Microsoft announced on June 13, 2016 that it had agreed to acquire LinkedIn for $26 billion. But after the press releases go flying and the champagne is popped, the real challenges begin. If Microsoft’s experience is anything like what our customers tell us, integrating IT systems in a M&A situation is as important – and often as challenging – as cultural compatibility. If you’re absorbing a big company, or even acquiring a small one, how can you make the IT integration go smoothly?
Challenges affecting M&A IT integrations
There are four challenges to look out for when integrating IT systems after a merger. Not paying attention to these means unifying systems will be much more difficult.
- Insufficient IT integration: Poorly-implemented integration throughout the IT infrastructure can make everyday business processes (e.g. on-boarding new employees, sales and marketing lead management, quote to cash) more complicated and slow. Moreover, without the integration of applications intended for support and business processes (e.g. HR, finance, CRM, ERP, sales, marketing) within the entire enterprise, mistakes and duplications are inevitable.
- Data integration: Data integration ensures businesses have access to updated information across the entire enterprise regardless of where it resides, either on-premises or in the cloud. If data integration doesn’t happen, information retrieval scattered across numerous systems, applications, and services is complicated.
- Lack of visibility: Duplicate customer information is very possible with two companies in a similar space, resulting in fragmented and unsatisfying interactions. And unless the two companies have established a customer data integration system, obtaining an updated single view of the customer becomes even harder.
- Compliance Regulation: Compliance issues are likely as two converging businesses may not need the same levels of compliance. Policies, contracts, and guidelines are crucial and consistent enforcement, visibility, and control is necessary to for organizations to run well.
How to integrate IT infrastructure successfully after an M&A
One of our customers was hampered by a fragmented IT architecture after a series of M&A situations. It created a real problem as the lack of standardization and best practices led to one-off projects by distributed by LoB IT teams throughout the company, which wasn’t always the best use of time and resources.
To solve this problem, this company deployed Mule as an ESB to take advantage of its deployment options, interoperability with JMS(Java Message Service), and ease of use for Java developers. This organization also created a way to provide technical consultancy and oversee shared services, common patterns, and best practices.
The results were very successful; not only did these initiatives improve cost control, but IT teams were able to integrate over 500 applications.
If you’d like to know more about integrating IT systems after a merger or acquisition, take a look at these resources.