Company mergers are exciting times in a business’s life. Whether by acquisition or conventional merger, two entities are becoming one company and combining more than just their names. The obvious challenge to any merger is the company culture and the human element. However, attempting to streamline two different technology infrastructures turns out to be one of the more difficult challenges facing merging companies. Unlike staff challenges, technology issues will not work themselves out on their own. The technology side needs a well-executed plan and often some outside help. Here are seven important considerations regarding technology for two merging firms.
Getting the key people from both sides to come together and plan the necessary logistics for streamlining the new companies infrastructure needs to be of the highest priority. In most cases, one of the merging companies is by default the leading company because they were the larger company coming in to the deal. Therefore, their leaders are usually the ones in charge, but handling the egos and intra-company competition can make it an ordeal. Getting everyone on the same page about who is in charge at the earliest possible stage is vital to moving forward with a proper infrastructure plan.
As with any business operation, the importance of planning cannot be underestimated. Once the management issues are settled, the team must now put together a comprehensive plan. Leveraging the experience and knowledge of all people involved to develop the right plan is necessary not only to the success of the new technology infrastructure but also to the success of the entire merger.
With any technology merger, equipment is going to have to move. As a part of the overall plan, how one location’s hardware is going to be taken offline, boxed up, moved to the new location, and then brought back online is a very important task. Most employees in the IT department have never been involved in such an undertaking, and just hoping for the best is not a good plan. It is critically important that the logistical aspects of moving network hardware be in the hands of a professional third-party data center moving company who specializes in computer network moves, and not the employees.
During a merger, with computers and servers moving from point A to point B, and nervous employees thinking the worst, securing sensitive information is paramount. Safeguarding data before and after the infrastructure merger plan is complete can be daunting. Having a three-pronged approach includes: 1) The alignment of security policies, 2) Strengthening the new unified policy and ensuring strict compliance, and 3) Purchasing monitoring software to watch for potential security problems.
Along with protecting data, controlling access to the network is similarly important to the success of the company going forward. Reassessing the network security policies and tightening up any loose ends are best done immediately. Check this white paper for reference: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/
Hiring an outside consultant for all IT security issues is usually a safe bet.
Disaster Recovery and Backups
During any merger, the disaster recovery and backup systems should be reviewed and often updated. Making sure that all data prior to the merger is backed up, then again after the roll out of the merged systems. During the transition, a plan for the long-term disaster recovery should be completed and executed as soon as possible.
Finally, none of this can work without good communication. While this may seem obvious, the execution of it can be a bumpy ride. Planning a solid communication flow from the top down, whereby everyone involved in the IT side of the company merger gets the information they need to act on in a clear timely manner. Good communication cannot be over emphasized.
The challenge of merging two companies is often compared to merging two families in a marriage. Where the analogy falls short is that usually the families do not have dozens of servers, routers, and network switches to move. The technology issues involved in a company merger are challenging in all cases, but with these tips and good planning it can certainly be done well.