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November 20, 2017

Take a People First, Technology Second Approach to PMI

When you merge two companies, it’s not just two technology environments (or more) that need to become one; you’re also bringing together groups of people from varying backgrounds. Sometimes the acquiring and acquired company can be very similar in culture and ethos - but more often they can be poles apart.

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Putting people before IT

Planning your new technology structure is often research-led, and decisions are based on advice from technology experts.

Yet when it comes to the formation of your new technology team structure – do you undertake the same level of research? Do you seek guidance from experts in the field of mergers and acquisitions?

When two disparate companies merge, there can be culture clashes if the situation is not managed sensitively. Conflicting personalities and thwarted ambitions may lead to behaviour that could be disruptive to the success of your merger.

To understand a person, you need to communicate with them. What are their current skills? How do they see their future within your organisation? Can you match what they have to offer with what your business needs?

In post-merger integration projects, people must be given the same attention as information technology and finance issues.

 
 
 
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Managing your company’s culture

Company culture change can’t be measured or managed in the same way as harder factors such as financial or technological benefits. Yet its impact is just as critical to PMI success.

Cultural alignment should play just as an important a role in your PMI due diligence as your technology alignment. Once responsibilities have been allocated, targets should be set so all parties can begin to work together towards a shared defined goal.

To cultivate a healthy ethos, your employees need to understand your overall business objectives - how you hope to achieve them and the part they’re expected to play. (And, of course, how they’ll be rewarded for their efforts.)

If you fail to engage in this kind of interaction, you could find that individuals, teams and even whole departments are working out of sync with each other.

Preparing people for change

It’s never too early in the deal process to start considering how company ethos and business styles can be aligned. Look at the numerous parties involved in the merger process and begin to plan how they can effectively work together.

Your first task should be to make sure there are open channels of communication. By talking to team members personally and constructively, you’ll soon see where any problems lye and how they can be overcome before they impact on integration.

Differences in the way operations are run should be identified early on so you can move towards devising a single, efficient method of working. Team integration needs to take a best practice approach – that is to say, you should choose the most efficient operating model rather than hanging on to traditional or habitual modes of working to appease feelings.

Of course, this change needs to be handled sensitively and diplomatically, which takes us back to our starting point. Smooth post-merger integration can only be achieved if you take a people first (as opposed to a technology first) approach at the outset of your PMI project.

Want to know more about PMI people management?

When it comes to PMI due diligence, Beyond M&A has always taken a people first approach.

If you’d like to find out more about preparing your teams for your post-merger integration and gain maximum value from your IT infrastructure, contact us for a friendly discussion regarding your particular business needs on 0800 622 6719.

Hutton Henry - Hutton’s first experience with M&A was whilst working for Ford when they acquired Jaguar in the UK. Soon after he worked on a major IT global transformation which was the result of HP acquiring Compaq. Both projects highlighted the challenge of integrating systems whilst collaborating with IT staff who are adjusting to major changes ahead of them.

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