Organizing Integration During Merger and Acquisition

Loraine Lawson

Obviously, integration is a huge issue with mergers and acquisitions. From e-mail to ERP, IT divisions get a hefty to-do list after any merger.


On top of that, CIOs are often the last to hear about these deals, despite the fact experts say IT might play a critical role in the success or failure of mergers and acquisitions.


But what happens when you are involved from the beginning? How do you prioritize the the integration work and increase your chances of success?


Gartner recently issued outlined how companies can approach integration during an M&A, with a focus on what IT should do at each point in the process. This Australia article provides more details, but essentially the five phases are:


  1. The due diligence/planning phase. The critical point here is that you don't need to rush the integrations-take time to plan and communicate first, Gartner says.
  2. The welcome/signaling phase. During this stage, focus on a few visible changes, such as merged e-mail.
  3. The initial/commercial phase. This is where the critical integration work begins, and generally it's focused on legal and regulatory issues or financial-management information systems.
  4. The main integration phase. This is where you get down in the trenches and connect the big processes and systems. "For absorption-style integrations, it means bringing everything in the target organization onto the parent platform," the article notes. "For best-of-breed-style integrations, it means putting the integration architecture in place."
  5. The reap-the-benefits phase, which is self explanatory, but does include assessing what you've learned in case you have to do it again.


Overall, IT should handle about 25 percent of the integration work from a typical M&A, says Gartner research director, Mary Mesaglio, co-author of the full Gartner report.


For additional tips on successful integration during an M&A, check out my post from last year, "Four Lessons for IT Integration After a Merger and Acquisition."

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