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M&A success: How collaboration software aids post-merger integration

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M&A success: How collaboration software aids post-merger integration

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Today, M&A plays a vital role in the survival and growth of corporations. But in order for a merger or acquisition to be successful, it needs to be dealt with effectively.

Pre-merger and post-merger integration activities need to be thoroughly discussed and planned in order for a merger to be a success. But often key factors like communication, timing and shared vision are overlooked as a focus on the financial side of the transaction takes over.

Poor planning and management of the post-merger integration is a road leading to failure. Researchcarried out by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and investment management group, found that a fifth of law firm mergers in the last five years were unsuccessful. The most cited reason for failure being internal communications at the post-merger stage.

One of the most important factors for post-merger success and long-term sustainability is the involvement and integration of employees from the beginning. A unified vision with a shared fresh identity must be the driving force for a new company and it is essential that employees communicate with each other to allow this concept to flourish.

There are many challenges companies can face post-merger but enterprise collaboration softwareprovides the tools employees need to stay productive, informed and engaged.

Here are five ways a good enterprise collaboration platform can help the post-merger integration process go smoothly:

1. Coordination

Whether it is prior to, during or after the deal is done, the planning and execution of a merger is crucial. Any integration involves a large number of decisions made in a short time frame and a plan of action needs to be closely coordinated.

Enterprise collaboration software makes this easy, enabling all interested parties to communicate and collaborate in a single and secure space that is accessible 24/7 from any location. File sharing functionality and wiki modules allow for easy collaboration between colleagues and the tasks module allows managers to keep projects on track and coordinate team members in a potentially unstable environment.

2. Culture

Mergers or acquisitions essentially combine two separate companies with two separate goals and ideals, which can sometimes lead to a clash in company culture. No matter how well a shared vision is planned out pre-merger, a clash at corporate or individual staff level can render this vision redundant.

Instead, this shared vision should be carried through to the post-merger integration stage. Bringing people together post-merger is imperative and enterprise collaboration software provides employees with the ability to start to build relationships with new colleagues. It gives them a space to connect and allows a transparent dialogue between management and their teams through open discussions.

3. Communication

Good communication is what lies at the core of any successful merger, and enterprise collaboration software enables constant communication between all employees. Its facility for open and transparent communication allows all users to be kept up to date with the latest company and industry news. Whilst you need to provide the right channels for bottom-up communication you also need your leadership to buy in and have a voice. It’s a good idea for the management team to write a regular blog (for instance to provide staff with updates about the new firm and its progress against targets), to allow top-down communication to flow naturally. This encourages a community spirit within the new firm and allows staff to feel part of one combined firm instead of two separate entities.

4. Knowledge

When two companies combine, it can sometimes be confusing for employees regarding where they can find knowledge, expertise and best practices. Knowledge management is critical for business and enterprise collaboration software makes it easy for your teams to collaborate, share knowledge and make more informed decisions. Information can be stored centrally and made accessible to anyone, through any device. File sharing, blogs, wikis and activity streams all allow people in the organisation to access this knowledge simply and securely.

5. Monitoring

During mergers or acquisitions, it is important for the integration process to be well documented and for the new company to monitor its post-merger success. This can be tricky and time consuming but data management tools make it a lot easier. A structured database module can capture and sort all the relevant data, filterable by document metadata, and present it in a user-friendly way. It provides up-to-date progress tracking and workflow transparency through dashboards and reporting tools.

It is clear that managing the integration process after a merger or acquisition can be a major challenge and one that is rarely achieved without a significant investment of time, effort and resources. A common mistake is to assume that once the merger has taken place and a post-merger plan has been developed, it’s all plain sailing. But in reality time and care needs to be put into continually managing and monitoring against performance milestones. On-going integration of the two formerly separate organisations is essential. An enterprise collaboration platform helps this process to be holistic and well-executed, resulting in a successful merger or acquisition.

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