Understanding the strategic value of IT in MA (2023)

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With the number of mergers and acquisitionsMany companies, which are expected to increase in the coming years, are looking for ways to improve their M&A skills, particularly their ability to successfully evaluate and onboard target companies. We've all heard of deals where the stars seemed to be right but the synergies remained elusive. In these cases, the acquirer and target may have complementary strategies and finances, but integrating technology and operations has often proven difficult, usually because they were not adequately addressed during due diligence.

One reason is that IT and operations leaders are often not involved in the due diligence process, preventing them from providing valuable insight into the costs and practical realities of integration. For example, executives cannot anticipate the economics of merged supply chains without a thorough understanding of what is required to integrate the information systems of two companies. This important information is often overlooked. In our post-merger management work, we have found that 50-60% of synergy initiatives are heavily IT-related, yet most IT issues are not fully addressed during due diligence or in the early stages of planning. Post merger (graphic).

If haphazard use of technology can derail an acquisition, the reverse is also true: A company with agile, streamlined IT, where leaders streamline systems and make disciplined integration decisions, can use this insight as a powerful tool in selecting the right offerings most attractive. Buyers might even bid higher as they are better prepared to take advantage of the 10 to 15 percent cost savings that come with successful IT integrations.

In recent years we have identified several leading companies whose M&A strategies were supported by a flexible IT architecture. These companies leverage a broader range of synergies faster than competitors who don't address the challenge of IT integration. As a result, these leaders are more successful at evaluating goals and executing acquisition strategies.

In our experience, these companies get at least three things right when it comes to backend integration. First, they get their own IT house in the best possible condition before starting a business. Many have already adopted advanced service-oriented architectures (SOAs), which are generally more flexible and adaptable, and provide a platform that supports a variety of business applications.1These companies also reduced the number of systems (e.g. one ERP system instead of multiple instances) and developed a model that not only takes into account the current company, but also new data that can be gained during acquisitions or start-ups. In short, they have exercised the inner muscles they must have to drive successful integration. CEOs and CFOs must be careful when embarking on an M&A growth strategy that requires a lot of backend integration when their enterprise IT architectures are still fragmented: the risk of failure is too high.

Second, when these companies are in merger talks, senior management ensures that IT executives have a seat at the due diligence table to get their perspective on system integration difficulties. By evaluating the target company's technology, executives can determine how to complement their own IT strategy and operations, including the systems to be maintained and the data that needs to be migrated to the acquiring company's platform. This step is especially important when companies are evaluating cost and revenue synergies. Forecasts are often based on financial formulas or rules of thumb provided by merger advisors. In practice, however, many of these calculations depend on the organization's ability to integrate IT operations, not just IT itself, but the functions that IT enables, including finance, human resources, logistics and customer relationship management.

Finally, these companies carefully plan the post-merger integration, including the role IT will play and the resources available to it. Once the acquirer has transformed its own IT platform, it can quickly integrate the target company's platform into a carefully considered architecture, enabling data migration from the acquired company in less than six months.

To achieve such an aggressive goal, these companies quickly choose the platform and data architecture they want to use and consider other integration details. Addressing these issues removes uncertainty and focuses organizational energy on how the transition will work. Of course, this process is simpler for smaller acquisitions in a familiar industry, but we've seen it successfully applied to larger, more complex deals as well.

Build a robust sourcing platform

Companies that approach mergers and acquisitions strategically build an acquisition-ready information architecture. Think of Oracle, which between 1999 and 2004 consolidated 70 internal systems into a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for all business functions, including sales and finance. This approach saved the company $1 billion annually; Above all, a platform was created that supported an ambitious M&A strategy of more than 50 companies between 2005 and 2009. As a result, Oracle can now integrate most acquisitions within six months.

With this ability, the CIO can be a strategic partneridentifyemployment opportunities. The higher the CIO is involved, the more added value can be achieved. As we have already noted, successful mergers and acquisitions increasingly depend on an agile IT architecture that goes beyond facilitating integration and bolstering the value created by the acquisition. IT functions in these companies develop standard processes, tools and data management systems to handle an acquisition more efficiently. Most importantly, this discipline pays off later when IT leaders must make difficult integration decisions, including when to leave legacy systems behind and which to migrate to the acquiring company's system.

In this scenario, executives who demonstrate the value of IT to their C-suite peers in integration efforts can become key players. CIOs who assume this role understand the business goals of an acquisition and the steps required to achieve them. They're not afraid to stick to schedule and budget to achieve synergy, a move that carries some professional risk given the turnover rate of IT executives. And they ensure their IT organizations share this culture so IT can adapt quickly and take critical action up to 100 days after a deal is closed.

At a fast-growing biotech company, business and IT executives work closely during the M&A planning phases to ensure they agree on the strategic goals of a merger. Once a deal is closed, they work together to estimate integration timelines, costs, and risks. A few weeks after the merger, IT leaders update the company and receive final approval of features and plans.

Better communication increases the chances of a successful merger and the CIO. IT leaders who are not involved in broader strategic discussions could miss important information. An insurance CIO outlined a plan for an 18-month IT integration, but could not allocate sufficient resources for a new product line that business leaders planned to introduce in the first year of the combined organization. When the company decided to proceed, the CIO had to deliver the bad news that resources were not available to support the new products without changing the timeline for the rest of the integration.

Be an actor during due diligence

When companies start planning an acquisition, IT needs a seat at the due diligence table. The technology team can identify potential barriers to integration with the acquisition target (e.g. incompatible platforms that require a workaround) or identify potential liabilities (e.g. the vast under-investment in technology that we often see at target companies, resulting in a Leads fusion IT function that relies on legacy architecture and systems).

For example, a waste management company has adopted an aggressive M&A growth strategy that adheres to these practices. Your IT team insists on having full access to the target company's IT, including architecture and systems documentation and interviews with key people. As business progresses, access increases; In some cases, auditors are required to sign confidentiality or non-compete agreements with the target before auditing IT systems.

IT members of the integration team should also assess the target company's internal and external resources, verify that a shared service model exists, and determine how to retain top talent. The acquirer may want to offer cash rewards to retain employees during the integration to avoid a mass exodus that would impact the operational capacity of the new organization. Failure to identify talent gaps can delay integration or force an organization to turn to expensive vendor resources. Both have a negative impact on business synergies.

Once the acquiring company has evaluated the target technology, IT can help identify opportunities and estimate the costs associated with realization. By collaborating with functional sub-teams, IT can understand the true impact of the integration and provide realistic estimates of its duration. For example, at a recent industry merger, IT collaborated cross-functionally during integration planning to develop a key payment system that served multiple businesses. As a result, each line manager could clearly identify not only the processes that would be implemented once the merger was complete, but also the ultimate timing and extent of improvements.

start at full speed

In addition to the due diligence, the actual integration work begins well before the signing of the contract, so that the merged organization is operational from day one. Serial acquirers develop a clear strategy to determine which data to migrate and which systems to retain over time. Financial and employee systems such as payroll and benefits that are critical to business continuity and regulatory compliance are typically migrated to the acquirer's system. The organization can then pursue key acquisition goals.

Key questions for the first day

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is room for improvement to make the post-merger integration effort smooth.

1. Applications and Technological Architecture

Do you rely heavily on custom or proprietary technologies?

2. IT-Infrastructure

Do you have many small data centers in expensive locations?

3. Labor productivity

Are your processes different in different places?

4. Supply

Are there many small suppliers supplying materials that could be sourced from smaller, larger suppliers?

5. Demand Management

> Don't business leaders prioritize IT needs and say "everything matters"?

6. Organisation und Governance

Does IT management spend a lot of time putting out fires?

A resource management company typically begins by integrating logistics and routing systems that are critical to supporting its facility management operations. Executives can then transition to the acquired company's other systems to ensure they are fully integrated within the agreed timeframe (see sidebar, “Key Questions for Day One”).

Day 100 is an important deadline. By then, the organization will have completed its first quarter as a combined entity, a milestone that typically includes coordinated financial and regulatory reporting. To support these efforts, best practice teams agree to make decisions quickly, understanding that the rapid integration of IT systems is more valuable than a lengthy debate about the relative merits of competing systems. Typically, the acquiring company can migrate data and systems to its own platform in less time. This is especially true for horizontal integration, where the markets of the newly acquired company expand into existing markets.

In some cases it makes sense to keep the legacy systems of the target company. For example, a financial institution's CRM systems can be tightly linked to new markets and customer bases, which represent a significant part of the company's value. Trying to integrate these systems with existing systems that target different types of customers can be very disruptive. With some vertical integrations, systems can support different tiers of the value chain, so it may make sense to keep those systems on existing platforms to avoid disruption while IT, operations, and finance develop a long-term, comprehensive integration plan. Successful IT departments embrace the concept of flexibility and use alternative solutions when it makes business sense. For example, at a recent merger of two technology companies, the acquiring company's CIO worked with salespeople to accurately forecast when a billing system would go live. This information enabled management to invest in a critical interim IT solution that offered significant cross-selling opportunities, rather than waiting several months for a new solution.

As companies increasingly rely on information systems to coordinate transactions, manage operations and help capture new market opportunities, the role of technology in mergers is becoming increasingly important. Organizations with a deep understanding of the critical role of IT in mergers and acquisitions can gain an advantage in completing successful mergers. CIOs who articulate this opportunity clearly to their senior peers should be given a more strategic role in mergers and acquisitions.


What is the role of it in mergers and acquisitions? ›

Information technology plays a vital role in harmonizing organizations when they merge. In fact, IT can determine whether a merger succeeds or fails. As board members, stockholders, and industry analysts seek speedy returns from mergers and acquisitions, they must keep a close eye on the integration process.

How would an IT strategic plan benefit the merged organizations in their pursuit of a new system? ›

A strategic plan helps an organization in two ways.
  1. First, it lays out the vision, requirements, critical initiatives, and directions IT will take to meet business strategies and goals. ...
  2. Second, a strategic plan also allows us to be better prepared for unexpected change and emergencies.
Jan 28, 2022

How do you Analyse acquisition? ›

The process of analyzing acquisitions falls broadly into three stages: planning, search and screen, and financial evaluation. The acquisition planning process begins with a review of corporate objectives and product-market strategies for various strategic business units.

What is an integration playbook? ›

An M&A Integration Playbook is a project management tool that enables strategic corporate acquirers to systematically plan and deliver deals post-closing. Consider it to be a “toolbox” that contains relevant sections that can be selected to address the issues of a particular acquisition.

Why is IT acquisition important? ›

An acquisition can help to increase the market share of your company quickly. Even though competition can be challenging, growth through acquisition can be helpful in gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace. The process helps achieves market synergies.

What is the role of IT in a company? ›

The IT department is responsible for the company's technology infrastructure. They are in charge of ensuring that all technical aspects of the company are running smoothly and efficiently. They also provide support to employees who have technical problems.

What are 6 benefits of strategic planning? ›

Six Benefits Plateaued Entrepreneurs Can Realize From Strategic Planning
  • It helps you focus.
  • It allows you to establish (and stick to) priorities.
  • It allows you to divide and conquer.
  • It helps you create building blocks for the future.
  • It allows you to measure what matters.
  • It fosters accountability.
Sep 12, 2019

What is the value of strategic planning? ›

Having a strategic plan in place can enable you to track progress toward goals. When each department and team understands your company's larger strategy, their progress can directly impact its success, creating a top-down approach to tracking key performance indicators (KPIs).

What is the main purpose of strategic planning? ›

The purpose of strategic planning is to set overall goals for your business and to develop a plan to achieve them. It involves stepping back from your day-to-day operations and asking where your business is headed and what its priorities should be.

How do you determine if an acquisition is worth it? ›

In this article, I'll be sharing the nine criteria I've developed for evaluating a potential business acquisition.
  1. Growth Opportunity. ...
  2. Product-Based. ...
  3. Industry Tailwinds. ...
  4. Real Brand Awareness. ...
  5. Recurring Revenue. ...
  6. Business Risks. ...
  7. Third-Party Verification. ...
  8. Transferability.
May 22, 2019

What are the 3 processes in acquisition? ›

The Department of Defense (DoD) Acquisition Process is one of three (3) processes (Acquisition, Requirements, and Funding) that make up and support the Defense Acquisition System and is implemented by DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework” and DoD Instruction 5000.85 “Major Capability ...

What are the three major types of integration strategies? ›

The main types of integration are:
  • Backward vertical integration.
  • Conglomerate integration.
  • Forward vertical integration.
  • Horizontal integration.
Mar 22, 2021

What are the three stages of integration? ›

Identifies three phases of post‐acquisition management: the morning after (the period immediately following the acquisition) the learning‐to‐live‐together stage; and the, oft‐overlooked, review stage.

What is IMO and PMO? ›

The playbook may define a baseline of activities, sequences, and resources as well as variations, and the usual construct to process the work is a Program Management Office (PMO) or Integration Management Office (IMO) along with online tools.

WHAT IS IT system acquisition? ›

System acquisition . , as used in this part, means the design, development and production of new systems or the modification to existing systems that involve redesign of the system or subsystems.

What are 2 benefits of acquisitions? ›

Benefits of mergers and acquisitions
  • Obtaining quality staff or additional skills, knowledge of your industry or sector and other business intelligence. ...
  • Accessing funds or valuable assets for new development. ...
  • Your business underperforming. ...
  • Accessing a wider customer base and increasing your market share.

WHAT IS IT acquisition process? ›

Acquisition Process means the process of identifying properties to be acquired, negotiating the terms and conditions of purchase of such property, preparing capital budgets, preparing feasibility studies, reviewing leases, plans, specifications, schematic designs, and other similar documents, preparing and submitting ...

What are the five functions of IT? ›

Information Technology Functions
  • Governance. It alludes to the execution of operational boundaries for working units and people's utilization of IT frameworks, engineering, and organizations. ...
  • Infrastructure. ...
  • Functionality. ...
  • Network Contingencies. ...
  • Application Development. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Company Website.
Nov 30, 2020

How do you structure an IT department? ›

Typically, an IT department will be structured according to the functional model, or the matrix organization model, both of which focus on distinct processes and projects, and both of which have a clear management/reporting model (i.e. a chain-of-command).

What are the key roles of IT department? ›

It uses the latest tech to keep communication lines running smoothly and protect critical data. They primarily deal with all business technical aspects, such as computer setup and management, employee email distribution, and server management. They're also responsible for the devices entering the company's network.

What makes a strong strategic plan? ›

Strategies should map long-term plans to objectives and actionable steps, foster innovative thinking, as well as anticipate and mitigate potential pitfalls. Strategic plans often look out 3-5 years, and there may be a separate plan for each individual objective within the organization.

What are the three principles of strategic planning? ›

There are three principles of strategic planning that you should follow. First, set a clear direction and stay in your lane, versus meandering and pursuing strategies that change every year.

What are the six keys to successful strategic planning? ›

Strategic Planning Best Practices
  • Gather your team, set up meetings, and create a timeline. Before you say “thank you Captain Obvious” hear us out. ...
  • Operate Off Data, Not Assumptions. ...
  • Confirm Your Mission, Vision, and Values Statements. ...
  • Mission statement. ...
  • Vision Statement. ...
  • Values statement. ...
  • Strategy. ...
  • Prioritize Transparency.

What is an example of strategic value? ›

Here's an example:

Over the years you have worked hard to establish and maintain great relationships with your customers. You believe these strong customer relationships will offer strategic value to a potential purchaser, over and above fair market value. Along comes a potential purchaser.

Why is strategic value important? ›

Values are important for strategic planning because if everyone demonstrates the same values, passion and purpose when they come to work, then they are going to be working toward the same goal, regardless of what the strategic plan is.

What are the four main points of strategic planning? ›

The following four aspects of strategy development are worth attention:
  • The mission. Strategic planning starts with a mission that offers a company a sense of purpose and direction. ...
  • The goals. Strategic planning involves selecting goals. ...
  • Alignment with short-term goals. ...
  • Evaluation and revision.

What are the five steps in the strategic planning process? ›

What is strategic planning?
  • Define your vision.
  • Assess where you are.
  • Determine your priorities and objectives.
  • Define responsibilities.
  • Measure and evaluate results.
Aug 19, 2022

Which is the most important thing in strategic planning? ›

The Most Important Part of Strategic Planning: “Operationalizing” Strategy.

What is the most important step in strategic planning? ›

The first and perhaps most important step of the planning process is understanding that there's a need for a plan. In terms of management, this means that you need to be aware of the industry environment in which the business operates so that you can identify opportunities for development.

What is technology in M&A? ›

Technology has allowed deal teams to organise deal documents into one central location and facilitate collaboration through the cloud. Other technologies that are being used currently are spin-offs of mass-market technologies like salesforce, 1-to-1 document comparisons, and electronic delivery, signature and banking.

Who is involved in M&A process? ›

Every M&A transaction involves at least one purchaser, or buyer, the party that will be making the acquisition. This is the person (i.e., individual or company) that signs the purchase agreement, pays the purchase price and which, after closing, directly or indirectly, owns or controls the target company or its assets.

Which are the major factors responsible for mergers and acquisitions? ›

Pre-transaction success factors
  • Trust between the parties. ...
  • Due diligence en good valuation. ...
  • Experience from previous mergers and acquisitions. ...
  • Communication before the execution of the merger or acquisition. ...
  • Quality of the plan. ...
  • Execution of the plan. ...
  • Swiftness of integration. ...
  • Communication during the implementation.
Sep 26, 2017

What brings success to mergers and acquisitions? ›

Established mutual trust and respect — A key of successful mergers and acquisitions is creating mutual trust and respect among the two different companies.

Is information technology a strategic asset? ›

Information Management. Information is everywhere – in emails, databases, phones, websites, documents and reports. Managed properly, information is not only a strategic asset for a business, but it can also guide future innovation.

What is the biggest tech mergers of all time? ›

Tech company Dell announced the acquisition of EMC Corporation in October 2016 for a world record (at the time) $67 billion. EMC developed, sold, and stored data management hardware and software to its customers. At the time, Dell had to take on $50 billion in debt to acquire EMC.

What is included in a technology strategy? ›

What is Technology Strategy? The definition of technology strategy is the creation of an overall business plan which consists of principles, objectives, and tactics for using technology to achieve organizational objectives.

What are the 4 types of M&A? ›

There are four types of mergers that you are likely to encounter: general mergers, parent-subsidiary mergers, triangular mergers and multi-entity mergers.

What are the 5 stages of merger? ›

Mergers & Acquisitions: The 5 stages of an M&A transaction
  • Assessment and preliminary review.
  • Negotiation and letter of intent.
  • Due diligence.
  • Negotiations and closing.
  • Post-closure integration/implementation.

What are the three stages of M&A? ›

The three stages in question are pre-combination, combination (involving the integration of companies) and solidification and advancement (which forms the new entity). Pre-combinationrefers to processes that take place before the M&A is completely legal.

What are the 6 determinants of merger success? ›

Epstein (2005) proposed six determinants of merger success: due diligence, strategic vision and fit, deal structure, pre-merger planning, external factors, and post-merger integration.

Why do up to 90% of mergers and acquisitions fail? ›

Value destruction, poor communication and integration, and cultural differences are some of the most common reasons. If these issues are not addressed, it can be very difficult to make a merger or acquisition a success. Lastly, another common reason for failure is that the two companies simply are not compatible.

What is the difference between a merger and an acquisition? ›

Unlike mergers, acquisitions do not result in the formation of a new company. Instead, the purchased company gets fully absorbed by the acquiring company. Sometimes this means the acquired company gets liquidated. Acquiring a business is similar to buying an existing business or franchise.

What is the key to merger success? ›

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is the key to success in any business merger or acquisition. From the initial stages of due diligence through integration, both parties need to be clear and concise in their communication to avoid misunderstandings and delays.

What should a manager do to ensure a successful merger? ›

Based on my experience, here are five tips to help ensure a smooth and successful M&A:
  1. Ensure fairness for all parties. ...
  2. Realize that culture is key. ...
  3. Learn the value of a reputation. ...
  4. Know when to walk away. ...
  5. Secure alignment from the right people.
Sep 13, 2021

How do you evaluate the success of a merger? ›

The six determinants of a successful merger are:
  1. 3.1. Strategic vision and fit. ...
  2. 3.2. Deal structure. ...
  3. 3.3. Due diligence. ...
  4. 3.4. Premerger planning. ...
  5. 3.5. Postmerger integration. ...
  6. 3.6. External factors.


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