Acquisitions are a current hot topic within Financial Services. At strategic level, acquisitions enable you to add complimentary services into your company, expand your current offering, or simply sell.
The actual acquisition is however just the start of the journey. Once the champagne has been popped, the integration merger then needs to follow, whether immediately due to the acquisition terms, or as and when deemed necessary.
Handling an integration merger effectively is important to keep your daily business running and retain your clients and employees. Running the integration as a project, whatever the size, is a great way to ensure the operational teams are aligned and the key activities completed in line with any legal requirements and timings. Having a plan also helps to manage expectations and minimise the disruption to the business.
This was illustrated when I recently worked on an integration merger. The business had made a good start but quickly realised there was a lot to co-ordinate on top of day jobs and the timing was critical due to the wind up of the purchased company. Having a project plan restructured the key activities in line with these requirements to give a much smoother outcome for everyone.
Acquisitions may vary in size and type, but when it comes to operationally merging companies, similar key tasks apply, whether you’re integrating 20 or 200 people, 200 or 200,000 clients. From a project perspective, here are just some of the key items to consider:
A Project Plan brings together all the key activity in one place, collates knowledge across the companies, identifies who needs be involved and the sequence of key events.
Few deals can be legally discussed ahead of signing, even with employees. Having your internal and external communication plans and road map ready for the deal completing helps take your employees and clients on the subsequent merger journey.
HR, Finance, IT, Marketing and Legal/Compliance all have an important part to play throughout the process. Once the initial acquisition stage has been completed, they will handle a range of activities from integrating new employees and payrolls to merging assets and closing the previous company.
Tech Stack Review
This is the opportunity to review and confirm what will be retained as each company has their own suite of IT and supplier applications. There are usually assumptions about which systems will be used going forward so making decisions early on is important. Any review also needs to include how the technology is used, as even if the same technology is used by both companies, it will inevitably be hosted and configured in different ways.
Both client and employee data will need to be moved between systems once agreed. Third party suppliers and shared services will usually be involved in any data migrations in what can be a complex exercise of timings and technology.
Operational processes cross over the other workstreams, so dividing the key processes into priority order to review and update is a good idea. Planning always takes time but it pays dividends to understand how deep and wide this exercise needs to be.
Training is important for both clients and employees adopting new systems and processes, so while this may be the final step, reviewing these early on is key.
Whatever your integration merger size, having a plan at the start will save you time and money in the long run and help retain your key employees and clients.
If you’re looking at an integration merger and need assistance tailored to your requirements, please contact [email protected] for an initial chat.