04 May 5 Tips for a Successful IT Integration Strategy
Tech M&A can be a challenging undertaking that requires significant planning and insight. Too many tech companies focus solely on getting to the finish line, and hope that things will go smoothly if they can just make it to closing. The truth is that integration is just as important, and requires significant planning, execution, and monitoring. When two companies merge, their people, operations, and infrastructure must be integrated. Information technology (IT) is an important component of infrastructure, especially for tech companies, so let’s look at five strategies that can ensure you have a successful IT integration strategy.
Be Mindful of Potential Issues
In an increasingly digital world, most M&A deals have at least a loose tie to the tech industry, yet many fail to consider potential integration issues. Some common challenges include:
- incompatible data platforms
- clashing cultures
- apps that cannot be fully integrated
- data loss
- incompatible devices
- software that won’t run on new or different systems
The CIOs of each organization must meet and start planning prior to closing, and continue their collaboration for the duration of integration to avoid these potential catastrophes.
Align Company Cultures
Company culture includes all the tiny details that make your company what it is—how people dress, how they talk to one another, their core values, their attitudes toward work-life balance, and more. Often, company culture is subtle and difficult to articulate. But it will come into sharp relief when there’s a cultural clash.
The newly merged company must have clear cultural objectives that prioritize the objectives of the merger. Often, this means prioritizing the well-being of employees, or adopting new processes that protect valuable intellectual property. Managers must have a clear understanding of the cultures of each company, the ideal culture for the new entity, and the strategy for making these cultural changes.
Establish an Integration Timeline
Integration is about more than combining employees or merging data. You need to sit down early and create a detailed, realistic timeline with clear goals. Evaluate this timeline at regular intervals so you can detect problems with integration early and meet your objectives as quickly as possible. Include upper management as well as key stakeholders in the integration plan. In most cases, newly merged companies should construct an integration team with representatives from both companies.
Be Strategic About Deal Synergies
While there may be many areas of integration that pose difficulties, you’re ultimately merging the two companies to realize valuable deal synergies. Prioritize those synergies from the outset:
- Sharing resources and budgets.
- Lower IT headcount or overhead.
- Access to software volume discounts.
- Cross-sales opportunities thanks to more comprehensive customer data and analytics.
- Larger and more streamlined logistics chains.
Be Thoughtful About Data Integration
Data integration is probably the most critical aspect of any new IT system. Where do you store data? How do you back it up? From where can you access it? Problems with these common challenges can prove catastrophic for a merger, slowing everything down. A managed service provider can help you identify potential data issues before they become a problem.