M&A Integration – Business and Digital Transformation

Technology can play a major role in helping companies survive crisis situations and prepare for future capabilities development in supporting business transformation and any associated M&A initiatives. The combination of digital business transformation and three business acquisition integration engagements I was recently involved in, were aimed to advance the strategic business agenda and realize a number of objectives including:

  • Market growth
  • Operations excellence
  • Enhance employees/customer experiences to create better value, and growth through preservation and symbiotic integration approaches.

As organizations are increasingly dependent on the technical capabilities to improve business operations and building organizational capabilities, the role of technology in M&A becomes critical for a successful integration of the underlying entities. Organizations with a good understanding of IT ’s essential role in due diligence, to business processes and operations, application and system rationalization, strategic digital technology enablement and integration, vendor consolidation and reducing procurement costs and change manangement, can gain a great advantage..

While M&A provides major opportunities, the challenges and risks merit technology’s critical role, needing to build upon synergies and strengthen unified capabilities. Some of the learnings we identified were  the not so obvious problems that cut across the organizations, employees,  internal and external stakeholders and partners technology needs, in addition, to fall back mechanisms for critical operational activities.

Here are a few things that need attention for a great IT playbook:

  1. M&A integration is a people, business  and technology function. Start with baseline setting by understanding what basic and new technology activities need to be pursued, in alignment with the company’s view on how to compete in our new digital age as well as any current industry trends and outlooks. Even looking outside of your industry and/or sector is a great way to glean insights.
  2. Document all business processes, technology architecture and people responsible.  , Prioritize the activities in detail, and leverage best practices to realize value quicker and mitigate the risk of failure through a standardized playbook to develop your M&A integration competencies. Align the stakeholders on governance, program value realization, and change management tailored to the organization, for successful execution.
  3. Develop standard templates and a detailed technical integration playbook for current and future use allowing for application rationalization and API / microservices integrations to support business operations excellence and customer and employee experience initiatives.
  4. Document processes for different scenarios that ensures to integrations will play by the book. Each integration is different and depends on whether you have executed a full acquisition or operational  integration.
  5. Create a multi-level OKR and KPI dashboard to track and compare integration progress. This will accelerate the path to ‘faster, better, cost-effective’ and proactive resolution of cross-functional issues and improve collaboration and outcomes.
  6. Make everything intuitive and accessible to the right stakeholders and technology executives who can clearly articulate the opportunities and progress to fellow senior executives and earn an IT strategic role in M&A.
  7. Focus on technology capabilities and synergies encompassing the business and new technology enablement strategy from ideation to implementation. Start small and scale up with budgets for innovation and allowing for failures. This will allow and create a significant value in a high-performance culture to realize symbiotic capabilities and global standardization.

Greater confidence in M&A and transformation engagements success lies in understanding cross-functional processes architecture, technology, data and systems integrations, team competencies, change management and a fluid communication framework.  Additionally, appropriate performance management systems supporting an agile culture, do provide greater predictability of how critical customers are going to perform and leveraging synergies, and best practices for digital business transformation.