Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are part of the dynamic business lifecycle in the technology sector, providing opportunities for growth, diversification, and profitability. To achieve success — ensuring that the deal lives up to its predicted value — companies must properly invest in the M&A integration process to seamlessly and strategically combine products, data, and talent.
Bringing companies in the same space together the right way offers tremendous value and benefits to customers and the companies themselves: simplification, streamlining, efficiency maximization, single point of contact, cost and time savings, cross-selling, workforce optimization, and more.
Based on my experience building new platform solutions for multiple organizations post-merger and during acquisition, there are three key factors that companies should consider during the process to drive positive business outcomes:1. Customer: experience, engagement, and retention; 2. One company, login, suite of products; 3. Architecture: repurposing vs. rebuilding.
With those guidelines, companies can then create a consistent look and feel, define and standardize API integration framework for seamless data flow along with a single source of truth for data, build a unified platform without reinventing the wheel, bring more visibility for the combined team’s culture and mindset, and improve the customer experience and retention. M&As are not just about products — they’re about people, too.
Customer: Experience, Engagement and Retention
To better understand what people want and need, forming customer focus groups is a valuable tool. Change and adoption are difficult for everybody, so communication is essential. To retain customers, engage with them.
It’s important to address your customers' questions and clearly communicate the company’s long-term vision, such as whether you plan to continue supporting existing products or phase them out over time. Customers also need to know that you’re considering their input, as you develop the features and functionality of the combined products or build a new platform based on the company’s current offerings. Having a customer feedback loop as your company develops features, workflows, dashboards and code is crucial. Additionally, it’s ideal for customers to see design improvements incrementally to establish a smooth transition process driving adoption.
One Company, One Login, One Suite of Products
When an organization chooses to combine companies or products rather than having them operate side-by-side under a parent company, the new platform should reflect this union and enable cost, usage, and maintenance efficiencies, as well as a streamlined workflow.
Visually, the platform should have a consistent look and feel. To achieve this, companies should create a single login that gives the user access to all of the products and implement brand guidelines consistently in the user interface and content across all mediums (website, iOS or Android application). Within the platform, engineering teams should consolidate and remove redundancies and foster seamless integration of data across products with deep linking. Deep linking, which allows users to easily move between the products, creates the feeling that one is interacting with a single team, resulting in increased efficiency and a significant boost in platform adoption.
Architecture: Repurpose vs. Rebuild
While the technical leader may not be involved in the final decision as to whether an M&A is completed, it is critical for them to do their due diligence to understand the technology — whether it’s cloud-based, mobile-build, microservices, or a data center using legacy monolithic code. Being agile, while highlighting and accepting risks and costs becomes imperative, through collective intelligence when incorporating data and analytics.
The technical leader and the engineering team should make strategic decisions to integrate the applications without reinventing the wheel, which saves time and money. One way to achieve this is by developing standard API integrations that define standard interfaces and integration guidelines. This enables the products to communicate with one another, seamlessly carrying the context from one product to the other. Also, teams should consider building a single source of truth for data from across all the products. By building out the master data management or customer data management and the data lake, teams enable simplified implementation, portfolio reporting and analytics.
Each time I have built a new platform solution, it has been a unique experience with new challenges and learnings. Guiding teams and customers through the process with proper communication is crucial. And by focusing on these three key factors, teams can rally together to create and execute a vision that offers more growth possibilities and tremendous value to their customers, employees and the companies themselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anu Sharma is the senior vice president of technology and delivery at Actabl. In her role, she is responsible for defining and driving the technology strategy to enable Actabl as a choice platform for hotel operations and analytics. Anu is a technology leader with over two decades of success in transforming teams and creating innovative solutions to enhance business results. Her prior experience includes medical informatics, multi-family and automotive solutions. Anu is passionate about girls and women in STEM and building up women’s leadership in technology. Anu has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science. She lives in Southlake, Texas, with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys running, reading and traveling with her family in her free time.