Does Your IT Integration Strategy Make The Grade?
When you’re looking to execute a merger, most companies look to HR concerns, coordinating sales, or a new logo. IT often gets only a cursory look. But if you want to have a merger that goes smoothly at the outset, maintains cybersecurity integrity, and fully leverages a company’s combined data resources, then you have to give IT a place at the table—from the negotiation stage, onward.
Sound aggressive? Maybe. But the investment you’ll need to make to merge your systems will be significant one, and something you’ll need to consider as you look at the true cost of bringing these two companies together. There’s also much to look into—a company’s data security, health of its hardware, age of its software, and overall governance, as a start.
In mergers, the difference between becoming a juggernaut and, well, not, often lies in the details. Companies like Sprint and T Mobile, AT&T and Time Warner, and Disney and 21st Century Fox are just a few companies who have merged to become forces to be reckoned with in their industries. And they did it by minding their IT strategy, from the outset.
Mind the Gaps
An astonishing 60% of merger and acquisitions have ties to the IT industry, and yet per a McKinsey study, many of them overlook potential issues in their IT merger strategies. The consequences of that can be devastating, causing you problems with:
- Data platforms that can’t be combined
- Loss of incompatible data
- Turf battles over clashing technology cultures
- Apps that won’t integrate into your backend
- Software that no longer works on new systems
- Incompatible devices and other technology
Big companies can solve these problems by sitting down the CIOs of each organization as the ink on the deals are being signed. But for small and medium sized businesses, that sort of expertise might not be homegrown. That’s where a managed service IT provider can help. Many, like Integris, are more than happy to provide consulting services during an active merger. We recommend that you do. Not only do we work with clients on a daily basis during IT mergers and acquisitions, but we’ve made a business strategy out of mergers, ourselves. We’ve acquired no fewer than eight managed services companies nationwide to create Integris. And we can do it for you, too.
Integris’s Top Five Tips for Merging Your IT Operations
1. Align Your Company Tech Culture and Objectives
Both companies need to be on the same page regarding growth, technological systems, and innovation. They need to agree on integration processes that combine the IT skills and resources of both companies. Anything less than agreement here will cause inefficiencies, incompatible technology, and tech practices and needs that are at odds with each other. Aligning your tech culture and objectives keeps your new organization relevant, productive, and competitive.
How do you do this? By sitting down to discuss not only what hardware and software you have, but how your data is managed, and why. What onboarding practices do you have? What kind of logistics and tracking programs are there for monitoring equipment? How are your licenses managed? How much training do employees get on how to use their equipment? What are the security practices at the server and employee level? Do you have a bring your own device policy, and if so, can you track every device coming into the workplace? The answers to these questions will shed a lot of light on the philosophies each company has about tech, and will help you understand next steps.
2. Think Strategically About Your Synergies
During an IT merger and acquisition, it’s easy to think about won’t work—all the programs and platforms and equipment that won’t play nicely with each other. But what if you thought more about what will work? And what could work, if only you put the proper processes in place now?
The fruits of a successful merger nearly always have their roots in IT. Consider that a well planned merger of data and systems will result in:
- The opportunity to share resources and lower technology budgets
- A generally reduced IT headcount, or reduced need for managed service fees
- Volume discounts on software, hardware and services
- The ability to create larger, but more streamlined logistics chains
- Rethinking customer data, to allow for more cross sales opportunities
When you think of your tech possibilities, you create business value. And you know who loves business value? Companies who are looking to merge with yours. Get your digital house in order, and you’ll attract better bids. Think through your synergies, and you’ll be able to create an iron-clad business case that’s sure to land well with a company looking for smart opportunities.
3. Establish a Timeline
The key to successfully integrating an IT merger and acquisition is to sit down and physically create a workable timeline. How long do you have before the companies are unified? This allows you to walk your merger strategies backwards, setting gates and milestones for when things have to be done. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But too many companies wait until after the ink is dry to even begin working on their IT move. But, if you start strategic discussions well in advance of this date, you’ll have the information you need to hit the ground running. And in a merger situation, there’s usually not a minute to wait.
4. Manage Your Data Integration
This is what people tend to think of when they think about merging IT operations. And it is probably the most important part of any new IT system design. Where is your data stored? How is that data backed up? Can it be accessed easily and rebooted in the case of a ransomware attack or natural disaster? Will the backend systems governing that data work well with new frontend applications and user interfaces? It can be as simple as a new company website being able to access an existing customer’s sales data when they sign in, or as complicated as making sure new equipment in a factory integrates with your company’s system. A managed service provider like Integris can help you identify your data bottlenecks, before they become an issue.
5. Scale Your Internet for the Future
Your internet is your backbone. Without it, you can’t communicate, process information, or operate efficiently. One of your biggest decisions to make will be finding an internet connection that can stand up to your combined needs. Your connectivity must be reliable and sufficiently powerful to stand up to the increased data load that will be crossing it daily. Which internet provider is best for your new business?
The decisions to be made here are a little more complex than you think. Should both companies retain their own network, or should they be merged? Are cloud solutions better able to stand up to your combined data storage needs? Would it make more sense to build a new, scalable network altogether? Will your employees be working remotely, or on site? Will you have enough bandwidth coming into your facilities? Will your internal server networks be able to handle the increased traffic needs?
Let Iconic Guide Your IT Merger and Acquisition
Sound daunting? It is. But the opportunities that come from mergers are the reason smart businesses invest in them. All you need is the right planning, and more importantly, the right advice. Let us help.
Contact us today for a free consultation and analysis of your IT needs. Integris is ready to guide you through a smooth transition while merging your businesses’ IT solutions, and to keep your new business’ IT systems up and running efficiently afterwards. And if you need to do a deep dive into what it means to hire IT managed services for your merger, check out our free guide for managing an MSP efficiently. Download it today!