We have already looked at the surprisingly dismal statistics regarding the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions, and the facts behind them. Bottom line: knowing is more than half the battle and companies that are not doing everything they can to be informed are disproportionately likely to end up on the losing side of the ledger. With technology taking center stage in today’s marketplace, IT leaders in particular need to be informed to get IT mergers done right

IT leaders embarking on a merger should keep in mind (at the very least) the following:

Preparation is critical. This should be common sense, but it is shocking the number of mergers that are mismanaged and fail due to lack of sufficient preparation. In some cases, the failure to prepare is due to the belief there is not enough time, which impacts the ability to perform due diligence. It is undeniable that there are some merger opportunities that rely on speed, for which there is no time for due diligence. However, in many more cases proper due diligence is ignored because the board feels the merger is a “can’t miss” proposition, and somehow exempt from normal rules.IT Mergers Done Right IT leaders are in a unique position to insist upon due diligence, as their expertise in the critical areas of network and IT security may reveal shortcomings to the deal that would otherwise go unnoticed. IT leaders should be vocal in being allowed ample time to prepare for IT mergers.

Close CIO involvement should be mandatory.

In many cases, involvement from IT at the senior level is simply being told, “Make it happen” – CIOs in a merger are often given orders to overcome whatever obstacles are present to ensure the merger is accomplished. A less common tactic (but infinitely smarter) is to give the CIO an active voice in whether the merger should proceed at all. Maybe those obstacles are a sign that the merger is not such a wonderful idea, after all? A savvy CIO should demand input into pre-merger planning. Don’t be content to pound a square peg into a round hole, just because those are your orders. Provide genuine input to determine if this merger is really likely to accomplish the synergy that is promised.

Set realistic goals for integration. This is another byproduct of the “Make it happen!” mindset from the board that CIOs have to manage. Under pressure to deliver, a CIO may be unrealistic about goals for integration. This typically involves the anticipated schedule for integration, with the promise that complex problems can be resolved more quickly than is likely. Do not over-promise, that simply makes you likely to under-deliver. Have realistic goals from the beginning, communicate them effectively to the board along with an explanation for why they are so, and endeavor to avoid the pitfalls of adjusting the facts to meet unsound expectations.

Prioritize effectively. You might say that prioritization is a priority. Mergers create a critical window in an organization’s life cycle, one that can lead to expansion and opportunity or decline. Managing that window depends on prioritizing effectively, so the business can focus on critical needs. IT MergersThe first priority in a merger is to integrate the financial systems of the involved companies. Accounting provides the most important snapshot of how a company is performing, and likely to perform in the near future. Finances reveal organizational weaknesses, as well as areas of opportunity. Integrating those systems quickly and effectively is the surest path to the structure and certainty required to create a thriving business entity. The second priority is to integrate network and IT security. This is particularly important if the merged companies have different attitudes toward risk. Vulnerabilities and challenges that one company regards as trivial may be critical threats in the eyes of the other. Differing corporate cultures can create huge problems when viewed through the lens of network and IT security, these differences need to be harmonized efficiently and quickly before they become disruptive. The third priority is to assimilate personnel into the merged organization.

All employees need to feel included, able to participate, and secure in their future.Organizations that do not accommodate the “human equation” in a merger can become bogged down in internal drama that will sabotage attempts to move forward. Finally, maintaining momentum must be prioritized. The immediate aftermath of a merger is a time of great opportunity, but if IT integration does not happen in that short period – within a year at most – it won’t happen at all. Maintaining the excitement, enthusiasm, and momentum from a merger is critical to making integration happen, and moving forward from there to seize new opport The best way to avoid a “sure thing” merger going sour is to avoid buying into the myth that sure things exist. As CIO, always turn a critical eye to mergers and focus on the analysis and management required to make them work.  We Encourage you to visit with our Professional IT Mergers Company.  One of our Experts would be happy to assess your current position and give recommendations.  We look forward to hearing from you.