Merger and acquisition activity is regaining momentum as the global economy continues to improve. IT departments are playing a larger and more critical role in the long-term success or failure of these deals, as technology touches virtually all aspects of a company’s operations. Yet study after study puts the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions somewhere between 70% and 90%, according to the Harvard Business Review.
One significant challenge to M&A success is the process of merging two different ERPs or CRMs together to track, monitor and measure the newly combined business, which often creates significant disruption to business operations, affecting staff and customers.
The Challenges of IT Integration
An unsuccessful IT integration between merging companies can jeopardize business goals. It’s critical to ensure that the proper strategy and base technology are in place before moving forward with the IT integration, even if it means running two IT systems independently for a while.
Stephen N. David, CIO and B2B officer of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, a CIO-100 honoree, told CIO Magazine that, “75 percent of an integration effort during a merger or acquisition is determining which systems to keep, what data is important and how much integration is actually needed before the companies are technically joined.”
The Critical Step of Merging Sales Forces
“The first hundred days after a merger closes are critical to demonstrating its value and tangible benefits to the sales force, customers, and investors,” according to an article published by McKinsey & Company. The McKinsey article continues, explaining that, “One barrier to achieving this kind of early sales success is the time needed to bring together the merging companies’ back-office systems and processes—particularly IT and finance...”
The immediate sales momentum established by the first quick wins can’t carry most mergers through until a strong, integrated foundation can be developed for sales systems and processes. The solution to this in-between period is often to introduce plug-and-play solutions that can bind together the two sales organizations, and begin capturing both sets of data to start monitoring, measuring and reporting the information from both. For example, a back-end platform like iasset.com.
Although many companies focus on cost savings immediately following a merger, “their first obligation should be to pursue new revenues,” explains an article from Bain & Company. “The upside of cross-selling combined products and services across both companies’ customer bases often far outstrips cost savings.”
It is important to achieve early sales success: quick wins that can provide a focused experience for the newly combined sales force, and deliver proof of concept for customers and shareholders.