Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are a common part of the business environment and can be an effective means of growing your company’s products, services, customer base and market footprint. Unfortunately, mergers and acquisitions can also be a real headache for your IT staff. When two companies come together, they typically have two independent IT environments and often those environments are comprised of different types of technology that is configured differently and used in different ways. Integrating business processes across the two entities requires bringing the technology resources together and, in many cases, consolidating onto unified tools and platforms.
Frustration and failure
Before you can merge and integrate IT systems after mergers and acquisitions, the first thing your IT staff will need to do is figure out what assets they must work with in each environment. For most companies, that will involve teams from each entity manually compiling inventories and lists of assets (in the form of spreadsheets). This is typically followed by a seemingly endless process of analysis and reviews by architects and IT management to try and assemble the big picture back together again. After weeks of meeting, debates and frustration, many leaders will throw their hands in the air and give up – proclaiming “we’ll just operate the current systems as-is for now and address integration in the future”.
It isn’t surprising that most companies fail to recognize the full synergy value of mergers and acquisitions if the IT systems can’t even be brought together effectively. It isn’t that the IT and business leaders don’t want to integrate, they just don’t have the tools to manage the complexities of bringing environments together safely and effectively so doing nothing seems like the best course of action.
A modern approach to discovering assets
The underlying challenge with the traditional means of manual inventory and analysis of acquired assets is that the data set is too big and the dependencies too complex to effectively manage in spreadsheets and lists with rows of text data. IT environments are multi-dimensional physical and virtual environments with a web of connective tissue (dependencies) that do more than connect components together, but also give each component context. Rows and columns of asset data fail to express the contextual richness that leaders need to make integration decisions.
With modern discovery and asset visualization capabilities, you can view your asset and configuration data in visual form – seeing the dependencies and relationships that drive contextual understanding. Many companies are leveraging these capabilities in the context of their IT Service Management (ITSM) processes today for things like assessing the impact of an incident, evaluating proposed changes and diagnosing the root cause of problems. These same capabilities can be used to aid in the acquisition integration challenge as well.
A shared platform for managing shared assets
One of the biggest challenges of analyzing IT assets for integration is preventing premature co-mingling of data during the due-diligence period and before operational staff are ready to support the merged environments. You can navigate around this challenge by setting up an analysis platform that is shared between the two business entities without being embedded in the operational systems of either company. This involves setting up a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to collect, merge and reconcile the asset and configuration data and populating it from either existing (separate) CMDBs or from each company’s discovery tools. Sitting on top of the CMDB, you will need asset management, data visualization and reporting capabilities to enable architects, analysts and management to organize, interpret and make decisions based on the shared data.
With the right set of modern tools, IT management won’t need to give-up in frustration – they will be able to make informed decisions that lead to the business synergies that company leaders and shareholders expect from a merger or acquisition. Virima is the industry leader in discovery, asset management and visualization capabilities for supporting both M&A scenarios and ongoing service operations. Learn more about Virima IT asset discovery here.