The period following a merger or acquisition is a critical one for the executives of an organization. The first few weeks can play a pivotal role in whether the M&A is a success. This is particularly true for the chief information officer, who must drive synergies while maintaining functional day-to-day operations for the organization. Below is a list of critical considerations CIOs should take into account in order to have a successfully integration.
- Focus on Day One Business Continuity – It will be hard to focus on future business strategies if your financial applications or ERP System are not online. Initial priorities are to stabilize the IT organization and establish the Day One Roadmap.
- Know the Context – The goal of the M&A, either to lower costs or grow strategically, will dictate decisions about infrastructure and organization. Once business expectations are clear, you can rationalize operational processes, chart the new organization structure, and stand up the program management function.
- Plan for Change – Every merger or acquisition, and the ensuing integration activities, must be guided by a clear vision of the combined entity. From the outset, the CIO must lead the transformation to the new IT organization. A change management plan is essential for success, and should help ensure a cultural fit, build awareness of the merger, and empower employees to fill new roles.
- Design the Joint Organization – Bringing two organizations and management structures together gives the CIO the opportunity to build a new joint career framework. This includes designing the new organization with operating models & governance, competency models, career paths, job descriptions and a workforce transition plan.
- Align Business Strategies and IT Capabilities – CIOs must use the business as the catalyst for change. Understanding the immediate business needs, e.g., cost reduction, geographic expansion, organizational consolidation, etc. will drive your IT initiatives and the integration strategy. Avoid using your own agenda to reduce IT costs without considering the business impact.
- Reboot Applications – This is your opportunity to work with the business to jettison rarely used applications and eliminate duplicates. Move quickly to establish your application portfolio strategy and engage business leaders in application selection and migration.
- Keep the Lights On – The CIO likely will be asked to drive business benefits while reducing headcount and costs from merging IT teams. At the same time they must ensure that systems, applications and networks continue to operate with minimal disruption to the business.
- Enhance Digital and Customer Experience – M&A disruption creates a window for CIOs to increase focus on digital capabilities. This could help a CIO evolve into a Chief Digital Officer who advocates for growth and efficiency through enhanced customer experience.