Productionising M and A

Our client, a global electronics and services organisation, was subject to corporate acquisition from a global software giant. Acquisition is always complex – but when both organisations are of exceptional scale and complexity, the opportunity for the process to become a ‘clash of the titans’ is significant.

The client IT environment was large and complex: over 30,000 users, 19,000 server images and 800 business applications, plus many hundreds of suppliers and thousands of contracts. Our client approached us to help prepare critical areas of its IT Operations in readiness for ‘Day 1’; the day when the two companies would officially merge. And the day in which the new ‘spin off’ entities would come into existence.

Having already demonstrated our speed, agility and previous M&A experience to our client, we immediately focussed on achieving what was necessary to enable success. From an IT perspective, these were the ‘musts’ that absolutely had to be implemented for ‘Day 1’.

We knew that there would likely be three areas that would cause the predominance of issues and hence would need suitable focus and expert management. These three areas, essential to achieving a smooth ‘Day 1’ go-live, were:

  1. Understanding which business applications must change to meet legal, regulatory and privacy legislation, including a clear statement of the changes needed and who would be responsible for making them. Work began at the business process level and provided a clear foundation for all subsequent application and infrastructure related activity.
  2. Definition and completion of the Transitional Service Agreements (TSAs) which would clearly communicate what was being delivered, by who and until when.
  3. Correctly and securely apportioning the clients’ data between the ‘target’ and ‘spin off’ entities.

Prior to our involvement, our client was facing a seemingly unfathomable task. Whilst what was needed to be done was broadly understood, they were unclear about how and where to start. Our pragmatic approach and deep insight acted as a highly effective catalyst: we got the process started.

Our approach helped simplify what, to many, appeared overwhelming. We operated a truly collaborative ‘sleeves rolled up’ approach, accelerating the clients' journey towards ‘Day 1’ from the moment we arrived. Our structure and control, plus our ‘can do’ attitude, helped simplify the process and give it the necessary velocity.

By operating in a truly agile, flexible manner and ‘doing’ as well as ‘advising’, we helped our client in further ways, assuring the success of this important programme:

  • By understanding the real business requirements and the various inputs and outputs, we were able to link this important initiative with others, creating greater levels of robustness and surety
  • By proactively managing the TSA development activity and acting as a single point of contact, we removed duplication and were able to ‘productionise’ their development, using common terminology, templates and descriptions to create a clear, exhaustive set of TSA documentation
  • By instilling tenacity and focus, mixed with pragmatism and insight, we were able to unify and align all parties, clarifying the activities and issues associated with logical and physical separation. We ultimately created the controls and governance necessary to safeguard against error and in doing so, created the ultimate ‘safety net’ for our client.

Through working hard, thinking smart and acting collaboratively, our approach allowed us to rescue a failing programme and meet the milestones which many had written off as impossible.