Navigating M&A IT Integration for Success

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Attention to detail is key during a merger or acquisition

Navigating the complexities of a merger or acquisition hinges on meticulous attention to detail. This is especially crucial when merging business assets operating with disparate IT architectures. While financial people and lawyers hammer out the nuances of the deal, you need to keep the technology working smoothly so the organization remains productive. Ready or not, the pursuit of outstanding outcomes rests on your ability to meticulously manage every detail, making a significant impact on the final results.

During a merger or acquisition, you’re going to have to determine how to best merge two or more sets of business data and other assets. Many businesses focus solely on the financial benefits without regard to the detailed work that must be done to effectively combine businesses. The margin for error is small because modern businesses run fast and deliver quickly. There’s no time for downtime due to bad database consolidation, IT server crashes, or other issues that can bring a business to its knees. Time is of the essence and so is productivity. 

This guide discusses how to simplify IT integration and develop a clear strategy for a smooth transition that minimizes downtime and maximizes value.

Key Takeaways: Understand the IT complexities for successful mergers and acquisitions. Developing a robust plan is essential for seamless integration success. Harmonize diverse data for informed decisions and efficient operations. Prioritize data risk assessment, encryption, compliance adherence, and thorough testing. Navigate emotions by updating employees and ensuring transparency.

Developing a unified IT strategy

A strong IT strategy will create the foundation of a newly merged company while also maintaining business operations and customer relationships during the transition. When a merger and acquisition (M&A) is in play, you need to develop a detailed plan to manage the merging of IT systems. 

Start by performing a full assessment of both IT architectures, digging into the details of both IT systems. Items like server platforms, applications, third-party integrations, APIs, devices, and databases should all be cataloged. For databases, documenting the schema, data structure details, and connectivity endpoints will facilitate integration down the road. 

Don’t forget security. Many companies use a variety of security protocols and methods within their technology architecture. For a seamless IT security transition in mergers or acquisitions, assess existing protocols, collaborate with teams, and identify opportunities for unified frameworks. Prioritize communication, employee training, and software updates to stay ahead of ongoing cybersecurity challenges.

Steps to consider after you start an assessment:

  • Day one activities.
    • Determine how to minimize near-term business disruptions. 
    • Figure out how to operate in tandem while a merger is in progress. 
    • Communicate with employees and stakeholders. 
  • Evaluating integration methods.
    • Select and plan the merger approach. 
    • Once the IT assessment is complete, you are ready to finalize the method selection.  
    • Understand both business operations fully to ensure nothing is left out of the plan.
  • Develop the combined IT roadmap that becomes the combined business foundation.
    • This step requires a completed assessment. 
    • From the detailed assessment, you can develop the combined IT roadmap that includes the combined IT strategy moving forward. 

Integrating two or more companies is a major undertaking. Leaving IT to the end is a mistake. Without a working IT system, the joined business cannot fully operate productively. Trying to maintain separate IT systems will become a nightmare that consumes resources and is fraught with constant business interruptions and communication issues. 

What you may need is a strong business partner capable of managing the IT integration side while you manage the merger. You need an experienced partner you can trust to deliver. Attentus delivers exceptional results because we believe in keeping your business running and employees working. Use Attentus to perform a detailed and precise IT assessment while you continue working on other aspects of the M&A. 

What is data integration?

Data integration forms the bedrock of a successful merger or acquisition of IT systems, involving the harmonization of diverse data sources into a unified entity. This intricate process yields numerous benefits, including:

  • Comprehensive data sets for informed decision-making through analytics
  • Accessible insights across the newly combined business
  • Increased efficiency when one data set exists
  • Improved data-driven business operations for a stronger foundation

Sounds easy enough. However, combining business databases into a single entity is fraught with the potential for failure. The challenge intensifies when organizations deploying disparate database structures and values are involved. In such cases, data integration must be done carefully and with detailed precision. Database failures cause extended business interruptions and downtime. 

What about data security and maintaining compliance? Your IT strategy for the M&A must include a data integration approach that includes security and compliance. The new business’s foundation must include meeting any regulatory compliance requirements and securing business data. Each transfer, move, and storage must be secured. There’s no easier place for unauthorized users to leverage vulnerabilities than a merge or transfer. 

Fortify data security during an M&A with strategic activities that include:

  • Data risk assessment.
    • Identify and understand data sensitivity, access controls, encryption needs, and compliance requirements. 
  • Encryption and classification of all data.
    • Categorize all data based on sensitivity and security needs.
  • Control of access and authentication privileges.
    • Create zero trust access controls and limit users with permissions to unencrypted data.
  • Systems monitoring
    • Regular review of data activity logs proactively ensures strong security. 
  • Secure data movement.
    • Prevent data leaks or breaches by implementing security protocols. 
  • Compliance adherence
    • Integrate compliance requirements in IT strategy for the M&A and prevent legal and trust issues with stakeholders and customers. 
  • Data quality testing
    • Merging data is a long process. Don’t skip testing to ensure data quality, access, and connectivity functions as expected. 

Attentus delivers exceptional results because we believe in keeping your business running and employees working securely and fully in compliance. Consider letting Attentus provide you with secure and compliant data integration from assessment to performing thorough testing to ensure you keep working without interruption. 

Maintaining connection – communication and collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration cannot be overstated for successfully merging business systems. It’s obvious but also extremely difficult. M&A inherently involves human emotion, given the dynamic of joining two entities. This process often entails the loss of one or both business identities, giving rise to the formation of a completely new business identity. Staying connected will help both parties get through the transition.

Business productivity may be interrupted by resource changes, re-allocations, and possibly reductions. It’s a great time to not only communicate but do it with honesty and transparency. Want to keep employees working productively, then ensure your IT strategy is solid and fully communicated. 

Keep employees updated as M&A changes occur. Involve them in the testing process. Make sure each department feels included in the conversation. Communication and collaboration are essential for a smooth transition and building a solid operational foundation post-merger. 

If you’re using an MSP or other IT business partner to assist in your IT strategy, keep them in the loop at all times. You can trust Attentus to manage the communication process. At Attentus, our team is experienced in assessing IT systems as well as consulting and developing effective IT merger strategies. 

Above and beyond with Attentus 

Businesses are unique, and so are their security and IT system needs. Choose an MSP like Attentus which is an active partner in your business growth and success. Attentus is a leading provider of IT services in the Seattle area. Make your IT management strategy simple, even exceptionally effective, but not scary. 

Leave it to Attentus to manage your IT M&A strategy from assessment to design, scheduling, and data integration. Be in control without having to manage every IT detail. At Attentus, we communicate and collaborate proactively to keep your business up and running at peak performance. Consider getting an accurate price quote in 30 minutes