Enabling Two Organizations to Collaborate as One After a Merger

For almost 20 years, I've had the opportunity to participate in numerous messaging projects accompanying corporate mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Most of these projects had one theme in common - messaging integration was a component of the merger that was not given a great deal of consideration or time to plan and execute. More often than not, aseamless transition was simply assumed, and I don't have to tell you what happens when you assume.  :-)

The fact is that corporate email and email-based applications are often overlooked during the planning of a post-merger IT integration or separation initiative. There are many factors that ultimately determine the level of success of an integration of corporate email environments. Some are quite common to all and some are very specific to each organization. Yet there are a couple of key aspects of these projects that are more visible and critically evaluated in rendering the verdict on the success or failure of the email integration.

Ultimately, the success or failure of an email integration initiative is determined by whether or not the two diverse organizations can quickly and robustly collaborate as one team and whether the productivity of the end-users has been protected from interruptions. Similarly, in the case of a divestiture, the success or failure of any separation of email systems is determined by how quickly and securely an organization can be split into multiple, autonomous teams of users while, again, maintaining end-user productivity.Two groups merging

Since one of the key goals of any merger is to improve overall organizational efficiency, enabling merged organizations to collaborate as one team with uninterrupted functionality is critical. With that said, one of the most basic, yet most mission critical business applications – corporate email – greatly contributes to achieving the overall goal.  

The path to achieving email integration/separation and continuity is filled with obstacles. The technology challenges include living up to Day One coexistenceand interoperability expectations for basic email and calendaring functions, integrating and synchronizing corporate directories, migrating mailboxes and calendars from one system to the other, managing the transition of mobile devices from one system to another, as well as integrating and migrating any applications built on the messaging infrastructure.

And the obstacles go beyond the technical challenges. They also can include legal regulations, financial limitations, logistical hurdles, office politics, and more. Without a proper plan that anticipates and identifies these challenges, and guides the integration team through or around them, the initiative may be doomed to failure.

We have documented, at a relatively high level, the various challenges and opportunities of email integration projects as they relate to mergers and acquisitions in a new white paper. The information in the white paper is based on the successful completion of over 100 email integration and separation projects over the last 12 years for mergers like Exxon/Mobil,Daimler/Chrysler, and Bank of New York/Mellon Bank to name a few. Although not a detailed project plan, this document should be helpful in creating, or at least validating, such a plan.

If you are involved in the planning and execution of a post-merger IT integration initiative, we hope that you will find the document of value. You can download the white paper Merger Integration Success: Enabling Diverse Organizations to Collaborate as One from our website.

Also, please register for A Binary Tree Webinar: Planning Email Integration for Mergers and Acquisitions taking place on April 6, 2011 at 12pm (ET). This webinar will provide attendees with a relatively high level overview of the various challenges and opportunities of email integration projects as they relate to mergers and acquisitions. 

- Vadim