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How to ensure your merger runs smoothly

Merger by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Mergers can be exciting and can benefit all parties in their future business goals. But only if the merger is handled well. A successful merger can improve market share whilst at the same time reducing running costs. It can expand the business into new industries or geographical locations and can often be the lifeline for a struggling organisation. However, a poorly managed merger can have far-reaching financial implications and can end up with both companies failing.

Planning a successful merger

Many mergers fail because the wrong company has been targeted for closure, inadequate due diligence and not following the business research. And it is research that is key when hoping for a successful merger. After all, knowledge power. 

Avoid Duplication

One of the many challenges a committee overseeing a merger will come across is duplication. There are likely to be two fully functioning systems with similar functionality as well as two IT directors and two IT teams who believe their system is the superior one and will argue the point.

However, simply choosing one team and system over the other, may seem like the easiest option, but it is not the most appropriate. Drawing straws on what system to use will rarely work. Instead research and planning will get you further.

  • Goals – Clearly identify what the business goals are for the merger, how the business intends to grow and how the newly formed company will get there.
  • Functionality – When the business goals are clear these can be broken down into functionality expected of the systems.  
  • Assessment – Identifying the precise functionality and capability of the current systems, what is outdated, what doesn’t work and what is lacking.

Trust the assessment

Once these questions have been answered it will be easier to identify which (if either) of the current systems will be suited for the job in hand. However, except in cases where mergers have happened on the basis of a superior information system in one of the companies, such assessments will uncover a number of insights and therefore options:

  • Choose one of the current systems and move all staff over to that system.
  • Choose neither system and start from scratch with a bespoke or off the shelf system which has appropriate functionality.
  • Try to patch together the best from both systems into a system which aligns with the business requirements.

Merging two (or more) fully functioning information systems is rarely going to be easy, and it is quite likely that a full assessment of the systems will show a number of overlaps as well as a number of functions that will be redundant going forward.

Make 1+1 equal more than 2

How you merge and manage the transition can make a big difference to the working environment for your staff as well as for customers. In regard to the merging of two (or more) information systems it’s not just about one being preferable over the other, there are also the issues of:

  • Unification of server infrastructure
  • Unification of Active Directory and Identity Management
  • Cloud migration and data centre decommissioning
  • Data migration
  • Data restructuring or recategorization for a new system
  • Centralising satellite or ad hoc systems to a central control

The key here is to unify and migrate without extended downtime to the business, or disruption to staff or customers. And this all comes down to great planning and ensuring the right systems and processes are in place.

Get an independent review

If your business is embarking on a merger, or is in the middle of the process and you want to ensure a smooth transition of information systems for both your staff and customers speak with the team at Brandon Cross today to discuss a full evaluation of your systems and a bespoke plan on how you can make them work for your business goals.