Access and Feeds

Mergers and Acquisitions: Unifying Business Data

By Dick Weisinger

Data management may seem mundane, but it often can become a critical focal point for success during a period of business mergers and acquisitions (M&A). As companies merge, they face the daunting task of unifying disparate data systems, a process similar to the blending of two distinct languages into a coherent dialogue.

The importance of data management in this context cannot be overstated. Data is “arguably the most important asset gained in a well-thought-out deal and should be prioritized,” according to Experian. A robust data governance plan is essential to avoid the pitfalls of integration, which can “go far beyond the original launch plans, wasting valuable time, resources, and the opportunity to cement a business in the market as an organized entity”.

Unifying two different stacks and information implementations is a complex endeavor. It requires a strategic approach to IT consolidation for enhanced productivity and profitability. The seamless integration of information systems is indispensable to ensure a smooth and productive amalgamation.

Leadership plays a pivotal role during this critical period. Successful integrators have programs for senior leaders who typically require merger-specific leadership development to execute their integration roles effectively. Tailored capability building is crucial, focusing on the most critical skills and issues and applied immediately to the tasks at hand.

The starting point for analysis is often a global index of all data at the time of the merger, acquisition, or divestiture. This index should allow the determination of which types of data are being dealt with and their associated metadata.

As for the duration, the entire process can take up to six months, but this is a general term and can vary based on the complexity of the merger. It’s a period marked by meticulous planning and execution, where every step is a calculated move towards a unified future.

Companies are increasingly recognizing the need for sophisticated data management strategies during M&A. The implications are far-reaching, affecting operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and ultimately, the bottom line. Future improvements may include more advanced analytics tools and AI-driven data integration techniques, which could significantly streamline the process.

The realization of such technology is on the horizon, with advancements in data analytics and machine learning already making waves in the industry. As these technologies mature, we can expect them to become integral to the M&A landscape, offering a beacon of clarity in the often murky waters of corporate consolidation.

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