IT integration can make or break the modern M&A

Mergers and acquisitions can be one of the most challenging things an organization does. Study after study has shown that anywhere from 70% to 90% of M&As fail. Most often, that’s because the company doesn’t see the benefits they expect after the deal goes through.

But there’s one thing you can do to increase your chances of success—integrate your IT as quickly and painlessly as possible. Technology alone won’t make the deal, but it can definitely break it. PwC says that “the IT function itself often has the highest volume of integration activity over the longest period of time, and commonly has the highest number of dependencies from other functions.” Gartner puts a number on it: more than 50% of all integration activities depend on IT.

So if you do a great job integrating your IT, there’s a much higher chance your overall merger will be more successful. Here are some actions to take.

Get a seat at the table

Only 50% of companies tend to involve IT early in the M&A process, compared to 80% who involve finance. But the companies who don’t involve IT up front often find their merger much more challenging, with a tendency to significantly overrun cost and schedule. That’s because it’s easy to underestimate the cost and timelines for IT integration. So it’s important for IT to get a seat at any planning meetings, ideally well before the deal closes.

Plan for success

In hindsight, companies often cite poor planning as one of the key causes of a rocky M&A. So if you do your due diligence up front, you’ll greatly increase the chances of a successful transition. In the planning phase, you should:

  • Understand the goals of the merger and how IT can help
  • Map the existing IT landscape and look for areas to consolidate
  • Get ready to hit the ground running on day 1
  • Set realistic time frames
  • Look for any hidden costs that might impact the price of the deal
  • Identify and address any potential risks

Think “no compromise”

When you’re in the throes of a merger, the last thing you need to do is throw downtime in the mix. At this stage, you don’t need anything that impedes communication between the merging organizations. And if email is down, there’s a chance that important communication might be delayed or missed. So you should take a “no compromise” approach to your migration. Don’t go with manual workarounds or faulty tools that will require downtime. And don’t settle for half-baked solutions that don’t solve all of your challenges.

Do a modern, seamless sync

When it comes to migrating your messaging, you should focus on doing a seamless migration of workloads from the source to target tenant. And you’ll want to do this with minimal to no disruption of your end users. To get a modern, seamless sync, you should:

  • Do a high-velocity migration at cloud scale
  • Set up scalable coexistence with full automation for provisioning mail
  • Deliver a superior experience with minimal end-user impact
  • Help users collaborate as a single team, whether they’ve been migrated or not
  • Automate admin, which provides seamless migration across on-premises and tenant-based groups

Make people productive on 'Day 1'

There are a couple of quick wins that are critical for day 1 that are simple, with the right software. Namely, you should unify your directory and your domain. A unified directory lets people find and communicate with each other through email, chat, and calendar invites. And the unified domain helps everyone send email from the same address (example: For more, see our day 1 tips.

Engage an expert

Be transparent with executives about the abilities of your in-house team. Because M&As tend to happen infrequently and need to move quickly, it’s likely that you could use a bit of help from an expert who does this day in and out. Gartner says that more than 50% of organizations reach out for help with their integration after the merger.

So this is a great opportunity to engage a seasoned partner like Binary Tree. We’ve helped with hundreds of M&As for some of the largest and most complex organizations in the world. And we’re standing by to help with yours. See more about our M&A solutions.  Or contact us today to learn more.