How can IT be impacted by a private equity acquisition?

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Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
It's getting more complicated, because now we're seeing that there are acquiring companies that struggle to rationalize their acquisitions. There's one portfolio company that’s an amalgamation of 16 acquisitions and counting. To call them loosely coupled would be generous.

The individual product owners that came in via acquisition have limited knowledge of their counterparts and the one person heading up global infrastructure and operations is told to rationalize all this stuff when it's really a product challenge. But they're not willing to optimize as you actually have to invest now to save in the long-term. It's a race against the clock: Can they assemble enough acquisitions to spin it off and then make it somebody else's problem? But that's an extreme case. There are others who have a growth mindset, want to invest and they see that with a little infusion, they can grow a business.
CEO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
My last corporate job was at a company that was about to go on the chopping block. Senior management raised money in private equity to grow that company from 1 to 30 operating companies in under 5 years—I was faced with integrating 5 massive factories from contract manufacturers who were original equipment manufacturers (OEM), selling on a factory floor space.

They had different ERPs, different PLMs, and the private equity executive would say, "How are you making decisions about this and that?" My standard answer was, "Only 1. Supply chain pays my wage and I'll pay back to your top line, not your bottom." Because I charged everybody back for every service that IT provided, including suppliers, customers and internal operating companies. I ran IT as a small enterprise and that was the only way I could get them off my back. Today, they're going through a great dilemma between operating expenses (OPEX) and capital expenditures (CAPEX). The rules are different in Canada but they have plenty of operating companies in the U.S. and in Europe, which means VAT issues, U.S. taxation issues, cross-border traffic, etc. I still hear from people in IT there that OPEX still rules their day more than CAPEX, because they want the CAPEX to be buying up inventory, in order to make the goods they're producing worldwide. So for them, it makes much more sense.
vp information technology in Consumer Goods, 51 - 200 employees
PE companies are Opex centric. make all costs variable, focusing on generic technologies plus cloud services for burst capacity, going all in depending on the business operating model.
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Priorities might shift, project might get canceled, whole or parts of IT operations might be outsourced

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