When the head of integration planning for a large technology provider started leading the technical aspects of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), he realized IT was not included in the project until after the deal closed. Integrations were hectic, one-off efforts. He analyzed past integrations and created a “playbook” based on the 80% of factors all the deals shared. With his small team, he developed a very efficient M&A integration process. The corporate M&A leadership team, recognizing that IT is one of the most difficult areas to integrate, gave the IT team a visionary leadership award for their accomplishments.
“ 25% of typical M&A integration efforts come from IT, and more than half of all integration activities are strongly dependent on IT.”
“Many CIOs know that IT has a critical role to play in successful target screening and due diligence during M&A, but they struggle to be involved in deal preparation,” says Cathleen Blanton, research vice president at Gartner. “Creating a playbook and sharing it with senior business executives is an excellent way to gain a seat at the business strategy table." Companies that involve their IT function early can shorten the screening process and significantly reduce M&A-related integration risks and timelines. 25% of typical M&A integration efforts come from IT, and more than half of all integration activities are strongly dependent on IT.
Be M&A Ready
A reusable M&A playbook can be quickly deployed when an idea or opportunity arises, to ensure each M&A phase is comprehensive and thorough. The document should include activities for each of the six acquisition phases:
- Scouting or screening
- Due diligence
- Integration planning
- Reaping benefits
Deploy ready-made IT tools, templates and checklists, such as customized IT due-diligence checklists, integration planning templates, Day 1 infrastructure migration kits, and tools for secure document sharing and remote collaboration to efficiently support both pre- and post-deal M&A activities. Use these tools to formalize the often complex and interdependent, business and IT activities and capture the lessons learned from previous acquisitions
Go beyond IT
Each enterprise context is unique, and CIOs must determine the level of breadth and depth of M&A playbook that delivers the most business value. CIOs can create either an IT-only or a comprehensive, business and IT enterprise M&A playbook. Invite other enterprise stakeholders to take ownership of their functional run books and orchestrate the process of creating and updating a truly multidisciplinary playbook. The playbook concept is also relevant to first-time or occasional acquirers as a strategic planning guide and can be adapted to support public sector merger or consolidation efforts.