5 Ways Technology Teams Can Thrive in a Merger

Thriving in a Merger | Binary Tree

Many of our clients these days are going through mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures. In fact, theses are aomng the most common types of projects Binary Tree supports. It is a high-octane time filled with pressure, uncertainty, and sometimes even a touch of anxiety. Technology leaders struggle to keep their team’s spirits and productivity high.

But it does not have to be that way. Mergers are an ideal time for technology leaders to really step up and innovate. You get a unique opportunity to deal with legacy challenges and pave the way for what’s to come. Here are some ways you can capitalize on your merger.

Triage the situation

Too often, technology teams are not involved in the discussions that happen before the merger. You might find out along with everyone else the day it is announced. But as soon as the merger is on your radar, you need to jump into action. Gartner suggests you create “tiger teams” with reps from each functional area. They can work together to figure out the best way to approach the transition, including answering these types of questions:

  • Will each technology team continue to stand alone?
  • Will one absorb the other?
  • Will you adopt best-of-breed solutions across each?
  • Do you have a new CIO that you need to bring up to speed on what you do?
  • Is your technology budget growing or shrinking?
  • Are there areas in which you can align duplicate technology systems?
  • Will you need to standardize your staffing model?

Prioritize opportunities

Next up, you should categorize and prioritize any items you discovered in your triage. One way to do this is using the MoSCoW labels: Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have, but would like.

At the same time, you need to keep critical tech systems up and running during this transition. Which means you should also put plans in place to mitigate risk. As examples, you could:

  • Limit making changes to only critical infrastructure and applications
  • Identify critical people you need to retain
  • Look for places where you could use temporary staff as needed
  • Find an experienced M&A partner who can walk you through the process

Go after new things

Mergers and acquisitions create a brief window in which there are often a flurry of decisions and budget allocations. This can be a great opportunity for technology leaders to push through ideas that might not have been feasible in the past. It isn’t the time to shy away from risks or avoid making the tough calls. It is the time to embrace anything you can do to make the business better.

Work with your teams to put together a list of possible projects and changes. The idea is to position the technology team as part of the solution going forward, rather than part of the problem. Examples of things to consider:

  • Retire legacy systems
  • Invest in new solutions to make the business better
  • Restructure or end contracts with service providers that aren’t doing as well as you would like
  • Renovate your teams by culling underperformers or those with skills you no longer need
  • Replace fossilized managers who are stuck doing the same things the same way

Revise your org structure

Unless your merger is on the smaller side, it is unlikely that your org structure can stay exactly the same. As a rule of thumb, Gartner says that if your technology team has grown or shrunk by 20%, you will likely need to update your structure. Examples of things to consider:

  • Create a flatter structure with fewer managers
  • Create versatile teams with skills in many areas, rather than deep specialists
  • Move away from applications or processes that cause deep specialization
  • Revisit places to use software as a service, rather than support it in-house

Engage an expert

Because M&As tend to happen infrequently and need to move quickly, many organizations choose to partner with an expert who does this day in and out. Our friends at Gartner say that more than 50% of organizations reach out for help with their integration during a merger. It is a great opportunity to engage a seasoned partner like Binary Tree. My team offers end-to-end M&A solutions that can help you:


To find out more about how we can help, get in touch.  We look forward to working with you on your next merger.


Source: Gartner. How I&O Can Survive and Thrive During Mergers and Acquisitions. February 2017.