CRM Requires Special Consideration During Mergers and Acquisitions

Loraine Lawson

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.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 31, 2010 4:42 AM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:

There is no doubt, if merging the two (or more) CRM systems was practical and without risk, it would be done. Often that is not so, for the main reasons you state ;

"advanced CRMs are more likely to be integrated to a bunch of other applications and systems, both internal and external"

Most of our customers are in this bucket. There's nothing actually wrong with two CRM systems, whats wrong is if a user/agent has to go to both CRM systems to duplicate effort (and thus create the data quality issue through repeating errors).

We are specialize in joining disparate packaged or home grown CRM applications of ANY kind (Rich/Web/Fat/Thin/Green Screen) right at the hip (User Interface). This is not only feasible but can be done VERY quickly with our unique (inject into the CRM) technology. The result is that the end user actually only has to see and use one CRM, the other is hidden but still used (automatically and out of view) for all necessary overlapping data and workflows.

This buys IT a LOT of time to think about the next step for integrating their CRM (before the next M&A). You see, the cost savings of not having to actually "use" 2 CRM's are MASSIVE. It matters less they are both actually there when they work as one for everything.

Desktop CRM application integration and automation is a growing market for SAAS and on-premise multiple CRM/application environments.


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