4 messaging must-haves for Day 1 of a ‘no compromise’ M&A

 Messaging Must Haves for Day one of a Merger Acquisition | Binary Tree

One of the most critical milestones in any merger or acquisition is Day 1. This is the first day when the merging organizations officially start working as one. It sets the tone for the overall merger and can impact how well the combined organization performs in its first 100 days. And when it comes to Day 1, a lot of it comes down to IT.

For Day 1, IT should adopt a “no compromise” approach to an excellent user experience. Beforehand, you usually won’t have time to migrate everyone to a single messaging platform. So your goal by day 1 is to help people on different platforms collaborate as smoothly as though they’re already on the same platform. They shouldn’t even be able to tell that you haven’t migrated them yet. This buys you time to do the broader migration over the next weeks and months.

Here are four key things users should be able to do on Day 1.

Look people up in a shared directory

The first step is a shared email directory. When users go to send an email or calendar invite, they shouldn’t have to manually type email addresses in the To: and Cc: fields. This is frustrating and can lead to typos and missed delivery. Instead, people should be able to quickly look up their new colleagues in a shared directory.

To make this happen, you’ll need to synchronize the email directories between the organizations by day 1. And you’ll need to keep them in sync as things change. No matter which email platform the different organizations are on—Office 365, Exchange, IBM Notes, etc.—you have to continuously and consistently sync information across all directories.

Send and receive emails

Now you need to make sure everyone can send and receive email as expected. They should be able to send new emails and reply to old ones—all from their brand new email address. To do this, you need to configure all email systems to support cross-platform email delivery. Depending on which platforms you’re running, this could either be a quick fix or an extensive effort. In many cases, you might have to use a third-party product to make this happen smoothly and quickly.

Schedule and update meetings

Next up is to make sure everyone can schedule new meetings and update existing ones. People should be able to easily look at each other’s calendars and see free/busy availability. And they should be able to quickly add new team members to existing, recurring meetings.

This is anything but easy from an IT perspective. Even if everyone is already on Office 365 (but on different tenants), you might not be able to easily set up cross-tenant calendar sharing. Certainly if you’re running different platforms, you’ll likely need a third-party solution to make this happen.

Unify your brand

Last but not least, you need to get everyone on the same email domain (example: @binarytree). Usually during an M&A, the users in at least one (if not both) of the organizations need to reflect a new brand name in their email address. But they should also still be able to receive emails at their legacy address, as the new email addresses may take a while to circulate among customers, vendors, and partners.

To do this, you’ll need to set up new email addresses and also make sure the old ones forward correctly. You might need to configure external email hubs and mail relays, plus appropriate changes and additions to external DNS settings. And if you’re on different tenants of Office 365, it gets tricky.

Once you’ve successfully set up the four critical email capabilities described above, you’re well on your way to a successful merger. Now you can turn to the task in the upcoming months of migrating everyone over to a single, unified platform.

 

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