Mergers and Acquisition

Navigating IT infrastructure consolidation following an M&A? Follow these tips to streamline the process and mitigate risk.

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity continues to remain above pre-pandemic levels. As the theme of geopolitical and economic uncertainty continues, professional services company, PwC says that from experience, uncertain times are when deals become attractive, making it a  sweet spot for M&A activity.

If your enterprise recently completed a merger or acquisition, then you know there are many challenges – and opportunities – ahead when transforming legacy IT infrastructure. Learn how you can successfully navigate these challenges by reducing risk and identifying new ways to streamline operations and reduce costs.

"Acquisitions accumulate an increasingly diverse or duplicate set of IT capabilities, and integration costs can quickly mount up and degrade deal value. “That means most CIOs should plan and architect IT to enable business integration."


IT Challenges following M&A activity

Given the vital role that IT plays in integrating companies’ assets and protecting systems it can be a surprise that all too often you aren’t involved in M&A activities until late in the process. Cost savings can be made by finding synergies and reducing duplications in software applications and licenses. Agility is key when trying to get a handle on combined assets to decide on strategy going forward. Unfortunately, that agility is often impeded by the infrastructure management tools and the processes that your teams use to manage activities.

You’ve probably invested in a number of IT infrastructure tools to manage your environment and the same will have happened at the company you are merging with or acquiring. Given that most of these tools don’t interact with each other even in your own organization, it’s going to become even harder to gain a holistic view of the combined IT environment. That means there is no way for your teams to quickly aggregate and normalize the data they hold across all their infrastructure management tools manually. It can take multiple team members months to do this and by the time it’s complete, the data will be out of line with business changes and, inevitably, contain errors.

Any error can be costly when your teams are trying to merge company assets. Without a clear view of your combined environment, any programs rolled out to realize cost savings, could actually cost the business money. If teams don’t understand how changes will affect the environment, they could disrupt user or customer access or even hinder critical business operations, costing your company thousands if not billions of dollars. And if teams don’t know where assets are, they can’t protect them and the company and user data they contain.

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When all eyes are on IT you don’t want to make any errors that could cost the business money, customers, or its reputation. If your teams don’t have a clear and complete list of your combined companies’ assets, how can they be sure:

  • How to best consolidate users on to single platforms and domains to improve productivity and communications?

  • That changes won’t adversely impact the business as they are rolled out?

  • That business, employee and customer data is protected?

  • That security and compliance policies are being met? (This is particularly important in highly regulated industries.)

  • How to optimize use of assets to realize the cost-savings that are vital following a company merger or acquisition?

  • Where all assets are, or how to reclaim them from employees that are no longer with the new company?

  • What technologies are needed or what assets can be consolidated to gain savings?

It’s not just the time and errors associated with conducting data discovery manually. It’s likely that your teams are reliant on a host of manual processes that will slow them down – from planning, through to communicating, scheduling, rolling out and reporting on change. All the time that it takes to complete these tasks will impede the merging of company assets, capabilities, and the growth of the new business at a time when investors and leaders are looking for fast results.

Using a digital platform conductor to manage M&A activities

So how can you help your teams become more agile in transforming legacy technology when they are so reliant on manual processes? You could adopt an emerging technology that Gartner refers to as a ‘digital platform conductor’ (DPC) tool.

Think your teams have enough tools already and don’t want to add to complexity? A digital platform conductor tool reduces existing complexity by connecting to and orchestrating all IT infrastructure management tools in a matter of days, to bridge the gap created by disparate systems and reduce the risk of IT infrastructure transformation. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning it integrates and normalizes critical program data, analyzes risk, automates and orchestrates workflows, and provides real-time status in a single command and control platform.

A digital platform conductor makes it easier for teams to ensure business continuity as companies come together and enables faster time to value.

Once IT has a complete view of the combined IT estate, it can spot operational duplication. This allows the business to more quickly streamline applications and infrastructure.

1) Data Center consolidation and cloud strategies

Some of the largest cost savings can be realized by consolidating data center capabilities or moving assets to the cloud. This is a colossal task and requires careful consideration to make sure your teams enable end users to be productive wherever they are, while optimizing costs and assets. A balance will need to be struck in terms of investment in cloud assets – whether you adopt a public, private or hybrid cloud structure – or spread your assets across providers in a multi-cloud environment.

The investment will of course need to be aligned closely with the strategy for business growth and governance and security policies, but first teams will need to know how the environment is structured today. Making the wrong decisions about how to organize the new environment can be costly, but so can rolling out change without understanding the dependencies between existing assets, systems, applications, and data.

A digital platform conductor removes the risks associated with the cloud and data center migrations. It provides the most comprehensive level of information about the IT environment and business requirements, allowing your team to make smart decisions and manage the process in a fraction of the time it takes to do so manually.

2) AD Migration

The cost of managing multiple Active Directory (AD) domains following M&As can be prohibitive and savings are made possible by migrating all AD objects onto a single domain. Tools such as Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) can help with the migration, but any AD structure contains complexities.

If your teams don’t have a view of the existing structures, and all the dependencies within, an AD migration will be risky. Without understanding the current structure, there’s no way to correctly map a target forest structure, which can result in breaking group or individual access to important applications and databases.

If your teams can’t see the forest for the trees, a digital platform conductor will help them understand existing structures and intelligently and swiftly map a target forest structure. Risk areas will become apparent, so they can identify activities such as testing to remove risks ahead of rollout and maintain access integrity following a migration.

3) 0365 Migrations

Business software productivity suites such as O365 are key in allowing teams to work from anywhere. Cost savings can be made by consolidating users and moving them from a legacy O365 tenant, but the time it takes to complete the migration manually has the potential to eat into those savings.

As with any IT program there are risks involved. It’s easy to break access to shared mailboxes and calendars if IT doesn’t have a clear view of the environment. Nobody wants to be the one to explain why the CEO’s delegate can’t access their calendar to manage critical customer meetings or why sales teams can’t access shared resources.

Leveraging a digital platform conductor reduces the risk of O365 migrations by ensuring your teams avoid breaking access post migration. Leveraging the orchestration capabilities of a DPC tool allows your teams to identify and manage risks before your rollout as well as identify readiness paths and orchestrate other tools to execute the migration. 

4) Endpoint Management

Growth of initiatives such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), cloud adoption, and IoT have contributed to a highly complex IT environment over the past few years. In 2020, the role of endpoint management teams got even harder as the devices that they could usually rely on staying in one place were dispersed far and wide as users relocated to home offices. Add in thousands more users, devices, and applications from a new company and  endpoint management becomes a colossal task.

If your IT infrastructure tools don’t interact, how can your teams protect company, customer, or employee data in the new combined IT environment? How can they optimize the costs of assets across their lifecycle? How can they ensure systems and assets are performing as they should? And how can they manage any cost-saving program without risk? By leveraging a DPC tool to orchestrate all existing tools and automate tasks and workflows, your teams will be able to drive predictability into any endpoint management program and protect your end users and business from costly disruption.

Shearman & Sterling automates ednpoint management to minimize risks.

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Book a demo to discover how ReadyWorks, a digital platform conductor tool, can help your teams reduce the risk of M&A activities and deliver the cost savings and results that company investors and business leaders are looking for.