Know before you grow, have a Strategic Technology Roadmap!

Congratulations, you are part of a growing business that is about to make an acquisition!  All the financials are thoroughly reviewed, corporate culture is synergistic, and everyone is excited.  Did anyone do a technology capacity and alignment review?  Nah, we will let the “IT folks” figure that out later, no big deal….except that it is. This is where a Strategic Technology Roadmap comes in handy.

Technology is the “platform” that companies operate on now.  There must be a strategy in place AHEAD of time to merge technology platforms.  The chance of a less profitable (or failed) acquisition increases dramatically without an overarching technology strategy.  Typically the buyer is going to lead the charge on technology but this is not always the case.  Sometimes part of the deal is that the selling group has the better tech.

When making an acquisition it is important to ask these questions related to technology. 

Can my existing IT group (or vendor) handle the increased workload?

Internal IT groups are staffed for steady-state maintenance of existing infrastructure and users.  Suddenly adding multiple locations and users with DIFFERENT technology stacks is a recipe for burning out your people.  A lack of common Standards increases workload as the support requirements based just on hardware and applications can double (or triple) overnight.

Are you thinking about running everything “just the way it is for now”?

This is a common trap.  We will run everything separately and integrate over time.  “Over time” becomes never, as there is no real incentive for the internal IT groups to give up control over what they manage.  Basically you end up with an IT version of the Hunger Games, and nobody wants that.  There must be a clear integration, and overall Strategic Technology Roadmap agreed upon.

Do we have the experience to handle this?

Obviously no self-respecting IT group is being truthful about this question. Now begins the slow buildup of vendors and consultants to “help” with integration.  And then guess what, THEY NEVER LEAVE!  That’s right now you are employing an overstaffed internal IT department AND a number of outsiders to support them.

Companies are bought and sold everyday without giving a thought to how IT will work post-transaction.  IT can be a rounding-error on the overall revenue of the combined entity, and thus, who cares?  The reality is there is significant time, money, and resources left on the table in any transaction that does not include a well thought out Strategic Technology Roadmap for the combined company.  Be sure to find a qualified partner to help you understand how technology can be part of the drivers in generating increased profits in an acquisition, and not a cost to put in a budget!