Outsourcing as a Merger Strategy?


IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson recently wrote about the serious pain that can occur when companies do not adequately consider how integrating IT systems will affect combined operations after a merger.


So it's not too much of a stretch to say, as Gartner analyst Linda Cohen does in a recent Computerworld article, that companies sometimes employ IT outsourcing to help prepare for mergers.


Belgium's InBev NV/SA in 2005 outsourced much of its IT operations, including its data center to IBM and its global telecommunications infrastructure to BT Global Services, then later went to a shared services model, moves that Cohen says are consistent with a company preparing itself for a merger.


Now the European giant is buying Anheuser-Busch Cos., and further outsourcing may result. The highly speculative article doesn't offer much more than purchaser InBev's stated desire to trim costs, a common characteristic of any merger. Still, outsourcing is obviously often used to shrink expenses


According to InBev, the merger "will yield cost synergies of at least $1.5 billion annually by 2011." And how will it achieve this? Through "sharing best practices, economies of scale and rationalization of overlapping corporate functions."


One obvious area for savings will be consolidating the licensing and management of the two companies' SAP ERP systems, notes the article.