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10 Things IT Needs to Do During a Merger

Mergers and/or acquisitions (M/A) can be scary, for sure. But they don’t need to be outright nightmares. In an article for TechRepublic, Mary Shacklett offers ten tips to quell the fears of IT employees and to manage the seemingly unmanageable chaos that comes from such an occasion.

10 Secrets for Maneuvering IT through an M/A

  1. Be transparent.
  2. Be straightforward about staff planning.
  3. Check governance compatibility, not just systems.
  4. Consider end-customer and investor worries.
  5. Have a failover plan.
  6. Formulate long-term disaster recovery plans.
  7. Secure systems and networks.
  8. Scrap systems with consent.
  9. Gauge vendor cooperativeness.
  10. Watch for sabotage.

The secrets and rumors that circulate during a time of an M/A are the proverbial ‘poison in the well.’ Be sure to make your dealings are as transparent as possible – even if you’re the one doing the acquiring. That means informing employees of all plans up front and without subterfuge. There will be plenty of compatibility issues related to technical systems. Don’t overlook compatibility of governance and security systems. Similarly, take pains (and a little time) to deal with the public / political side of the transition, as it will keep outsiders informed and assured that changes are going well.

That is not to say that technical problems won’t arise. As systems migrate between companies, there are bound to be flaws in the conversion process that require foolproof failover plans. What’s more, you’ll want to have other, long-term plans for disaster recovery, in addition to disaster prevention via secure network without back doors or other security exposures. And then again, there are systems that will never cross the divide and need to be scrapped despite the angry protests of internal supporters. Just make sure everyone (a majority) can agree upon these decisions.

Vendors are a tricky bunch. If you’ve got vendor service redundancy as a result of the M/A, you’re going to need to let one go. Be sure to gauge their cooperativeness in this endeavor as the process could contribute to considerable delay. Then there is always the possibility of sabotage. Yes, it’s not a pretty thing but it happens more often than one might think. As an IT leader you’ll need to be prepared for anything.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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