The conventional wisdom after a merger and acquisition is that IT needs to move rapidly to integrate the two systems and applications.
In fact, companies have been faulted for not involving IT soon enough, a problem that some believe contributes to the high failure rate of many mergers and acquisitions.
It's expected that this is something more companies will be dealing with in 2010 as more companies are acquired. So, I was doubly interested to read that there's one situation where integration may not be in your best interest.
In a recent Computerworld article, author and CEO David Taber says that in some situations, IT may want to bypass integration in favor of maintaining two CRM systems "indefinitely."
That's a long time-indefinitely. But that's what Taber, the CEO of a consultancy specializing in improving business processes through CRM systems, suggests.
Of course, if you keep reading, you learn that "indefinitely" isn't really that long for CRM, which-unlike just about everything else in your IT infrastructure-tends to have a short life expectancy. He says five years isn't unusual.
There are other factors that make CRM worthy of special handling during mergers and acquisitions, Taber argues. Among those factors: CRM is more vulnerable to data quality issues and advanced CRMs are more likely to be integrated to a bunch of other applications and systems, both internal and external. "Unless you've used a comprehensive integration broker, SOA, or ESB, extricating a CRM system involves a lot of technical risk," he warns.
Of course, maintaining two systems isn't always the right choice. There are times when you should pick one of the two CRMs and times when you should replace both. Taber offers solid tips on how to figure out which of the three approaches-hold, migrate or dump-will work best for your situation.