Successfully integrating systems from two distinct IT environments is one of the biggest challenges during a merger or acquisition. Often, this is too big of a project for IT organizations within the companies to assume with current staff and resources. According to Computer Weekly, a large portion of all merger synergies directly depend on IT. In some industries, information technology system integration is critical to the merger timeline.
When so much is on the line and there are many moving parts, bringing in a third-party IT company as a strategic partner can add value throughout the conversion process. A seasoned company can provide technological expertise to direct the conversion and manage the project from start to completion. It also helps keep the strategy on track – but it’s unusual to find that combined skill set at one company.
When approaching an information technology system integration during an acquisition, it’s also critical to choose a company with a proven track record, and experience assimilating IT environments in companies with multiple locations and thousands of employees. A third-party IT company should also have a disciplined, tried-and-true approach that has resulted in little to no disruptions and ensures ‘business as usual.’ Below is insight into ITAcceleration’s IT system integration during an acquisition.
Step 1: Gather information on required changes and identify gaps in capabilities
A third-party company is usually brought into the process after the new company has been acquired, yet it’s ideal when the partnership starts during the due diligence process to help set the course, and identify early any risks or gaps. At that point, the technical requirements resulting from the acquisition have been determined and there is an understanding of the resources needed on both sides to make the transition seamless from a technology standpoint. Areas that typically require changes include:
- Wide Area Network (WAN)
- Local network (switches, routers, firewalls)
- Conversion to parent company email system
A gap analysis is completed to assess other resources and vendors needed to complete the required changes and help flesh out the project plan.
Step 2: Develop a detailed project plan and budget
While no two conversions are the same, the goal always is: “Have little to no impact to users.” This goal can be brought to the forefront at a kick-off meeting where IT managers from both sides of the deal, along with key players from applications and network infrastructure, come together. The project scope is presented, potential risks and timelines are discussed. A comprehensive project plan is formed, including “work streams” that are assigned a timeline and resources. Budget allocation, and changes to line items, are put forth for consideration and approval.
Step 3: Prioritize initiatives and execute the plan
As team members are assigned to the various tasks in the project plan, one of the biggest challenges of an acquisition integration is ensuring employees from both companies continue to carry out their duties in addition to these new accountabilities. There are critical actions to be tackled, understanding what system conversions need to be strategically timed, managing other vendors and integrating their timetables into the larger project plan.
Effective, proactive communication throughout the process, which typically takes six to nine months from start to completion, is key. In addition to weekly meetings, project reports are continually updated and fine-tuned to ensure milestones are reached, and issues and risks are given attention.
Final Thoughts on Information Technology System Integration During Acquisitions
A strategic IT partner that utilizes this collaborative approach for every acquisition integration, and leveraging this expertise, is essential for successful integration efforts. The approach should offer a proven and consistent process based on previous acquisitions and understanding what is involved. Look for a partner who understands the nuances of when to make and avoid assumptions, common pitfalls and challenges, and presents options on different approaches when additional insight is needed.
To learn more about how your business can benefit from this integration expertise to enhance planning and IT conversion efforts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 484-322-2300.