a passion point of mine to ensure that our company is a place where people love to work. Our employees have been through a lot of change in the past two years, as Confimit, Dapresy and FocusVision have all come together. Despite that, we have a great combination of long-term employees and more recent hires working side-by-side. I am committed to putting in the work to continuing to identify and make improvements so that we can become more broadly known as an awesome company to work for.

Do you feel the industry more widely is bouncing back from Covid-19?
A lot has happened in the world over the past two years, and as a result, companies have needed to alter how they communicate with and serve employees, customers and other stakeholders.

It’s evident that the insights industry – and in particular the experience and research technology sector – is in great demand, albeit in a slightly different way than prior to the start of the pandemic. Increased digitisation shows just how important tech is when it comes to gathering relevant, important insights, and quickly and effectively acting on them.

Will the war in Ukraine have any impact on your operations?
Forsta is in the process of winding down our operations in Russia, while continuing to support our employees in the region and ensure that our customers experience no disruptions to their business.

At the same time, we are actively working to fast-track job applications from displaced Ukrainians for open roles at Forsta. Our hope is to provide displaced Ukrainians with economic stability as they enter a new country. My thoughts are with everyone impacted by the situation in Ukraine, and I hope we see peace in the near future. Until then, Forsta will do what it can to help.