IT integration is a critical determinant of that success. And the CIO who steps into the strategic planning process early, leading the careful assessment of the two IT environments ahead of time – can ensure that the integration of the two goes smoothly and that the transformed IT provides a platform for speed, agility and dependability for the new organization.

The CIO can raise the banner by understanding the business strategy, key priorities for the newly merged organization, and any technological vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

Here are five key phases where CIOs must focus their attention and efforts to maximize the odds of success during a merger and acquisition.

Before: Get M&A Ready

  • Adopt flexible architectures and processes
  • Be able to tell the difference between general IT issues and those related to a merger
  • Gather ready-made tools, templates, and checklists
  • Be ready to backfill IT roles with external IT sources, so your team has time and space to execute the M&A
  • Research a trusted transformation partner you can tap for help when the time comes

Before: Get involved early

Gartner estimates that more than 50% of all integration activities rely on IT, with 25% those directly led by IT. Organizations who want their transition to go more smoothly should involve IT upfront. As CIO, you should:

  • Ask for a seat at the table; do not wait to be asked
  • Help screen M&A candidates to estimate integration effort
  • Plan the integration process, especially day 1
  • Support your M&A “clean teams” as needed
  • Tee up your trusted transformation partner

During: Execute amid ambiguity

 If you as the CIO aren’t tapped to be the integration program leader, make sure to volunteer. CIOs should:

  • Be crystal clear on the strategic direction and purpose of the deal
  • Establish effective IT integration governance
  • Set out a clear timetable for important decisions
  • Make important decisions quickly and follow them through
  • Dedicate in-house or third-party IT resources to the project
  • Track how you’re doing using clear KPIs that quickly show potential problems

After: Postmortems and training

The project doesn’t end after your IT systems are squared away. For the first 3-6 months, make sure to focus strongly on business user training and adoption. This is especially important if you’ve migrated users to a brand-new collaboration platform, like Office 365.

After your merger is done and dusted, make sure to do a post-mortem with your teams and develop a library of lessons learned for next time. Because again, there is a good chance there will be a next time.

To find out more about how we can help, get in touch. We look forward to working with you on your next merger or aquisition.

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