Navigating Post-Merger Tech: A Must-Do Checklist for Strategic Acquirers
Atlas Professional Services shares 4 steps to including the IT team in an acquisition
Corporates gearing up for an acquisition have likely involved their C-suite, accountants and legal team in the process. But what about their IT team?
Ideally, acquirers became aware of the target business’s technology infrastructure and capabilities during the due diligence period. They may have even paid more if the business had a low IT risk and solid infrastructure, which can equate to a higher valuation.
But if that’s not the case, corporates shouldn’t fret. Regardless of what a corporate acquirer’s IT team did or didn’t discover prior to the acquisition, now is the time to get their IT house in order.
Here’s a must-do checklist for navigating technology after a merger or acquisition.
Regardless of what a corporate acquirer’s IT team did or didn’t discover prior to the acquisition, now is the time to get their IT house in order.
The IT team should begin by thoroughly assessing the entire technology landscape at both businesses. Because cybercrime is so prevalent—and expensive to recover from—pay special attention to technology risk management. Top-notch cybersecurity across the newly combined enterprise will help protect the organization, its employees and its customers.
Then, consider which business has the strongest IT infrastructure. Don’t assume that the business doing the acquiring has the better system: it’s possible that the acquired business has better networks, hardware, software, vendors and/or IT policies and procedures.
When looking at both businesses’ IT landscapes, scan for any gaps, weakness, vulnerabilities and waste. If new devices, upgraded systems or refreshed policies are needed, now is the time to plan for them.
An acquiring company’s in-house IT team or managed service provider (MSP) can lead the charge to audit and assess the technology needs of the newly expanded organization. They can suggest the best IT setup that aligns with the future direction and IT goals of the organization as a whole.
After IT infrastructures are assessed and a plan to meet all needs is in place, it’s time to get both businesses on the same page.
It’s important to integrate all IT systems, software, services, vendors and policies across the new enterprise. This will help ensure consistency, coverage, support and security throughout both businesses as they merge into one and move forward.
Related content: Securing Your Merger: Managing Cyber Deal Risk
Managing this potentially complicated process can be tricky, labor-intensive and time-consuming. Corporates should lean on their in-house IT team or an experienced MSP to guide the new organization through the IT integration process.
A comprehensive, phased approach with strong project management will successfully tackle short-term and long-term needs.
When integrations and changes to the IT infrastructure impact employees, effective communication is essential. This means educating and supporting staff prior to, during and after making technology changes that affect them.
This is especially important because human error is a major cause of cyberattacks on businesses. In fact, according to an early-2022 World Economic Forum report, 95% of all cybersecurity incidents that occurred at businesses could be traced back to human error.
Also, staff who don’t know how to access their files or use their new devices or software cause a reduction in productivity and, potentially, business revenue.
Strong IT leadership guiding the rollout and education process to staff after a merger is key. Know which employees are impacted and exactly how. Then, make a plan to communicate with, prepare and train them, and have IT support available when needed.
After integration is complete, evaluate the new enterprise’s IT system. Focus on how well it’s achieving cybersecurity, productivity, cost-efficiency and user compliance goals. Then, adjust any of the above steps as needed.
Repeating this process regularly will help ensure the business’s IT landscape remains productive and protected.
There are likely hundreds—if not thousands—of items on a full IT to-do list following a merger or acquisition. But, following even this basic must-do checklist to start will allow IT teams to put the newly-combined enterprise on a good path for moving into the future.
Kristin Johnson is Market Development Director at Atlas Professional Services, an IT support services company based in Tampa, Florida, and an ACG member. She can be reached at email@example.com and (813) 999-4499.